One of the best things about indie game development is the amount of creativity it allows for. While AAA games and their peers require some creativity in order to succeed, those behind them generally don’t have anywhere close to the amount of freedom as smaller, less restricted teams. After all, there are stockholders and corporate overlords to please, and sequels are common because it’s expected that they’ll sell like their predecessors. Simply put, being too creative is a risk for bigger budget productions, as is being too unique.

Helsinki, Finland’s Mopeful Games didn’t have to worry about such restrictions, or corporate expectations, when they set out to work on a quirky shooter called Fashion Police Squad. It’s possible that we wouldn’t have ever seen or been able to play this game if they had.

Fashion Police Squad is pretty much what you’d expect from reading its title. It’s a game wherein the player controls a member of a fashion conscious enforcement squad, which aims to rid its colourful city of such fashion faux pas as socks with sandals, ill fitting suits and more. One that takes the form of a retro first-person shooter, and is chock full of character, pizazz and flourish.

Upon stepping into the shoes of fashion forward Sargeant Des, we must help the citizens of Trendopolis, in order to make the city a much nicer, better dressed and more respectable place. This is done by taking to the streets, alleyways, courtyards and finance district(s) in order to shoot away the blahs and replace them with happy, colour coordinated outfits. All while dealing with the trappings of a retro first-person shooter, including limited movement, onslaughts of enemies and occasionally challenging gameplay.

As you fix your enemies’ outfits and their fashion crimes, you’ll make everyone happy. Des will also discover who’s behind the widespread clothing faux pas, as he investigates the city’s fashion underworld. All along, the player will be treated to comical writing, nods to real world things and oddball characters.

Outside of its unique and unexpected premise, what sets Fashion Police Squad apart from its peers (both modern and those more like it, including DOOM) is its choice of weaponry. Instead of firing bullets out of pistols, shells out of shotguns and emptying magazines through assault rifles, you’ll use more fashion conscious weapons.

The first gun you’ll ever get to use is a dye gun, which shoots what resembles paintballs at foes, and can also drain them of colour. Then, you’ll graduate to a sewing machine gun that fixes ill fitting suits, before unlocking a water gun of sorts, which is used to address ugly neon ensembles, before unlocking other weaponry. Needless to say there’s lots of creativity on offer here.

Progressing through this campaign and its numerous stages isn’t as simple as just spamming the shoot button and plastering every enemy in sight with dye-balls. No, there’s actually some strategy involved herein. That’s because each and every different type of enemy is weak against a certain type of weapon, be it dye-balls for drab suits, the sewing gun for ill fitting ones and potato sack wearing Karens, or the little sock gnomes that must be shot at photographers.

You will often find yourself swarmed by enemies of different types, too, requiring you to change weapons quite often, while also always having a plan of approach. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but if you think about which foes to take out first, second and so on, you should be OK. This game has its chokepoints, but it’s not too stingy when it comes to health packs and upgrades, and the same is true of checkpoints. As such, you won’t have to start a level over from scratch.

Having to change weapons so often can be a pain, because it slows you down and leaves you unable to attack for a second or two. It gets to be a hassle, and will annoy some more than others. That said, part of this experience is strategically attacking combat scenarios. It isn’t like a traditional shooter where one weapon will hurt all foes, even if the damage is limited in some cases.

Moving throughout the game’s plazas, courtyards, streets, alleyways, subway tunnels and financial district(s) is also made easier thanks to a belt that can attach to empty flagpoles. This allows the player to swing from one point to another, reach new heights and potentially find secrets they otherwise wouldn’t. Said verticality changes things up, and adds some variety to the experience, although it’s not mechanically perfect and can be annoying at times. Then again, this is a title that has its flaws and doesn’t always avoid frustration, and one that doesn’t necessarily think outside of the box mechanically. At least, not outside of its unique weapons.

Variety is also found in some of the later missions, which change things up by introducing sniping fashion crimes on a red carpet and engaging in a high speed chase while manning a turret. These bouts of added variety and creativity really help the game stay fresh during its few to several hour runtime.

Is Fashion Police Squad going to blow you away, or win a Game of the Year award? Unlikely. It is, however, a unique, comical and entertaining game.

The presentation department is where this thing really stands out, thanks to its very colourful and incredibly campy pixel graphics. Few games look like this, especially today, so it’s a nice change of pace. All of that visual flair is then aided by music and sound effects ripped straight out of the 16-bit era, as well as dialogue befitting a campy B-movie. Extra pizazz is then expressed through the Adam West’s Batman style words that appear over aided enemies’ heads.

Those who are looking for something different, and who are willing to lose some of modern gaming’s comfortable features, should look into Fashion Police Squad. It knows what it is, does it well and makes no apologies for being its own thing.

This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided with.

Fashion Police Squad Review
Fashion Police Squad doesn't take itself seriously, resulting in a zany and creative take on a classic first-person shooter from yesteryear. It's flawed but fun, and deserves attention.
The Good Stuff
  • Uniquely original
  • Doesn't try to do too much
  • Looks and sounds quite good
The Not-So-Good Stuff
  • Always having to change weapons is a pain
  • Chokepoints
  • Could be more mechanically original
77%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

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