๐Ÿš•๐Ÿš– Taxi Chaos | Review | Xbox Series X | 5/10 | "A Missed Opportunity For Some Throwback Action" ๐Ÿš•๐Ÿš– @LionCastleEnt #IndieGames #GameDev

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A title that is very clearly explicitly based on Sega’s Crazy Taxi from back in 1999, Taxi Chaos runs well from a technical standpoint and is initially fun but then falls down quickly in almost all other aspects.

The premise of Taxi Chaos is focused entirely around the score, with online leaderboards to try and crack, you’ll be whizzing and leaping around in that yellow bad boy, finding shortcuts and dropping off passengers as quickly as you can before boosting off to grab the next one.

It’s a very simple idea set by Crazy Taxi that lends itself to pass-the-pad couch action and even now brings smiles to faces when it’s seen in arcades*. 

The problems with Taxi Chaos start to crop up from the menu screens, which in themselves contain a typo, before I go into the negatives though, I’d like to focus on the positives.

The game runs pretty well, at least on Xbox Series X. Whilst there were a few moments of tiny stutters, the game runs at 60fps pretty solidly and the actual taxi controls feel suitably twitchy-arcadey and responsive. 

The visuals are also bright and cartoonish which suit the light gameplay style and the general setup, down to the design of icons will bring back fond memories of anyone who has previously enjoyed Sega’s title.

There are also several different vehicles to unlock by completing various tasks as well as a free-roam mode that allows you to drive around at your leisure, learning the city and discovering shortcuts without concerning yourself with a timer.

Moving on to the other areas of the game, it’s here where the enjoyment starts to leak away. The banter between the driver – of which there are two to choose from – and the passengers gets old FAST. Luckily, there’s an option in the menus to mute in-game voices which I took advantage of, I think I was hearing repeated lines of dialogue by the third or fourth minute of playtime, which could well be a new record. 

The music is also repetitive, gentle, beat-driven and generic, reminding me of the kind of tunes you’d hear in a low-end mobile game or budget PS2 title. Whilst I do appreciate that they are instrumental (I’ve never been a fan of in-game music with vocals as it adds to the repetition) they are so generic as to almost be oddly grating.

There are also a lot of missed opportunities for moments of fun as you make your way around the quite flat and samey city. The time limit is oddly restrictive and whilst there are landmarks, the roads in-between just feel like grids through which your guiding arrow veers wildly. 

There appears to be a combo system that gives you bonus points but it’s not particularly clear what boosts it. Speaking of boosts, you can get an initial charge of speed upon picking up a new passenger but there are no collectables or extras en route to any destination so there’s no way to get to your destination faster beyond blindly leaping around to try and clear occasional obstacles and low buildings. 

The in-game timer is quite strict and whilst you get a couple of seconds for making a drop-off in good time, it rarely adds up to anything near the time needed for an extra trip, making it seem a strange choice to have two timers at all, one overall and one for each passenger. To be honest, there’s an overall sense of decent ideas that feel as if they aren’t quite fully implemented.

*There’s a cabinet in Time Warp Arcade in Bridgwater and one guy goes in each day after work to set the high score, then leaves. Good.

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