Step into the shoes of a disgraced detective and become a regular cop as you patrol the streets of a city filled with corruption.
Platform: PC (reviewed), Mac, Linux
MonsterVine was provided with a PC code for review.
Inspired by 80s cop shows, Beat Cop puts you in the shoes of Jack Kelly, a former detective demoted to the role of beat cop after being framed for murder and robbery. Kelly still has a chance to learn the truth and clear his name, but it won’t be easy. The part of Brooklyn he patrols is torn by a local street gang and the Mafia, crime and corruption wait around every corner, and he has a slate of police duties to perform each day.
In terms of gameplay, it’s a simple point-and-click adventure game, although without the genre’s traditional puzzles. You can enter stores and apartments, talk to certain NPCs, chase down criminals to arrest them, and inspect vehicles to write tickets.
You’ll write a lot of tickets. There’s a mystery to solve and criminals to catch, but on most days, you’re assigned a ticket quota. If you don’t meet your quota, you don’t get your full salary. These elements slow down the game’s pacing, and unfortunately become tedious and repetitive. Nevertheless, if the developers of Beat Cop wanted players to realize the life of a cop isn’t all glamorous crime fighting, they succeeded.
You only have a limited amount of time each day before your patrol ends, and everything takes time. (Fortunately, you can restart a day or rewind to a previous day if you want to try something different.) It doesn’t always make sense—why does it take 10 minutes to look at a car’s tires?—but it forces you to manage your time carefully. Will you hunt for clues about the robbery? Will you vigilantly inspect cars to write out your quota of tickets? Or will you make deals for your own benefit and walk on the edge of the law?
Almost every choice affects your standing with one of the city’s groups—the police, the Mafia, the street gang, and the general populace—and where Beat Cop excels is at putting pressure on you so you can’t always take the moral high ground. When I began, I intended to reject every bribe and never work with criminals, but a tiny salary dependent on meeting ticket quotas is tough to live on. Later on in the game, I found myself cutting a deal with the Mafia to make sure I had enough money to keep going.
With rampant corruption and tough choices to make, Beat Cop can be grim. At the same time, it’s often funny, if only because of the insane situations Kelly ends up involved in. Unexpected complications await you as you try to solve the mystery, and you never know just what the next day will bring.
The Final Word
If you love 80s cop shows and gritty mysteries filled with corruption, you’ll find something of interest in Beat Cop. If you’re in it for the mystery, however, be aware that there’s mundane police work and time management along the way.
-MonsterVine Review Score: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair