Version Reviewed: v1.0
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:5/5]
User Interface [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]
There have a been a few genres that have emerged on the iPhone that are unique to the device and that wouldn't work pretty much anywhere else. Flight Control was the most notable app that took classic time management, and crossed it with drawing lines to manage multiple objects on a board. Fare City takes this line drawing time management style and crosses it with Taxis and city streets. We've seen taxis and line drawing crossed before in Taxi Jam and Car Mania. What really sets apart Fare City from the others is its level of polish. The quality UI, graphics, art style and music really add to this simplistic time killer.
In essence Fare City is a simple cross between Time Management and Line Drawing, or as I like to call it: Line Management. You are given a map, a taxi, and some pixilated people wanting a ride. You control the taxi by touching it and drawing it's path to the passenger, and then directing them to their destination. Sounds simple? Well it is, but over time more people want rides, more taxis come under your control, and general mayhem ensues until you get one too many crashes. FC incorporates a few changes to the style Flight Control made popular, and that is; the ability to stop your a car for up to 5 seconds, a map which allows you to go out one side and come in the other, and allowing cars to go on the same road, but in different directions (much like real life). This game style is very easy to pick up, but will keep you on toes once more than 3 cars make it on screen. What makes this work so well is how tight the controls were. The taxi's responded instantly to any direction I gave.
Quite a few apps out there try and grab your attention for hours on end, while others are designed to be consumed in 5 to 10 minute chunks. Fare City falls into the later category, but if you are not careful, you'll find yourself losing an hour after saying "one more time" more than a few times. The small addition of being able to put the brakes on your vehicles, the allowance of multiple directions, and the pacman styled wrapable map adds just enough to add another layer of strategy to this Line Management genre.
This genre is still finding it's way, so the gameplay is still very simple. Finkly Interactive really took the time to polish what they had and put out a great product. If there are any major draw backs is that the game left me wanting more (which is a good thing), but I would have like to see a couple more maps, an achievement system and possibly a different game type or two just to spruce things up. I also ran into a bug where the game would crash every time I tried to submit a high score. This bug is apparently known and they have already submitted a fix to the appstore, which is great considering you lose your 'high score' when this happens.
Are you looking for a highly polished stylized Flight Control type game with a taxi twist? Then Fare City is for you. It is worth the price of admission at $0.99, and is a great way to kill 10 minutes here and there while waiting for some friends at a coffee shop.