Horizon Chase 2 Is Here for Your New Old Racing Game Fix



Picture: Aquiris Recreation Studio

Final Friday, Brazilian developer Aquiris dropped Horizon Chase 2 on Apple Arcade. It’s the studio’s first true successor to 2015’s Horizon Chase, a success arcade racer that initially launched for cellular gadgets however has since made its solution to each gaming platform. The sequel had been a very long time coming, however Aquiris eased the wait with years of assist and touching expansions dripping with nostalgia.

Horizon Chase 2 appears like a victory lap for one of many few collection holding the flame of old-school racing video games alive. It’s not massively totally different from its predecessor, in that it nonetheless apes the gameplay and common really feel of sprite-scaling racers of the pre-polygonal period, like Out Run, Tremendous Monaco GP and, most of all, Prime Gear.

Essentially the most profound distinction is within the observe design. Whereas the primary Horizon Chase targeted on replicating the flat-plane perspective of racing on Sega Genesis or Tremendous Nintendo with sparse 3D belongings, Horizon Chase 2 options richer, absolutely constructed 3D environments that bridge the hole between the collection’ inspiration and the wave of titles that might observe, caused by the likes of Ridge Racer and Daytona USA.

Credit score: Aquiris Recreation Studio

The latter group incorporates the racing video games I personally grew up with, so it’s pleasant to observe Horizon Chase develop a lot the identical approach expertise allowed via the ’90s. Relaxation assured, although — Horizon Chase 2 nonetheless performs like Prime Gear, with its pseudo on-rails steering that subtly guides you into corners. It’s lacking the bodily freedom I personally choose, however it’s completely fitted to a cellular context, the place exact analog management isn’t one thing most avid gamers have entry to.

The first function addition for Horizon Chase 2 is on-line multiplayer. Now you possibly can occasion up with your mates and tackle the sport’s Playground mode, which slots your group right into a subject of AI rivals for a fast race, or problem multi-race tournaments. It’s an inclusion Aquiris is very enthusiastic about, judging from a dialog I had with Normal Supervisor Nando Guimaraes.

“We have now seven years [since Horizon Chase’s release] with veteran gamers offering us a number of feedbacks and insights,” Guimaraes advised me. “We observe them up on our channels, and for all these seven years, they’ve requested for a bunch of issues that we thought was very good to have. And we at all times attempt to ship for these issues, however one specifically — two, truly — we weren’t in a position to ship instantly on Horizon Chase.”

Screenshot: Adam Ismail

On-line multiplayer was simply probably the most requested, Guimaraes mentioned. The power to customise automobiles at a extra granular degree was additionally impressed by standard demand. “We have now particular, particular person upgrades for every of those automobiles, and in Horizon Chase we had one for all of them.”

These are the notable additions on Day One, however Aquiris is planning the identical assist that stored drawing gamers again to the unique Horizon Chase and Horizon Chase Turbo, to present the sequel a equally lengthy shelf life.

“New automobiles, new customizable elements, new tracks in fact, new international locations to play [in] and likewise, new mechanics. And, if we’re fortunate, why not get a further IP like Senna Without end and make one thing as nice [as the license].” Guimaraes laughed. “I wouldn’t say ‘larger’ as a result of, you recognize, it’s a nationwide hero. Senna for us is the primary hero in Brazil.”

Screenshot: Adam Ismail

Guimaraes added that Aquiris will proceed to experiment with tweaks to the normal Horizon Chase components. Which may imply new digicam views — like Senna Without end had — or much more profound modifications. The studio isn’t able to get particular presently, however simply because I do know they would possibly be listening, I reckon an Out Run-style mode with branching paths would show a surefire hit. Or perhaps a Tremendous Grasp-On-inspired two-wheeled spinoff?

One factor that hasn’t modified is the soundtrack. Horizon Chase 2 marks the return of Barry Leitch — the prolific Scottish online game music composer that gave Top Gear its signature score. A rating so well-known in Brazil, it can bring an entire event hall’s worth of fans to their knees. Aquiris requested Leitch to contribute to the primary Horizon Chase, and he’s again for this one as properly.

“Barry Leitch — he needs to be there,” Guimaraes advised me. “It’s a legislation. If you wish to do one thing in that model, you gotta have Barry Leitch on board. And he’s simply pure charisma, proper? That Scottish accent, each time he joins in within the conferences with us, he simply brings the morale up. Proper now on Discord, folks have been asking ‘will you launch all of the music and the songs of the sport, as a result of we need to hear?’ After which out of nowhere — he didn’t even discuss with us — Barry Leitch simply went there and despatched all his music from the sport!”

Proper now, Horizon Chase 2 is unique to Apple Arcade. That modifications in 2023, when Aquiris will deliver it to PC and consoles. At launch, the sport nips at 60 frames per second on my iPhone 11 Professional and M1 MacBook Air, with sporadic drops. I requested Guimaraes if the studio would search even greater body charges on the gadgets that may deal with them, just like the iPhone 14 Pro with its 120Hz ProMotion show.

“It’s one thing that we need to do,” he advised me. “I can’t promise proper now as a result of it’s been a technical concern with us. It’s operating on 60 frames [per second] after which 30 frames, however to get to 120 frames and use all of the ProMotion, all of the issues that Apple truly supplies is figure that we need to do. I simply can’t inform when precisely.”

New modes, like one the place you’re tasked with breaking each field strewn on a observe, present a break within the racing motion.
Screenshot: Adam Ismail

There are some kinks that can should be labored out. Controller compatibility in sure menus proved somewhat buggy once I performed on my Mac, for instance. However, the pure arcade racing magic shines via, and Horizon Chase 2 is prone to grow to be my cellular racer of alternative for the foreseeable future. If its predecessor is any indication, it’ll solely sweeten with age.

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