Game review: Beat Cop is fun despite the flaws
This is a nice little distraction until the glitches kick in – which I hope the developers are working to fix as this game doesn’t deserve to die an early death
Although it’s fashionable in some quarters to hate the police, there’s something inherently appealing to many about wanting to be a cop. The uniform, the power, the sheer corruption that comes with it. These factors are what make police games so much fun, be they the old-school thrills in Police Quest or new-wave innovations in L.A. Noire.
Beat Cop (available for PCs) takes more inspiration from the former rather than the latter, offering an ’80s-style, pixel-heavy design and point-and-click gameplay. You’re a potentially corrupt detective demoted to walking the streets and handing out parking tickets.
The game mostly comes down to time management, and each day you’re given a list of tasks to complete: ticket quotas, of course, but also a range of activities that might pop up during the patrol. Busting thieves, dealing with shopkeepers, stopping criminals, and once again being pulled to the dark side, as you form allegiances with two factions: the Mafia or the Crew.
The overall concept is simple – and speed of reaction is key. But that’s far from a bad thing: simplicity is underrated in modern gaming and there’s a Zen-like sense of satisfaction as you complete tasks with time left over. The design creatively takes inspiration from New York in the ’80s, and the developers are to be admired for recreating those mean streets in glorious pixelated form, warts and all.
Passers-by shout racist abuse at fellow civilians, deliverymen get on with their jobs and the synth-heavy soundtrack provides a mix of sounds from that era: punk, hip hop, metal. It all adds up to a fun little distraction, until the glitches kick in.
The game is flawed, no doubt about it. Messages start warning you about things that have already happened, for example, and the facade slowly comes crashing down until it, well, crashes. It’s sad this happened to an otherwise decent indie release, and I’m sure the developers will fix things in a future patch.
You’d be advised to wait. Beat Cop is too cool-looking, too simply satisfying and has too much potential to die an early death. It might not reach the heights of Police Quest, but being on the beat isn’t half bad.