There have been many a game that deals with the building of one’s proverbial business empire. Be it cities, roller coasters, farms, or whatever, the prospect of becoming some form of tycoon has always been fairly popular. The reason is games are often an escape from the everyday, and being a rich mogul is hardly an everyday occurrence.
In line with this empire-building genre is a game by the name of Taxi Mogul. This social game has you playing with friends as you strive to form a company and drive customers around New York. Similar to the many Facebook RPGs as well, the game also has you buying cars, hiring drivers, investing into gas stations, and any number of other things that pertain to a taxi company.
When the player starts the game and has registered their company, they are presented with a step by step walk through of picking up a customer and driving them to their requested destination. Each trip takes a period of time before you can take another job, and you earn money based on the fare initiation and $2.40 per kilometer. However, what is interesting is the game actually includes a little bit more depth to money making with tips which are determined by a number of factors such as the furnishing quality of your car(s), your drivers charisma, and how long the trip took.
Taxi Mogul is also a game that utilizes Google Maps to a tremendous degree. The maps in game are not rendered, but rather they are the actual maps of New York. In fact, and perhaps the coolest feature, is that, on the standalone site at least, players can see other player’s cars and when they click on them, see New York based on where the car is currently located.
Unfortunately, as unique as it is, the initial experience is a bit sketchy. As it stands the beginning tutorial is only for driving and doesn’t seem to go into much depth beyond that (and if it does, it certainly isn’t automatic as it should be). Nevertheless, the company has said that it is aware of the usability problem, and is working on making improvements as the game progresses through its live beta phase.
The other thing that hurts Mogul is the overall look and feel of the game. Popular games such as Roller Coaster Tycoon have used similar concepts, yet are easily played by children due to their intuitive and attractive interfaces. The look of Taxi Mogul is rather dry and looks a lot more like something from an actual workplace rather than a game, which can be a bit overwhelming and a turn off to most casual players. Along with the new user experience, this title could benefit from a full artistic make over to give it a more… friendly, “fun” look to it.
In all honesty, this game could be the basis of another “Tycoon” style game for the PC with global locals (instead of just New York), with the unique Google Maps and the actual 3D images of the city as a selling point. Furthermore, the social aspect of making a company with friends is something that isn’t as prominent within that genre which would certainly help it along. However, in its current state, Taxi Mogul is a long way off from that considering its current production value. The game needs a lot of spit and polish in order to overcome the “scary” looking interface and new user experience. Are there other improvements to be made? Of course. There always are, and a game developer that says otherwise has hardly come close to developing something to its full potential.
Courtesy of the developer, the first 50 players to use the following code will be granted 45 BureauPoints. Simply click on “Redeem BP Voucher” and enter NPWYA6P7RUV4YRVI.