It's easy to forget that Fortnite's free, sometimes. You get an awful lot for your zero pounds. Well, unless you're into the battle passes and Marvel skins (opens in new tab), which I'm not. I haven't really been into the core battle royale mode for a while, and I think I've realised I like Fortnite most when it's trying to be an entirely different game. Last week I wholly embarrassed myself in the Fall Guys Fortnite map (opens in new tab) in Creative mode, but this time I got behind the wheel of a limited time mode inspired by a rather different game, both in style and age: Crazy Taxi.
Yes, the game that first raced into arcade cabinets in 1999 has, all but officially, been dropped off at Weeping Woods in Fortnite. If you've played Crazy Taxi, you'll know exactly what to do in 'Tilted Taxis'. Plonked in one of the new-ish Fortnite cars (opens in new tab), the aim is to pick up as many of the game's unsettling characters as possible and deliver them to their desired destinations to get a high enough score to win. To maximise your total, you'll also be looking out for bonus star pickups and generally driving as dangerously as possible: Fulfilling secondary objectives like bashing other cabbies, driving off-road, and going airborne, in other words.
Naturally, Tilted Taxis pales in comparison to the vintage Sega racer that inspired it: by comparison Fortnite's cars feel heavier and less responsive, and the mode generally lacks depth—as you'd expect from a minigame spin-off. But it is a lot of fun, and it manages to recreate a hint of the balance between chaos and skill that made Crazy Taxi great.
Weeping Woods is also a strong choice as miniature racing hub—its undulating hills full of hazards and obstacles mean you give the road/field/incoming brick wall your undivided attention as you hurtle towards your next goal. Tilted Taxis also happens to be the best case yet made for vehicles in Fortnite.
These special taxis have unlimited fuel and everybody starts with the Grappler, which pulls players towards you. But it's a nice twist that if you get bored behind the wheel, you can get out your taxi and look for guns and other floor loot with which to make life more difficult for your rival drivers.
For instance, some extremely wicked soul somehow inveigled themselves into my cab and then used their Grappler to pull my vehicle off course. With control of the car lost, I left the cab, and then they proceeded to send it to the big garage in the sky and hack me to death with a pickaxe. They must've felt I was too good at the game (improbable), or just took issue with me and my old, anthropomorphic banana costume (probable). Either way, I ran them over with taxi after I respawned, so there.
Tilted Taxis is an entertaining distraction, at least for a while. It sticks to the established template of Crazy Taxi without being anywhere near as good, but it does add a little sprinkling of Fortnite to give this classic gaming royalty a fresh spin. In reality it's worlds away from the game that lit up the arcades of the late 90s, but if it introduces a new generation to the unadulterated pleasures of rapid private hire cars, that's no bad thing.