We review games in all shapes and sizes, but enjoy going back to older games through post-release DLC as well. Today, we’re checking out new Ayrton Senna-based content for Horizon Chase Turbo, a new gameplay mode for Operation Tango and an expanded re-release of No Straight Roads.
Horizon Chase Turbo – Senna Forever
Classic arcade racer Horizon Chase Turbo has been a runaway success ever since it first landed on Steam back in 2018, expanding to other platforms in the following years and getting DLC add-ons that include the Summer Vibes pack that was clearly inspired by the classic OutRun arcade game.
Now, Senna Forever adds new content to the game that’s based on legendary Brazilian race car driver Ayrton Senna – a fitting license when you consider where the developers are based, but a surprising one because Horizon Chase Turbo doesn’t scream “Formula 1” right away. And even with this Senna expansion, it’s not trying to compete with the F1 2021s of this world. Instead, it’s about the legacy of Senna as a racer, which started well before his global success in Formula 1 racing.
Horizon Chase Turbo plays very much like a classic arcade racer from the 80s, or one of those home computer racers of the early 90s, like the Lotus trilogy. None of those drifting mechanics that we see everywhere now, but easy to understand racing with a good sense of speed. It’s nostalgia, which fits with the Senna license as well, as do the vintage (but unlicensed) F1 cars in the game. In the spirit of the soccer games from that same era, opponents and tracks get the “slightly misspelled” treatment, which still brings a smile to my face.
Senna Forever introduces a new career mode with five chapters, each one based around a phase in Senna’s own career. The gameplay doesn’t change radically beyond getting faster cars though, and will be familiar to those who played Horizon Chase Turbo before. In between opportunities to pick up more fuel and coins (the game has mobile origins), you’ll do your best to overtake opponents without crashing into them. There’s also a wide range of special objectives to try for and encourage replays, making this an addictive game despite its simple gameplay.
It’s even more fun to play in the game’s four-way split screen multiplayer mode, which is a real blast for couch multiplayer. Enthusiasts can now also play in first person mode, and with 15 tracks and over 30 cars this is a great expansion for an already fun game. Where the original felt like OutRun, Senna Forever is a bit like the retro thrills of Virtua Racing – but brighter and with more of an emphasis on fun.
Operation Tango received new (free) DLC
Operation Tango, from Canadian-based developer Clever Plays, is one of those games that a lot PlayStation owners have in their collection because it was included with their PlayStation Plus subscription a few months ago. If you haven’t been playing it, then there’s a new reason to do so – the game just received a free update that adds a challenge mode to the game.
We’re recommending playing the base game first though, and not just because it’ll allow you to get more out of the DLC content. And yes, you technically have to complete it to even access challenge mode, but if you’re joining an existing player you can circumvent that. Don’t, because the campaign is a plain fun ride for two players, as you pair up as an agent and hacker duo who communicate via voice chat and each have your own side of the game to play through. It’s a high tech spy caper for two, and puts a different spin on the two player co-op genre than a game like It Takes Two does.
The downside? You both need your own device to play, so it’s harder to play locally unless you have two consoles in the house. You can also play cross-platform though, and we did our playthrough on a combination of Steam and PlayStation 4.
The challenge mode itself is, as you’ve probably guessed, a time-based affair that awards you with medals based on how well you did. It’s not a simple rehash of existing levels that are now timed though – you get to explore a brand new environment and get to complete ten different trials. We’d recommend taking it slow the first time, but it’s certainly tempting to try your hand at the various target times associated with the medals. One of the best co-op experiences out there just got better, although we still wish this was playable in a split screen local mode.
No Straight Roads – Encore Edition
No Straight Roads was fairly well-received when it launched earlier this year. We didn’t review it at the time, but when we played it later we enjoyed its fresh new take on the music/rhythm genre – using a cartoon-like 3D environment for an action adventure to tell its story about an aspiring rock duo trying to be successful amidst a sea of electronic dance music.
It had some rough edges, thanks to a charming cast of characters and ditto story it was a music-filled adventure worth undertaking. Now, it’s re-launching on Steam as an Encore Edition, which is also a free upgrade for existing owners of the game. It doesn’t change the core story campaign or add any new story beats (unless you count a new opening cinematic), but there’s a lot of content to enjoy in the shape of fan service.
If you enjoyed the music in the base game, then you’ll find that the Encore Edition features remixes of those tunes, as well as a very large collection of fan art that the developers gathered and put into the game – now yours to collect and check out. And although it’s only October, you can also deck yourself and the environment out for the holidays thanks to a Christmas set of music, decorations and outfits.
The biggest reason to revisit, however, is that the entire experience feels much smoother now – though perhaps some of the gameplay changes were added in other post-release patches we didn’t play with. But where some of the music felt a bit “off” when compared to the on-screen action, the gameplay now feels “on beat” nearly all of the time. It’s the polish that the game needed, and hopefully it’s coming to the console versions as well, as the Encore Edition is how we were originally meant to enjoy No Straight Roads.