Developed By : Pixel Crow
Published By : 11bit Studios
Category : Adventure, Simulator
Release Date : Mar 05, 2019
Reviewed By Mike
In an effort to capture the essence of cop movies and shows from the ’80’s, Pixel Crow has brought us Beat Cop on the Nintendo Switch. You’ll navigate the inner workings of this pixel-graphic concrete jungle, slinging out parking tickets and slapping cuffs on bad guys. Yet, as you play you may find yourself wondering if perhaps too much of that essence was put into this game.
You’ll find yourself put into the shoes of Jack Kelly on his first morning in the Precinct 69 squad room. You were a former detective that was framed for murder after an incident that went down at the Senator’s villa, as well as being accused of being responsible for a stash of diamonds that went missing from the same location. Now, while Internal Affairs runs their investigation, you’ve been demoted down to beat cop street duty, taking over a section of the city from someone else.
Right off the bat it’s obvious your boss doesn’t like you. But he gives you an easy task for your first day : go and shadow the person who’s beat you’re going to be in control of. Learn the shops, the restaurants, and all the people that run them. By the end of your first day, you’ve met everyone on the street and gotten to see a bit of how things work, and you also get informed that you do have someone on your side, that believes you’ve been framed for the murder and robbery. The only problem is, that person is retiring in three weeks, so you only have that long to be able to locate the diamonds and clear your name.
The main focus of the game is naturally finding the diamonds and proving your innocence. Each chapter in the game covers one day on your beat, and overall they follow just about the same formula. You’ll begin things in your precinct’s squad room where your captain will hand out that day’s quota. This can be anything from a simple task like writing up a specific number of tickets, to more complex things like there being a parking ban on your entire section of street. And while the tasks themselves may be simple, keeping up with them might not be. You’ll also have surprise instances popping up such as robberies where you’ll need to chase down the perp and arrest them, or even dead bodies popping up in alleyways.
You can also encounter people who will ask you for certain favors, and these can go either way. Innocent little things such as a little girl asking if you can find her lost cat, to more serious requests that just might thread the needle between good and bad cop. While you’re working your beat, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the Mafia and the Crew, the latter being a local street gang. Everything you do, every choice you make, influences your relationship with not only these two groups, but your fellow officers, and even the residents on your beat. You can’t make everyone happy, so you’ll need to pick and choose where you want your alliances to be.
What’s great about Beat Cop is how open ended it is. There are plenty of different choices you can make or not make, which allows you to explore the game’s multiple paths and endings. On top of this though, it adds a sense of replayability to the game, encouraging you to see how things turn out. I won’t spoil any specifics, but I will say that no matter what you do or don’t do, Jack Kelly does see the entire story play out. Relationships may grow or fail completely along the way, but despite the things that I chose, I never encountered Kelly being fired or dying. Who knows though, maybe my choices just weren’t bad enough?
While the game itself is pretty great overall, there are a few things that were…iffy to say the least. First, the good though. I loved the graphics and the soundtrack. The little bit of music that mingles with the street-like sounds created a really great and fun atmosphere. I’ve had tons of fun just patrolling the street and catching the bad guys that appear here and there. The controls are really easy too. Everything has a button assigned to it with nothing overlapping, and everything you need is displayed down at the bottom of the screen with it’s applicable button hovering over it. The symbols down at the bottom will be grayed out, and will light up when you’re in a situation to be able to use them. These include things like your ticket book, handcuffs, and your radio.
Where Beat Cop might fall a little…awkward is in it’s story. More specifically with the characters you interact with. Everything on your street as far as the shops, restaurants…all of it can be entered and the people inside can be interacted with. Now, if you recall at the top of the review I stated that Pixel Crow wanted to capture the ’80’s essence of cop action. These interactive moments are where it becomes extremely apparent. Players will notice, and possibly even be put off of, everyone’s way of talking. All of the characters curse, and a lot of their speech is laced with sexist and racial remarks which may have been very prevalent back then but it almost feels like this was pushed just a bit too far.
Despite the harsh vocalizations of the game’s characters Beat Cop is an incredibly fun game. I love this type of narrative adventure where you’re actually in control of the things you do, and your choices have consequences. It reminded me a bit of This is the Police, but with the added ability to physically move around and do things. If you can handle the over-the-top vulgarities spewing from the character’s speech bubbles, I highly recommend this game and experiencing Jack Kelly’s (possible) story of redemption.