Beat Cop
Image From The Developer's Website

Beat Cop is somewhat like Papers, Please except it acts as a homage to cop movies and the 80s than praising glory to the greatest country.

The player takes the role of Jack Kelly, a former detective who gets demoted to a beat cop while being framed for murder. You have to meet the expectations of your Sergeant, get by with your wife draining all your money, and investigate the crime syndicate in your area. There is the big picture of keeping everyone in your neighborhood happy, and also, you’ll be writing plenty of tickets.

The game play is point and click, not in a traditional adventure game sense, just that you’ll never need anything other than your mouse. This is essentially interactive with the environment, using your resources at the bottom, which primarily include writing tickets and interactive with citizens and criminals. The pixel art style of the game works wonderfully, and the game is filled with small details that make the hazardous streets feel alive. After a few days in, the player truly does feel like they get to know Jack Kelly, who isn’t one to shy away from making tough decisions, be rude to civilians who need help, and let things slide if he wants.

The biggest enjoyment aspect of this game, for me, was to test my moral compass with those that I interacted with in the streets. While ticketing cars the owners will run to you, sometimes threatening you, sometimes offering money for you to let it slide. Initially, at the beginning of the game, the player may find a noble pursuit in their work and easily refuse these requests. But as the days go on and you need to give money to your wife, you’ve already met your ticket quota and need to make ends meet. Plus, you get the option to serve your own personal justice to criminals, knowing that sometimes a night in the cell isn’t good enough for them.

Side-quests appear often on the streets, though the level of choice you have to complete them is slightly questionable. You get reprimanded for not solving them, but if you are on the wrong end of the street the time limit can be not long enough. Of course, this may be an allegory for the way that things actually happen on the streets, but to happen due to a small mistake or miscalibration feels unfair.

The game has many unique features, such as a loyalty system to the various groups across the street. Some of these influence the game, as people may not want to help you if you haven’t been loyal. The issue, however, is the player related ones, particularly stamina. Often, even walking back and forth can drain your character to such a slow rate, meaning you’ll have to purchase food, which can often kill the valuable time you have left in the day. This can be particularly frustrating if you’re out of stamina on the wrong end of town, and have to slowly walk across to grab a hotdog or a meal in a diner, only to miss the time limit due to unlucky timing.

Sometimes the player can be unsure of what parts of the environment are interactable and which are not. Particularly with pedestrians on the sidewalk, some of whom will walk right by you and others who will help you/insult you. This is irritating when it is quest dependent, and even more so when you enter a dialogue without knowing the consequences of what will happen, and are given no way to be able to escape, without resetting the whole day, thus suffering consequences for your actions. That said, it is a thrilling problem to have to be able to walk into a mob meeting, or get offered a job by a gang. Whether you choose to accept or not, that’s the Jack Kelly you control, and I wanted to keep mine straight and narrow, even when all the pressures in the world made it increasingly harder to do so.

Nonetheless, from the initial levels of Beat Cop that we’ve seen, it looks to be both promising and a fun time. Crucial elements of the game to decide whether it’ll be worthy of our attention are how the story mode develops, and how it is also impacted by the choices the player makes in the game. Jack Kelly has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in the world, and it’ll be interesting to see the way that he either makes amends, or even more sins.

Demo Copy Provided By Developers

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