App Army Assembles - Does This is the Police do a bang up job?
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This is the Police is a very exciting proposition indeed. A full-fledged PC and console title adjusted slightly for mobile screens, it's a gorgeously minimalist look at the dirty side of being a police officer.
But what do we know? We're just some fools running a website about mobile games. So we decided to give our community of mobile gaming fanatics, the App Army, their hands on the game as well.
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Mark EhlkeI had a chance to spend several hours with this game. Graphically, the game is barebones but has a nice style and is well-presented. The sound design and music are also solid, though not spectacular.
It's a police force logistics simulator where you play as a retiring police chief tasked with running the department as best you can. You send officers to deal with cases, only knowing part of the details of what's happening at the scene, just like in real life.
This is a game of difficult decisions from the get-go. You don't have enough police officers to effectively answer every call, but if you send too few officers you risk all of them getting killed. For example, on the third day of the game I had three quality officers killed in one call, putting me even further behind.
You need to balance keeping the city safe with building up money for your retirement by both legal and illegal means. You need to make morally gray decisions in order to keep people as happy as possible, but each decision also has short term consequences that could end up becoming a problem in the long term. Choices that make you more money could make the city lose faith in your officers, for example, so balance is key.
Takeaway: the game is super interesting, but even as a fan of strategy games it feels a little too punishing for my tastes. However, if you're looking for a crunchy game of intrigue and interesting decisions with an unusual theme, this is well worth checking out.
Let me start by saying "This is the Police" must never have been intended to be played on a phone - the text is far, far too small. After playing two game days, my eyes were refusing to focus any longer, so I had to bust out my five-year-old Nexus 7 and start over. I will say, save for a slightly reduced frame rate, my old tablet played the game well - a nod to the devs for optimizing their code. Though the text was still on the small side on a 7” screen.
The game has a flat shaded graphic style which reminds one of the '90's classic "Out of This World/Another World". It's simplistic, but effective enough for the type of game this is.
The audio is sparse but of good quality, with all of the dialog narrated with subtitles and genre appropriate music. Jon St. John (Duke Nukem) voices the lead character, and possibly others. At times, the narrated sequences (accompanied by comic book-like panels) invoke an audiobook-like feel which I actually found endearing.
"This is the Police" puts the player in the role of an aging police chief looking to retire in six months, using legitimate or questionable means to do so. One has to deal with outside influences such as an intrusive mayor of dubious character and crime lords wanting you to turn away from certain calls.
Player interaction is mainly via a city map used to dispatch officers and detectives to incoming calls. Officers have different levels of reliability, and an energy level which dwindles with each day they're on duty. The chief must decide which officers to dispatch to incoming calls during a daily shift. Detectives can investigate major crimes and gather evidence which has to be evaluated and sorted into order to solve the crime.
There are some interesting, almost RPG elements with the officers as well. Overall, I found the game more difficult than I find enjoyable, but it is well produced and should be fun to those who enjoy a challenge.
Roman Valerio - iPad Air
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to serve and protect civilians from criminals of all kinds? Would you as a chief of police remain incorruptible, if everyone around you were eager to grease your palm in exchange for your services? How far are you ready to go to ensure your post-retirement life is financially secure?
Got hooked? Then fire up This Is the Police game, which allows you to dive into the life of a certain police station headed by none other than you. I should say straight off that I have been impressed immensely by the comic-like art style, voiceover work and in no small part a very captivating story found in this game.
On the other hand I was not completely sold on a gameplay part, which over time struck me as repetitive and at times even tedious. Day after day you should make choices as to which officers/investigators assign certain tasks and I got the feeling that successful completion of said assignments is often not dependent on you at all.
Nevertheless, we have a remarkably outstanding police department simulator on our hands, which though might not be the real life version of law enforcement, but at least come very close to it.
The story here is of a police chief who has been betrayed by the bureaucracy of his city, and intends to enjoy his forced retirement in leisure, by scooping as much off the top as possible.
The gameplay consists of layers of gameplay, with the more interesting layers serving only to break the daily grind of dispatching police officers to crimes. The learning curve is essentially finding what the required level of professionalism (the skill stat of officers) is for various crimes and matching that by pairing up officers from the available pool. Then there is pool management.
