Simple Is Effective. If there’s one thing that most -if not all- really fun games have in common, then this is probably it. Keep the story light, the gameplay high, and make it look as good as possible. And if you can, throw in an upbeat soundtrack or two to keep those toes tapping.
Spaß Taxi, from indie developer ScaniX is one of those games that fit the description perfectly. The title is an enhanced version of the classic Commodore 64 game, Space Taxi in which you control a flying taxi as you ferry passengers from one location to another. While the original had a modest following, it never really caught on with mainstream gamers but it did prove itself to be resilient among a niche crowd looking to try something different. So now that we know how Spaß Taxi originated, the second question is how does it play? Well, just like the original, you begin the game with nothing more than a cool looking taxi cab in the middle of a giant flotilla of platforms. The goal is to find customers to give rides to so you can start earning money to buy fuel and upgrades.
Accelerating and controlling your taxi are done with thrusters located on all sides of your vehicle. Depending on your taxi’s orientation, each thrust creates varying pitches in the way your taxi is positioned. For example, accelerating your thrusters too much while holding the arrow key too long will result in your cab turning upside-down. Luckily the TAB button can help straighten out your bearings and get you back to where you need to be. Different types of passengers, however, will pay for that extra loop-de-loop ride, while others will vomit in disgust and pay you nothing at all. Suffice it to say, pay attention to your rider’s wishes when you pick them up! Once you’ve reached your destination, you can activate the landing gear which acts as a stabilizer to safely land your vehicle. From there, you look for your next rider through 40+ levels with each one getting progressively more challenging.
The game mechanics are really that simple and never get convoluted with having to fight end bosses or trying to achieve climatic endings. You just need to be as efficient as you can while earning more money and more points. The graphics, the controls, and the soundtrack all work in harmony to enhance the overall experience. As we’ve said earlier, Spaß Taxi is very old-fashioned in concept and as such, the driving force behind playing is simply to perform better on the next level as you did on the previous one.
While the game brings back loads of nostalgia from a bygone era, a few quibbles keep it from becoming an instant classic: one, the game is strictly single-player only with no multiplayer support and two, some of the levels are insanely difficult to complete. Those issues aside, this is how we use to play video games growing up. It may not have everything the new generation of gamers want or expect, but for me, Spaß Taxi magnificently recaptures the competitive spirit of passing the controller back and forth amongst your gaming buddies to try and beat each other’s high score. So hail this cab down when you come upon it in the Steam store because this taxi is ready to roll.
– Great retro look and feel
– Addictive gameplay
– Smooth controls and a kickin’ soundtrack
– No online support
– Some levels are wickedly hard
With an old school look and feel, Spaß Taxi will leave you playing for hours on end.