Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator

Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator

South of the river, at this time of night? Oh go on then.

Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator

Simulation titles are brilliant… there I said it, and you know I am right.  No other genre takes the most mundane and humdrum of tasks and through gamification turns them into an addictive gameplay loop that you can’t stop playing.  From cutting grass to power washing driveways there is a real wonder around what everyday role will be, the next star of this ever-evolving genre.  Well Polish developers Simteract have just released Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator, which as the name may hint sees you jumping behind the wheel and earning a few fares as a cabbie.  Though sadly this isn’t a black hack sim, so you’ll not be tearing through the streets of London or Birmingham battling other taxis for airport jobs or the school run routes.  No, Taxi Life sees you heading to a more sun kissed location and doing your time in Barcelona.

There are 286 miles of roads in the game to explore in a 1:1 scale reproduction of a large part of the Spanish city, and your goal is simple: transport as many customers across Barcelona as you can each shift, all the time building up your taxi business into an empire.  Bear in mind this is no GTA offering, so you will need to follow the rules of the road while dealing with impatient tourists and locals.  This will see you adapting your routes to avoid traffic jams and rush hour traffic, as your sat nav will only get you so far; and you’ll need to ensure your customers are pleased with not only your service, but overall driving skill in hope of a good rating from them and maybe… just maybe, a tip.  And to be honest that’s the game in a nutshell, stalk the streets looking for new hires and get them to where they need to be in one piece.  Sometimes you’ll have a chatty passenger or they may ask for the AC on or a window down so you need to be aware of any requests during the journey.  Then you have to do it all over again banking more cash to maintain your cab, as well as fuel and clean it daily.

You’ll soon have enough cash to upgrade your car or buy something a little nippier, and you’ll also get to hire drivers to take out your spare taxis when you’re on shift to really help get you cash flow going.  Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator brings in a bit of a micro-management element, as you’ll find each employee has pros and cons.  You have to think about who goes where, as some will get a bit of extra cash for driving a certain cab, but they may be prone to throwing a sicky from time to time too.  You’ll also have to build a rota for your drivers and think about where in the city you want them to go during their eight-hour shift.  It would be counterproductive to have them floating around a housing estate in the dead of night, which isn’t going to drum up many fares.  At least when not hunting fares, you’ll get to explore the city, where you find hidden secrets and points of interest which is a welcome distraction from the daily grind at times.

Being a simulation title, you can expect a bit of roughness on the performance front that adds character let’s say, but the AI is truly out to get you at times; from cutting you off or walking out right in front of you and costing you a fortune in claims.  Plus, the cops in Barcelona are a bit of a wild bunch and you’ll find they’ll give you more than a few tickets for doing nothing.  Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator is a bit infuriating to say the least, as you can be driving a cleanly as is humanely possible, only to lose thousands for a cop car T-boning you at a junction for absolutely nothing.  Maybe a bigger issue is that the game on console doesn’t support wheel inputs, made even bigger by Simteract saying it would pre-launch, but then backtracked at the pre-order stage to say it wouldn’t be included… but may come in the future.  This is a HUGE misstep given how hardcore the sim community are and the fact that you would expect a sim to feature it as the purest input for a driving focused sim.

Visually the game looks very good in that sim genre way, i.e. it’s all very pretty and shiny, but also a bit dead and lifeless in an odd way too.  Sound-wise things are good, but nothing to ride home about, but having a number of radio stations is a nice touch.  Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator is an easy-going sim in a lot of ways.  And although there are pressures to be found, they are often few and far between, making it a decent and chilled title.  There are issues that will put some off – from the AI to the overall performance – but if you are looking for something a bit different or harbour dreams of being a Uber driver, it’s well worth the trip.

An Xbox review code for Taxi Life: A City Driving Simulator was provided by Simteract’s PR team, and it’s available now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation for around £35.

The Verdict


The Good: Driving feels pretty good | Addictive gameplay loop | Barcelona looks the part

The Bad: AI WILL give you road rage | Lots of performance issues | No support for wheels

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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