Forza Horizon Game Poster Image

Forza Horizon



Deep, compelling car game glamorizes illicit street racing.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Forza Horizon wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive messages

This game glamorizes illicit street racing while depicting minimal consequences. No one gets arrested, and no one gets hurt, even after head-on collisions at 200 miles-per-hour. Combined with other aspects of the experience, which deliver extraordinary driving realism, this game could give younger players the impression that reckless driving isn't as dangerous as it really is. 

Positive role models

The game's drivers are all illicit street racers prone to taunting each other, showing off, and driving with abandon. They have few traits young drivers should aspire to emulate.

Ease of play

Standard controller-based driving controls apply. Optional driving assists, such as automated braking, mean players can make the game as easy or as hard as they like.


Cars crash frequently and spectacularly (fins and fenders fly through the air), but the drivers are never hurt.


Many women can be seen in heels, short shorts, and tight, low-cut tank tops. Dialogue makes reference to "half-naked" women, and the female race organizer flirts lightly with the player's avatar.


Infrequent cuss words, including "ass" and "s--t."


The cars featured in the game are all real-world vehicles from recognizable brands. In-game billboards advertise actual products, like Rockstar energy drink. Plus, players are occasionally prompted to buy tokens that will make certain parts of the game easier.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Dialogue makes vague and infrequent reference to narcotics, as when one character says "drug-fuelled jerks."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Forza Horizon is a game about illicit street racing. It places players in the shoes of a driver who regularly get into races with rivals on the open road, resulting in high-speed chases and a lot of civilian car wrecks. Police never show up, drivers are never injured, and cars usually keep on going. This might have an impact on younger players who are still learning about the sort of consequences that result from mishandling vehicles. Parents should also note that this game facilitates open voice communication with strangers.

What's it about?

The fifth game in Turn 10's acclaimed racing series, FORZA HORIZON steers the series in a new direction by marrying the franchise's authentic driving physics and realistic vehicles based on actual cars with the action-packed design of an open-world arcade racer. Players are part of a street racing festival set in the backcountry roads of Colorado, and spend much of their time freely roaming hundreds of miles of open road, challenging other racers on their way to official festival events. Players earn scores of cars as the game progresses, as well as credits used to upgrade vehicles and skill points for completing a wide array of challenges ranging from driving on two tires to narrowly avoiding head-on collisions. An online mode filled with standard races (circuit, point-to-point) and novel objectives (cat and mouse, king of the road) gives players plenty of ways to race against friends and other people from around the world.

Is it any good?


Forza Horizon is among the very best racing games of this generation. Equally appealing to players who crave a realistic driving simulation and those who enjoy the more game-like qualities of an arcade experience, it keeps players glued to the screen by offering up cars that feel great to drive and creating a terrific sense of progression. Its open roads offer unparalleled freedom to play and experiment with satisfyingly authentic cars -- something sim fans aren't used to. And arcade-racing fans can enjoy a sense of precision and realism to which they're unaccustomed without giving up the spectacle and thrill of action-packed street racing. It tries to be the best of both worlds and succeeds admirably. This is a great racing game to add to a library of the best video games.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about online safety. What precautions do you take when playing games with strangers over the Internet? How can you tell if they mean you harm? Have you considered playing online with voice communication disabled?

  • Families can also discuss responsible driving. Parents who have teens learning to drive may want to consider studies that suggest playing some racing games can lead to taking more driving risks in real life and share it with their children.

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Subjects:Hobbies: collecting
Science: momentum, motion, physics
Skills:Collaboration: teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:October 23, 2012
Topics:Cars and trucks
ESRB rating:T for Drug Reference, Language, Suggestive Themes

This review of Forza Horizon was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byBigSilverN February 5, 2013

Forza Horizon

If you pay attention to the dialouge at the begging of the game, it clearly advises ALL drivers (non-racers who are just innocently driving on the road), that these streets have been sanctioned off by the police for the festival. So all of those supposedly "illegal races", are perfectly legal and fine. Also, the swears in the only happen twice and they can be easily missed because all the commotion going on when they are said (I had to mentally replay it in my head a couple times before I could actually understand that's what they said). Third, for the consumerism and violence, the Forza Motorsport(I know it's called Forza Horizon but its part of the Forza Motorsport series so just trust me on this one, ok?) series is a racing SIMULATOR. Things like that are present in real life, so they are included in the game. The violence in this game concerns crashing your car (and it doesn't explode all grand theft auto style, only thing that happens is that your screen fades to black and you can start driving again) and that violence can be changed by putting on cosmetic damage in the game's settings which allows damage to not be shown on impact, so the only thing you have to be worried about is flipping over, which like I said before, leads to the screen fading to black, comes back with your car in a perfectly normal state, and you keep driving. For consumerism, how much do you think brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ford, Saleen, Nike, and Oakley will influene your child in a negative way? If anything, it could open up your child to the world of cars and give them a hobby that could prevent from drinking, smoking, etc. My final thing to say is concerning the educational value of this game. Like I said before, something like this could open up the world of cars to your child and take there interest from other, more inappropriate things ( I know it did for me!). Also, since this game is a simulator, it has somewhat of a value in teaching your child how sudden car crashes can be and you should always be alert on the road. Thanks for taking time to read this long review! -BigSilverN
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byTurf October 28, 2012

Forza Horizon is the best Forza to date.

If you think this game is a 13+ game there is something wrong with you, This game does not "glorify" illicit street racing, you race on closed courses. I am at 50% completion and I have only heard 2 cuss words. This is a great game for all ages and extremely fun.
Parent of a 5 year old Written byDyas January 5, 2013

Isn't as innocent as you might think.

I rate this at a later age for these reasons: Speed traps: You are encouraged to drive as fast as you can past a speed camera. Until a child understands this is a game, and you don't do this in real life that is an issue. Road Racing: The real world driving is great, but you are racing on roads. It keeps track of your average speed. This would encourage you to speed faster to raise this. There are other no racing cars on the road. No real damage is done, and no one gets hurt. This concept needs to be understood by the child before introduction to this game. Wreckage: You get points for causing wreckage. This seems innocent, but you need to be aware of your child's understanding that this is a game. If your child doesn't have a firm grasp on reality versus make believe, that this could be an issue. In real life there are consequences for running over signs. You don't get discounts as you do in the game. Consumerism: While I don't find this an issue, it is there. Be aware. If you find this to be a bad thing, than make sure you pay attention to the fact that it is in the game. Sex: I listed this as there are some skimpy outfits. This is based on your values. I can see this being suitable for a child younger, but you need to be aware of your child and what they are used to seeing. Like it or not, it probably isn't worse than they will see on "Dancing with the Stars". Violence: This falls into the wreckage I mentioned above. When you view your car for a photo op, you can see the damage done. It is cosmetic, so there is no negative to having your car all smashed up. Make sure your child understands this concept. Safety & Privacy: If you child has Gold, they can play online. If you like me do not allow your child to have Gold, there isn't a concern. I know others have mentioned language, drinking, drugs, & smoking. I could have missed them honestly, but don't remember seeing them. For the language, I'm sure you would have to look at the entire soundtrack to see what is in it. I heard house music the most, so be aware. I know house music can reference drugs. I don't remember hearing it, but found out "looking for molly" isn't looking for a girl in other media. Just be aware of slang terms for this in the music. I hope this helps. Just be aware that it seams innocent on the surface, but there are a lot of things that push this title to a higher level. Unlike the other Forza, witch focus on track racing (or closed road), and has negative effects to the car if you crash; this one is more lighthearted. In being this way, more negative can be derived.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?