I have to admit, I came into this Smash Cops iPhone review seriously unconvinced of the control scheme for Smash Cops. I am all for developers trying new things and giving weird new control options, but the idea behind Smash Cops seemed so outlandish that I was ready to write the damning ‘Nice idea, but..’ line when reviewing the game.
It just goes to show how much I know, as not only have I got used to the fantastic new iPhone controls introduced by Smash Cops, but I am seriously wondering why no-one has done this before, and if they have, how come I have never heard of it?
In Smash Cops, you simply push the back of your car with your finger to make it move. Using the same finger, you can change speed and make the car turn, spin and swerve however you want it to. It seems so obvious now, as it is exactly how you played with toy cars when you were a kid.
It is not only far more intuitive than any other touch screen alternative for top down/isometric 3D racing games, but I’m having more fun playing this way than I am with Reckless Racing’s physical controls on the Xperia Play, and that is saying something. It just feels great to push the little cars along, and the end result is a game that is brilliant, brilliant fun.
The game looks and plays like one of those live police chase videos that you see on TV, but with added effects and camera angles. You take control of a variety of cop vehicles and must track down and take out the criminals with chases taking place on a large and well detailed city.
The game is viewed from the perspective of a helicopter following the chase, and it is here that I have a small criticism, as the camera angle when you change direction too quickly can be a little slow to keep up. It isn’t a deal breaker by any means, and it is something you definitely get used to, but I feel there could be improvements here.
There are 20 missions to play through, and they do vary in content, but the best ones are where you are simply chasing down getaway vehicles. You can smash into the side of cars with a rechargeable attack, and can perform spins and swipes, with the main target are being the middle of the enemy car. When you do take one out, you are rewarded with a great slow motion view of the car going down. This slow motion view is timed to perfection to stop it from getting annoying, and is a welcome little touch.
The physics engine is impressive, as there can be cars and cones flying everywhere, and all the enemy cars and, indeed your own car seem to have to correct feeling of weight to them, and a lot of the scenery is completely destructible. The game has even better physics if you are playing on an iPhone 4S.
There are fantastic chases, spectacular jumps and plenty of action, but the game never seems to suffer a drop in frame rate, which is especially impresseive when you consider the fact that the free roaming city that the game takes place in is actually pretty large, and the graphics really well detailed. The music is spot on, and the sound effects suitably meaty.
In addition to the 20 missions, there are four mini games to complete all of which are great fun, especially the one where you have to destroy some cars parked up in a lot.
Overall, it has been a long time since I have had so much pure fun with a game. The new controls actually feel revolutionary, you won’t want to go back to standard touch controls after this, and I can see many developers ‘borrowing’ this method for past and future games.
A great action chase game that has great graphics and physics, an incredible new control system and bucketfuls of pure gaming joy. Don’t let this one make a quick getaway, buy it now.