Astro Taxi review

Astro Taxi is a 2D flying game that reminds you of the good old 8bit days and is a mix of Jetpack where you collect and drop off items and Lunar Lander where you must land safely using a thrust engine. You control a Space Taxi and must collect and fly passengers to their destinations that are located throughout the level. It is good old fashioned gameplay but how does it stand up against more modern game themes?

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The graphics on Astro Taxi are very much 8bit style with a basic colour palette and chunky graphics and sprites. While they don’t look amazing they give it the retro feel and are otherwise fine. There is no music in the game but the sound effects do a fairly good job with noises for the thrust, landing gear and dropping off the passengers with an ‘OK’ voice sample.

As mentioned Astro Taxi is a mix of Jetpack and Lunar Lander, your taxi uses a thrust system to keep it in the air and the left and right directions on the stick to move it across the screen. Gravity takes care of the rest so no thrust means you will start to fall towards the ground. Getting the controls spot on is important in this style of game and after a few minutes I was flying like a licensed cabbie (maybe better :)) and the handling and controls felt perfect so top marks there. You also have a landing gear which must be dropped when landing and then raised after you have taken off and want to move left or right. I did sometimes get a little confused or forget to drop it, but this was more user error than the games fault.

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The aim of the game is to collect passengers from one platform and take them to their respective numbered destination platform. Each passenger has a status color to represent their anger level, going from green to red the longer they wait. You have a time limit on each level in which to complete the task of collecting a certain amount of fares from passengers and/or taking a number of passengers to their destination. The time limit you get seems very tight, even on easy difficulty, and it will often take a few attempts to beat the task.

There are thirty levels in total and the level design and platform locations get more complex as you progress. Once you complete a level it is unlocked and available to play from the Career menu at a later date, this is a godsend as you will be practicing flying through the tight gaps in between buildings and the narrow platforms to land on, colliding with anything or landing too fast will result in a crash and a loss of life. It is at times very frustrating, especially when up against a tight time limit and you are far from completing the task.

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As with all traditional games there is a Highscore table which records your best earnings and also records which level you started on and how many levels were completed. I liked this as it gives something to try and beat, you can either start at a later level and get some instant high earnings or start from the beginning and earn slowly but eventually big as you progress. One thing I would have liked to have seen would have been a simultaneous two player mode where both players compete against each other to be the first to collect a passenger and drop him off with the winner being the one that earns the most after the time runs out.

Astro Taxi costs 240 :MSPoints: which I think is maybe a little high as an impulse buy for many people. The game has quite a high difficulty level and you will either feel right at home or give up after playing the trial, 80 :MSPoints: would have possibly enticed more casual gamers. If you do like a good old fashioned game that provides a challenge then look no further, Astro Taxi will keep you occupied for many hours.

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More information as well as the trial and full version of Astro Taxi can be found via the Marketplace here.


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