My first meeting with the racing game was with Out Run in a shopping center. I was a little very fascinated with the steering wheel that can be twisted around and the action of speeding displayed with pixel graphics typical of arcade machines in the early 90s.
My admiration for Out Run has triggered my love for the racing genre. I am not tired of playing other racing games like Hang On, Out Runners, or Top Gear.
Now about three decades since the racing game was created, a group of Brazilian game developers released a work that tried to arouse feelings of nostalgia for the type of game that I love until now. Is that intention can be conveyed well through their inaugural game titled Horizon Chase?
Love Letters to Fans of Classic Racing Games
From the description written by Aquiris Game Studio, Horizon Chase is a love letter addressed to fans of racing games in the early 90s. All elements in this game are inspired by the classic series they love.
“We really want to play a simple but exciting classic racing game, with bright and beautiful graphics, and equipped with energetic music. Unfortunately we did not find a game on the market that met these criteria, so we decided to make our own version, “said Aquiris Business Director Sandro Manfredini.
This love is reflected in all the elements in Horizon Chase. I, who played it for a while, fell in love with the first work of Aquiris Game Studio on the mobile platform.
One of the attractions in classic racing games is the simple gameplay that still feels fun. Players are only equipped with the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brakes. Existing gear levers usually only provide a choice of low or high speeds.
Although the control of the car is very far from the realism of real driving, the players can still be entertained with dynamic gameplay and fast tempo. Adrenalin, the players were encouraged to see a fast car on a track with a scene that flashed around him while racing against time.
Horizon Chase presents a sensation similar to what I have described above. The car in the game can be controlled easily while passing a fast moving track. Because of the simple gameplay here, I think all ages can master and enjoy it without problems.
Various Control Options for All Types of Gamers
Controlling a car in Horizon Chase does not require special skills like a professional racer. Aquiris has designed a steering scheme as simple as possible to fit the theme of the classic racing game.
I was only faced with two virtual buttons to drive the car right and left. The gas pedal and nitro button to accelerate the pace is located adjacent to the horizontal control of the car. Removing the accelerator will automatically activate the car brakes.
If this control does not match your driving style, Horizon Chase has provided seven other steering schemes. Some of them even eliminate virtual buttons and utilize accelerometer sensors that are embedded in the device. If you have an external Bluetooth controller, then you can also use it in this game.
Race Around the World
Besides the retro theme, another theme that is carried on Horizon Chase is a trip around the world. Aquiris has designed eight stages inspired by eight countries in various parts of the world.
I was invited to navigate various countries located on different continents. The journey to number one took me across the track in the United States, South Africa, Greece, to India. All locations feel special thanks to the unique background and the appearance of various landmarks that are easily recognizable.
Every country traversed has at least six to eight tracks to conquer. The number of tracks is very large, with a total of 73 tracks in the entire game.
Not Just an Ordinary Race
Although the racing mechanism at Horizon Chase is fairly simple, but developers have provided various other challenges that are more than just being at the forefront. I was challenged to collect stamp items and gasoline jerry cans that were scattered on the track.
Item Stamp is useful for increasing the number of points gained at each end of a race. This point is useful for opening new tracks in the next country. The new track will only open if I have managed to collect a number of points as required.
The speed of the car on each track is also limited by the availability of gasoline. The car that I control is only able to drive when there is still gasoline in the tank. This system presents its own challenges because it provides a balancing effect on existing cars. Fast cars are usually thirsty for gasoline, while slow cars are more economical.
In addition to opening new tracks, I am also challenged to collect all types of cars and upgades available in the game. Each stage has special challenges outside the main match that can open access to dozens of types of cars and various upgrades to improve performance.
Improved Classic Graphics
Aquiris Game Studio does not necessarily use pixel graphics to create a classic impression. They decided to use a low-poly graphics style that was more suitable for modern games, and I think this was the right decision.
The Horizon Chase world looks very bright and dynamic. Although depicted with full angles and angles, every object that appears on the track looks convincing with a very large amount of variation. The graphics performance of this game also deserves a thumbs up for being able to present very smooth animations of up to 60 fps.
The movement of the car on the track did not experience problems even though crammed with twenty cars simultaneously. Because of the smooth graphics here, I feel like I’m driving a car on a rollercoaster track that is racing fast.
The only thing that somewhat disturbs the game is when there is a decrease in the frame rate when the weather effect is present. Some of the trails on the Horizon Chase involve snowfall and thunderstorms that look cool. Unfortunately these effects sometimes even make the graphics burdened and slowed animation.
Music Full of Energy
The developer is very serious about working on Horizon Chase as a representation of classic racing games. So serious that they recruited music composers who had made soundtracks in similar games on consoles 16-bit ago.
The person they recruited was Barry Leitch, the composer in charge of the soundtrack in the Top Gear series. Thanks to him, my experience of speeding here was accompanied by techno music that was full of enthusiasm and sounded right at a fast tempo at the race.
Even though the soundtrack here sounds cool, in my opinion the number of variations is too small to be played on all 73 tracks. I again heard the same music after undergoing several races. In addition, the sound effects presented here are also nothing special.
I highly recommend this game to be played by all lovers of the arcade racing genre. It seems that Horizon Chase will also be one of my favorite game candidates.