I’ve spent a ton of hours of my life playing the Crazy Taxi series, both in the arcade and on console, so it’s always exciting when I see a game try to re-create the magic of SEGA’s beloved franchise. Mile High Taxi takes the Crazy Taxi formula and sends it into the future, with players speeding through the skies of a city that looks like something that has come straight out of The Fifth Element in floating cars. I mean, come on, the concept alone is enough to get you interested, right?
Check out some screenshots down below:
Mile High Taxi sees players taking on the role of a taxi driver that drives through the skies of a futuristic city, with their working area restricted to fifty-floors amongst the high-rise buildings that seem endless. Your job? To pick up the city’s citizens that need to be driven to their destination, with the player earning more cash based upon how fast they manage to get them there. It’s basically Crazy Taxi, but instead of speeding through city streets, you’ll be flying through the air.
What makes the gameplay more interesting is the fact that you have to work between specific floors, with your customers telling you the destination they need to get and the floor that it’s on. It adds a huge sense of verticality to the experience, with players not only having to find their way through to the destination by twisting and turning past the giant buildings, but also having to fly upwards or downwards too. Luckily, it just takes a quick button press and a flick of the stick to quickly leap up and down between ten floors at a time whilst the floor number you’re on is indicated in the top corner of the screen, so you’re more than equipped to deal with the verticality.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a learning curve though. Whilst the vast open space you work within is a lot less restrictive than following the roads of Crazy Taxi and the lack of busy traffic makes it easier to get around, it can also demand a lot more precision from the player. Accidentally find yourself on the wrong floor and underneath your drop-off point? It can be awkward trying to head back upwards to find the right position. Find yourself above it? It’ll be a slow trudge to go downwards, costing you valuable time and cash. The verticality is one of Mile High Taxi’s coolest features, but it’s also the one that’ll cause the most frustration during your early runs through the game.
“The gameplay loop has aged well and feels just as rewarding now as it did when I played Crazy Taxi for the first time, whilst the unique changes the game implements ensure that the experience feels fresh and unique.”
But when everything does start to click? Mile High Taxi is a lot of fun. The gameplay loop has aged well and feels just as rewarding now as it did when I played Crazy Taxi for the first time, whilst the unique changes the game implements ensure that the experience feels fresh and unique. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to punch half of my customers in the face for the criticisms they constantly gave me when driving (even when on a perfect run), but it always felt good to speed between buildings, pull off some perfect turns, and hit the landing perfectly.
However, whilst it feels good to play, I did have one complaint: the location just didn’t feel interesting enough. The high-rise buildings feel great to drive past (as do all the billboards and futuristic sights that are scattered around) but there just weren’t enough unique landmarks or locales within the city to really make it stand out. One of my favourite things about the Crazy Taxi series was that it had an array of locales to drive between that felt distinct and were plastered with unique landmarks, so when a passenger asked you to take them there, you knew exactly what you were looking for. Mile High Taxi lacks that, with everything just looking a bit samey. It’s not a big problem, but it can make the experience feel a little bit more repetitive after long play sessions.
Some may complain about the visuals too, especially with the character models that look like they could’ve come from the Dreamcast days, but you know what? I really liked them. It felt befitting of the vibe that Mile High Taxi is trying to re-create, whilst the soundtrack felt perfect too. The voice acting was a bit of a mixed bag (with the exception of Bones who I loved), but everything else about the presentation felt just right.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There are a couple of modes to play through in the game, with Standard acting as your typical Crazy Taxi experience with players driving as many passengers around as possible to a set time limit, whilst Sequential sees you picking up passengers in a specific order with your time increasing with each successful trip. Alternatively, you can jump in Free Roam and learn your way around the city if you prefer… it’s up to you. Each mode is fun with Sequential my personal favourite, though it’ll ultimately come down to deciding how much pressure you want to work under.
I’ve enjoyed my time with Mile High Taxi, but I’d be remiss not to mention some of the little bugs I encountered. You can expect to see the occasional passenger in mid-air and they’ll happily jump out of your car into mid-air at times too, whilst another oddity saw me being able to drop off a passenger despite being underneath the drop-off spot. Another occasion saw my map and arrow sending me in completely different directions to the destination (and my run ended before I had the chance to complete it so I never learnt which one was right at the time), whilst the way the map tilts when moving upwards could also make it hard to follow the waypoint. They’re small issues but can make for some odd moments when playing.
Mile High Taxi Review
Mile High Taxi offers a cool and unique take on the Crazy Taxi formula, with the manic driving through the city’s sky making for a good time. It’s a bit of a shame that it’s lacking a more interesting city to speed through and there are quite a few technical issues that I came across, but they don’t stop the core gameplay loop from being a lot of fun. It definitely sets the perfect foundation for the developer to build upon and I’d love to see more from the game in the future.
Developer: Cassius John-Adams
Publisher: Cassius John-Adams
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)