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Developer: Hutch Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00.09
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Smash Cops is a game where police officers have given up any pretense of nonviolent resolution to crime prevention and have decided to enforce the law through violent high-speed collisions. This is probably why most of this game’s 20 missions involve chasing down suspects trying to get away and cross the state line; making a federal case out of a traffic violation is probably better than having to deal with this state’s cops. There are the Pursuit missions where taking down suspects as quickly as possible (read: as violently as possible) is the goal; Emergency missions where getting to a certain spot by racing through checkpoints is the goal, while trying to avoid people that really don’t want the cops to report to that yacht robbery; finally, there are Challenge missions which encompass anything from trying to drive down a freeway in a badly-damaged vehicle to solving illegal parking by violently ramming into the cars.

The ram mechanic is a big part of Smash Cops, as it allows for cars to be knocked into the air when hit from the front or side, causing great damage. It also works as a speed-up tool, so using it wisely becomes key. The controls aren’t meant for absolute precision, but pointing behind the car to determine its direction and tapping elsewhere to ram works well enough. The entire game takes place in a single city, and different missions will travel past the same locations and landmarks, giving the game the feel of being in a living, breathing, world.

The title Smash Cops is ironic, because it made me want to smash cops. See, on some missions, there are CPU-controlled police cars trying to assist in taking down the suspects. I emphasize trying to assist because they generally just get in the way of smashing the suspects, and wind up getting hit by me instead, leading to lower scores as apparently wrecking fellow cops is a no-no. This is also apparently a parallel universe where no one has ever heard of “stopping and pulling over when sirens go by” as cars get in the way constantly.

Challenge missions that demand precise driving are just flawed; this is a game where precise driving is just kind of pointless and impossible because of the sheer number of cars in play, and the controls just aren’t meant for precise driving. Smash Cops is a bit short, too – the 20 missions don’t take too long to complete. iPod touch 4th generation owners should note that the game tends to crash often due to low RAM conditions in the version I reviewed.

Smash Cops is ludicrous, and I certainly think that in a world where sitting protesters are pepper sprayed, no current police department should ever be allowed to play this game lest they get the wrong idea from playing. The issues can get annoying, but there’s still something viscerally entertaining about smashing cars at high speeds.

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