Vehicle-Based Indie Games

Vehicle-Based Indie Games

Driving, flying, and controlling robots

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

Mastering how to drive a race car or pilot a spaceship usually results in rewarding gameplay so here are 6 recent indies featuring vehicles.

Horizon Chase Turbo Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

Sometimes, all you want is a simple old-school racer so thankfully, Horizon Chase Turbo is here to scratch your nostalgia itch.

Horizon Chase Turbo screenshot
Time to take my boyfriend for a ride!

Horizon Chase Turbo actually released back in 2018 but I decided to check it out due to its recent free update which features new tracks that are set in the developer's hometown of Porto Alegre, Brazil as well as a new car: the Minuano. I also downloaded the Rookie Series and Summer Vibes DLC so I can enjoy the complete package. Anyway, the gameplay is very reminiscent of Sega's classic Out Run yet Horizon Chase Turbo is more focused on races as opposed to being a time attack game with branching paths. The resulting gameplay is simple, enjoyable, and impressively fast with retro-style visuals that I personally love as well as a fantastic upbeat soundtrack. The progression system where you unlock content based on how many points you earn is very cool and there are a ton of tracks to master. Needless to say, I highly recommend this for any fan of retro racing games as you can enjoy it for an exceptionally long time.

As far as old-school racers go, Horizon Chase Turbo is one of the best and now is a great time to check it out with its cool new update.

Horizon Chase Turbo gameplay video → Similar game: Sega Ages: Out Run

Formula Retro Racing Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Here we have another retro-inspired racing game so does Formula Retro Racing have what it takes to live up to classic Formula 1 racers?

Formula Retro Racing screenshot
I like the green car because it's green

Formula Retro Racing is a simple racer that's impressively competitive as your opponents can ram into you which may not only throw you off-course, you may end up exploding so playing it safe is definitely a huge part of its gameplay. In other words, as you race, you'll have to carefully weave through your opponents and avoid walls because even touching them a little bit can be enough to lose a race. It has a similar progression system to Horizon Chase Turbo in that you earn points which unlocks more tracks and there's even a leaderboard for the most amount of total points. Although all of this is solid and the gameplay is enjoyable, it's disappointing that there is only 1 car that comes in different colours and 8 tracks to race on but you can mix things up by jumping between arcade and eliminator races.

If it featured a variety of vehicles and more tracks, Formula Retro Racing would be a fantastic game for fans of early '90s racers.

Formula Retro Racing gameplay video →

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky Review Switch ★★★★☆

One of the most underrepresented gaming genres is aerial dogfight games so let's take to the skies and check out Red Wings.

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky screenshot
Fun fact: shooting at other planes makes them explode

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky is a World War I era dogfight game but it's definitely not a simulator. In fact, I enjoyed its arcade setup a great deal. You basically fly around while zooming into enemies then shooting them in order to take them out. On top of that, you have a bunch of abilities that include being able to barrel roll out of harm's way, turn around 180°, call a squadron to help take out a cluster of enemies, and perform a fatal takedown on severely injured opponents. You can play as the renowned Red Baron or the Allies (I chose the latter because I'm a winner) and there's a 2 player option as well. Whether you're shooting through story mode or merely trying to keep it together in survival mode, Red Wings: Aces of the Sky offers a ton of aerial dogfighting fun.

If you're a fan of flying games then participating in Red Wings: Aces of the Sky's dogfights will surely keep you happy for a while.

Red Wings: Aces of the Sky gameplay video → Similar game: Skies of Fury DX

Star Horizon Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Another genre that we don't see all that much nowadays is rail shooters but does Star Horizon live up to the classic arcade hits?

Star Horizon screenshot
On-rails shooting in space can be quite the spectacle

The first thing you'll notice about Star Horizon is just how beautiful it looks. Sure, it's not as sleek as a lot of Xbox One and PS4 games but you definitely don't see many indie games for Switch that look this good. Anyway, playing Star Horizon merely involves controlling a space ship to dodge incoming projectiles as you fire guns and torpedoes at enemy forces. You also have a powerful "swarm" weapon that can devastate larger foes. The gameplay is extremely straightforward yet you do get into some rather unique situations such as having to defend a mothership and such. Plus, the ability to upgrade each of your 3 weapons as well as your ship by purchasing the next tier of enhancements is a rewarding addition. However, the fact that it's just a campaign of levels with no additional modes is fairly disappointing. When you combine this with the core gameplay being as simple as it is, you're left with a fun yet underwhelming game.

Star Horizon is a basic rail shooter that looks fantastic for a Switch indie so it's sure to provide some entertainment for genre fans.

Star Horizon gameplay video → Similar game: Panzer Dragoon: Remake

Robot Squad Simulator X Review Xbox One ★☆☆☆☆

Controlling an assortment of robots to disarm bombs and spy on adversaries sounds like a cool game so let's join the Robot Squad.

Robot Squad Simulator X screenshot
Can I just let the bomb blow up on its own accord?

After watching the trailer for Robot Squad Simulator X, you'd think that it was some sort of cool action game where you solve international crises. However, once you actually play it, you'll soon realise that it's one tedious and frustrating game. You essentially control 4 robots: a bomb disposal EOD, a spy RC car, a drone, and an underwater contraption. Where the game becomes unfun is in its awful controls. You'll constantly find yourself fumbling around while trying to remember how to perform the simplest of tasks which quickly becomes an exercise in tedium. Even after you get used to it, you might still accidentally mess something up and have to start the mission all over again. Unless you're completely obsessed with robots (robsessed?), I have no idea why you'd want to play this.

Playing Robot Squad Simulator X is a lot like watching a robot fail video although it manages to be far less entertaining.

Robot Squad Simulator X gameplay video →

Gravity Rider Zero Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Since Trials debuted well over a decade ago, there have been many attempts at recreating its awesomeness but can Gravity Rider Zero?

Gravity Rider Zero screenshot
It's like Trials but set in the distant future

Gravity Rider Zero is a pretty cool little game. Although it plays a lot like Trials in that you control your vehicle by tilting it forward and backward while accelerating and braking, its physics are very forgiving which makes it easy to pick-up-and-play. Although I like the minimal stylish futuristic visuals, one gripe that I have is that the camera sometimes shifts to odd angles which makes the gameplay unintuitive. For example, when the camera is behind you, it's easy to forget that pressing right will make you lean forward. Besides that, I had fun levelling up while unlocking new vehicles and progressing through the stages which contain many races and time trials. Plus, a lot of the tracks are very cleverly designed which makes for quite a spectacle as you perform loops and avoid hazards.

It may not be as challenging as Trials but Gravity Rider Zero's cool futuristic setting makes for one distinctly enjoyable 2D racer.

Gravity Rider Zero gameplay video → Similar game: Trials Rising
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Gameplay video playlist for Vehicle-Based Indie Games 36:26
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