Beat Cop Review
The Polish publisher 11-bit Studios brings to Xbox One Beat Cop, a pixeled adventure game that places you in control of Jack Kelly, a former detective who has been framed by murder and for stealing diamonds from a crime scene at the senator’s house. Now, while answering the accusations from internal affairs, he’s sent back to the streets of NY, attending the Brooklyn 69 PD, and will have 21 days to prove his innocence. But don’t you think this is a happy PD like the 99 you may know from TV. You’re not welcome here. The other cops don’t trust you and the previous cop from the area you’ll be responsible for was probably involved up to his neck with gangs fighting to control the region.
Pixel Crow and Crunching Koalas place you in a dirty world highly inspired in movies and series from the ‘80s where law and order have different meanings. Welcome to streets, Beat Cop! No donut will save you your butt here!
- Visuals: If you have already read some of my reviews here, you’re probably aware how much I love retro games and pixel art graphics. For my joy, Beat Cop has some great graphics, colorful and very, very detailed. Seriously: the amount of detail they put in these scenarios is insane! You can see the color of the eyes of cats and pigeons shitting on the street. It may seem a little exaggerated, but it only shows how much love and dedication its artists and programmers had for this game. It really makes you feel back in the ’80s, like in a TV show as Everybody Hates Chris (the first one to come to my mind) or any other show about the same period. You will feel like back in time!
- Gameplay: The gameplay in Beat Cop is unique! As the name implies, you are a beat cop, responsible for the security of a vicinity. You will distribute fines, pursuit thieves, drink some coffee and eat some donuts (like the TV series always picture US cops) and interact with residents and merchants of the area. Every morning at the PD you will be briefed about your daily tasks (that usually include to distribute of some tickets, to patrol the area and some other more specific – but let’s not spoil any surprises). During your time at the PD, you can interact with other cops to gather some info about other areas (which sometimes can help you in your own area), but that’s all the interaction you will have with them. Then you’re taken to streets and will have between 8 am and 5 pm to accomplish your tasks and what else the central throws at you during the day. Sometimes, residents or merchants will come looking for you in need of some help too. And it’s always up to you to help them or not. Remember the fights to control the region I mentioned earlier? The Italian mob and the gangs will also come after you to ask for help in some of their ‘business’, if you know what I mean. And it’s totally up to you to help them or not. Just consider that in the streets, one hand washes the other and to become friends with one makes you an enemy with the other. At the end of each day, you can check for your relationship with each one and with the police, besides your account balance and how the population feels about you. You will also have a performance report from where you will know your daily income (your salary, not any money from unknown origin… just keep in mind it is always available), discounts and the impact of your actions over the trust bar.
- Audio: Although the music is almost absent during the gameplay, Beat Cop trusts in good sound effects that help your involvement with the world presented in the game. The music will only be present in your time at the PD or when you’re close to some boomboxes on the streets playing some good par music. Sometimes you will also find some residents of your neighborhood headbanging from the windows while listening to some good rock and roll. And again, it just builds up your engagement in this world.
- Humor and references: With a huge background of 80s cop movies and shows, you will find lots of references to old and new pop culture. Can you find the cooker by the name of Mr. White? Or the chelonians crazy for pizza? Alongside these references, the game presents many funny moments and lines of dialog that will have you laughing, even though some of them may be a little too much sometimes… but we’ll talk more about them later.
- The story: And quite a story, I must say! During your gameplay you will experience some interesting twists, when friends become enemies and enemies become something worse in a story with multiple endings. Can you see them all?
- Only for a mature audience: The decision to make it a game for a mature audience was brave and commendable. Not many producers opt for reducing their target market in a time when it’s very hard to find some audience. But the Polish developers responsible for Beat Cop choose this path and I couldn’t be happier about it. During the game you will see many (and when I say many, I really mean MANY) violence, drugs and sex references and insinuations and a lot of prejudice, giving more authenticity to the game. Think about the movie Scarface and imagine you’re playing a NY version of it to get a picture of what I’m telling you. I confess that some of these situations made feel uncomfortable with the game (especially about the racist offenses), but they managed to deliver a pretty immersive world with it, a world you can almost feel the tension leaking through the screen. Congrats for it, guys!
- Beat cat mode: There’s a strange mode called Beat Cat that shows up during certain cutscenes and dialogs of the game that I’m still trying to understand what it is good for. In this mode, a mouse will run in your screen carrying a slice of pizza like it’s playing tag or hide and seek with you and as soon as you press any button, it simply disappears. It looks like it was some sort of PC screensaver from ancient time (and again I’m revealing how old I am). But the point is: what is it here for? Any guesses?
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.