Mile High Taxi, developed and published by Cassius John-Adams, is an arcade high score chasing indie game heavily inspired by Crazy Taxi.
There isn’t a true plot in Mile High Taxi. From the opening moments we learn it’s your first day on the job, you’re in this futuristic city with flying cars, and your new boss only cares about making money. The narrative stops there as you choose your driver, adjust your skin tone — which is more like choosing between character presets — and dive into the game or tutorial. I jumped right into the tutorial and was impressed with how streamlined the onboarding experience was. It clearly explained controls, fares, and strafing between heights, which was extremely helpful.
The main game offers three modes to choose from: Standard, Sequential, and Free Roam. Free Roam serves almost no purpose and is the weakest in my opinion. You can essentially zone out and explore the futuristic city at your own pace with no time limits nor passengers. However, aimlessly wandering around the city is very boring and feels like a waste of time.
Standard mode is more reminiscent of the original arcade experience one would expect from Crazy Taxi. Be as fast and efficient as you can, maximizing pickups until the clock hits zero and you’re fired. Sequential mode is a stripped-down version of Standard, with a shorter time limit and predetermined fares adding a layer of urgency.
Players can experience Mile High Taxi on Easy or Normal difficulty. Normal is fast-paced, testing the player’s ability to react and potentially redirect at a moment’s notice, especially when you have to constantly shift heights to deliver or find new customers. Playing on Easy significantly slows down the gameplay as your taxi moves at a snail’s pace. The speed difference between the modes is jarring to say the least – however, I welcome each with open arms. With Free Roam being virtually useless, playing a Standard Run on Easy feels like a proper training ground to learn the basics. Once you’re comfortable enough, bumping the difficulty up is a fun and chaotic upgrade worth the challenge.
It’s tough to criticize the gameplay. It’s simple, hectic, and mostly adds up to a great time. Although I wish the player could customize and fine-tune each cab for precise turns, that seemingly goes against its arcade-ish roots. The soundtrack is limited but awesome, including both rock and electronic music, bringing a mix of ‘90s flair and dance bops to match the futuristic motif.
I’m not a big fan of the passengers as a whole. All of the player models look like abysmal PS2 mockups. It doesn’t break the experience but is simply harsh on the eyes. However, some of the animations like the front flip into the cab were utterly hilarious. The voiceover lines are also a mixed bag. Some are random and quirky – great for a chuckle here and there. Yet, some of the delivery feels inorganic, choppy, and almost like an AI is giving you directions. In addition, regardless of how well your ride is going, passengers constantly complain about your driving – making it impossible to know how your performance is.
Mile High Taxi isn’t perfect by any means. But even with its lackluster visuals and semi-janky VO performances, at its core, the gameplay is still fun. It won’t replace Crazy Taxi, but it’s a decent alternative for those seeking a fast-paced arcade game in a futuristic city.
Mile High Taxi is available now for PC for $16.99.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Mile High Taxi.