Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Taxi Chaos (PS4, XB1, NSW) Review

After covering the games reviewed last month as part of the Review Round-Up for February, we enter March with our tires squealing with a new review right out of the gate. Taxi Chaos doesn't hide its Crazy Taxi influence and inspiration, but is this clone worth its pretty pricy ticket to ride? Let's find out with the SPC review.

The unashamed offspring of Crazy Taxi

Straight and to the point, Taxi Chaos is an unabashed clone of SEGA's Crazy Taxi. It's hardly going to win any awards for innovation, yes, and it certainly doesn't hide its clear inspiration. The devs here have no shame in their game. That said, Taxi Chaos does possess some redeemable features, so it's not a game that "fares" totally terrible.

Taking Crazy Taxi's tried and true gameplay of putting you behind a taxi with the goal of picking up passengers and dropping them off at their desired destinations, all the while racing against the clock, is the name of Taxi Chaos' game. You start at a random location in New Yellow City, clearly modeled after the Big Apple, and are presented with plenty of potential passengers to pick up. Depending on the color of the circle surrounding them and the color of the clock over their heads determines how much long of a trip to the destination and amount of time you get to drop them off. However, nowhere in Taxi Chaos does the game explain this to you, so if you have no prior knowledge of the Crazy Taxi formula, then you're going to have to spend several runs learning things.

Hop in. Just don't put your feet up on the seats, okay?

Thankfully, unless you play the Pro Mode, there is an arrow that guides you to your passenger's destination, and as long as you drop them off in the green zone in time, you'll get awarded your fare. Unfortunately, this aforementioned arrow fails to signal when you need to turn until practically the last possible second, which is basically tantamount to your GPS yelling, "TURN HERE!" as you're already in the middle of the intersection.

Being in New Yellow City instead of Crazy Taxi's iconic San Francisco location, there is a much more rigid, flat design to the city. You won't find many interesting curved roads or undulation with the topography. Instead, you'll find plenty of opportunities to gain height by using your taxi's nifty jump feature, giving it the ability to leap atop specific buildings and make some rather cool shortcuts this way. What New Yellow City lacks in natural verticality, you'll get plenty from leaping across rooftops.

Please wait until the taxi comes to a complete stop before stepping out.
...Just kidding. Get out quick--I have other fares to earn!

Apart from the traditional Crazy Taxi experience, Taxi Chaos attempts to bring something new to the table with quests, but these are not implemented nor executed well. Quests begin by finding specific NPCs who look just like every other potential passenger you can pick up in New Yellow City. So, without prior knowledge of where they are, you need plenty of luck to even find them, despite NYC not being the largest area to drive in around. From there, you chauffeur them to their desired location, and then they task you with finding three collectables hidden around the city. Since these can be pretty much anywhere--including on rooftops--and are so small, it can be similar to trying to find a needle in a haystack. Or a person who isn't a tourist in Times Square, to make for a more suitable analogy. 

Be careful not to hit a police car; you'll take a costly penalty to your overall score!

After finding the collectables, you need to locate the quest-giver again, but they most likely won't be at the same location your picked them up or dropped them off at. This results in you wasting more of your life driving around aimlessly in search of that particular NPC. Once this is somehow accomplished without the help of a walkthrough or guide, you get the joy of finding three more collectables placed in even more difficult-to-find locations. Not exactly the most well thought out way to make quests in a game like this, for certain.

I will say one thing--having quests definitely gives Taxi Chaos some longevity, but it's such a hassle to locate characters and collectables in a city of that size, that the entire execution is a flawed, if not totally failed one. And it's unfortunate that this is the main area of longevity for Taxi Chaos because it's hardly entertaining to drive around in an unfocused fashion. Sure, free mode where you can drive without the annoyance of a timer helps, but it's hardly any more enjoyable. Other than completing quests, there is the goal of unlocking each of the seven or eight taxis available in the game by performing certain goals, such as completing 20 arcade mode runs, successfully dropping off a specific amount of passengers, driving 200 miles total, among other tasks. 

Taxi Chaos is basically store-brand imitation Crazy Taxi. It has had all of the charm, personality, and originality drained from it. If it were a cereal, Taxi Chaos would be the Fruit Rings to Crazy Taxi's Fruit Loops. The game attempts to throw in its own brand of innovation with quests, but the execution makes it not worth the effort whatsoever and a total chore to seek them out. Between the repetitive dialogue, annoying characters, grating, generic rock music, and basic city, there isn't much to love with Taxi Chaos. Fortunately, the driving mechanics themselves are up to snuff, and it is fun enough to drive around, leap to rooftops, and find shortcuts. Is the $35 price of admission--or in Taxi Chaos' case--"fare" worth it to hop in for a ride? Certainly and unfortunately not, as that price tag absolutely kills any chance of me recommending this game. Stick with Crazy Taxi and its two numbered sequels if you are desperate for a wild ride taxi-style.

[SPC Says: C-]

A code was received by SPC from the publisher for the purpose of writing this review.

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