Beat Cop, at first glance, reminds us a bit of a browser game, where you perform simple activities, a bit like a mini-game, but there's a bit more to it than that. Developed by Pixel Crow and published by 11 bit Studios, Beat Cop gives you several tasks to take care of, and all of these affect your job performance. If you choose to tackle one task, for example, you may not be able to take care of two others (the timer continues to run, you see), and you may well get in trouble with management if you don't meet their expectations either. Before we get into more detail, let us explain what the game is all about.
In Beat Cop you play as Jack Kelly, a former detective who, having been framed for murder, is stripped of his suit and put on foot patrol in anticipation of the murder trial starting. Once at the station, you're rudely received, and the department is governed by a fierce and results-oriented sergeant who gives you a day to make an impression and shoves out assignments to his uninterested underlings.
The game is all about walking the streets, as sad as it may sound. Point-and-Click-principles apply, and after an initial day, you have the following to do - write parking fines for cars that are illegally parked, talk to people who need help catching criminals who come your way, or run to a phone booth when your boss calls you to yell at you. As if that wasn't enough, you also need to work on finding a number of jewels that disappeared in connection with the murder you've been framed for. You have three weeks to clear your name while money to your ex-wife needs to be paid, but fortunately for you, there are other ways to get paid than your job...
There are three "factions" that you will come in contact with in Beat Cop. First, we have the police side involving parking tickets, meeting with colleagues, and solving crimes. Then we have the people/citizens, you collect points for this category through helping the people on the street, getting simple tasks like rescuing cats.
Then we have the third side - the mafia. Bribes and other shadowy activities play a role here, and we got a tip of a mafioso in a pizzeria, where there was also a suspect car that could contain drugs. We chose to take this to the station, getting a negative relationship with the mafia, but helping our standing with the police. It's all about balance, you see.
Everything matters and it's all tied together in Beat Cop, and a choice that initially looks good can end up in total disaster. We did the right thing by handing over the drugs, but still ended up getting fired, as our choice didn't generate enough money for the ex-wife (we didn't take the cash from the mafia to return the drugs). If you enjoy to take your time and being thorough in a low-pressure environment, then, this game isn't for you, as choices have to be made quickly, and also have a lot of stakes.
If you like the challenge of balance, living dangerously, and having many things up in the air at the same time, we can recommend this though. The same is true with respect to the technical side of things, as the game is pixel-based and not at all demanding, as even a dusty Amiga should be able to run it. The pixels themselves are definitely retro, and the audio doesn't disappoint either. To top it all off, as soon as you learn the game controls (consisting solely of the left mouse button), you're good to go.
Don't let the game's presentation fool you, there's a lot to get into under the pixelated surface. The game offers much more than commuting entertainment (even if the game could well serve as that too), and is actually really complex. Too bad it's only for PC and not mobile devices, for it would certainly be a great fit on mobile and tablets.