Harkening back to the halcyon days of Crazy Taxi, Taxi Chaos aims to make a splash in the score attack racing game genre where dashing around the gas-guzzling metropolis of New Yellow City (an obvious taxi-inspired parody of New York City) and collecting fares by driving passengers to their destinations is your primary activity. Get ready to participate alongside fellow NYC residents as an instrument for the amplification of the area’s pollution problems, racing from one location to another as a timer ticks down and you try in vein to rack up as much money and receive the highest star ratings possible. Taxi Chaos wears its inspiration on its sleeve but will it wear out its welcome all too soon, and will you want to hire another taxi for your commuting needs?
Modes in Taxi Chaos are straightforwardly presented with Arcade, Free Roam and Pro Mode options available to play. The latter is unlocked by earning a four-star rank in Arcade mode and the other two modes are instantly accessible for you to get stuck into – an unnecessary requirement, but then there’s a whole lot about Taxi Chaos that is rather unwarranted, but we’ll get to that.
You will focus most of your time in Arcade and Free Roam, picking up passengers and dropping them off to their destinations. In Arcade you will be trying to accrue as many fares as possible before the timer expires whilst wrestling with the game’s directional arrow as it swings waywardly, sometimes misdirecting you and making you wish for a map so you can find where you need to be easily.
By playing through arcade mode you can unlock new and faster taxis, but the rewards don’t seem worth the effort because the sense of speed, momentum and the feeling like you’re doing well is often out of reach. Also, the assortment of taxis are threadbare which is disappointing, and you only get to play as one male and one female character, neither of whom have backstory or any sense of charisma.
Taxi Chaos does a poor job of informing the player of what is required for you to get the highest rating; sure, speed and combo-chaining near-misses helps, but there’s no clear guidance as to how to maximise your chances of getting the maximum score for a fare. You could be having a solid run and you drop your passenger off rapidly to his/her location but end up with a measly two-star rating.
Driving feels manoeuvrable but if you try to use the boost function by holding down the L and R triggers be ready to blast off without a sense of control, leading you to careen into buildings and cars if you aren’t careful. Strangely there are two buttons to make your taxi do a jump, which can be a useful tool if you want to hop on and over buildings in a desperate attempt to get to the drop off marker in time, though a dedicated nitrous boost would’ve been a far better alternative.
As you can tell by now Taxi Chaos has a lot of issues but it isn’t without a few redeeming qualities. Driving generally feels OK, as does the handling, visually it looks alright and the modes and challenges the game offers do a fairly good job at making you feel invested, yet the good points are all rather average and base-level for this kind of experience. There’s a neutered sense of chaos – a lot of what accounts for chaos can be done in a litany of other similar games. Compounding the game’s woes are a few technical anomalies such as cars piling on top of each other randomly and passengers constantly quipping about heading into a retirement home once they reach old age meaning the ills of Taxi Chaos really come down to straightforward blandness. At least it works well on a technical level and is admirably accessible to play.
As much of an ode Taxi Chaos is to Crazy Taxi, the experience feels incredibly lightweight and unfulfilling thanks to understocked options as well as the quickly tiresome nature of it all. More vehicles and characters are needed to spruce up the gameplay, as well as new locations and passengers who don’t repeat the same few lines over, and over, and over again. All told Taxi Chaos has the ingredients to be a really cool Crazy-Taxi-aping jaunt, but unfortunately this one is worth little more than a squirt of ketchup and mustard in both eyes from one of New Yellow City’s hotdog vendors.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.