Review: Crazy Taxi: City Rush (iOS)

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The original Crazy Taxi has been released on nearly every system since its initial release in 1999. From Dreamcast to Gamecube to iOS, Crazy Taxi has kept the insanity going while earning that crazy money. And it goes without saying that the game still has one of the most memorable soundtracks composed of only 2 artists: The Offspring and Bad Religion. So when Sega announced that they would be releasing a brand new Crazy Taxi game, not just another port, my ears perked up, and not only because they echoed “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH.”

Does Crazy Taxi: City Rush capture the fun insanity that the series introduced nearly 15 years ago? Hop in the back seat and let’s take it for a spin!

Crazy Taxi: City Rush greets you with an explanation of the controls and you quickly learn that you are playing an endless runner. Your cab is in constant motion, and you tap the left or right sides of the screen to change lanes. Swiping downward will make your cab do a 360, and swiping upward will use a boost. Holding down your finger on the left or right side of the screen will cause your cab to turn in those directions if there is a road to travel, otherwise, you will hug the sidewalk. Pretty basic, right? Right.

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After learning the controls, you can easily speed through a few levels and begin unlocking items to upgrade and personalize your taxi cab. This is the main attraction of the game: customization. This makes sense since I don’t think anyone was ever choosing their driver in Crazy Taxi with expectations of differing gameplay.

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The first question everyone will have, “Is Offspring in the soundtrack?” Technically, no. City Rush’s soundtrack is composed of pop-punk bands such as The Story So Far and Courage My Love. The songs do a good job of getting your blood flowing with the upbeat tempos, but not quite as much The Offspring. This in mind, I took advantage of the custom playlist and made my own Crazy Taxi mix.

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When you upload your playlist, you hear only that playlist. I did notice that the game has some difficulty actually shuffling the playlist, so I heard a few songs multiple times in a row when starting a new level. At first, this was honestly not a problem since any time I hear The Offspring yell it reminds me of everything that Crazy Taxi should be.

I also noticed that sometimes all other sound effects in the game would become mute when my playlist was playing – to the point that my playlist would continue playing through the game’s menus in between levels as opposed to the original menu music. This seemed to happen spiratically, and the game would also ignore my phone switched to “vibrate” and blast music until I turned the headphone volume down all the way. This wasn’t a huge issue, but it was definitely a bit jarring at first. The menu music felt a bit too dancey for a Crazy Taxi game, which seemed awkward coming out of screaming upbeat songs during each level. This isn’t a huge deal, but the consistency of music felt off by going from pop-punk to club music.

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The missions in City Rush typically revolve around collecting fairs by dropping passengers off at their desired destinations. Along with this, Sega has added some variety with missions allowing the player to jump in a tank and destroy as many vehicles as possible in an allotted amount time, or also zip through time-attack modes incorporating boosts and checkpoints.

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The game itself is an endless runner, but the size and cityscapes of the different areas make it feel like more than that. I applaud Sega for keeping the idea of scope with City Rush. Even more so, by having multiple cities to drive through. Though, I will admit that I felt like I was having to grind a bit to unlock the second area, it’s nothing compared to some of the free-to-play RPG’s on the cell phone market.

Overall, for a free game, City Rush is pretty jam-packed. Your playtime is only limited to the amount of gas in your cab’s tank. Starting out in the game, you have to watch game trailers, or allow the game to alert you in a few minutes when your tank is refilled. This wasn’t an annoyance for me at all until the below screen appeared after I made it to the second area in City Rush:

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If you play cell phone games like I do, you do so to kill some time, or play short spurts, but you’re not going to want to wait another 13 minutes to play, much less over 1 hour. I’ve been told this is how most free-to-play games operate, so it’s probably apparent that I don’t play many of them. The diamonds in the screenshot above, are relatively easy to earn, but take a good bit of time, so I never wanted to squander them just to play another quick mission.

Ridiculous requirements aside, you feel the most accomplished when you unlock new decals or add-ons for your cab such as the Daytona USA throwback below.

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Crazy Taxi: City Rush is a fun game that captures some enjoyable moments from its more popular predecessor. For a free-to-play game, City Rush is very extensive. I didn’t touch too much on the Facebook connectivity, because it barely effects the game other than seeing how your friends have decorated their taxi cabs, and then being able to take them for a quick spin. Fans of the original will notice that this is not entirely the same kind of game, but still enjoy the Crazy Taxi aesthetic. As far as considering it a full sequel, I would rather say it’s a mobile side-step as it’s clearly built for cell phones and wouldn’t feel right to put this on a console. That in mind, this is a game that any Crazy Taxi fan should grab immediately even if just to try for a few minutes. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go make some caaarazy money!

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