Developer: Hutch Games
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.01.02
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

What is Smash Cops Heat? This is a new free-to-play version of Smash Cops, featuring tweaked content and support for the newest devices, along with new elements that are designed to bring in that sweet free-to-play loot. The original game still exists on the App Store, but for those who prefer to get their core games for free, this is the version for them.

The gameplay is largely unchanged: players control a cop car in a city that apparently has a high-speed chase problem that makes LA look like La Grange by comparison. These cops deal out high-speed justice by smashing, of course. Disabling vehicles is the usual goal, though there’s also missions that are driving tests and rapid checkpoint trials. Cops gotta do a lot. One of the big changes is the addition of  donuts to collect in each level. It adds a small sense of exploration, to be on the eye out for these objects, rather than just keeping a singular focus on the bad guys. The game doesn’t feel ruined just because there’s a bigger emphasis on buying the Super Cop powerup, and the new Instaram, which makes things look like a filtered photograph instantly rams again, instead of waiting for the ram to recharge, as they hardly are instant win tools. They do help, though.

What I felt kind of disappointed in by Smash Cops Heat was that it was less of an opportunity to improve and refine on the original game than it seems to be. The controls still feel like the best solution to a messy situation. Other cops still prove to be hindrances rather than any kind of help when they appear and try to take out suspects as well. Many of the missions made available feel like they’re beatable only by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, at least until the better cars are unlocked. Even just the first unlocked car makes a world of difference. Some radically different levels or even some sort of endless mode would have given this some variety. Also, I don’t know if I would like to see the Super Cops and Instarams do more – it’s nice to feel like free play is possible, but then I also wonder where the value for one’s money truly is.

Really, Smash Cops Heat succeeds in a way: it is obviously drawing in new players to this fun core concept. But with this relaunch, it would have been great to see new avenues explored, because the concept is one that deserves to be expanded.

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