Sega announced a new entry in the Crazy Taxi franchise today, and it will be both free to play and exclusive to the mobile platform. Called Crazy Taxi: City Rush, this new game is a collaboration between original Crazy Taxi creator Kenji Kanno and Hardlight Studios, who have helmed a bunch of games for Sega but most notably Sonic Dash [Free] on mobile. Crazy Taxi: City Rush will feature a "one-touch" control scheme which will have you tapping and swiping to maneuver your taxi. It will also feature a heavy social component, allowing you to connect to Facebook to compete against your friends.

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So, we've got 1) free to play, 2) simplified controls, and 3) social components. All the ingredients for a mass-appeal, casual mobile gaming experience. I've got to say, as a huge fan of the original, this scares the hell out of me. However, I did really enjoy Sonic Dash for what it was, and if Hardlight can bring the same high production values and fast-paced gameplay to their Crazy Taxi offering, I think I can get on board. Let's just say I'm cautiously optimistic.

On the flip side, there are some new features to Crazy Taxi: City Rush that sound really cool. You'll be able to upgrade and customize the look of your taxi, there's some brand new playable characters in addition to some of the classic characters from the original games, you'll be able to create your own soundtrack using your device's locally store music, and–perhaps best of all, considering this is a mobile game–you'll be able to play in either portrait or landscape orientation. Feel free to do whatever you want with that free hand of yours!

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If you're not convinced just yet, well, there's always the original, and Sega has made that original Crazy Taxi [$4.99] mobile port free for the time being to celebrate the announcement of City Rush. Everybody should go grab the original while it's free, it's a total classic. As for Crazy Taxi: City Rush, it should be soft launching in limited regions in the very near future, so we should have a better idea of what to expect when it does.

  • defunct32

    This would be fun! I just hope the IAPs won't be as crazy.

    • sokae

      Yes, I hope so too.....

  • philodygmn

    No dice unless there's a gesture for dashing, which in the original meant you had to jam it into Drive right from Reverse, so you were constantly going into Reverse for a moment throughout your driving.

    I honestly don't think it's playable via touch, if you actually _care_ about __play_ing_ the game. Evidently, the audience who does is a tiny proportion both of the audience and of the market. I played the heck out of the original, but a mobile version sounds rotten to me, especially since there's already the original for iOS—they should at least add controller support for it.

  • sivad

    Sigh.... Free to play, as if SEGA doesn't make enough with their name to offer at premium rate...

    • 21tigermike

      Are you kidding? Most of the game companies are hanging on for dear life. SEGA?!

      • Cookies

        That's not even remotely true. It's just like the 'scare' a couple of months ago when everyone panicked because Capcom was down to their last couple hundred million. These companies barely have to do anything to make their money back. Hell, SEGA doesn't even have to release a half assed barely playable game to make a bundle.

      • Chris Overbee

        Since the company right now is literally selling off four of it's games at once for a dollar with all of it going to charity, I highly doubt they are in dire financial straights.

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    Soooooo ugly. I will keep an open mind though, the one nice thing about free to play is that it doesn't cost anything to try.

  • spader623

    Why not make another crazy taxi with it looking GOOD???

  • Bool Zero

    Hmmm... On the one hand, as the writer mentions Sonic Dash to the move to FTP merit, I can agree that I enjoyed that game as well. The downside to that is that Sonic Dash lasted maybe a month or a little more on my device until I was done with it and it was a forgotten title in my mind amongst the slew of other Temple Run inspired aisle runners. Sure it had casual appeal, but I believe in the annals of Sonic the Hedgehogs exhaustive list of titles, it will be a forgotten footnote.

    Crazy Taxi has maintained its pedigree as a classic because of its gameplay, style and fun. While I can see the franchise lending itself easily to the FTP model without feeling shoehorned, I have to wonder how much of the charm and "classic status" will be lost due to this move?

    Let's just put it this way... I can understand why Nintendo doesn't want to subject their titles to the AppStore. I don't think they would want to tarnish the image of their properties with a free to play cash in.

    Don't get me wrong, I will check it out and give it a fair shake... I just find it unfortunate that the big boys like Sega feel they stand to make more from a FTP sequel to a beloved game rather than a proper sequel...

  • CooleTeeps

    I downloaded it this morning and it is actually really fun. (The first one, not city rush)

  • Grits n Gravy

    Those graphics look horrible, a game that is almost 15 years old looks better. Not to mention the FTP elements, I can see those being bad too. Pay $5 to extend your run, pay $2 for more fares, more cars, more drivers, more courses, etc....

  • Mike

    If there are no Offspring tracks, i'm out.

  • King

    Getting so sick of free to play garbage lately

  • Kane

    Think I'll stick to the original. No point wasting time on a baby looking sequel.

  • Cookies

    I'm sort of resigned to F2P games now, so all I hope for is that it plays like the original and (pipedream incoming) has the original soundtrack. Bad Religion and The Offspring almost did as much work making that game good as SEGA did.

  • thiagovscoelho

    I only hope it's not just an endless runner, as in actual Crazy Taxi gameplay. Speeding, an open world, going off the road, driving on the sidewalk, drifting, going underwater, all that's in the current app we know and love. Sonic Dash wasn't a Sonic in many senses, and I only hope City Rush is a Crazy Taxi.

  • Chris Overbee

    I wouldn't mind a free-to-play arcade style Crazy Taxi really, as long as the in-app purchases are well done.

    I sure hope it's not an endless runner. The screens don't exactly hint to it being one at least.

  • XzJ450NzX

    Please please please dont be a endless runner-like game.

  • Jake7905

    Good post, it's great to see TA being critical of the freemium virus that's infecting the App Store.

  • Defcubusal

    Looks terrible, ugh...