Horizon Chase is an engaging arcade-style racing game with hints of greater complexity and better graphics baked in. It hits the sweet spot between being too complicated or too simplistic, and has no in-app ads or distractions to detract from your driving enjoyment.
I love driving games, and it seems they bifurcate into two categories: simplistic arcade types like Pole Position, or sophisticated, super-realistic simulations like Real Racing. That’s great when you have a few minutes to kill, or when you’re ready to settle in for the long haul of car configuration, long racing series, and chasing points for a life-long racing career. But what about the in-between times? That’s why I love Horizon Chase: it offers some of each world. In Horizon Chase you’re a race driver starting out his or her career with a basic car and no understanding of what it takes to win. Still, Horizon Chase is fun from the first race, with almost no learning curve. If you’ve played any kind of first-person driver on your iPad, you’ll instantly understand this one.
There are a number of control setups so you’ll find something that suits your style. I like the gyro controls that simulate a steering wheel, with a tap anywhere to brake. To me this feels the most like driving with a steering wheel, and I preferred the pedal-to-the-metal always-on accelerator. (I also have Real Racing set up this way, so I have many many hours of practice driving like this.) The graphics are likewise somewhere between arcade style and a simulation. The physics of the game are realistic for steering, and not-so-realistic for crashing. Even if you hit an abutment head on, your car just spins and pauses for a minute. If you hit another car, you spin or are shoved to the side.
During the course of the game you’re offered several racing series, each with a number of tracks available. In each race, you compete against 19 other cars, starting from the very back. As you complete one series with enough high placements, more advanced series are unlocked. One track in each series is the “special” track: if you place second or third on the special track, you get a performance upgrade for your car. If you place first on the special track, you get a car upgrade. Luckily for me, you can race the special races as many times as it takes to become an expert on the track and come in first. Each track has bonus coins you run over to collect, and gas cans you collect to keep your car fueled and to gain bonus points for finishing with a partially-full tank. You start with three nitrous bursts in your bottle, and can use them any time you want. In later races you can collect nitro bonuses to use within the race. Early on you’ll learn that the key to placing well is passing other cars without hitting them. If you run into the back of another racer, your car is bounced back and you slow way down, usually while several other cars pass you by. If you can steer clear of other cars, and use your nitro wisely on the straightaways, you’ll advance quickly.