Crazy Taxi: City Rush [Free] is a test for those who play it. How much monetization needs to get in the way of a game that's ultimately pretty fun to harm it? Hardlight Studios, Sega's go-to for making IAP-laden mobile games, are going to hit a lot of breaking points with players who can't stand free-to-play monetization, because this game is full of enticements to spend money. But in my estimation, they can't ruin what makes Crazy Taxi [$4.99]as a gameplay concept great.

The core game is the same basic core of Crazy Taxi simplified a bit to a lane-based runner. Tapping or swiping is used to move from lane to lane, with bonuses for driving around and occasionally through traffic. The goal is to get passengers to their destinations without running out of time, getting money for doing so successfully. And because this is free-to-play, money can be spent on all sorts of stuff, including to upgrade cars. There's a mission structure where levels of different degrees of difficulty can be played, with different rewards, along with daily levels and special challenges.

I want to get the free-to-play part of the game out of the way: so how does Crazy Taxi: City Rush monetize? The better question is, how does it not? There's ads that pop up after each level, which can be disabled by spending any money on in-app purchases. This is how Sonic Jump Fever [Free] it. There's an energy system, with a very short starting bar of four plays at a time, with 15 minutes per each segment recharge. However, it's possible to watch a video ad to get a free race. There's a two-tier currency system, with coins and gems used to buy car upgrades, customizations, and wait timer skips. Gems, the hard currency, can be earned by completing achievements and for picking up new passengers.

Crazy Taxi City Rush 2

Cars can be customized with new paint jobs and have their stats upgraded. Some parts require waiting for them to be delivered, which can be skipped via gems. Unused taxis can be rented out for periods of time, with them collecting money for the set time. These wait timers can be skipped with gems, and there's an energy system on these as well. There are daily challenges, and a level where it's possible to drive a tank and collect large amounts of money by running over other cars. Better drivers can be used at a cost of gems, or by watching video ads. I'm just surprised there isn't some kind of clan system, because I'm pretty sure this game uses literally every other popular monetization method on earth. I'm just shocked it's not possible to continue a level by spending currency to do so.

And it just feels especially distracting because of its omnipresence. Nothing can be done without triggering a wait timer, or costing something, or bringing forth an advertisement, or just anything. Well, nothing except playing the actual game. In the midst of actually playing, it's all about just trying to drive smart enough to get to the end with enough time on the clock. Sure, managing turbo boosts is important, but there's no way to buy more, or to spend gems on a time extension. The main game is shockingly just about the game itself. There are ways to get more cash from levels, but the set reward is where the bulk of the money comes from. It's really kind of shocking, just to see how much this game is actually built around just playing the darn thing.

image

And really, Hardlight did a great job at not ruining the core of Crazy Taxi. Perhaps this is actually difficult to do, or perhaps they showed a lot of restraint. Or maybe having one of the original designers on the game just helped that much. That rush of trying to deliver a fare before the timer runs out, weaving through traffic, making turns, taking huge jumps? That's all here, in a game that's built for even faster play sessions than the actual Crazy Taxi game. Not to say that it isn't mobile-friendly already, this is just even more so. The controls are simplified to just taps and swipes to switch lanes, make turns, and deploy turbo. There's portrait and landscape support on the iPad, which is something I love, being able to play a game how I want to play it in that moment.

Also, in a feature that was cool in 2010 but actually still pretty neat now, the game can source music from a "Crazy Taxi" playlist on the device, and randomly play tracks in the game. Want the soundtrack from the original Crazy Taxi here in City Rush? The world is your oyster. That the game supports music besides its own feels like a miracle lately – I've played too many games that nonsensically pause playing music. And the default punk soundtrack is not to my taste.

Crazy Taxi City Rush 4

There's quite a bit of fun to be had from playing Crazy Taxi: City Rush. It's buried deep under its heavily-monetized metagame, full of energy systems, wait timers, and currency systems, in a way that is extremely labyrinthine, and I wish the energy system wasn't there at all, or at least had a way to buy out of it, but they far from ruin this game.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • godofodd

    I've got to disagree that this in any way resembles the "core gameplay" of Crazy Taxi. This is nothing more than an endless runner. Taking away the ability to find your own route makes it impossible to compare this to the original. I was really disappointed.

