MiLE HiGH TAXi was provided to us by Cassius John-Adams to review. Thank you!
Did you ever wish Crazy Taxi was set in a futuristic universe where you could travel forward, backward, upwards, and downwards? Well...Here you go! MiLE HiGH TAXi is a love letter to the arcade-style games of the 2000s. You will choose your driver and fly through a futuristic city, picking up people and driving them to their destinations. Choose between Standard or Sequential modes to pick up customers and drive them, or go into Free Roam and just drive around the city, taking in the sights. Now climb into your taxi, turn on that meter, and let's make some money!
As a big fan of Crazy Taxi, I was super excited to play this game! And while I overall enjoyed the gameplay, there were a few bugs and issues I encountered that hindered this completely. In the good, I definitely felt that Crazy Taxi vibe playing through the game. Picking up people and maneuvering fast brought those sweet sweet memories back in a world that looks vibrant and filled. The game is also straightforward, which reminds me of the simple arcade machines where you just sit down and start playing.
Unfortunately, the UI and bugs come into play a little bit more than I would have liked. While the gameplay is enjoyable, going through the menus felt clunky and harder to navigate. I could tell what I was selecting, but pressing B to go back at the main menu would close out the entire thing instead of just going back a page. I also got stuck at a menu that made me need to restart as I couldn't get rid of the black box. The music is alright and does pump some adrenaline to keep me going, but the talking of the driver, passenger, and other people around can get really obnoxious as they all talk over each other and ruin the musical vibe. I ended up just turning the sound completely off and listening to my own music.
Overall, I felt the game was rushed. The character models aside, it feels like a stripped version of the game it could be. I understand it is trying to emulate the arcade styles of old, but adding in some modern QoL features (like being able to go back to the main menu when in-game) and refined UI would have significantly improved my experience with MiLE HiGH TAXi.
With a game that looks like this, I had gunned for this game to run at 60 FPS. For a game that relies on speed, fluidity is heavily important here. Unfortunately, the game is not able to effectively hit it during most of the gameplay. Flying through the city without any caps, I tended to drain around up to 20W and settle around 45-50 FPS, with some spots going down to 40 FPS.
I also tested turning off the settings there, which didn't do much. Post Processing has a lot going on here, and while turning it off helped slightly overall, it changed how the entire game looks, so I wouldn't recommend doing it. I did also try forcing resolution down to see if this would improve how the game runs, but it ultimately didn't help much. I also tried forcing Proton, so I didn't use the Linux native version of the game, but performance stayed the same.
With this in mind, I was able to get a stable 40 FPS with a TDP limit of 9 and GPU Clock Frequency of 800. This kept the game with a drain of around 11W - 13W for an average battery life around 3 - 3.5 hours.
I did encounter some spots where there was some noticeable asset pop-in or just my taxi would clip through bridges, but this didn't happen often. But there were a couple of other issues that bothered me a little.
While I mentioned the UI being a bit hard to navigate through, I did have notice that the loading screens or menus never filled the entire screen. While in some instances, this would make sense, but it felt like it was supposed to fill the screen as it would start off not covering it all and then fill the screen. It is something small, but it stood out a little bit to me.
Another thing to note is the controls. The left stick defines which direction you are going in where the right stick moves you in that direction on a 3D plane without changing the way you're facing. Coupled with the right trigger to accelerate, this can be hard to control at times. It got much easier once I got used to it, but it did take me time to adjust.
MiLE HiGH TAXi is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love the Crazy Taxi influences and really does bring back that hectic, awesome feeling I got from playing the originals. On the other hand, the lack of optimization for performance, UI issues, and bugs can tear down an experience that could be amazing with a little more refinement. And while it is playable on the Steam Deck, it feels like a missed opportunity to really make it a go-to game for my library.
Our review is based on the PC version of this game.
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