I adore dropping into Steam, typing in some random words like “future nightmare” and promptly buying all of the weird suggestions I get. Last week, I stumbled upon a game I had never heard of, despite it being released in 2014 (kinda) and having been an early part of the Early Access program, which allowed gamers to play unfinished games.
Collateral, much like the Mann film of same name, is about a taxi driver. A Crazy Taxi driver, you might say, because that’s clearly the foundation of the gameplay. The twist is that this driver has a flying taxi in a future dystopian nightmare city, where you’ll constantly need to outrun and battle other flying vehicular foes.
The game sells itself thusly:
“Step into the driving seat of a highly customisable and heavily armed flying taxi in the amoral cyberpunk future of Collateral. You play as Zack Edgewater, an average Joe hover cab driver, caught between warring factions, bloodthirsty customers, and the corrupt corporations that run the city of New Bedlam. The city is under lockdown, and your goal is to earn enough favour with one of the city’s factions to gain access to passcodes that allow you to leave the city. Win favour with your chosen faction by undertaking a variety of missions that test your speed, driving skills, and accuracy, then spend your hard earned cash on a huge assortment of weapons and upgrades for your cab. Every mission you complete brings you one step closer to escaping this depraved, maniacal metropolis.”
So there’s a lot of cool bits and then there are some fairly standard video game red flags. “Zack Edgewater”? C’mon. Either go full “Max Payne” or go home.
I know it doesn’t graphically stack up to other games from two years ago (just look at these clipping explosions!), but this is the closest to living in The Fifth Element that video games will ever get.
What? You don’t believe me? Well just look at this The Fifth Element tie-in game and tell me how far off the mark it is:
I live that we’ve reached the point in gaming where I have instant access to stuff like Collateral because I’m a big fan of the B-movie equivalents in the game industry — and a space taxi shooter sim is exactly the kind of thing no one else would dare make, so we’re lucky folks like Dancing Dinosaur games can take on ideas like this. Is the game great? Nah, bruh. It’s dated and flawed and crashed on me twice. Is it fun and weird? Absolutely.
There are complaints in the forums that this Early Access game never really got finished, and failed to deliver on any of its promised updates. Someone pick up this concept where Dancing Dinosaur left off. Or throw some money at them. Their production company animation is literally a dinosaur in a tutu dancing. Clearly, they get entertainment.