App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Rebel Cops is a spin-off of Weappy's This is the Police franchise where you control a ragtag group of vigilantes that have taken the law into their own hands. It's a less ambitious step for the series, but that generally works to the game's benefit. By weeding out superfluous, under-baked systems and refining the tactical stealth and combat action, Rebel Cops manages to deliver some compelling turn-based action, despite some significant issues.
Law and Disorder
In Rebel Cops, a rural town has been infiltrated by a powerful criminal organization, to the point that even the police department is under their control. In response, a handful of citizens and ex-cops have banded together to take them down while trying to protect and serve the community.
You are in control of this group of self-appointed sheriffs and have to manage their modest supply of equipment and control them out on missions where they infiltrate barnyard hideouts and exchange fire in parking lots in turn-based combat scenarios. Along the way, you also need be careful to keep the townspeople satisfied with your work, otherwise you might seem just as bad as the criminals you're taking down.
Slow and steady
Because you're overmatched and outgunned in nearly every situation you find yourself in, the key to success in Rebel Cops is stealth. Most missions begin with your cops in infiltration mode where suspects don't see you coming. This allows you to sneak up on them and arrest (or kill) them without being constantly shot at. If you do raise the alarm though, you can try to fight your way out of it, but it's a heck of an uphill battle.
This makes Rebel Cops more of a game about patience and persistence than most tactics games. If you don't fire your gun, you're actually doing things right. This does slow things down considerably, though. Considering some of the sprawling maps in Rebel Cops, this also means some individual missions can take hours upon hours to complete, especially if you're trying to maximize your rewards and complete side-quests.
Lock and reload
There's a lot I like about the core formula of Rebel Cops. It strips out the terrible dialogue and confusing management systems from This is the Police 2 and places a real focus on tactical stealth action. Unfortunately though, Rebel Cops still suffers from a lot of problems that make it frustrating to play.
As with previous entries in the series, Rebel Cops doesn't really explain how all of its systems work, so there's a lot of guesswork and experimentation you need to do as a player to just figure out what certain things do. There's also no way to rotate maps, so navigating behind things like buildings is unnecessarily tricky. And then there's the whole stealth system, which is both inconsistent and overly punishing.
Luckily (or perhaps not, depending on who you are), Weappy seems to be aware of the problems in the game and has implemented a quick save/load feature to act as a fix for when things don't behave properly or if you simply need to take a few steps back for a mission you're already hours into. This is by no means a perfect solution, and it can even create some of its own problems, but being able to save an infinite number of times and reload almost instantly is the only thing that makes Rebel Cops playable.
The bottom line
It's not exactly fun when a game forces you to depend on loading and re-loading frequent save files to make progress, but this is core to Rebel Cops's design, and at least they make it relatively easy to do. For some reason, this was enough to allow the game to really hook me, though I can't say I was all too glad to find myself sinking as much time into Rebel Cops as I did.