Developer: Sega
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

I came across a Crazy Taxi arcade machine recently. It was in a dilapidated arcade at the fun fair-style venue my niece was having her birthday party at. It felt so good to slip into that booth again and burn rubber, even though the steering wheel was loose. And The Offspring only boomed out of one speaker covered with a web of strung-out bubblegum. And the brakes didn’t work.

At first I reasoned, “It’s Crazy Taxi – who needs brakes?” I know now: everyone. It is impossible to play Crazy Taxi without the aid of brakes. Turns out passengers aren’t happy when their destinations are overshot by several miles.

crazy_taxi_03Despite innumerable ports and re-releases over the years, the original Crazy Taxi experience still belongs to the late ’90s, when it was OK to deliver customers to Pizza Hut instead of Generic Pizza Shack ’97. So it was a good idea for Sega to rebuild Crazy Taxi: City Rush from the tires up.

For the most part, the makeover works well. Crazy Taxi: City Rush combines traditional Crazy Taxi mechanics with easy-to-execute lane swipes that are common in 3D running games. There’s a lot of goofy fun on hand, and it’s obvious the development team understands what makes the original Crazy Taxi so compelling. There’s just one problem: free-to-play trappings are slathered all over the game like tar over a pothole.

Crazy Taxi: City Rush offers story-based missions, though there are still opportunities to take quick jobs and earn decent cash. However players decide to proceed, the mission is the same: pick up fares, deliver them to their destination ASAP for big cash bonuses, and don’t be shy about destroying things on the way. As usual, Bay City’s traffic laws are merely polite suggestions.

The player’s taxi propels itself automatically. Players swipe to change lanes, and hold the side of the screen to make sharp turns. The controls are responsive and work well. Executing sharp turns feels satisfying. However, the mobile iteration of Bay City feels a bit more cramped and confined than the original. There are still shortcuts to discover, but there are definitely fewer opportunities to wander off the beaten path.

crazy_taxi_01Nevertheless, Crazy Taxi: City Rush is fun and frantic. Players can upgrade their cab, pimp it out, and even acquire a fleet of taxis that pick up a little extra cash on the side.

Is this taxi ride too good to be true? A bit. Being a free-to-play title, Crazy Taxi: City Rush lays on the advertisements super-thick. Every couple of missions ends with a video ad. Worse, players have a stock of “fuel” that depletes with every mission. That means only playing for a few minutes at a time, unless the player is keen on paying hard currency for refills, or watching yet another ad.

Crazy Taxi: City Rush is crazy fun, so it’s a shame it’s been stuffed with so many free-to-play annoyances. This is one instance where players will doubtlessly wish they could pay a flat fare.


Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , ,