by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Hit the arcade
When I was (much) younger, my friends and I would do several activities during school holidays. We could be found kicking a football or hitting a cricket ball depending on the season, shooting each other in laser tag (the true FPS experience) or hitting the arcade and racing against each other in Daytona USA or playing Outrun.
The casual nature of those racing games made them a joy to play, particularly Daytona USA when a group of friends could sit alongside each other and race through the various tracks. Players would start at the back of the grid and then attempt to weave their way through the field to become the winner of the race and the resulting bragging rights – well, until the next race anyway.
Horizon Chase Turbo follows a similar path. It is an arcade style racing game with vibrant retro visuals, simple controls, and a heck of a lot of fun old-school racing for up to four players. The main game has players racing across different areas of the world, with each location unlocked when players collect enough points, through winning races and collecting coins scattered throughout each track.
Players start from the back of the grid and must use their driving skills to move their way through the pack. Like most AI racers, those at the rear of the pack are easy to pass, but as you work your way through the field, the opposition cars are spread further apart. The back markers, although easy to pass, can often be troublesome, especially on the tighter tracks. At the beginning of the races, they are bunched together and just when you think you can squeeze between two of them, they’ll decide to move closer together, often causing you to crash into the rear of one of them. Although crashing doesn’t do anything to your vehicle, it does slow any momentum you had and will require gamers to accelerate up to top speed again.
The controls are extremely simple, allowing for younger gamers to play without too many hassles - accelerating, by default, with the A button on a controller and braking with the B button. There aren’t too many reasons to brake though, with bends and sharper corners being managed by taking your foot off the pedal (or your thumb off the A) momentarily. Apart from that, that only other button that comes into play is that controlling the Turbo. These boosts certainly add to the arcade nature of the game, although there can be some strategy involved in devising when to use them. The turbo boost can be a huge advantage, but it can often take a lap or two to work out the optimal place to use.
Players can take part in the campaign or in tournaments where points are scored depending on where you finish. But, playing locally with friends is just as fun too, with up to four players locally on split screen The AI will still take up the balance of starting positions, and as in single player mode, each competitor must make their way through the field in the hope of winning the coveted gold trophy.
Senna Forever Campaign
The latest DLC for Horizon Chase Turbo features one of Formula One’s all-time best – Ayrton Senna. Growing up, I was lucky enough to watch him, as he raced through the Grand Prix circuits in what seemed an effortless manner. Watching as he and Alain Prost battled for the championships over several years was a thrill, even for someone with just a passing interest in motor sports as myself. Unfortunately, his tragic death in the San Marino Grand Prix left the racing world in mourning.
The Senna Forever campaign allows players to relive Senna’s career across five chapters. With some information about the racing superstar throughout the campaign, the Senna Forever DLC is both entertaining and informative as you race across the notable Formula One racetracks. As you’d expect, the vehicles have changed from production cars to the Formula One variety, but like the main game, none of the vehicles are licensed and so players race around in a McKeena instead of a McLaren
Whereas the main game has players collecting various vehicle addons over the course of the campaign, the Senna Forever campaign gives players the option of three different vehicle boosts for each race. One car has better handling in the wet, one car has a larger fuel tank, and one car has extra speed on the straights. The gameplay itself doesn’t alter much from the standard campaign though, but the option to choose the best racing setup based in the conditions gives the Senna Forever campaign a point of difference.
Another way the DLC has mixed it up is that each race in the Senna Forever campaign has three mission goals known as Senna’s Marks. The driving retains the fast and fun nature, but the addition of these racing goals allows for added gameplay. Often, especially on later levels, these mission goals will require several attempts to complete them all. Some of the Senna Marks will require racers to finish within the top three in a race, collect all the stars on a track or even complete a race without using turbos.
Retro racing at its best
The Senna Forever DLC is a fitting tribute to the Formula One Legend, and the fact that it complements the era with the retro visuals and gameplay of Horizon Chase Turbo, makes that much sweeter. If you want a fun, simple racing game to play with a bunch of friends or even with a younger family, or if you’re a fan of Ayrton Senna and want to revisit some of his classic races – albeit in an arcade style – then you can’t go past Horizon Chase Turbo and the Senna Forever add-on.
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Simple controls, fun multiplayer
May be too arcade-y for racing fans