As a child I really enjoyed playing Cops and Robbers with my friends. Heck at times I still wish I were a cop when I encounter terrible drivers and annoying adolescents. Then I saw this game by Glu, Cops & Robbers, and I got really excited.
Glu has released great games such as Glyder $0.99 (4.5 star review) and Cooking Star $0.99 (4.5 star review).
Back to the game at hand, Cops & Robbers. The robber in this game is probably not the brightest as cops always chase him. I say him but you can choose to play as a female robber as well, both as generic. This robber bears no resemblance to those found in Hudson Hawk and Entrapment. Actually you are already wearing prison outfits that you can customize the colours of. You play a robber who can’t seem to evade detection, and who can’t fight back. A weak hero indeed.
Our poor robbers have a debt to pay to more influential criminals. On each of the nine levels there is a diamond you have to find. Finding it unlocks the next level, and gets you a bit closer to paying of your mortgage.
The game plays like a large on-rails obstacle course. Your robber runs along a set path with various obstacles such as crocodiles, policemen and old ladies. Collecting loot along the way increases the score, and there is a timer counting down. The timer starts counting minus time when it reaches zero. Should be game over at zero instead I think. At the bottom of the screen you can see your progression as well as how close behind the fuzz is.
Tilt and touch controls are available, and for some reason the game always goes back to tilt when restarted even though I always prefer the touch controls. Anyway, with tilt you just tilt to move your character sideways, and tap to jump. Touch controls are just as easy with you touching the left or right side of the screen. There is also a boost found at the top of screen that gives you a short burst of speed upon tapping.
The levels are quite varied, and each can be completed in a couple of minutes. But you will often have to retry them because there are several routes, and only one leading past the window with the diamond. When you find the special glowing window a mini game starts. This mini-game is all about opening a safe. A simple hard to loose lock picking game, and once it is over you get a diamond.
There is also a Cop mode where you get to run against the best time set by the Robber. It is really not fun at all as there is nothing to pick up along the way. You just run versus a ghost of the Robber. A real downer as I would have loved to chase down the actual Robber, and put a stop to him/her.
In short bursts Cops & Robbers provides a fun experience. When playing for longer sessions the fun wears off, and you get more and more annoyed at the limitations to the game. You really just run a predetermined route, and replaying levels to find the diamond gets boring quickly.
Worth mentioning is the long loading that seems uncalled for as the graphics aren’t really the best. A really neat thing is that the game can be played in both landscape and portrait mode, just turn the iPhone to change orientation.
To sum it all up I think that more could have been done with the idea behind Cops & Robbers. It is fun to play as a Robber but it doesn’t really hook you as the plot and characters are all quite generic. On-rail running isn’t generally my cup of tea, and to run as the Cop note even collecting things is a sad experience.
A bit blocky but brimming with character, in particular I enjoy watching the cops chasing you at the start of the levels. The Matrix slow motion effect when you reach a checkpoint is really cool, and way better than to see a loading screen.
Enjoyable music suitable to the theme of the game. Sound effects are sparse, and feel like a missed opportunity as a lot of humour can be injected with fun sounds. The game won’t let me play my own music.
Controls work fine, both tilt and touch. Annoying that the game forgets previous settings.
The game gets repetitive fast, and is not suitable to longer sessions. The Cop mode is plain boring.
You can breeze through story mode in a couple of hours, and I doubt it you will want to play through it again. The game is quite easy, and the only real challenge is finding the diamond. Getting better times and higher scores is not fun enough. No achievements, and limited Cop levels to unlock.
There are so many great games available now, and Cops & Robbers is not one of them. It is barely good, and coming from an iPhone powerhouse like Glu I expected more.