“Beat Cop” in essence is synth wave culture packaged into a grimy, blood-soaked adventure. In the opening sequence, the game is prefaced by a paragraph that sums up what is to unfold. When I first started the game I was immediately compelled to read every line out loud for my own amusement. The dialogue is arguably the most immersive part. The pacing at times feels a little slow, but picks up as you dive deeper into the conspiracies ahead of you. I did start to get bored rather quickly of some of the menial tasks. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes to explore different endings and outcomes.
Ticketing is the primary focus of the game. You are given the absolute power to crush citizens with parking tickets and they will often try to stop you. The bribes that always get launched at you vary from $20 and up, but there’s always the chance that someone is an undercover officer.
“Beat Cop” places you on a crowded beat. A beat is like one of four sides of a city block. The game shifts between home base where your daily tasks are laid out ahead of you. Your colleagues drop hints through their dialogue but it’s optional whether you want to listen. They mostly talk about themselves and rarely what’s going on in the streets. This aspect reminds me of my high school if everyone had more gravel in their guts.
As far as animation goes, “Beat Cop” uses an 8-bit “Hotline Miami” approach. Small pixel-faced citizens crowd the streets, throwing out quips about the climate of your beat. The social/cultural climate revolves around the two prominent gangs in the neighborhood. The fat Italian mobsters and the Red Caps (blacks). These two rival gangs will help you reach your ultimate goal. Find out who framed you.
I found myself stuck between choosing who I liked more. I didn’t find the Italians as interesting to side with. They are opportunists and have more power in comparison to the Red Caps. However, the story leaves it up to interpretation how you want to approach their “jobs”. It seems there is no sense in being a good cop. In fact, you have to get your hands pretty dirty to make sure you sink your roots deep into the beat.
I wish there were more clarity in what all of my actions did. However, the story becomes clearer as I progressed. Things aren’t always what they seem. If you keep this in mind, you might find a better ending than I did.
The most entertaining part of “Beat Cop” is the writing. It is humorous and witty. Sometimes the humor is so sharp it cuts a little deep. That being said, I ended up babysitting the occasional NPC and actually had a blast during those parts.
There are a lot of options that are put in as gags. There are drugs you can purchase, prostitutes you can court and you are given the option to arrest them. This is where you decide whether you want to take pity on these little pixel citizens, or send them to the slammer.
Sadly I didn’t put much time into “Beat Cop”. While the game is amazing in its detail and design, the game actually starts to feel like a job! I can attribute this mostly to my own taste and opinion. I can still appreciate some of the nuance this game offers. I think “Beat Cop” deserves an 8.5 for being strong enough to captivate anyone who craves good character development and witty dialogue.