I grew up on the dangerous curves of Outrun on the NES. Fast forward twenty odd years and we have Horizon Chase on the iPad.
If you’re up for a bout of slick arcade racing action, firmly routed in the tradition of Outrun, then Horizon Chase is going to tick a lot of boxes for you. Skip the review and go download it right now (link).
Horizon Chase Review:
I am going to cut right to the (Horizon) Chase. I hate being railroaded around corners.
So if you agree with me, then you’re on my side and you might want to get a bit more into the mix with this Horizon Chase review. If, on the other hand, you like the sound of being edged in the right direction, then you’re fine too. We just exist on different sides of this particular war. I like racing games like Colin McRae Rally, Carmageddon and the crazily brilliant Burnout 3. Basically, the edge of the road has to be real. It has the have the danger of clipping that rock, verge, ditch, zombie or whatever else and knowing that your race is left in tatters.
Horizon Chase does have a bit of that, but I’ll explain later.
First Impressions – Graphics, Visuals, Sounds and Menus
The graphics, UI and visuals of Horizon Chase are brilliant. Straight up, I love the style. The design team really know their source material and have integrated the sleek iPad graphical abilities to form a beautiful game. The evocation of the arcade is almost complete – from the very first menu, you are cleverly guided down a memory lane (or not, if you’re way too young for all this chat) that feels at once familiar and excitingly fresh. Huge believer in great maps for games and Horizon Chase really stands out. It’s worth the download just to have a wander around.
The sound design is of particular note – again, the attention to the source material is incredible and there is a giddy love just to move through the menus, allowing the arcadey chimes and beats to fill the void.
The Horizon Chase twitter account has their info as:
A love letter to all the fans of 8 and 16 bit racing games by
@AquirisGS. Loving the classics and their music.
To be honest… that mission is complete. I loved it. But I just couldn’t hack those corners.
Gameplay, Controls and Racing Style
The gameplay is anchored in those 8 and 16 bit games – if you know the genre, you’ll know what to expect. Different landscapes, lovely scrolling vistas, night stages and so on. The beautiful graphical style is carried through to the racing itself and the cars themselves look beautiful to whizz past.
And this is the point in this Horizon Chase review that our opinions may diverge. The very first race. I’d started well, jinked around a couple of cars and gotten used to the handling. The buttons are simple and well mapped, which is crucial. Then it approached. That first corner.
How games change, how lives change. Maybe I’d stepped past the boundaries of the arcade at some point. Maybe I’d played too many technically-lethal rally games, where half the rush is the serious energy of trying not to skid off the edge of a path somewhere, hours from help, in the middle of a deserted Greek island.
Instead, I was half guided around the corner. Half my heart went with the guided car and the other half toppled through the barriers in a ball of flame. How disappointing. I’d no idea I would feel this way about it, but there you go.
The rest of the races were fun enough and I enjoyed ticking off the requirements for the next car. The bulk of the racing style, now that corners aren’t so bad, is avoiding smacking into the back of the cars you’re chasing down. If you can make that your priority, other than collecting fuel and all the rest, you’ll be grand.
So really, these 3 out of 5 stars is somewhat unjust. I know the game is perhaps better than this, but for me, I couldn’t make it past that one integral control style.
If you’re a fan of the old school racers and don’t mind the corner guiding, then this is going to be your favourite game for the next couple of weeks. It just wasn’t mine.
Big Plus Points:
- Really evocative of the old school racers.
- Superb sound and music is a real delight.
- Loads of cars and tracks to work through.
- If you’re a fan of the arcade and early console racing games, then this is definitely for you.
Big Minus Points:
- The cornering. Maybe it’s just me.