Releasing into steam early access on the 30th of March 2017 Beat Cop is a retro-styled side-scroller being released by Pixel Crow and 11 bit studios who also brought us This War of Mine. A game loved by fans and critics alike.
In beat cop you play as Jack Kelly, a detective framed for murder. I can only assume the judge in his case was doing an opposites day as instead of going to prison Jack Kelly is demoted to a beat cop and is now patrolling the streets as, well, a beat cop.
It’s OK, this is one small plot hole and the game really forges an identity for itself with its brand of dry, dark humour.
SO after the initial training mission that teaches you how to write a ticket you are left to your own devices and Quoting the games programmer and designer the game is about “making the choices and keeping the balance”, which roughly translates into doing your job whilst investigating who framed you for murder and why.
Day to day you will be performing your duties, each morning you are told this in no uncertain terms by your very own overbearing 80s style duty Sargent. Results are key and will involve you writing tickets for expired parking, tyre and headlight infractions, and even a quota for having cars towed for those parking violations. Menial work maybe but the day passes very quickly so hitting your days quota, dealing with other sporadic crimes, talking with the neighbourhood characters all while dealing with your own agenda makes for a surprisingly frantic day.
You also have to balance the fact that you need $300 every few days to pay your cheating bitch of an ex-wife her alimony, fail to do this and its game over. Fail to hit your quotas and you will receive a fine, don’t get enough money for the alimony and you may end up taking a bribe or two, a very slippery slope indeed.
The sporadic crimes in question could be anything from a robber needing to be stopped to a murder or hostage situation, you may even have to buy doughnuts for an old lady, then eat them, then poison her dog. It’s all in a days work for a beat cop.
Controlling Frank is as easy as clicking a mouse to move and double clicking for a sprint and whilst pedestrians can sometimes get in the way I have only lost one or two perps in my playtime. Using my handy belt to grab my cuffs or to write a ticket, check my to do list and to glance at the time is really intuitive and convenient and is in keeping with the way the game looks and feels. The gameplay is quite frantic but as long as you scour the environment for potential crimes its one you can manage. Shift starts at 8am and you and you play through until 5:50pm which is about 10 mintues real time and initially you will be focussed on completing your tasks but as the day moves on you will receive additional tasks through your radio and will have time to talk to business owners.
You will be given plenty of incentive to become a crooked cop however and when the alimony is due you are very tempted even if you are trying to play straight laced.
One mission saw me searching a van for drugs. I was told about the drugs by the Mafioso in the pizzeria and it was suggested, by him, that he might like me to give him the drugs. I was trying to play as a straight cop but with the alimony due I was very tempted to make things easy for myself. I handed them in to the police station. I don’t think I will next time though!
Beat cop then is shaping up to be a very good game. There is plenty of vulgar humour, its dark and edgy and it won’t appeal to everyone but if you love a bit of nostalgic Miami Vice hard arsed desk sergeant 48 hours to solve the case or its your badge police game then Beat Cop will be right up your ally.
The look of the game is one I can take or leave but its simplicity really lends itself to the game play. You will find yourself reading all of the little speech bubbles for some truly funny lines and overall the game is in my must play collection.
Beat cop is priced at £11.99 on the Steam store and is available from the 30th of March 2017.