If you get it right and resolve the crime, your officers stats go up, if you get it wrong they go down. The gameplay reminded me a little bit of Mini Metro as I watched the lines tracking my dispatched officers streak through my top down view of the city. I didn't find the gameplay particularly stimulating, it felt a bit like work actually, government work.
The story is the strong suit, the voice acting is the star of the show. If you are into management sims or police shows you'll find something to appreciate here. Personally, fitting more into the latter, I was itching to fire up Door Kickers most of the time.
Fernando Panero - Android
This is a fresh game with beautiful art. Nice detailed story with some managing to do. Not the kind of game I usually play on my phone, but I'm glad I did.
The game puts you in the flesh of a police chief in a corrupt city. Your job is to juggle between the powers established in the city if you want to keep your job (and your head). You have 180 days to clean the city, before the mayor removes you from your chair.
Managing officers and detectives is your daily job. Choose which officers should attend to each crime. At first, it’s kinda confusing, but later on, once you get the hang of it, it becomes a little boring. Investigations is a different kind of play. Send detectives to crime scenes and wait until they collect photographs to put in order, so the crime can be solved. I still struggling with this idea.
UI is beautifully designed. My only complaint is buttons are somehow small, I have to touch carefully to not make a mistake. Easily fixable with and update.
Another thing I would have loved is the randomness of the crimes. After losing a couple of times, the crimes start to repeat themselves and the outcome is always the same. So there is no need to send 4 officers and a SWAT team when you already know it’s a bluff.
My first game was about 6 days long. My choices led me to my grave. I won't spoil anything, but this outcome took me for surprise. Not in a good way. But I’ve learnt from my mistakes...
In conclusion: this is a full port of a PC game that work perfectly on phones. A full experience. Interesting plot. A little repetitive from time to time, but hey, that’s how life really is. Totally worth buying.
After playing 30 hours on my iPhone 7 I can finally say that "This is the Police" is one of the best indie games released in the last years.
It is a straight PC/console to mobile port. No content added or removed.
When I first started the game the voice of Jon St John told me the of a disillusioned police officer who needs to make 500.000 bucks before his retirement. The menu and game map looks very small and I had serious problems to read all the text boxes and informations. And believe me there are many text boxes in this game.
The handling, on the other hand, is awesome. The gameplay is fluent and the button detection is very good.
Mark Abukoff - iPhone 7
Let me start off by saying that this is a fun, creative, and ultimately challenging game.
Managing the budget at first was no problem, until you start to deal with the mob, and bribes and snitches and all of that. By the time I’d made it through eight days of game time, I’d agreed to work with the mob (because I skipped through dialogue at one point - mistake!) and betrayed them the next day. Sent officers out only to see them gunned down. Ignored a call or two because I didn’t have people to cover them. Sent a female team out to deal (successfully) with a naked suicide attempt. Shot a hostage taker in the face. I deliberately chose some ridiculous, chaotic answers to questions from the press. Defied orders to fire all African American cops after a white supremacist threatened to kill them.
At that point I was taking money from the mob to pay for snitches and hoping the shift would close before I got another call that I couldn’t answer anyway. The voice acting is fantastic, the storyline fun. The simulation has a ‘real’ feel to it. But the best part is the jazz soundtrack that lends an air of absurd realism to it. Which pretty well sums up this game. I like it.
The only downside, and it’s sizable, is the too small text. Really, especially if you have old man eyes like I do, that’s a handicap. Otherwise, awesome simulator. Buy it, but play it on something with a large screen.
Ed Davis - iPhone 7
This game is unlike anything else currently out there. It begins with a simple story of a police chief on the last legs of his time in the force. You quickly progress to a pleasant map where you are required to distribute police over a small city, answering calls and crimes.
Sounds simple on the surface, but with police taking sick days, becoming exhausted, and generally being bad at their jobs, you have to think tactically about where you place them.
The game will be best played on a larger screen as the text does become very small and challenging to read. A fantastic game with a polished feel to it for anyone looking for an in-depth challenging game.