I still remember the build up to American McGee’s Scrapland. I would buy gaming magazines (well, when I was allowed to), particularly PC Zone, and the full-page ads made it seem like it was going to be a truly wondrous, open sci-fi adventure. There were also big expectations thanks to the success of McGee’s previous game Alice. Despite the decent reviews, though, it didn’t really have much of an impact at the time.

I thought Mile High Taxi was going to be similarly huge and expansive. Made solely by Cassius John-Adams, a game dev veteran with his first indie outing, the game has taken three years to come to fruition. It’s easy to describe it as a mash-up of Crazy Taxi and The Fifth Element, as the inspiration is both clear and unapologetic. Yet weirdly enough, the jank, however much intentional, reminded me of the basic mechanics and scrappy charm that makes a handful of the games of yesteryear so endearing.

The goal of the game is pretty simple: pick up waving customers in your flying taxi and drop them off at their desired location. This can sometimes involve slowly ascending and descending towards different platforms. But not too high or low, as you’ll go out of bounds. And once you check out the free roam mode, you’ll realise just how small the total grid you can access is. It’s like seeing how tiny the maps are in the 2021 remasters of the Grand Theft Auto games once all that city fog was swept away. Given it’s made by a lone developer, it makes sense that this compact sci-fi world is basically a playground for your flying taxi.

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