Inspired by 1980s police movies, Beat Cop follows a detective named Jack Kelly who was responding to an APB (All Points Bulletin) from a senator’s house. Detective Kelly shoots and kills the intruder, however the jewels that he had stolen from the senator’s safe seem to have vanished. He is put under investigation as the police believe him to be the perpetrator, so he gets demoted down to ‘Beat Cop’. However, not all believe him to be guilty and Kelly must do whatever he can to find the jewels and clear his name.
Beat Cop is an adventure/puzzle game that requires you to undertake day-to-day police calls, write up tickets and keep order. From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem as though the game doesn’t offer much in terms of gameplay variety, however there are a lot of little tidbits that offer a much larger experience.
Beat Cop, however, does suffer from repetition, running back and forth and interacting with townsfolk and objects. At the end of each day, you receive a breakdown of how your day went and whether you reached your quotas. For a game inspired by 80s police movies that always hyped up the action, Beat Cop seems to focus more on the mundane side of the job.
There is no tutorial to kick off Beat Cop. On one hand, this is a good thing; sometimes we just want to get straight into the game and start playing. However on the other hand, the game will often leave you scratching your head on how to complete seemingly simple tasks.
We did encounter a slight glitch in the game. After we received a Game Over and restarted the day, we were unable to select anything as nothing would highlight. Obviously, we found this very frustrating, and we were forced the rest the console and start again.
Each day begins with a morning briefing, allowing the plot to progress and setting the tone of the day. The dialogue is very reminiscent of 80s cop movies, nailing the setting they were going for. However despite its charm, The dialogue doesn’t wait for you to press A in order to continue, it does it itself. This can be frustrating if you want to read everything at your own pace.
The humour of the game comes in the form of all of the 80s references. It’s just a grand old time walking down the street and seeing 80s movies being featured in front of the cinema.
Beat Cop’s saving grace is its colourful and interesting characters. With many different personalities, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to check in on them every day to see what’s new.
There are four main endings which, depending on what you gather throughout the game, will change the outcome. There are also some premature endings that you will find throughout the game if you meet certain requirements (no spoilers here).
The overall layout of Beat Cop is quite bland, to the point of being mundane. Majority of the game takes place on a single road, requiring you to walk up and down (left and right) in order to interact with people and objects. You have a stamina bar that allows you to run, but only for a few seconds, which becomes very tedious. However when chasing suspects, this mechanic keeps things interesting.
Graphics / Art Direction
The artistic approach is tricky to narrow down. Character models tend to represent more detailed Atari 2600 sprites whilst the backdrops certainly has a sharpness to them; they blend together nicely.
When you’re on the street, it’s difficult to tell which NPCs you are able to interact with. The screen is quite zoomed out which allows you to get a wide perspective of what’s happening, but it’s certainly overwhelming at times to keep track of everything when NPCs and objects are so tiny. After a while playing the game, the small characters and NPCs can all start to look the same, which can make playing the game a little difficult (whilst hurting your eyes a little).
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack has great variety to it, really capturing that 80s vibe. You’ll often hear synthesisers in many of the tracks, which replicates the era that Beat Cop pays tribute to.
When out on the street, the game chooses to highlight the hustle and bustle of the street, creating a great realistic atmosphere. However, this can tend to make it a little boring at times when played without music.
There are small bursts of music that you will hear throughout your days working the street, hip hop music from the guys with the boombox and metal music from the headbanger. It all seems to come together nicely to recreate the feel of the streets in the 80s.
Final Score: 64%
Beat Cop is a great game for those who want that hit of 80s nostalgia. Its blend of references and colourful characters is sure to attract those who grew up with budding cop movies. Unfortunately for Beat Cop, the setting isn’t enough to save it, with unintuitive gameplay and that often sense of wondering what to do next.