PSX 2017: Race Like its 1994 in Horizon Chase Turbo

It seems like the realm of arcade-style racing games was awakened after a long state of dormancy. A few years ago, not one but multiple Kickstarter campaigns launched to bring back this style of racer and the trend has continued ever since. One of the games seeking to hearken back to another time is Horizon Chase Turbo. It originally released as Horizon Chase on mobile but this is the souped up edition. Fortunately, it brings more to the table than just pure nostalgia, though it has a good dose of that as well.

Horizon Chase Turbo is a mix of new and old, with visuals which look very much inspired by Cruisin’ and Daytona titles. The bright colors and simple backdrops pop on screen, as do the multitude of playable cars, many of which are clearly inspired by real world (but slightly off-brand) vehicles. There’s even a bit of a retro CRT banding effect to the visuals, though clearly the visuals are far crisper than anything you’d ever see on a CRT monitor. The performance also seems to clock in at a steady 60fps.

Racing itself also comes across as both newbie friendly as well as complex. How does that work out? Well, the core driving itself is easy. As with most arcade-style racers from yesteryear, there’s no gear shifting requirement. But more than that, the car also features a fair amount of automatic guidance keeping it on track. That’s not to say you can’t crash — you absolutely can veer off the track — it’s just done in that way where the car generally feels in control despite driving at super fast speeds. This effect can be increased or decreased depending on the handling of the car that players select.

One aspect which leads to a bit of strategy in Horizon Chase Turbo is the fuel meter. Each car has its own fuel consumption style — some have a huge tank and can go for long rides while others need to refuel often. This means a super fast, well-handling car might be a terrible choice on long courses due to poor MPG. Slower cars can speed up using a built-in boost, but that consumes fuel at an even faster pace. Every track has collectible fuel canisters at various spots throughout it. This serves as a quick addition of gas to your car.

Don’t get cocky, though. Canisters are not spread liberally throughout tracks — not even the easy ones! Once you run out of gas it’s possible to coast thanks to the car’s accumulated speed for a little while longer. But after that, if not crossing the finish line, then the car will finally stop and you’ll forfeit the race. Offering up some strategy in the experience shall hopefully ensure that Horizon Chase Turbo keeps players coming back for more when it launches on PC and PS4 in 2018.