Line drawing games have certainly carved out a good niche in the world of iPhone gaming and Fare City looks to join the fray. It’s an exciting game of routing and re-routing taxis to get them to their destinations quickly, narrowly avoiding collisions and trying to snare higher and higher fares. Ahh, the life of a dispatcher in Fare City isn’t an easy one, but it sure is fun.
I’ve played many games similar to Fare City before, but none quite exactly like it. Typically in a game like Flight Control you guide a vehicle in towards a target area and that’s it, once it gets to its destination it goes away. That’s not the case here, and that puts a welcome new spin on the genre.
Fare City has you looking top-down on a small section of city streets. On those streets passengers will appear, all looking for a ride from your taxi service. Touching one of your taxis and dragging a line to the passengers puts the car in motion to go pick them up. Once the passenger is in the car the destination pops up on the map. Point and draw the car to the destination to get the fare, then pick up another passenger. Sounds easy, right? Well, we’re just getting started.
First and foremost whether you like it or not these cabs are always moving on you, whether you drug a route for them to follow or not. Sure you can tap them to stop them for five seconds, but it’s a temporary reprieve. So after a passenger is picked up or dropped off the taxi just starts driving in a straight line again until you tell it differently. No big deal really when you have one or two cabs on the map but it gets significantly more complicated when you have six or seven rolling around. Each game mode starts you off with one taxi on the map and adds more as you play though so the difficulty ramps up at a nice pace.
Luckily the game includes a “rookie” mode which allows you a few crashes before the game is over in order to get used to what it going on. After that you can graduate to the normal game where you can slowly acquire insurance points (which let you keep playing after accidents) as you play. Time trial mode starts off with 1:30 on the clock and ticks down till you drop off a passenger, where it will add some time back onto the clock.
All three of these modes are available on either of the game maps, called Downtown and Metrotown. They’re both essentially standard traffic grids though Metrotown has a train that sometimes cuts through and a slightly different shape. They’re different enough for now but I’d like to see some more added.
The game seems to have all the user-friendly bases covered. It autosaves and loads, remembers your sound preferences and even lets you play your own music, though I think the game’s music is a perfect fit. I also love that I can “wrap-around” the level so I don’t just bounce off the sides of the screen. It also offers the full suite of OpenFeint features, which is always a plus since I love chasing leaderboards.
I don’t have any major complaints about Fare City. It offers a good amount of variety in the game modes and even allows you to fast-forward the action if you really want a challenge. It would be nice to see another map or two added into the game down the line, however. Also, it would be great to have some different kinds of taxis, like a limo for example that could carry multiple passengers.
If you’re a fan of other line drawing games like Field Prowlers: Police Rush or Flight Control you should really check out Fare City. The cool art style and music coupled with the pinpoint perfect line drawing make this one a real winner that deserves a serious look. Of all the line drawing games I’ve played, this one is my favorite. Polished to a refined shine.