This is the Police is the result of a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign launched in January 2015. Belarusian developer Weappy Studio managed to raise a sweet $35,508 to finish development of their “strategy/adventure game about power and corruption, duty and choice”. Estimated delivery date for the game was December 2015, but as we all know, computer game developers always fail to finish on time. In August, 2016, however, Weappy Studio delivered on their promises and the game was finally released.
In This is the Police you’re put in the big - and probably sweaty - shoes of Jack Boyd, the police chief of Freeburg, a average sized city with above average crime problems. Boyd is retiring in 180 days, but before those 180 days are up, he wants to get his hands on half a million dollars “retirement fund”. There are many ways for a retiring police chief to amass that kind of money. Do you chose to serve your city like an honest cop, with the money coming from your monthly paycheck and rewards from locking up wanted criminals, or do you prefer to get rich by working with the mob, and other shady characters you find lurking in Freeburg’s dark underworld? Is it possible to stay friends with everyone, have a clear conscience and make the necessary money, all at the same time?
I’ve always been skeptical of negative reviews from people who have played a game for 8+ hours and still conclude that they can’t recommend it. But that’s exactly how I feel about This is the Police. Weappy Studio’s take on the game is refreshing, with a dash of adventure mixed in with some strategy, resource management, and politics. But everything gets very tedious and repetitive after a while. After about 8 hours of This is the Police, I was at day 60 of the allotted 180, and on the verge of abandoning the game. But I decided to go on for a few more hours, to make sure that Jack Boyd would get his hands on the half a million price money - I was not too far away from cracking a mob boss with a $200,000 bounty on his head, and with that money, I would break the magic $500,000 barrier.
So I played for another few hours, thinking that as soon as Boyd got all his money, the game would be over. But it turned out the goal of This is the Police isn’t to get your hands on $500,000 before the 180 days are over - it’s to survive for 180 days and have the money when the time is up. At day 97, Jack Boyd had $541,227 stuffed in his mattress, but the game insisted on not ending and demanded that I soldiered on towards the finish line at 180 days. Even with the money he needed, there was no way to get Boyd to give the mayor of Freeburg a big, fat middle finger, take his dough with him and leave for Tahiti.
Despite having spent almost 13 hours with This is the Police in the end, I can’t get myself to recommend it. The first few hours are pretty interesting. The story is intriguing, with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes. The voice work is excellent, the graphics are simple, but with a very fitting style, and the soundtrack to Jack Boyd’s adventure is a pleasure to listen to. But in the end, everything just seems to go on and on, and those 180 days look like they’ll never end.
One of my main goals when buying a game - in particular an adventure game - is to actually finish it. In my case, that will never happen with This is the Police. According to the collective wisdom of the internet, finishing the game will take 20+ hours, and I’ve know of a lot of better ways to spend that time.