Crazy Taxi (universal) by SEGA brings one of my all-time favorite arcade games to iOS – but as a 12-year old game, I thought it wise to enter with tempered expectations, because game experiences don’t always age well, regardless of platform. Crazy Taxi, thankfully, isn’t one of those: thanks to Sega’s pitch-perfect port of the original, it’s every bit as awesome as the original.
For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Crazy Taxi is a sandbox racing game. Players pick one of four taxi drivers, and fly around the city at ridiculous speeds trying to deliver customers to their destinations on time – performing some tip-earning thrills along the way to earn extra cash. It’s purely a high score game, offering either timed matches, or the original endless version where players pick up customers until they run out of time.
There are three game modes available: Arcade, Original, and Crazy Box. As a purist and fan of the Dreamcast and arcade version, Original mode is the best experience – although Crazy Box, with the odd challenges it lays out, also retains its charm from the older console versions. For some reason, an Arcade mode was added that shrunk the size of the game world down – which robs the game of its ingenious layout, where huge jumps and shortcuts could make climbing the high score rankings easy as pie.
Graphically, Crazy Taxi looks great on the Retina screen, appearing sharper and smoother than it ran on Sega’s Naomi video boards back in the day. There aren’t any new locations or enhancements, but the fantastic frame rate and bright colors keep the action at breakneck pace. I also loved the touch controls, which made drifting and throwing the car into reverse – important for a cabbie – easy to control. There are tilt options, but the touch controls are explained so well in loading menus and work so well in game, there’s no reason to use them.
Sega’s starting to dip into their back catalog and release some of their best older titles in the App Store, and Crazy Taxi is another highlight from their classic collection, retaining everything that made the original so much fun, from the soundtrack to the crazy driving action. For fans of the original, this is a fantastic piece of nostalgia – and for gamers who’ve never experienced the magic of Taxi, there’s no better time to start than now.