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Review #049: Horizon Chase Turbo (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed By: John B.

Developed By: AQUIRIS Game Studio Published By: AQUIRIS Game Studio Category: Arcade, Racing Release Date: 11.28.18

**Make sure to click to enter our contest for a chance to win a free US or EU Nintendo Switch eShop code for Horizon Chase Turbo. Contest ends 11/30/2018.**

Download Horizon Chase Turbo from the Nintendo eShop here.

I can’t say I’m the best source to ask about racing games. I feel more at home with RPGs, adventure games, or action titles than behind the virtual wheel. I have been known to get into the odd arcade racer here and there; Jet Moto, Hydro Thunder, and Cruis’n USA have all had my attention at one point or another. It’s that last game that is most relevant to this review; Horizon Chase Turbo has a definite Cruis’n flavor to it. It’s easy to pick up and play whenever and wherever. More importantly, it’s just plain fun.

Handles Like a Dream

Horizon Chase Turbo, like any racing game, lives and dies with its controls. If they’re not sensitive enough, the game can turn into a chore to play; ditto if the controls are too sensitive. HCT’s controls are smooth and intuitive. Handling is consistent and responsive, but not overly so. In certain racing games in the past, I've barely flicked the thumbstick and spun out. I mean sure, different cars have different stats and cars with higher handling stats turn tighter; but even cars with lower handling turn at a manageable rate.

The racing itself is fairly standard; like a lot of arcade racing games, you always start in last place and have to drive your way to the front of the pack. Bumping into other cars on the track will slow you down but not cause you to spin out, so I guess we’re just telling physics to take a hike, but that’s okay. Sometimes realism just gets in the way of having fun. Hitting obstacles on the track will likewise spin you out a little, but the delay isn’t that bad. Horizon Chase Turbo is a game that is always moving forward, which is a huge factor in how fun it is. If you make a mistake, you’re back on the track and up to speed within seconds.

The final element of driving is the nitro boost. As a fan of the Fast and the Furious franchise, I understand that nitro is the ultimate racing tool. Hitting the boost button will provide a surge in speed for a few short seconds. You only get three nitro boosts per race, generally, so you need to be careful where you choose to use them. I generally saved them up until I had caught up to the top two or three cars in the race, then used them to cut the gap at the end.

Gassed Up

Curiously, the game does have one element of realism that kind of feels out of place within the context of the rest of the game. There is a fuel gauge that depletes as you drive. Considering how much the rest of the game is focused on speed and accessibility, having fuel be a factor is an odd choice. There are fuel tanks that can be collected on every course to keep your tank topped off. Generally they’re easy to get to unless you’re in a knot of other cars, so it generally never really became a factor for me. I did run out of gas once during a race when I was trying a car with lower fuel efficiency; it resulted in the race being over with me grabbing last place. Again, it only happened once, but I got close a few times.

Around the World in 80 (Or More) Races

Horizon Chase Turbo has four different modes of play; World Tour, Tournament, Playground, and Endurance. At the start of the game, only World Tour is accessible. This mode consists of travelling the world, completing races in one of 11 different countries. Each country has three locations, each with two or three tracks to challenge. Generally each country has eight or nine races, plus one upgrade track. Finishing in the top three in an upgrade track allows you to pick an upgrade that will apply to all of your unlocked cars. Finishing in the top three in regular races will grant you fame points. New cars unlock when you hit certain levels of fame. New cars can also be unlocked by meeting certain other requirements, such as getting first place in every race in a country.

Scattered around the regular tracks are blue tokens. You get one fame point for every token collected. If you finish first in a race and collect all of the tokens on the same run, you will get the super trophy for that race. The game’s ultimate car is unlocked if you can get every race’s super trophy, which is… hard. Tracks also have gas and extra nitro boosts scattered about, so you have to account for those in your strategy too.

Tournament, Playground, and Endurance are unlocked as you progress through the World Tour. They’re mostly side shows to World Tour’s main attraction, but they’re fun in their own way. Tournaments are a series of races that you run one after another, with no break in between. Twenty cars race in every tournament, and you get 20 points for first place, 19 for second, etc. The racer with the most points after all the races are over wins the tournament. Playground is a “live” mode, with new challenges being introduced every week. The challenges include time attack modes, restricted vehicle choices, and mirrored tracks. Endurance mode just sees you racing until you lose. It was my least favorite mode, but it was still pretty fun. Finally, you can add up to three friends to any of these modes for couch co-op.

Custom Graphics

The game looks fine, but it doesn’t look amazing. The cars are fairly detailed; they don’t meet the level of, say, a Forza game, but they’re respectable. The backgrounds, on the other hand, are extremely sparsely detailed. They look like very basic N64-era polygons with next to no texture or detail. Of course, the backgrounds fly by so fast that I never really paid any attention to them when I was playing, but if graphics are a big thing for you, this game doesn’t really pack a visual punch. Everything is bright, colorful, and perfectly presentable in action, however, so I’m not deducting any points for the visuals. The music is an upbeat electronic score that gels nicely with the roar of engines tearing around the track. There isn’t an especially memorable song, but the high energy soundtrack generally builds a great atmosphere to get you in the mood for racing.

I Chased the Horizon, and I Almost Won

If you’re looking for a polished, fun, arcade racing experience, you can do a heck of a lot worse than Horizon Chase Turbo. The game handles well with smooth controls and an accessible difficulty curve. There are four different modes that generally all boil down to the same thing, but the basic gameplay is fun enough that a limited amount of variety doesn’t really detract from the game experience. The graphics won’t win any awards, but they get the job done. HCT is just a rock-solid game from start to finish.

Final Score: 8/10

Download Horizon Chase Turbo from the Nintendo eShop here.

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**Make sure to click to enter our contest for a chance to win a free US or EU Nintendo Switch eShop code for Horizon Chase Turbo. Contest ends 11/30/2018.**

*Review Code Provided By AQUIRIS Game Studio

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