There are two types of people in the world: those who like arcade racing games and those who don't. If you grew up in the '80s and '90s, then chances are high that you played games like Top Gear on the SNES, Outrun on the Sega, or some other retro arcade racer, like Super Monaco GP for Sega Genesis.
- Revamped graphics
- Lots of tracks
- Plenty of cool cars
- "Playground" mode only on Switch
- Original soundtrack by Barry Leitch of Top Gear
- Flexible multiplayer options
- Multiplayer is local only
- Upgrade options are limited
- Somewhat repetitive
Honestly, with realistic racing games like Gran Turismo, I'm terrible at them. But when you hand me an old-school arcade racer, I fall in love and do pretty well with them. When Horizon Chase first came out on mobile in 2015, I fell in love instantly—it was the perfect blend of bite-sized arcade racing and the graphics were unique with the old-school and modernized mix.
Then in 2018, Horizon Chase Turbo came out for PlayStation 4 and PC, bringing the mobile game onto big screens with better visuals, more cars and tracks, and even multiplayer modes. It was the game I loved but new and improved! But I still preferred it to be portable. And now the game has made its way over to the Nintendo Switch.
One of the better arcade racers for the Switch
There are a handful of racing games on the Switch, but not many of them bring that vintage arcade feel. That's where Horizon Chase Turbo really shines through.
Horizon Chase Turbo takes place in 12 locations throughout the world, and each area has three sets that contain two to four tracks each. I found all of the stages to gorgeously represent their locales well, including some familiar landmarks.
To unlock the next track for each set, all you need to do is place in at least the top five ranks for each race, though sometimes this is easier said than done. Each locale also features one "upgrade race," where you must place in the top three to earn an upgrade that applies to all of the cars available to you.
Since Horizon Chase Turbo vehicles are modeled after real cars and not kiddy go-carts, that means you get to go up to speeds of around 135 mph or more. Races are intense and go by super fast (sometimes it's hard to even blink!), and once you're done, it's hard to resist another round, whether that's the next track or even retrying for a better ranking.
But it's not just about your ranking in each race either. You earn points based on how many blue tokens you've grabbed, along with fuel tanks (your car has limited gas, so make sure to snatch them up). If you manage to get all of the blue tokens and place in 1st, then you'll earn the "Super Trophy," which is just like getting a "perfect" on the track.
Regardless of getting Perfects or not, the points you earn from every race add up and are accumulated altogether. The number of points you have unlocks the next locale and also nets you some new cars. However, some cars can only be unlocked by getting 1st place in all tracks for a specific locale, giving players an excuse to go back and replay levels until they become number one.
Variety is the spice of life
By default, the mode that you'll probably play the most and is where most unlocks comes from is World Tour. But you also have Tournament, Playground, and Endurance.
Tournament is where you face off against other cars in a series of four races. Think of it like Cups in Mario Kart 8. Your ranking for each race determines the points you earn, and the total points from all races is how your final ranking is decided. There are three difficulty levels in Tournament: Amateur, Professional, and Master.
Playground features a set of limited time races that have game-changing twists. Some of these included mirrored tracks, extra nitros (speed boosts), and more. The set of tracks for these changes every so often, so you should check back for new sets.
Endurance has players choosing one car only sans any upgrades, and they must use this one car for a number of random tracks. You must place fifth or better to qualify for the next race, and you'll earn upgrades for your selected car by winning a number of races on your chosen skill level. This is a true test of skill and is only unlocked after beating World Tour or winning all Master Tournaments.
Split-screen multiplayer fun
One of the reasons to pick up Horizon Chase Turbo, even if you played the game on mobile, is multiplayer, and it works for pretty much every game mode. As long as a controller is paired and connected with your Nintendo Switch system, that person can join, and Horizon Chase Turbo supports up to four at a time.
When you connect to multiplayer, the screen is split up accordingly. So if you have two, the screen is split up horizontally. If there are four, then the screen is split up into equal squares. It definitely brings back those nostalgic times of playing games in the same room together.
And if you're wondering, multiplayer works for things like upgrade races too. So if anyone playing in a multiplayer upgrade race gets at least third, then that player gets to choose the upgrade to apply to all cars. It's like working together in a way, since you have 16 computer controlled cars to face off against too.
Upgrade your rides
Speaking of upgrades, Horizon Chase Turbo's upgrade system is a bit limited, but it works equally across the board, so one car doesn't get the upgrades over another.
Like mentioned earlier, the only way to get upgrades for your car is to place third or better in the upgrade race for each area in World Tour. When this happens, the game presents three upgrade options to you, and each one upgrades two elements of the car at a time. For example, one upgrade boosts your "Speed + Acceleration," another gives you "Acceleration + Steering," and another may be like "Fuel + Nitro."
Different options appear for each upgrade race you win, but the one you choose gets applied to all of the cars that you've unlocked, so it's equal. There's only so many total upgrades available though, so by the end of the game, all upgrades should be unlocked for your cars.
It's time to burn some rubber!
I beat Horizon Chase when it was just a mobile game, but I've been waiting for Horizon Chase Turbo on a portable system since I saw it made for the PS4 and PC. I must admit that this Switch version is a great port, and the new Playgrounds mode gives me a reason to come back and check out what the latest races are. Plus, the graphics are just stunning and the music is fantastic.
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