Ever noticed how on all these real life cop chase shows – the kind random satellite channels are in the habit of showing in the middle of the night - you never actually see the criminal get away?

Such fly-on-the-wall exposés are used to show the force in a positive light, acting as propaganda by giving the impression that the criminal never escapes, his misdemeanours never go unpunished, and, in true soundbite fashion, crime doesn't pay.

In much the same fashion, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit serves as the perfect advert for the police force, those flashing the blues and twos seemingly able to take down criminals in car chases with minimal effort.

Race of two halves

At least, half of it is. As with the console version, attention in Hot Pursuit is split between breaking the speed barrier in a series of sports cars and chasing them down when you take on the role of the police.

Sporting some of the flashiest visuals you're ever likely to see on mobile – they will, genuinely, make your jaw drop a little - the game delivers exactly what you might expect: casual handling, with nitro boost on offer should you partake in some risky manoeuvres along the way.

There's also the ability to slow down time for a portion, but given that your reactions drop to the very same pace, it actually serves little purpose.

Nonetheless, such street races are tight affairs and, as mobile racers go, hold up rather well. It's when the police are on your tail that play drops down a level.

Police power

Though the weapons at your disposal are essentially the same, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is especially fussy about when and where you should use them.

For example, using your nitro is often a wasted effort, with the game cheating and keeping the cops firmly behind you however fast you speed away.

That's because the game actually wants you to wreck the police car, smashing into it repeatedly, rather than shoot off – though it never tells you as such.

Need for Speed also gets a touch confused should the cop car overtake you – and this is something the game will try to do on many occasion. Then, even the slightest of contact with your foe results in you being arrested, even if it's his car that comes off worse.

That aside, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit doesn't skimp on action, with the stability and familiarity of the standard races offset nicely with the tactical edge that taking to the cop cars brings about – road blocks and stingers are all part of the action.

Despite its penchant for the odd bit of cheating, this is one car chase where we're happy to see the police come out on top every now and again.