Taxi drivers are some of our most underappreciated members of society. No matter the weather, they rock up to your location (or at least vaguely nearby) with no questions asked and take you wherever you want to go. All for a fee which varies from “eh, bit much but better than the bus,” to “I may have to pay for this with my firstborn child!” Now, Team6 Game Studios have tried to simulate this in their latest game Taxi Chaos. Rise up the ranks of the cabbie world, earn some cash, and meet the wealth of weirdos the city has to offer.
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New Yellow, New Yellow
Taxi Chaos takes place in the fictitious city of New Yellow, so named because the devs really wanted to shorten it to NYC. The city also has quite a few other similarities to the Big Apple, specifically Manhattan, with a large park at its centre, a port, and construction everywhere. The first hints we get that this game is not really up to spec starts here, however. Although we have all the elements of a city it just doesn’t feel right. Streets are generic, with little diversity. The graphics also harken back to the noughties bowling alley arcade game, with flat building fronts.
But back to the storyline, you pick your driver from either Vinny or Cleo. Vinny is your classic New Jersey-like family man. He loves his wife and kids, always turning the dialogue back to them or a heartwarming anecdote. Cleo is more of a young, wise-cracking badass. She has her own deluge of hashtags (#cleostyle) and takes no nonsense from customers. Whoever you pick has little impact on the game though. Neither character has stats or perks that fit certain types of players so it’s mostly cosmetic.
You can watch the full Taxi Chaos release trailer below to get a feel for the ride before we go into specifics.
I’m Walking Here
The basic gameplay is pretty simple. Pick up your fares – of which there will be many in the near vicinity – and take them where they want to go. Arcade Mode is the place to start where you’ll have an allotted time to pick up as many passengers as you can, earning as much as possible whilst keeping your customer rating high too. Once you’ve had enough of this, the Free Roam option takes away the timer, allowing you to get a real feel for the city and its routes. Then there’s Pro Mode, only for the greatest cabbies. You’ll need to know your way around NYC pretty well by this point as there’ll be no direction arrow but the timer will be ticking.
Whilst you’ll want to go quickly and collect as many fares as possible, it’s the bit between A and B where this game excels. Your passengers are a mad and mixed bunch, ranging from priests late for Mass to pregnant women on the way to the hospital. They’re a rich goldmine of quips, including my personal favourite: “let’s be friends, that way I can say I knew you before you were cool!”
Whilst there are a variety of generic NPCs, there are also elusive Special Customers to look out for. These have their own specific storylines and will unlock achievements if you get them to their destination.
Sadly, whilst fun to listen to, there aren’t that many dialogue options for non-special passengers which means you should expect repeats within a couple of goes. Funny repeats, but repeats nonetheless.
I’ll Just Get An Uber
Or at least that would be the case… if you could HEAR them! The soundtrack for Taxi Chaos is chaotic, to say the least. Even when turned way down in the game settings, the heavy bass music would be more at home in a club. Which is a bizarre choice given you only ever drive around in the day-time. It’s very jarring and also means you end up trying to read the subtitles and then crash. In a sign of the times, your customers will give you an Uber-like five-star rating so hitting stuff will affect your score and pay.
This isn’t the only place where Taxi Chaos doesn’t shape up either. The challenge mechanic in Arcade and Pro Mode is confusing, to say the least. Each possible fare has a colour coding to help you choose who you want. Except I couldn’t for the life of me work out what that traffic light coding actually indicated. Each customer also comes with their own timer (as well as your own) which is never explained. It’s also basically impossible for the customer timer to drop to zero because of how little time the game gives you to play overall. When you do deliver a passenger to their destination, it increases your time available by barely enough to find the next fare. In multiple playthroughs, I could rarely pick up more than four people on a good run-through.
I guess the one thing that does work in Taxi Chaos’ favour is that it drives better than Cyberpunk 2077. At least there’s no T-posing out of the vehicle or cars suddenly self destructing and shooting off into the stratosphere.
Ain’t You Familiar?
Taxi Chaos did really set itself up for a fall. Some were calling it the spiritual successor to Crazy Taxi when it was first announced. Crazy Taxi was a driving series from the 90s which was hugely popular. You only have to look at the uncanny similarities from the image below to see why. Except Crazy Taxi came out 22 years ago and Team6 have literally made no improvements to the genre.
On Taxi Chaos’ launch date, Sega (the original publishers of Crazy Taxi) distanced themselves from the new release. They even went as far as opening an investigation. Their statement to Nintendo Life read:
“A game resembling SEGA’s Crazy Taxi is currently being promoted by an external company. As inaccurately reported in some news, this title and its publisher and developer have no official or unofficial support from SEGA CORPORATION and its international divisions. We are currently investigating this situation. SEGA places great value on our heritage and will ceaselessly protect our intellectual property. We are also continuously assessing all opportunities to remake/reimagine our universes and bring them to the public as innovative and high-quality experiences.”
Taxi Chaos is fun for a while but the gimmicky nature wears thin after a few runs. The taxi simulator wasn’t really looking for a resurrection, and there wasn’t really a lot here to convince me otherwise. Whilst the dialogue could be fun, a poor soundtrack and lack of time prevent you from really sinking your teeth into New Yellow City.
That’s all from me today
What do you think about Taxi Chaos? Does it make you nostalgic for Taxi City?Let us know in the comments.
Summary:Taxi Chaos lets you fufill your dream of driving round the residents of New Yellow City. Rack up the cash, unlock perks, and become the best cabbie in NYC.
Genres: driving, arcade, simulation
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4(Review Version), PlayStation 5, Xbox One