I’ve always wanted to be a cop. Yeah, it’s shocking but it’s also true.

Being a cop seems like so fun, at least from the movies and shows I’ve seen. You get to catch bad guys, issue parking tickets, shoot at people, eat donuts, play good cop/ bad cop with suspects…hell, even take a bribe or two.

Wait, that’s not right. I might be confusing Beat Cop with real police work. That’s ok though, as through the game, I get to finally experience what it’s like to be on the streets as a man in uniform, even if it’s just a game.

What is Beat Cop?

There’s a story behind Beat Cop to set it all up. You were a detective and then blamed for a crime you didn’t commit. So while Internal Affairs are looking into it, you’re demoted to being a regular cop, patrolling his assigned area (aka beat).

Patrol the mean streets and do your duty!

Yeah, now you know where the term comes from.

As a beat cop, your duties are pretty simple. You issue tickets to vehicles (and have them towed) with violations, help out citizens and solve crimes (usually in the form of nabbing thieves). You’re also able to be dirty, working in cahoots with the gangs or the Mafia. Of course, being a straight shooter (or anything in between) is possible too; it’s all up to you.

You’re given 21 days to find out who framed you and why but if you’d rather spend those days just enjoying your beat, the game is down with that too.

There are multiple endings to work for, so there’s certainly replay value in the game. That’s great because you’ll definitely want to try out different things in subsequent playthroughs.

You’ll need to manage your time, as the clock moves once you’re on the street. Certain events also move the time forward, so time management is essential. There’s a LOT to do every day, but there’s never enough time to do it.

I got much pleasure from issuing tickets. Too much pleasure. It scares me.

I love this juggling aspect of the game, though I do wish that time moves slower. I find myself enjoying giving people tickets but then discover (to my horror) that most of the day’s passed me by and I did nothing of consequence. I could restart the day but then all the fine fining (heh) would be gone.

Mundane repetition but weirdly fun.

That’s exactly the reason why I love Beat Cop. It offers an insight into police work that’s been largely ignored in similar games. Even in L.A. Noire, you’re only a beat cop for a while before you’re promoted. Here, it’s the whole game!

Sure, the duties of a beat cop are boring but seeing how each day unfurls is part of the charm of the game. Sometimes, its routine, other times you’ll be gunning down suspects before the sun sets.

You’ll start off every day with a briefing from the Sarge.

The whole game’s infused with 80s charm that makes it a joy to play through just to see what easter eggs are hidden. The low hanging fruit are obviously the names of the people living in the apartments with names like T. Durden or R. Swanson but there are also some weird humor sprinkled in there (like the talking roach in the Moonwalk diner) that takes some effort to find.

The humor’s hit or miss though, as it relies on your knowledge of 80s pop culture. If you have none, then lots of the funny stuff will likely fly over your head.

No matter what, you’ll probably agree the pixel art in the game is pretty good. We especially like the intro cutscene and it’s a shame that there’s not more like it. The retro art may undoubtedly turn off some, but honestly, it fits the 80s aesthetics perfectly. After all, games in that era were rudimentary pixel based affairs.

The lowdown.

I’ll be honest. I certainly enjoyed playing Beat Cop more than some big budget AAA title. I missed out playing on the game when it hit PCs but I’m glad I finally managed to enjoy it on a console.

The premise’s fresh and innovative enough to give it legs, the time management aspect is fun and the allure of fulfilling your daily quota is weirdly addicting. That’s more than I can say for most games.

If you’re on the fence and waiting for the next big thing to hit, I suggest giving Beat Cop a try. It might not be everybody’s cup of coffee, but it’s certainly something that all gamers should try.


Fun but a bit repetitive. Open ended gameplay and multiple endings encourage replay but the basic gameplay loop might bore some.

The Good.
– Fun gameplay.
– Decent replay value.
– Unique premise.

The Bad.
– Pop culture references might confuse some.
– Time moves too fast.
– Repetitive tasks.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.