Alien Cab

aliencab
What we liked:
+ Crisp display
+ Smooth integration
What we didn't like:
- One dimensional
- Can get hectic
- Not made for fat-fingers
Rating
6.5
DEVELOPER: Quadion Technologies   |   PUBLISHER: Chillingo   |   RELEASE: 08/20/2010

Give your passengers the finger.

Being this is my first iPhone review I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean the craze is sweeping the gaming nation. Games are releasing at an exponential rate. One of the early successes was a game called Flight Control. Basically a line-drawing simulator that allows you to direct air traffic with your finger. Alien Cab follows this same design but instead has you carting around aliens to various planets. The problem with Alien Cab is that one mistake and it is game over. Casual games are meant to be time-wasters, but a large part of the time I felt more like simply wasting my time playing.

Like other games of this type Alien Cab is extremely straightforward. You have flying cabs that you can draw a line using your finger to pick up an alien passenger. Then a color will appear above his head directing you to which planet he needs dropped off at. My problems arose early on, and to the game’s credit they are due to my stubby fingers. I would draw lines for the cab that somehow did not make it to the goal. It was also hard to draw directly from the cab at times due to its sporadic movement when it doesn’t have a solid destination.

Now I agree this is partly due to my large man-hands, but I also feel the game should give you more freedom for error. As it turned out I saw the game over screen far too frequently for it to be enjoyable. It can also be disorienting once you get more cabs onscreen. If you take too long to pick up an alien he begins to shake and eventually explode, which as with everything else, means another game over screen.

As far as features go all the standards for iPhone titles are here. Achievements are handled through Crystal and you have the ability to share your scores via Twitter and Facebook. There are online leaderboards to post your high scores, but outside of that there isn’t much reason to return to the game. This is truly the definition of time waster, and even at $0.99 I would be hard pressed to recommend it over some of the more refined titles in the genre such as Flight Control.

Visually the game looks on par with other titles in the genre. The action can get hairy and things never have trouble keeping up. The music will drive on you after a while so it is nice that I could load up my own tracks while playing and turn off the in-game music.

Alien Cab is definitely enough to divert your attention for an afternoon, but don’t expect to be coming back to it after the initial run. It isn’t a game you will be recommending to your friends or yanking out on the bus trip to work. It fails to deliver the same type of addictive nature other games in the genre tend to convey. As it stands only snag the game if you really love aliens and taxis as there are much better games to spend your dough on.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.