You know which ones I’m talking about, with names like ‘World’s Greatest Police Chases’. You can’t help but stop and watch, and before you know it you’ve been captivated by the mayhem and destruction for a half an hour or more. Well, iOS-newcomer Hutch Games’ debut title, Smash Cops takes this guilty pleasure a step further, placing your right into the action of a number of high-speed police chases.
When you first start-up the game, your ears are treated to a fantastic musical score for the menu which sounds like it’s taken directly from an 80’s cop drama title sequence. It sets the tone perfectly for exactly what you are about to experience. With its stunning graphics, sound effects and top-down tv news chopper-camera view, complete with banner overlay announcing your mission details, Smash Cops really does feel like you are in an actual TV police chase. The work that the Hutch team have put into the sweeping camera work and over-all presentation really shines through, resulting in a genuinely unique, fun and fast paced game with loads of polish.
There are two different control schemes for players to choose from. The default is a mode where you place one finger on the screen behind your vehicle and you drag it left and right to turn the car. Tapping the screen with another finger triggers your ram/boost. The other option is a virtual joypad for movement. I’ve tried both and they both are quite responsive, though I do find myself gravitating toward the more familiar virtual joystick.
These are not just your average traffic violations, Smash Cops is mission-based with 22 missions currently available. These range from tracking down and arresting a stolen sports car before he reaches the state line, to getting to a crime scene within a certain time period, to driving an obstacle course hitting as few cones as possible. In some missions you will even be attacked by other vehicles which are trying to keep you from accomplishing your objective.
It is not enough just to pull over the suspect, you need to ram the heck out of them until their vehicle is completely immobilized, but at the same time being careful not to hit pedestrians or even other cops try to help (moving in on) with your bust. All these will do damage to your vehicle. If you take too much damage to your vehicle before completing the mission, then you’ll fail. Your ramming ability needs to recharge after each use, and when ramming you should always attempt to position your vehicle at the target’s front or side for the most damage and most satisfying slow motion wreckage sequence.
At the end of the mission you are awarded up to 5 stars based on a number of factors and the cumulative number of these stars helps you unlock new vehicles and missions. Starting with your Patrol car you can work all the way up to Brutus, an armored-car like beast of a vehicle. Each class of vehicle has different stats for speed, health and attack power.
If you are having trouble with a particular mission, you can opt to use a ‘Super Cop’, a one-time use souped-up vehicle that will help you complete your mission. ‘Super Cop’ credits are periodically awarded during normal gameplay, but they are also available in packs as an IAP for real money.
The only real issue I have with Smash Cops is that in some of the later levels, sometimes when you have the enemy trapped and you are bashing him, all of a sudden he’ll just disappear and pop up away from you, back on his per-determined path. The best way I can describe it is to imagine that you were playing an FPS and you’ve got a guy cornered dead to rights, and then all of a sudden there is lag and he escapes. It is just a little annoying and frustrating.
I can see so much huge potential for this game as far as future content and/or game modes. First off, iCade support might be kind of fun. Another idea I had was it would be really cool if there was some sort of cops and robbers (online) multiplayer mode where each player takes a turn playing one of the roles in a best of 3 or so matchup, where one player tries to get across the state line and the other (the cop) tries to stop him. Other than just additional levels, perhaps new levels could be created with a 70’s or 80’s theme to the cars and scenery , or offer levels which take place in other countries like, England, France, Germany etc..
I’ve been having an absolute blast playing Smash Cops. While the 22 levels can be completed fairly quickly, there is definitely a lot of appeal to go back and replay completed levels with different vehicles to try to improve your star score. Because the suspects run on somewhat predetermined paths, replay also helps you discover new routes you can take within the city to cut off and disable suspect vehicles more quickly. I really hope to see additional missions added to the game soon. For me, Smash Cops is a must buy and is available on the App Store for $2.99.