Beat Cop from 11 Bit Studios is an interesting game with a 1980s B movie vibe to it in which, as expected, you play as a police officer. Learn more about it in our Beat Cop review!
You play as Jack Kelly who got demoted from detective all the way down to the bottom level of the police ranks: he is now a beat cop. He was demoted because of a scandal involving a murder at a Senator’s villa, and it seems Jack was implicated in that murder. So while the murder investigation continues, Jack lost his former place in the force, and will, for the time being, continue to work as a beat cop. Is Jack Kelly as innocent as he claims to be?
Beat Cop is a simulator in which you control Jack Kelly as he walks the beat, handing out parking tickets and arresting criminals, and in between those actions, he has some chances to try and clear his name. On the whole, the developers behind the game wanted this one to be a throwback to all the cop shows they watched as kids. A message pops up at the beginning stating the game was made with 1980’s cop shows in mind – something that was certainly not a thing in the UK but which was very present in the US.
The game may be a simulator, but it does follow a story structure. Beat Cops is split into multiple chapters with a single day representing a chapter. Each new day you will be briefed by your boss, and you will be issued orders which you must follow for that day. Early on you will be given simple tasks such as issuing X number of parking tickets, but as you progress the difficulty of tasks you are given will ramp up. And as you carry out your shift, you will also get to investigate what really happened in the Senator’s villa.
You won’t just start building relationships with the locals, but also with the mafia and the street gangs. As a beat cop, Jack will also need to go after those committing petty crimes, such as theft. From time to time retailers and food outlets will also require your help. As with many simulators, your actions will have consequences, so do keep that in mind! You have a status bar, and your decisions and who you associate with will have an impact. You can play any way you want to since the game does have a story, but it has a bit of a sandbox structure in an indie type of way. If you want to play it clean and to the book, you can. But if you want to make some easy money by accepting bribes, and get involved in the criminal world, you can do that as well!
Knowing what to do next is hard, so your journal will be an invaluable tool. Check it as often as you can, and you’ll see all the tools you have at the bottom of the screen, which includes a watch, a radio, your handcuffs, and so on. As you go through the game, you will be taught how each one work, but there is also detailed button configuration showcase in the options menu. Most of the experience is great, but the one thing that bugged me is the call tow truck mechanics is bugged as it takes a few tries to get the tow truck to appear. And after making the call, you can’t do anything else – not even move –, so you’ll have to wait until the game sorts things out.
For the price you’ll pay ($14.99), this one is definitely worth a look. It offers interesting gameplay mechanics, a nice pixel art style, oozing 1980s charm, plenty of humor, and a different take on the sim genre. The way the story is set up, with Jack Kelly swearing that he’s innocent for the crime he’s being accused of, will keep you engaged until the end, which is always appreciated of a video game experience.
This Beat Cop review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by 11 Bit Studios.