About This Place

First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Crazy Taxi"

The player follows the on-screen arrow to deli...Crazy Taxi (console)  Image via Wikipedia
Crazy Taxi (CT) is a third-person driving game where your objective is to deliver a lot of people who need rides to their destinations. During the trip, you can perform stunts and dangerous moves which will net you more $$$. The objective is to make as much $$$ as possible within a time limit. There are several time modes (fixed time limit, or every successful job adds a few seconds back on the clock), seeral different taxis (each is good in something but not others, or a general all-around-er). Crazy Taxi FINALLY makes it to the mobile phone world. Is it any good? Or is it too little too late? A bit of both, actually.

The actual game is 3D, and the frame rate is decent, but still nowhere as smooth as on a console. The idea is roam the city and look for people who need rides (cicle above them, 3 colors indicate near, medium, or long distance jobs). Stop next to them, they'll get in, then a nav-arrow will point the way you need to go. Then on the way, you perform stunts like drift around corners, jumps, cut very close to other cars, and try to chain the bonuses together for multipliers. Once you get to the destination, stop in the green zone and you'll get a rating: slow, okay, or speedy. Go TOO slow, and the customer will demand getting OUT of your taxi, then you get NOTHING!

So that's the game the way it *should* be. On a console, it's a lot of fun as you pile up one almost-disaster after another. Camera angles swing wildly, taxi drift into corners and just miss the truck coming around, cut through two cars merging across traffic, drive on the sidewalk... But how does it rate on the MOBILE? The basic mechanics are there, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired.

While the presentation is 3D, the frame rate is somewhat limited. Therefore the driving isn't as smooth as it could be, and of course, driving with a cellphone's keypad ain't the best interface in the world. Add to the fact that they have separate "drift-turn" buttons from regular turn buttons, and limited frame rate and you have control problems galore.

The limited screen space wasn't exactly used that well. There's no floating map, or ANY map, for that matter, so you *have* to trust the arrow, which is accurate, if you can spot all the streets properly. The riders seem to be a bit too small, so it's hard to spot them except by their "marker rings". And the only way to spot them is to do a 360 donut turn.

The terrain seems to be fun, but the camera doesn't "swing" like on consoles, so the viewpoint is very static, and weird as you vehicle jumps or climbs/descends hills, as you can't see what's coming.

Controls are also a bit weird. Instead of letting you turn and hold to drift, you are given two sets of steering... regular, and drifting. What's more, you can do special starts like double-tap up to do dragster start. Who's really going to remember all these moves?

Hate to say this, but this graphics engine isn't quite as efficient as the other 3D engines, as its frame rate seems to be a bit on the low side. The compounds the control problems. Even though all objects are already simplified, I feel as if I was dealing with the earliest "Virtua" games (no textures at all) or even those early VR games. Thus, visuals are somewhat lacking as well.

All in all, Crazy Taxi (mobile) feels like an also-run. While it's a fine port of the original, the limitation of the mobile platform simply caused it to be "not as much fun" as the real thing, so that you notice more for what it is not, than for what it is.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: true 3D game, pretty large "city" level to drive around, authentic port
Cons: controls are too complicated and inconsistant, no "map" or ways to spot the fares
Verdict: noticed for what it did not have than for what it did

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