Taxiball Review: Crazy Taxi Meets… A Ball

A long time ago, Dreamcast gamers will remember playing a fun little game called Crazy Taxi. It placed players inside of a taxi, with the objective of running around the city to get riders to their destination.  Taxiball aims to bring back that sort of gameplay, by mixing it up with the use of the iPhone’s accelerometer.

In the game, you control a ball in the middle of the screen that is rolled around by tilting the iPhone.  To pick up a passenger, you stop near them, and they’ll hop onto the top of the ball.  Your job is to then bring them as quickly as possible to their destination, by following the on screen arrow.  Once you’ve reached the spot, they’ll hop off and you can grab someone else.  Rinse and repeat, for about forty times per each level.  The environment is littered with special grounds spots that affect movement, as well as walls, jumps, and more.  But is the idea of rolling people around to their destination still fun today?

Likes

Loving the look: The game runs completely as isometric pixel art.  The menus and gameplay both look superb, and really give this game a unique and polished feel.  It’s definitely one of the most impressive parts to Taxi Ball.  Integration between the menus and gameplay is tight and leaves you feeling like the experience is complete and a lot of attention has been paid to the details.

Awesome soundtrack: With just as much attention to the detail of the graphics, the music in this game is equally impressive.  The entire soundtrack is voiced by a live beatboxer and recorded for Taxiball.  It was great and I never felt the need to bring out some of my own tracks.

Dislikes

Not that fun: Although the presentation values for Taxiball were top notch, I didn’t really enjoy the actual game.  Running people around with such a limited amount of time became frustrating, especially when any noticeable bounces off walls resulted in them giving you a sad face.  At times, they’d even think of a pile of crap!  It’s important to note though that it wasn’t the controls that caused the problems here.  I think if there were more leeway in terms of time allowance, and if I could just knock the ball around the level without punishment from riders, it’d be a lot more fun.

Taxiball’s solid presentation gives this game a lot of value for your money, especially at $0.99.  I didn’t enjoy the game too much though, and it began feeling like a chore running the passengers around.  My recommendation is to give the game a look with the video below, and see if it’s one you’d be interested in playing.  If the gameplay appeals to you, the presentation should push you over the edge to buy the game.

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Taxiball was developed by Self Aware Games and is on sale currently for $0.99.  I played through version 1.0 on an iPod Touch 2G.

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