Pixel Crow’s Beat Cop on PC is a throwback game to the 80s complete with a pixel art direction and groovy soundtrack. You play as a framed detective who isn’t tried in court as you would expect, but is demoted and allowed to patrol a section of Brooklyn’s streets as a…erm a beat cop. There you have it. There’s a murder to solve and a case of missing diamonds which need to be recovered but as a lowly officer of the street your hands are tied. The bottom line is, should you invest in Beat Cop?
At its heart this is a point and click time management game. You’re tasked with quite a number of activities to perform which include slapping tickets on illegally parked cars (potentially towing them away), checking their tyres, lights and even sifting through their trunks to find illegal items – and that’s just the vehicles. There’s a living breathing neighbourhood on offer here and as the patrolling officer and friendly face you’ve got to keep criminals in line and obey the pecking order. Each day you’re given a set objective from your commander-in-chief but between accomplishing these tasks you’re bombarded with numerous distractions. There’s the mob to be mindful of as well as gang members and cats, so you’re left with the decision to either be a goody two shoes and annoy both factions but keep your superiors sweet or take the dark path and side with one of the two opposing groups. It’s a juggle which fast becomes apparent you can’t please everyone. Harsh decisions have to be made and even by upholding the law it’s not so clear cut.
Of course, there’s a daily time limit for your shift, so quite often it’s a race against the clock to fulfil your daily quota of tickets and pursue all the other distractions at the same time. Throw into the mix some random happenings such as dead bodies in alleyways, or full blown fires in buildings and you’ve got your work cut out for you. and then there are donuts. Always have time for donuts, you’re a cop after all.
The game works well gradually getting tougher as each day passes. However, the game requires players to think fast on their feet against the odds of mouse control which sometimes feels a bit sluggish – especially when sprinting to get to a location fast. Sadly there’s no controller support here which would have helped in this regard. There are a few glitches though which hopefully can be sorted. On one occasion it was impossible to tow a car blocking a fire hydrant due to an adjacent vehicle needing to be towed away. This mission objective failed resulting in more fire damage and a ticking off from the chief. The biggest challenge is simply being in the right place and the right time and to be successful of this you really need to learn the lye of the land. You’ll often get the call via the radio to be somewhere fast and if you’re fumbling about precious time is wasted.
Visually, Beat Cop has its own charms where everyone looks as you would expect in pixel vision, whether that’s the working girls in their brightly coloured dresses and big hair, to the mob with their dark and tailored suits. You can get a real street vibe from the visuals despite the somewhat simplistic old school visuals. They just work here and feel spot on for the 80s vibe.
Audio is a bit on the quiet side and whilst there are ambient sounds effects a more prominent set of sounds could have been used here to bring the street alive. Sadly there’s no spoken dialogue which is a shame and would have given the characters much greater personality. At least we can’t complain about poor voice acting though.
Beat Cop takes place across a set number of days with increasing difficulty and the chance for failure at any given time. Luckily you can rewind time and try again should you meet an untimely demise. You’ll certainly get some mileage from the £12 investment and there’s always the option to replay from the start using a different moral compass to how you played the first time. Whilst the game might look simplistic (which it is) there’s some neat gameplay under the bonnet which is worth checking out if you’re into mind games. Action gamers need not apply here. Sure, there’s use of a weapon when needed but it’s just not that kind of game. The onus here is on working within the community and doing one’s best to survive the story and the mean streets which claw at your ankles every passing moment.
Score – 7/10