It's hard to believe it's been 12 years since Crazy Taxi appeared on the Sega Dreamcast. An awful lot in gaming has changed in that time, and so it's natural to be a little fearful that nostalgia may have added a little more shine to the game you remember than the one that actually existed.
The good news is that the core gameplay is a slick and faithful homage to the original, and it works surprisingly well on a touchscreen. Unlike many mobile racers, the controls are accurate: steering's handled with buttons on the left side of the screen, while acceleration and reverse pedals are handled on the right. A double tap on the pedals gives a boost of speed, while doing the same to the steering sends the taxi into a drift.
The reason you're in this 3D world is to ferry passengers from point to point. And while that might sound like the most boring concept to ever happen to gaming, the thrill comes from both a ticking timer and the thrilling shortcuts across parks and railways that are mixed with daring leaps over city hills.
There are different license grades to be earned based on your performance, and an ever-higher score to chase, but if you're bored of the sandbox city roam you can take on specific challenges like steering a passenger around a very precarious course, or doing some very rapid passenger drops. It's a neat way of adding replayability to an already fun game.
The world you're racing in is both expansive and beautiful, with some of the smoothest framerates we've seen on mobiles. It's true that there's the occasional bit of texture pop-in in the far distance, particularly when you're cresting a hill, but it only happens occasionally and by no means makes the game ugly. Collisions with other vehicles, often unavoidable due to the height positioning of the camera, can also lead to some moments of frustration as you to try to steer the car back on course towards your destination.
It's interesting to note that in the decade or so since Crazy Taxi's release, games like GTA have rendered these full releases as mini-games within a much bigger context. Still, you couldn't ask for a more faithful recreation of a slice of gaming history, and there's enough here to satisfy nostalgia-freaks, as well as those who missed out on the game the first time around.
What's Hot: A wonderful recreation of a gaming classic with some extremely slick visuals.
What's Not: The gameplay has aged just a little over the last decade, and there are a few texture issues here and there.