Stepping out onto that sidewalk every day, each one of them knew it could well be their last. Morning after morning, it was always the same. A casual walker makes his way to the grocery store and the silence is broken by a distinct cry of, “Hey, Taxi!” At this moment, the walker takes pause. His heart fills with trepidation. Like clockwork, a yellow taxi hurtles around the corner, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. The man who hailed the taxi is killed as the taxi fishtails him and yet happily our friend is spared. Buildings are crashed into and the bitter taste of wanton destruction hangs in the air. The walker calmly continues on his course as the taxi skitters off into the distance. Tomorrow could be his day to die, this is Mini Taxi.
Explaining to someone what Mini Taxi is, with respect to controls and objectives, is an easy task. Turn left and right, use the gas, and try to pick up and drop off as many people as possible. Yet this does not do justice to what I personally get out of Mini Taxi. For those interested, the Arcade mode provides time limits that are raised after picking up a customer. The more successful taxi runs, the more money. Money can also be reeled in during a “Mayhem” in which it is one’s goal to squish as many pedestrians as possible. This is all good and well, but none of this appeals to me or even stands out as something I would want to pay for. The graphics are not anything spectacular, and at times the controls can even be frustrating. So exactly what do I enjoy about Mini Taxi?
Once I have booted up the game, I spend time in the free play mode away from the worries of time limits. The simple fun of roaming about while hunting for customers is made far more enjoyable by watching the mayhem that ensues and pondering just how horrible it must be through the eyes of the pedestrians or even from the point of view of the desperately homicidal taxi driver. I cackle when the “Hey Taxi” sound byte plays, and the finicky controls just do not matter when one is not in it for the high score. Free play mode saves this game for me, and it hearkens back to the top-down arcade racers in which mayhem was always a key ingredient. At 99 cents, I fully endorse this game.