Forza Horizon 5 is an absolutely stunning showcase of the Xbox Series X. Cars look incredible, and I’ve loved taking in the game’s lush and colorful landscapes as I’ve raced through the streets of Mexico blasting classical music. On a console that’s largely lacking in big-name exclusives, it’s one of the rare games that really shows what the latest Xbox is capable of. Turns out it’s also a fantastic portable game.
Hear me out. Yes, the graphics are amazing and are a joy to take in on a big screen. But Forza Horizon 5’s accessible gameplay and bevy of customizability options means it translates really well to something the size of a smartphone. I’ve been playing the game via console streaming with my iPhone 12 Mini plugged into a Backbone One controller, and I’ve been surprised at just how great a fit it is.
The most basic activity in Forza Horizon 5 is pretty simple: pick a point on the map or jump into a race and follow the big blue driving line to get to where you need to go. Even on the iPhone 12 Mini’s screen, the line is easy to see, and I can usually follow it without issue. The controls are straightforward as well. Most of the time, I’m only worrying about one trigger for gas, one trigger for brake, and navigating with the left control stick. All of that is manageable for me on the Backbone One’s smaller layout.
Forza Horizon 5’s generous rewind feature also alleviates potential frustrations from playing on a phone screen. While the racing line is helpful, I’ve definitely missed a few turns because I couldn’t see far enough ahead. But if I do end up blowing by a hairpin curve, I can just hit the rewind button to get another opportunity to more smoothly make the turn.
The game’s core structure lends itself to pick-up-and-play sessions. Forza Horizon 5’s huge map is littered with races and activities (I don’t know if I’ll ever complete them all), but most events don’t take longer than a few minutes to complete. That means it’s easy to accomplish something even if you only have 15 minutes to play.