Sega’s Crazy Taxi City Rush is an interesting game: it takes Crazy Taxi and manages to turn it into a more casual-friendly lane-based auto-runner, akin to Subway Surfers, or even Sonic Dash, developed by the same team. The game is currently out in Canada, and we grabbed our keys and set out to make some crazy money in this edition of It Came From Canada!

CrazyTaxiICFC-11While the game is more of an auto-runner now, it still has that Crazy Taxi spirit, and it’s not just straightforward. Players swipe between different lanes, collecting Crazy Throughs for close calls with traffic, drifting around corners and into turns, and even side-swiping cars at high speed. The gear-shifting and braking is gone, as is picking up passengers, which all happens automatically. It rally does manage to feel like a more casual Crazy Taxi while still feeling like, well, Crazy Taxi. There’s even a punk soundtrack, but no Offspring or Bad Religion.

The thing that is a bit concerning with the game is the rigidity. The original game played things very fast and loose, and that was part of the fun. The lane-based gameplay makes weaving in and out of traffic in two lanes a lot harder, and makes more slow-down crashes happen at a much higher rate. Certainly the spirit of chaotic driving is still there, but it isn’t perfectly represented. I certainly understand the simplification, though.

CrazyTaxiICFC-4As far as the free-to-play aspects go, there is an energy system and the standard two-tier currency: coins for buying common upgrades, rarer gems for things like energy refills. The energy system feels a bit short, allowing for six level plays before having to spend gems. As well, energy seems silly when one could pass the time by going and playing the original Crazy Taxi. But I imagine this is meant to appeal to more of a casual crowd that might find Crazy Taxi hard to pick up. Sonic Dash launched at a premium price point, and I don’t think that it’s a guarantee that Crazy Taxi City Rush will be free-to-play when it goes worldwide, because it certainly feels like it could stand as a ‘paymium’ game. Of course, time will tell just what gets tweaked and what the final decision for the game’s release is.

It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction from the gaming public will be, at least. Dungeon Keeper certainly made people angry, and as a Dreamcast game, Crazy Taxi has a cult fanbase too. A free-to-play game might not go over well, even though the game itself is more a casualification than anything else.


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