    • http://about.me/henrycupcake henrycupcake

      yea.. i feel you, i loved my dreamcast and i hate these free 2 play bullshit... but this game is seriously addictive ..

  • Arcite

    Well, I'm happy just I downloaded the original Crazy Taxi when it went free a couple months ago.

    • Firedog5698

      Same here

    • Mintslap

      I was literally hours late from downloading it. Sad. :(

    • http://about.me/henrycupcake henrycupcake

      Oh yea? You are happy you downloaded the original crazy taxi when it went free couple months ago? That's why this city rush bullshit free to plays shit is happening ? Thanks to low life like you who so proud of themselves for saving a couple bucks! LOL

      really? A glass of champaign would cost more than $20+, get a life . People like you are pathetic

  • GreedPhantom

    Of course the energy system killed the game, of course !

  • Blodia

    I think the game is better than the ads are irritating. Granted, it's a pretty close race on that front, but I'm hooked.

    Next revision: lose Axel's hat. He's Sid Vicious with green hair, not a douchebag hat.

    • Nintenjo

      Any In app purchase will remove ads if you dislike them that much. I thought the hipster hat look was all the rage these days :) I don't think many people these days even know who Sid Vicious is.

      • mattreeder

        "I've got a tattoo on my head... Brain damage, brain damage". I hope I remembered that correctly.

  • spader623

    RIP crazy taxi. I shall always remember your amazing music, awesome shortcuts and... Oh. The original game is still on iPhone. We'll, time to go make some CRAZY money.

  • Kane

    Hope the momentum keeps going like this for SEGA. Hopefully they will make enough money to fund real ports of their great games for us real old school gamers. Now hurry up with Sonic 3 and SoR

  • nini

    Lots of shock in this review, not sure what you expected.

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    No more F2P games, this games just want to steal and steal money

  • FrehleyzComet

    I enjoyed this game until I had to wait for my gas to refill, after only doing 4 missions!?! Delete..

  • FastShoes

    Yeah the energy meter, ads, timers, popups and fuel limits suck, but what people want to know is if it has The Offspring, Pizza Hut and KFC?

    • http://about.me/henrycupcake henrycupcake

      It don't have KFC & Pizza Hut , I saw a store named instagramshop something Lol

  • sibarraz

    My main gripe with the game is that even though it had an endless runner mechanic, in the end isn't an endless runner, and this hurts him a lot.

    I'm with you in that the core of crazy taxi from a gameplay point feels the same, pick a passenger and drop him on his destiny. The problem this game had, is that the missions are so short that after some days, the game feels repetitive, and the game doesnt had a good leaderboard that makes you want to play again. If this game was actually endless, it will be better, since at least you will play constantly to try a better high score, or reach bigger distances, with the bonus of trying tomtake the passengera at time.

    If they fix that, the game will be awesome

  • surirav

    The game is not bad i play now for 4 days and i'm now at town 3 of 3. Never spend any gems. China get better and better now i earn for a mission 10000 Coins.

    I got from mystery trunk 100 gems, 50 gems 3 cars, a lot of money.
    There was a achievement earn 1.500.000 and that I complete it.

    for a f2p game like this is not bad. It better than then gameloft. Asphalt 8 Iap ruined the game the last asphalt was 6 you could earn 100000, now 1000 and upgrade are to expensive.

    But the ads are annoying but is ok.

    • Nintenjo

      Don't forget that almost any purchase from the store removes ads for life.. Plus you get a load of diamonds or coins. Well worth the $1-2 it cost.

  • DoctorMalcom

    Although CT:CR is weighed down by F2P trappings, I've found it better than most F2P games I've picked up. I've yet to hit a wall where I feel like I'm going to have to pay or stop playing. I don't find the energy mechanic as irritating as in other games, it seems well suited for bite-sized play sessions. Although, maybe that's just because I've been avoiding most other F2P games like the plague…

    • surirav

      Me to hate f2p games. But developers know now that most people hate it.

      • Nintenjo

        Unfortunately your opinion does not reflect the 300+ million other smart phone users that are the 'market' for these games. Casual games and casual players are what developers are aiming at on mobile.

  • Nintenjo

    Don't forget you can create a custom playlist and the game will play The Offspring all day long if you want.

Crazy Taxi™ City Rush Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 3.5