Those cheesy cop movies from the 1980s that always starred a grizzled cop with a checkered past have been condensed into retro game form and put on mobile in Beat Cop. You play new transfer Officer Kelly, subject to allegations of theft and more. The game brings back the old shareware style of purchase seen back in the old PC game days. You get to try the beginning of the full-fat game, with no feature restrictions, but once you hit a certain point, you'll have to either stop playing or lay down some cash. The game is also available on PC via Steam and other outlets for $14.99.
Background: Starting up, you're thrust into a beat where almost every single store owner, perpetrator, and common person has ties to either a massive street gang or the mob. Your predecessor is murdered in front of you on your first day, with bullets that may or may not have been meant for you. Naturally, you also get to write a parking ticket or two.
If that seems like a lot to be thrown into, that's because it is. Officer Jack Kelly is facing down insurmountable odds, and he's got to work to clear his name while contending with a vicious gang that's moving in on his department, the local mob, and the terrified civilians caught in the crossfire. You'll have to manage all of this while dealing with the day to day; arrests, tickets, gunfights, shoplifters, and the like will interrupt your efforts and bring chaos to your day. Fail to get things done, and you're fired.
The game system is action-based and top-down. You click where you want to go, double click to run, and tap icons along the bottom of the screen to use things like your handcuffs, gun, and belt. Each tool has its own interface in the game, such as needing to get close to a running perp to cuff them, or selecting options from a menu when talking on the radio.
As the story moves on, you'll have a number of choices. There are factions that can love or hate you, and their influence changes things on the streets. Your choices can improve or degrade relations, cause long-term consequences, and change the story in unforseen ways. There are multiple endings to reflect this, and which one you get all depends on what you accomplish and how you go about moving through the storyline.
Impact: This game brings you in on a tame note, then knocks you on your rear harder and harder with each gut-wrenching twist of the storyline. The fact that you're forced to keep up with everyday cop stuff on top of being a stereotypical 80s movie action hero ups the immersion factor, and brings a sense of urgency to your every action.
Beat Cop is a very unique game, and its shareware-like "try, then buy the full version" business model is somewhat uncommon in the mobile gaming scene at large. If this game does well, expect to see that model used more often, especially with premium, ad-free titles. A stellar beginning that's much more than a tutorial is also a nice touch, and will hopefully make waves in the industry.