In Mega City Police, the future is retro and the violence is unbridled. The pixelated streets aren’t any cleaner when I’m done — blood smatter, bullet casings, and shrapnel mark my trail. And I can’t say they’re any safer either, as I shoot at basically anything that moves. However, going through a run in the twin-stick shooter is a lot of over-the-top fun.
The ’80s are an obvious touchstone for the look, sound, and feel of the game, with the starting screen oozing Robocop vibes. Even the game’s presentation highlights this, as most of the world bows out like I’m playing on a CRT TV. Before jumping into the action, I pick between two difficulty choices. Casual — represented by some yummy-looking donuts — allows players to restart at the last level and resources don’t disappear. And Classic doesn’t. I’m not going to lie, I like a good desert and I’m not trying to completely restart every time I die, so I don’t hesitate to go casual.
I spawn in a strangely old-school police station. The only thing that gives away the futuristic setting is the robot manning the reception desk. Boomboxes scattered throughout the building let me control the retro-approved synthwave tunes playing in the background, which I love. It’s in this locale that I quickly get the basics from a tightly-designed tutorial before being shoved out into the explosive world.
Using my primary weapon and stamina-controlled melee attack take a click of the mouse. On top of this, I get offensive and defensive specials governed by cooldowns. There are also several characters to choose from, and each gets a unique moveset. The Rookie is a no-frills option, the Cyborg is a tank with expanded health and an extra weapon slot, and the Scout is quick and can disappear for short periods of time.
No matter who I pick, a run works the same. I walk out into an urban jungle filled with gun-toting thugs. And moving from section to section requires me to murder every one of them. Also hidden throughout are convenient yellow containers holding weapons that range from silly — like the staple gun — to legendary-level killing machines. I particularly like the standard blaster that looks a lot like it came from a galaxy far, far away.
Eventually, I make my way to rooms with larger-than-life, bionically-enhanced bosses and get splattered across the pavement. The quick restart, however, makes jumping back in hard to resist. Mega City Police isn’t revolutionary, but it nails its vibe. The combat is fluid, the references bring a smile to my face, and the urge to go for “one more run” is real. If that sounds like your jam, the game is now out.