I generally love Sega stuff, and have incredibly fond memories of the Crazy Taxi games on the Dreamcast (and to a slightly lesser extent on mobile). On the other hand, I generally loathe freemium nonsense, so when the two came head to head in Crazy Taxi City Rush (App Store, Google Play), I was tempted to sidestep it entirely, fearing something akin to the utterly forgettable Sonic Jump Fever.
For some reason (maybe it was the surprising abundance of positive reviews), I decided to bite the proverbial bullet this week, and I’m glad I did. S’pretty good, man.
You all know the deal with Crazy Taxi, right? Pick up customers and drive them to their respective destinations before the clock runs out.
It’s much the same thing in Crazy Taxi City Rush, though rather than being free roaming, your passengers are predetermined. Ok, we can deal with that.
The other notable change is the comparative lack of control, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, in my Crazy Taxi for iOS review, I singled out the controls as a slight problem area. Let’s face it; sometimes you just need a controller/analogue stick to get the job done.
In Crazy Taxi City Rush, you’re swiping left and right to change lane, and automatically going flat out for the most part. The bottom right plays host to your supply of boosts, while it’s necessary to tap the screen like a madman when you’re dropping someone off. Effective enough, though stay tuned for a rant about the turn mechanic.
In terms of structure, Crazy Taxi City Rush is split into a series of – again – predetermined jobs, with ‘HQ’ tasks offering a little bit of story and ultimately opening up new areas. Some of those tasks are actually pretty funny, such as the American Football players who ride out to catch an incredibly long Hail Mary.
Money is the big focus in Crazy Taxi City Rush, and with it you can invest in new cabs, upgrades (tires, boost capacity, boost power, engine, body) and customisations (wheels, hood, trunk, exhaust, decals and paint).
There’s also the notion of having a fleet of cabs. Any cabs you’re not driving can be hired out to other drivers, and after a fixed period, you can go back and collect the resultant earnings.
As for Crazy Taxi City Rush’s freemium stuff, well, it’s not actually that bad. Obviously you can pay to speed things along with upgrades and whatnot, but personally I’m happy just slogging my way through.
There are adverts after each run, but you can skip them after a few seconds, and you can always pay (from £1.99) to remove ads entirely. Fair enough.
The most irksome thing is probably the rationing of rides through gas (i.e. petrol to you and me). The meter only goes as high as four, and you can expect to exhaust your supply within around 15 minutes.
Needless to say, you can replenish your gas with the obligatory secondary currency, but it’s suitably hard to come by and better invested in upgrades.
On the plus side, you can watch 20-second videos in exchange for gas; ditto for the use of special characters with unique boosts.
And that’s Crazy Taxi City Rush in a nutshell. Phew! Clearly lots going on, and it’s mostly pretty damn good.
The one thing that’s kinda niggling away at me is Crazy Taxi City Rush’s turn mechanic. See, you swipe and hold down the direction for a couple of seconds before turning, but in the process of swiping you’ll change lane and quite possibly crash. Also, if you miss the turn (say you don’t quite hold down long enough), you’ve pretty much failed the challenge.
Off the top of my head, it might’ve made more sense to double tap to turn corners. Just a thought, Sega.
But that’s really my main gripe in an otherwise surprisingly excellent experience. Crazy Taxi City Rush is – as it should be – bright as hell, from the menus to the in-game action, and the soundtrack! Good lord the soundtrack. It’s comprised of loads of angsty screamo anthems I’d never heard before, but it complements the action perfectly.
Throw in familiar characters and gameplay elements like trams and ramps and hills, and you’re onto a winner. I never thought I’d say this, but I really like Crazy Taxi City Rush.
- It’s Crazy Taxi
- The freemium stuff really isn’t too bad
- The soundtrack
- Maximum of four gas units
- The turn mechanic
- The runs are relatively short
Summary: Crazy Taxi City Rush does a surprisingly good job of moulding the familiar Crazy Taxi experience into a freemium package for mobile. It's not without its problems, but even Crazy Taxi veterans (hi) will likely walk away satisfied.
Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.