Beat Cop

Can you handle life as a beat cop on the streets of '80s Brooklyn? Here's my Beat Cop review.

Eastern Europe is the home of an impressive collection of well-known game developers. SCS Software (Euro Truck Simulator, American Truck Simulator) out of the Czech Republic, 11 bit studios (This War of Mine, Frostpunk) and CD Projekt Red (The Witcher series, Cyberpunk 2077) - both Polish companies - are just three examples.

But Eastern Europe also has a vivid indie game scene. One of the many rising stars is Warsaw based Pixel Crow. Founded in 2014, the company specializes in pixel art games (just like every other indie developer). Pixel Crow’s only title to date is the 2017 adventure games Beat Cop.

Welcome to Brooklyn, ca. 1983

In Beat Cop you play as Jack Kelly, a former detective who has been framed for a murder. Degraded and forgotten by old pals, his duty as a beat cop1 is his last chance to find the truth behind the whole terrible mess he’s in.

Kelly’s busy beat is in Brooklyn, New York. It’s controlled by the Mafia, and a local gang, the Crew. The Mafia operates out of a pizza place, and the Crew is located in a pawn shop at the opposite end of the street. The street is also home to many people and businesses that feel the heat from both the Mafia and the Crew.

The beat’s civilians need Kelly’s attention, but at the same time he has stay friendly with the Mafia and the Crew - and on the right side of the law himself. Kelly’s day is a perfect balancing act between everyone and everything on his beat, including filling his ticketing quota and completing tasks assigned by his shift supervisor. He has to write a certain number of tickets, find a wanted person, make sure no-one parks on his street, and similar tasks.

Being a divorced cop (of course), he has to pay alimony, and the $50 paycheck he gets every day often just doesn’t cut it. Doing a little work for the Mafia and the Crew on the side helps, though. But it’s always risky to dabble too much on the wrong side of the law, especially when there are undercover cops from Internal Affairs hanging around.

Screenshot from Beat Cop showing Kelly

Beat Cop is A Nice Little Gem

I purchased Beat Cop a while back when it was available on sale. I played it for about half an hour, but got bored of it. This week, however, I picked it up again, and discovered what a great game it is. If the first 30 minutes feel a little slow, hang in there!

There’s a very intricate story unfolding as Kelly works his beat. What is particularly interesting is that the story is non-linear, with multiple endings. How you perform during a shift, will affect how the story progresses the next day. This has the potential for multiple playthroughs, which is not too common for adventure games.

Being inspired by ’80s cop shows, Beat Cop caters to all the familiar stereotypes and every cliche in the playbook. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, where your fellow cops are corrupt assholes, and your boss threats you like garbage.

Pixel Crow’s Beat Cop is a nice little gem with a lot of sarcastic humor. It won’t keep you entertained forever, but at the current price point it’s well worth the money. If you come across it at a sale, it’s a true steal.

The game is available for on Steam, GOG, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and from the App Store and Google Play. I haven’t tested, but I suspect that this is a game that lends itself very well to mobile gaming platforms.

  1. A “beat cop” is a cop who patrols a specific neighborhood that is know as the cop’s “beat”. ↩︎


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