Some enjoy playing games because they have the opportunity to experiment with and push the boundaries of the various rules put in place within. They appreciate a breadth of systems that interconnect in such a way as to allow for various opportunities for success and failure. They like variety, surprises, and unexpected rewards.
Others play games to feel in control. They want to learn and demonstrate skill and be rewarded consistently and holistically for doing so. They appreciate a clear system, simple objectives, and the ability to reliably succeed simply by doing all of the right things in the right ways.
For some, play represents life minus the mundane. For others, play represents life minus failure.
Most games leverage both of these desires in an effort to attract various audiences. GabCab, on the other hand, has mastering a system and demonstrating a certain skill as its’ primary focus, and it accomplishes this aim masterfully. The goal is simple: use your cab (presumably a “gabcab”) to pick up any potential patrons and drop them off at their desired destination in a timely fashion. When they are delivered, you are rewarded with a tip in the form of falling coins which you must catch with your cursor.
The presentation is clean and easily digested, and the sound and music encourage the player without feeling too invasive or annoying. The menus manage to provide the player with plenty of different options and opportunities, if one should happen to be stuck (not likely) without feeling too scattered or confusing. As the player progresses through the game, new locations such as “College Town,” “Beach Resort,” or “Ski City” are unlocked, providing a change of visuals.
The most substantial game-play changes come in the form of “SmartCab Central”: a shop where the player can spend their tips on permanent upgrades, single-use power-ups, and even assistant vehicles who will pick up certain types of customers while you pick up the rest. It’s the shop that provides an outlet for variety and experimentation to the player.
Still, for the player who plays games for the ability to push the boundaries and experiment, GabCab may end up just seeming like work. While the game provides plenty of game-play opportunity with 98 levels and several awards to strive for, those features can be a double edged sword when the game mechanics remain generally static for the duration of the game.
Why do you play games? The answer to that question may be the best indicator of whether you’ll appreciate GabCab. If you crave simple tasks, endless replay value and feel-good achievement it’s hard to imagine a better value.
Review copy provided by publisher.