Smash Cops, an arcade-style cop chaser from Hutch Games, is now available from the app store after a slightly premature release. Featuring a clever control system, terrific graphics, and a variety of missions, Smash Cops is a fun, albeit short, timewaster.
Smash Cops Pros:
- Great presentation values with large city, detailed environments, and awesome slow-mo crashes
- Nostalgia-inducing ’80’s-style soundtrack sets the scene well
- Engaging control method
- Nice mission variety and several vehicles to unlock
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
Smash Cops Cons:
- Controls can be awkward at times, especially during cone course
- Missions are relatively short and the game can be finished fairly quickly
- Floaty physics and repetitive nature can be a turn-off
Smash Cops contains a 22-mission campaign that sees you chasing down and incapacitating target vehicles, racing to crime scenes, transporting criminals in hostile environments, wending through cone courses, and more. Your goal is to complete each task in as little time as possible, while capturing all suspects and doing as little damage as possible to yourself and fellow cops. Success in these categories earns stars, which are used to unlock a variety of vehicles with better stats (speed, damage, and attack) and sets of missions to play. You view the action from an eye-in-the-sky helicopter cam, giving the game a Breaking News feel that satisfies both your voyeuristic desires and your need to take matters into your own hands. The city map feels fairly large, and you’ll find yourself twisting and turning down side streets and back alleys in classic cat-and-mouse fashion. Arresting criminals requires you to smash into their vehicles until you whittle their health bars down to nothing, using a rechargeable RAM maneuver to bust up their rides. Most cars take a few hits to fully end the chase. The most effective attacks come from the front or side, often flipping cars several times and even setting them on fire. Most missions offer support from other cops who bang into the suspect and cause some small damage, but they mostly get in your way. Similarly, the bustling city also contains a large number of citizen vehicles that don’t pull over for a speeding cop car, which means you’ll spend a lot of time pinballing off of innocent cars due to the somewhat floaty car physics that send you adrift on most turns. It can take some time to get used to it, especially on latter missions where losing a few precious seconds of chase time may mean that you won’t be able to catch up before the suspect crosses the state line and escapes.
The game’s presentation values are terrific, utilizing a sprawling city with detailed, destructible environments (vendor carts and fire hydrants do nothing to stop you) and super smooth framerates. Smashing the side of a car initiates a cool slow-mo of the carnage for the gamer to enjoy. An arrow points toward the target vehicle, getting smaller as the distance between cop and bad guy gets greater. Race missions place arrows at intersections and checkpoints to guide you along the way. There is no access to a map, and the tight isometric view doesn’t really give you a good opportunity to memorize the city layout. However, since the target car always takes the same route, you can alter your route to catch them headlong at various points along their journey rather than chase them from behind the whole time. The soundtrack has a real ‘80’s cop show vibe that we like a lot, and constant police radio chatter and wailing sirens also set the stage nicely. The control scheme offers a joystick to control the vehicle, but the default setup is a bit more challenging and fun if you can get used to it. Simply touching your finger behind the car causes it to move forward, and dragging left or right turns the vehicle. Tapping a spot on the target car with a different finger directs your RAM maneuver. They actually work surprisingly well, though fine control is not good at all. The timed cone course, especially, was a huge drag to complete with either method.
Replay value is decent, if simply for the joy of busting up bad guys and earning any missed stars. GameCenter integration offers global leaderboards and dozens of achievements to earn. A universal app for $2.99, Smash Cops is a very solid 4-Dimple affair.
Smash Cops Review,