Warning: Prolonged exposure to Crazy Taxi may result in risky side effects in real life, like weaving through oncoming traffic just to earn precious tips. Though Crazy Taxi limits your doses to one, three, five, or ten minute exposures at a time, it’s easy to develop a habit of hitting the replay button for one more shot at earning a class-S license.
If you’ve never played Crazy Taxi in the arcades or on home consoles, Sega’s iOS version is a perfect place to start. This $5 download contains the full game, with two different modes (arcade and original, which have slightly different maps) and a minigame collection called Crazy Box. Each mode also lets you select one of four different time limits, which lets you alternate between a quick-play session and a more extended drive around the game’s bustling virtual city.
Welcome to cash cab, where you pay me not to crash.
The goal of Crazy Taxi is to pick up passengers and drop them off at their destination, but it’s everything in-between that earns this game its fitting name. From the moment your passenger enters the cab, you’ll be off like a shot, narrowly missing other cars and taking extreme jumps to earn a little extra scratch. And by scratch, we mean money, not damage– your car is completely indestructible, so don’t worry about the paint job.
As you try to beat the clock, you’ll plow through outdoor furniture and other vehicles, causing mass chaos. You can’t run over the pedestrians, though, which separates Crazy Taxi from more violent vehicular simulators like Grand Theft Auto 3 and Carmageddon. Crazy Taxi is all in good fun, but don’t expect these insane driving skills to translate harmlessly in the real world.
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
As you drive, you’ll have a very limited musical selection. Two bands, The Offspring and Bad Religion, provide the soundtrack to the game, and you’ll hear their same few songs many, many times until you decide to play your own mp3s. While the punk songs are energetic, at least a few of them have unusual themes for a driving game, like global overpopulation (“Ten in 2010″) or the cycle of abuse (“Way Down The Line”).
In addition to the highly addictive main modes, you can easily spend an extra hour or two on the Crazy Box mini-missions. Nine are available to start, with seven more that can be unlocked as you play. Our favorite minigame is bowling, where you have to knock down seven sets of bowling pins with your car, but we also enjoyed the obstacle courses, and a highly challenging four-minute race that doesn’t even give you a directional arrow to follow.
You were over the line, mark it zero!
We also appreciate the level of feedback you’ll get after completing each mission. In arcade mode, you’ll watch your rank rise from 99th place as you pick up and drop off passengers, and then you’ll receive a class license ranking. But even better is Crazy Taxi’s use of Game Center leaderboards, which lets you compare your performance to cabbies all over the world for each game mode and Crazy Box challenge.
The resurgence of Dreamcast-era console games on iOS is phenomenal. If you missed Crazy Taxi the first time around, you’ll love the delightful design and fast-moving visuals. If you’re an old pro, you’ll want to replay it at a low price with new features like tilt controls and online leaderboards. Sega has delivered some outstanding original iOS games this year like Total War Battles and Jack Lumber, but it’s these retro ports that really make us gleeful.