Wednesday, November 28

Review: Horizon Chase Turbo [Nintendo Switch eShop]

When it comes to classic arcade racing there are few titles more revered than Out Run and it’s sequels. I have a particular attachment to Turbo Out Run since I won a local arcade tournament on it, so I’ve clocked some serious arcade racing miles over the years. Unlike the path modern racing has tended to take, focusing on elements like drifting or realistic physics of some kind, the classic arcade titles tended to be about carefully managing your turns and overtaking your opponents, something Out Run just really nailed. While you won’t have the opportunity to steal your rival’s girlfriend in Horizon Chase Turbo, the developers behind the title have gone far above and beyond merely paying respects to the classics, they’ve super-charged them with a great deal of love and a staggering amount of content.

Starting out with the World Tour mode (initially the other modes are locked) you’ll initially be in sunny California to learn the ropes. Accelerate, brake (though potentially rarely used as in many cases easing off the gas works fine), feel your turns, and use your 3 nitro boosts judiciously and you’ll be off to a strong start. However, as you progress and unlock new locales you’ll want and need to step up your game. Want to ace the track and get maximum points for unlocking new cars and areas? Not only will you need to come in first, you’ll also need to collect the shield emblems on the tracks, which can sometimes require you to slow down a bit to maintain your line on them. Get even further and you’ll need to mind the placements of fuel tanks to be sure you’re not going to go bone dry while you’re trying to finish your final lap (though you can use your nitros with no fuel to finish a race if you’re crafty and don’t have too much further to go).

Accumulate points and you’ll unlock new areas, modes, and a variety of cars. A multi-tiered Tournament mode is second to unlock, and once you complete all skill levels of that mode an Endurance mode will unlock as well. Bonus car unlocks await for you placing first in all regional races in a specific locale, special upgrade races will allow you to tune your performance a bit, and in particular some of the special unlocked cars are sure to put a smile on some faces. On top of all of that more stock content there’s then Playground mode, which will provide new remixed races on a periodic basis with different weather, restricted cars, or special rules that keep things interesting. Best of all each of these modes and races are tied to global leaderboards so you can see how you match up against the world, or at least get into a bit of a competition with your friends. If you’ve got some people over you can also hit the track in split-screen mode as well.

When it comes to arcade racing there’s simply nothing out there as impressive or as complete as Horizon Chase Turbo. Not only does it look and perform great, aside from a lack of online multiplayer it really offers up everything you could ask for and more. Incentives to return to unlock new areas, tracks, sweet rides, and upgrades is fair motivation, matching your times against buddies or the world are icing on the cake. While it may offend the sensibilities of more modern racing fans who have a taste for realism, I’m happy to say the spirit of Out Run and its contemporaries is alive and well in this outstanding title that’s chock full of terrific content.

Score: 9

  • Has a great visual style that honors the classic arcade look and feel but is refined and modern at the same time
  • Multiple modes, a ton of great cars, a wide variety of tracks, and upgrades to unlock absolutely abound
  • Playground mode offers an opportunity to continue to enjoy new content and challenges even once you burn through the substantial base content

  • This is absolutely unapologetic arcade racing at its finest, but that means modern racing sensibilities very much don’t apply in most cases
  • In handheld mode some tracks or times of day in races can make it tough to see