Hey, hey, hey Taxi Chaos review here! Step on board… ok, ok. You’re probably sick of the Crazy Taxi references now as this initially hit consoles before coming to PC, and everyone and his dog has made reference to the Sega classic – me included.
But it’s fair game – this is effectively a homage to the great Dreamcast title (forget the arcade). As one possible argument, Taxi Chaos is a remastering of the classic, made with go-faster stripes for the modern gamer, that’s all.
That wouldn’t be fair on Team6 Game Studios, now would it? While they may have had a CRT set up by the side of their desk to get further inspiration from the classic arcade game, their own title takes it up a notch and offers are lots of bells and whistles to make this a quick-fire game that you’ll be playing over and over.
Taxi Chaos Review (PC)
I had every intention of getting this game the first time it came out, but what I want to play usually goes on the backburner, or, if it’s a game I’ve got for myself, I’ll review at a far slower pace – hence no Yakuza 7 review still!
Playing this on the telly in the living room would be great, but Taxi Chaos on PC looks the business and feels it too. In all honesty, I can’t fault the visuals at all. They’re crisp, sleek, colourful and everything I personally want in an arcade game. It’s all about that old-school MTV generation attention rate of 12 seconds – fractionally more than today’s TikTok clientele.
If you’ve ever been to an arcade (pft!), you’ll know that the moment you put your coins in, the game will start. No tutorials, no rituals, just pure engagement from the get-go. While I’m not insinuating that this is a non-stop thrill ride, it delivers on all that criteria, letting you pick a quick arcade game with one of two drivers and a simple yellow cab.
All’s Fare In Love And War
The objective is super simple: pick up as many passengers as possible within the time limit and get them to their destination as fast as possible. The quicker, the better, and if you’re able to pull off some slick moves along the way, you’ll forever be known as the best taxi driver since that bloke Travis. He has a chip on his shoulder, though.
As traffic builds up, the common solution is a shortcut, but you can also jump obstacles on command. It sounds a bit fatuous, but it works perfectly here, and you can milk it just enough to be on the verge of spamming without it spoiling the experience. Additionally, there are boosts for marginal gains, plus you can unlock new vehicles with improved stats based on playstyle.
And that’s about it. Incredibly simple, but enjoyable nonetheless.
The initial mode is Arcade. You’ll get a time limit and then dash around the city to pick up as many passengers as you can, getting a visible (inconsistent) arrow on the screen, indicating which way their destination is. After a couple of runs, you’ll unlock the Pro mode.
If you’ve played GTA V for a reasonable amount of time, you’ll seldom need to look at your satnav as you know instinctively where to go – be it repetition or familiarity. You need to get to this level in Taxi Chaos as the Pro mode doesn’t have a pointer. Customers get in the cab and tell you where to go, and all you’ll know is how far it is, but which way?!
This is a nice incentive and will make the Arcade mode obsolete when you’re good enough (unless you’re unlocking one of the achievements), but the blocks do look the same, so it’ll take some practice. A couple of these achievements include driving through town for an hour. As each run is just over a minute, that’ll give you an idea of how many times you’ll be doing the same map.
But it’s all good. Taxi Chaos does precisely what it needs to do in terms of an arcade game, and I could see me playing this in an arcade without question, though having it on my system, I’ll be playing as I did with Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast: in small doses but for a long time. I still play the Dreamcast version to this day.
No Time For Small Talk
So, arcade-perfect? Kinda. Like mentioned, I can’t fault the visuals and found them to be suited to the style of the game, but I can’t say the same about the audio. No, this isn’t a criticism about there being no counter to The Offspring, but the music here is much like a generic mobile game. It’s not bad; it just lacks the energy and is pretty forgettable.
The real issue for me was the dialogue. It was excessive and repetitive. A passenger gets in the car informing you of their destination – a little pop-up confirms this. Seconds later, your driver will ask where they’re going(!), and the passenger will respond with the same monotonous reply of heading to a retirement home, alien conspiracies or some existential answer that is as deep as a puddle. For the first 20 minutes, I was driving these passengers off the pier.
By far, this was the worst aspect of the game and could have run fine without these exchanges. Moving on… Other than the Arcade and Pro mode and an achievement section to see what you’ve unlocked so far – perhaps have a look-see at your online standings – there’s a Free Roam mode without a timer. This was initially a practise mode to familiarise yourself with the map. In reality, it was a sandbox for experimentation with the numerous vehicles, shortcuts, plus the unlocking of NPC arcs.
There’s not much else to Taxi Chaos. Still, there’s nothing else needed as far as I’m concerned other than muting those repetitive conversation pieces and perhaps adding a more prominent soundtrack. Other than that, Taxi Chaos is excellent and highly recommended. Especially if you were/are a fan of <ahem> another taxi-based arcade title.