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Crazy Taxi: City Rush Preview at EGX Rezzed 2014
Crazy Taxi – the game that began it’s life as an arcade machine before making it’s way onto the Dreamcast in 2000. Since then it’s hopped on to various consoles, and finally ended up on iOS. It’s once again set to return to iOS and Android devices with Crazy Taxi: City Rush, thanks to SEGA and Hardlight, and I had the chance to play it at this year’s EGX Rezzed expo in Birmingham. The verdict so far? It’s pretty damn fun!
The main mechanic that’s worth mentioning is that the entire game is controlled with one touch. Your car currently drives forward on it’s own, with no need for you to accelerate or really do anything else, and to swap lanes all you do is tap which side of the screen you want to move to. Tap left, you’ll move left. It’s really quite simple, and means that the game can be quite fast paced without having to worry about you really losing control. As well as tapping you can press and hold your finger on the screen to drift around obstacles and corners. Once you reach your actual destination and the passenger wants to get out (unless you want to make them duck and roll in true action-movie style) a brake icon will appear on the screen inside a green box. All you need to do is tap the screen as fast as you can until the meter goes down and you come to a stop, and your journey will be complete. It’s all simple and incredibly easy to pick up and play without really struggling, which is pretty awesome. It also makes it really easy to play if you’re not so great at driving games, like I’m not. If there’s something there, I will crash into it! However in Crazy Taxi: City Rush you’re kind of encouraged a little bit to crash into things, and you’ll see why shortly.
When you start the game up the first thing you do is choose a character to play as (more will become available as you progress and level up your character) and then you’re taken to the ‘tutorial’ mission which explains all of the above controls and mechanics. While you’re driving around make sure to pick up extra coins that appear on the road, as these add to your cash, and you can get more money by performing crazy stunts. This might be crashing into objects (not cars, as these will slow you down and risk making you late!) or by performing awesome jumps from ramps. The more exciting and death-defying the journey is, the more you will get paid!
While we’re talking about customization, one of the large parts of Crazy Taxi: City Rush is the car customization. Yes, you get to pimp your own taxi, and it’s beautiful! For starters you get to choose your brand of car. Fancy something simple? How about a camper van? Or you can go fr something a little flashier. You can then change the colour of it, add spoilers or even a purple dinosaur on the hood! You use the money earned through picking up fares to upgrade your vehicle. And that’s not all you can upgrade: you get to upgrade the specs of your vehicle, such as speed and handling. Purchasing these upgrades can make some later missions a lot easier to complete.
In terms of gameplay and the format, the game is made up of missions and features different mission types. The world is split up into 4 ‘districts’ or areas, and you can buy them to unlock extra areas. Instead of driving around and looking for fares, you are given missions in your HQ and these vary in difficulty as well as content. There are your standard ‘get me from A to B’ missions, daily challenges and (my personal favourite mode) Tank Smash. This has to be the easiest of the modes, as you drive around in a tank and are challenged with smashing as many things as you can before the timer runs out. It’s great if you’re not the best at driving, like I am, and you can really get some destructive chains going!
Each mission costs you gas, and you have a limited amount of gas at your disposal. Once this is empty you can either wait for it to refill after a period of time, or you can buy a quick refill with diamonds.
Diamonds are the in-game micro-transaction that you never have to touch if you don’t want to. This is one of the best things, in my opinion, about Crazy Taxi: City Rush – you don’t have to touch the micro-transactions and you can complete and enjoy the game easily. The diamonds are used to buy refills for your fuel, as well as certain vehicles and upgrades. These are purchasable by real-world money, so if you’re really intent on investing in the game then the option is there.
Another awesome feature in Crazy Taxi: City Rush, something that was a bit of an issue in previous games, was the music. Previous Crazy Taxi games used to have issues with licensed music, and Hardlight and Sega aimed to fix this by allowing players listen to whatever is on their iTunes playlist at the time. You’ll be able to scream around the city to the melodic sounds of The Offspring or Bad Religion if you really want!
The game is also incredibly plugged in to social media, and the more friends you have playing the game the more extra missions you’ll be able to unlock. You can snoop around friends’ garages to view their taxis, and you can even pick your friends up in the game. Even if you don’t have Facebook you can still play the game unhindered, with a tonne of content to keep you busy.
Crazy Taxi: City Rush is fun, fast paced and potentially addictive, and the best part is that you won’t have to wait that long to get it on iOS and Android devices! SEGA have said that it will be available ‘very soon’. After playing it for a short while I’m already looking forward to the free-to-play title, even though I did nearly break it on one of the tablets (sorry about that again guys!)