You know those advergames you see on sites around the net? Those are the crappy flash games with gimmicks like “Punch the President and win an iPhone” or “shoot the pickle with a llama and get a million dollars”. I hesitate to even call them games due to the obvious intent to get you to their website which likely is full of malware and other icky bugs that you really don’t need. The rule generally goes if you have to mislead people into checking out your site, then it really wasn’t worth visiting in the first place.

The same rule applies on the app store, or should rather…

When offered the opportunity to review Crazy Taxi! I jumped on it. Crazy Taxi was one of my favorite games on the long-gone Sega Dreamcast. This is not Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast. This isn’t Crazy Taxi for iDevices. It should have been called “Drive in a straight line with what could pass for a taxi and somehow jump over cars with minimal animation.” or “Why the hell would you buy this game?”

Maybe I am being harsh because I was hoping for at least a remotely competent port of the Arcade or at the very least the Dreamcast game. Instead I got a port of a really terrible flash game called “Crazy Taxi” that is apparently tolerable online.

Let’s forget that awesome Sega game, and instead try to enjoy the iOS game for what it is.
I fell asleep while playing this game. I kid you not. It simply is boring and that should be the end of the review, however people want more info, so here you go.

You drive in a straight line, and randomly encounter cars you need to jump or maneuver around. Then you hit checkpoints which give you more time. Drive a lot and you unlock more cars. The cars all handle the same, and behave the same as the main car, which is to say poorly. The game has accelerometer controls, but they seem pointless. This is actually a gripe I have with many games. When I need to tilt the game so far that I cannot see the screen for more than a second, I want to punch a kitten hard. I like looking at my game. That is why we have retina displays now right? So we can see pretty things? So tell me why games want me to tilt the device until the view is almost nonexistent? Most games that handle this feature well only require a minor tilt, but this requires a significant degree of motion to accelerate.

There are other cars which simply might as well be rocks, or watermelons, or hurdles, or anything else that might momentarily slow you down if you are not able to dodge them. By jumping. Having your taxi jump with no real explanation where this wondrous power comes from.

I really gave the game a shot, I hoped with the tiny sliver of goodness that remains in this oft-cynical reviewer’s heart that even though it wasn’t the Sega game I had hoped it would be, it could be enjoyable on it’s own.

Spoiler Alert: No, it is not.

The best thing I have gotten out of this is a new appreciation for advertising games that somehow are more entertaining than Crazy Taxi! for iDevices. If I have to find a genuinely positive thing about the game, it would be OpenFeint integration. It has leaderboards and achievements. Of course the top score in the leaderboard is so beyond measure you might as well not even bother looking.

In Conclusion

Here is my advice to the developers: Call the game “Taxi Jumper Madness” or something not implying that you are a much beloved game by millions around the world. Sure you may be making a port of a flash game that uses the name Crazy Taxi to mislead people, but that doesn’t mean you need to.

My advice to users: Save your money and instead just take a nap. Naps are great, they get you ready for the rest of the day and you feel great afterward, especially if you plan on dancing the night away at the Copacabana!