GDC 2018: Horizon Chase Turbo Hands-On: Rad Racing

The popular mobile racing game is getting a tune-up for its console and PC debut. 

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Arcade racer Horizon Chase: World Tour has been entertaining mobile audiences with its easy-to-pick-up retro style. Now, the game is gearing up to make its console and PC debut in the form of Horizon Chase Turbo, which promises to offer up more of what people love about the mobile version as well as a few new treats. I got a chance to go hands-on with a PS4 build of the game while at GDC 2018 and get my butt handed to me by the devs in a series of races.

At its core Horizon Chase Turbo is an homage to many of the great classic arcade racers of the '80s and '90s. Visually it evokes memories of playing Outrun in dingy arcades with its neon surfer visual tones and retrowave soundtrack. Many of the game’s race cars pay homage to classic arcade racers like San Francisco Rush or Cruisin’ USA. There’s even a VW-style surfer van that I swear used to be on the side of the road in Outrun, but is now fully playable here. There’s even some nods and winks to vehicles from films like The Fast and the Furious and Back to the Future.

Along with a few new rides and some new tracks for players to race on, the console version of Horizon Chase Turbo will feature several new game modes for players to sample. World Tour Campaign mode will give players a chance to unlock new tracks, special cars, cosmetic features, and even a special 16-bit mode. Tournament mode will put players up against their friends and AI opponents in a series of races somewhat akin to Mario Kart’s cup series’. One thing that was a little surprising was the fact that Horizon Chase Turbo will feature 4-player local split-screen, but no online multiplayer whatsoever.

My hands-on time with Horizon Chase Turbo felt very old school. The game handles like the old Pole Position arcade series if it was brought up to modern standards. There was hardly ever a real reason to use the brakes. As I weaved my surfer van (of course I played as the surfer van) in between opponents I picked up blue tokens to try and increase my score and purple tokens to try and get a bonus nitro boost to rocket me to victory. Picking up gas tanks to keep my van fueled was also key to staying in the race. Sadly, I found myself crashing and burning my way back to last place any time I got a bit of a lead, but I kept coming back for more because I was enjoy the aesthetic and music too much.

Overall, I think Horizon Chase Turbo has a lot going for it for the right player. Fans of retro racers will definitely get a kick out of its gameplay and will probably enjoy the many pop culture nods and winks from bygone eras. Horizon Chase Turbo is set to launch on PS4 and PC later this year.  

Reviews Editor

Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, www.cartoonviolencemusic.com. If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

From The Chatty
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    March 30, 2018 2:39 PM

    Blake Morse posted a new article, GDC 2018: Horizon Chase Turbo Hands-On: Rad Racing

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      March 31, 2018 7:57 AM

      I really dig this game on my phone and have been looking forward to the console release for ages.

      The game it most closely resembles is the old SNES game Top Gear -- they even got the guy who did the music for that to make the music for Horizon Chase. :D