Skip to content

The classic game: Taxiball

You knew iPhone games were on a roll when this cracking time-attack racer showed up

The latest entry in our classic iPhone games series invited you to have a ball. And then urge it to trundle you to your destination.

Taxiball with waiting customers

What was Taxiball?

A top-down time-attack arcade game, where you ferried passengers to locations as fast as possible. Only in this case, the ‘taxi’ you controlled happened to be a massive yellow ball that blazed around the screen in response to you tilting your iPhone.

If you’re a Sega fan, it was like someone had mashed together Crazy Taxi and Super Monkey Ball, reimagined how they might have once looked on a 16-bit console, and yet made the controls pitch-perfect for iPhone.

Why was it a classic?

It was fun. But mostly, it felt fresh. This was the early days of the iPhone (2009), and developers were still grappling with the hardware and rethinking what touchscreen games could be. Taxiball had familiar game mechanics, but presented them in a smart new way.

Even back in 2009, quite a few retro-infused titles were being rather too literal in their retroness, littering the screen with virtual D-pads and buttons, and making games brutally difficult and overly lengthy. For our money, Taxiball’s tilt-based controls and bite-sized levels made much more sense for iPhone.

Taxiball driving

Where is it now?

Alas, Taxiball quickly deflated and was never updated after its first year on sale. We found references to it being available in 2015, and imagine it winked out of existence when Apple dropped compatibility for 32-bit apps – or possibly a year or two earlier.

On the plus side, the two games that likely inspired Taxiball remain readily available: Crazy Taxi Classic (free or $1.99/£1.99) is buckets of fun – despite its virtual controls – and Super Monkey Ball: Sakura (free or $1.99/£1.99) provides tilt-based challenges across dozens of mazes to get your (presumably very dizzy) ball-encased monkey to its goal.

Visit Mobigame for more info about Taxiball.