LA Cops Review

Richard Walker

Modern Dream missed a trick with LA Cops. Given the 70s-inspired cop show aesthetic, big moustaches and aviator sunglasses, the game really should have had Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' on the soundtrack. It's either a massive oversight or simply a squandered opportunity. We're obviously joking, but it transpires that this is the least of LA Cops' problems, however. It's a mildly fun game, but there's not really all that much to it.

An isometric shooter, the best way to describe LA Cops is as a law-abiding Hotline Miami in three-dimensions rather than two. It's part twin-stick shooter, part-strategy, all donut-munching detectives with a job to do. LA Cops presents you with a handful of diligent upholders of the law to choose from, and you're able to choose two to take into each of the game's eight levels. And if eight levels sounds like a somewhat miserly selection, you're not wrong.

Each level consists of a series of rooms, with patrolling criminals to shoot or arrest and an objective or series of objectives to complete, whether it's rescuing a hostage or destroying caches of drugs (we thought the police were supposed to seize drugs). The idea is that you direct your partner to different areas on the map to coordinate your busts, but more often than not, you'll simply find that your partner's best use is as an extra life.

LA Cops plays like a twin-stick shooter, with a lock-on that's recommended for the instances when you go bursting into a room all-guns blazing. Somewhat annoyingly, you can't see much of what lies ahead, however, which is where spreading out your duo comes into play. You're able to zoom in and out of the game's isometric perspective and rotate the camera to see around corners, but for the most part, your view is relatively limited.

Your starting ammo is restricted to 15 bullets and a handgun, but you can pick up additional rounds and weapons like uzis and shotguns out in the field, as well as medkits and (obviously) donuts. The action essentially boils down to racing in and shooting all the bad guys, most probably failing and trying again. And again. And again. LA Cops does have the 'just one more go' factor, but it can get very samey rather quickly.

If Hotline Miami is LA Cops' closest touchstone (and it probably is), then Modern Dream's game is a pale imitation. It's not a bad game by any stretch, but it's fairly short and a somewhat one-note affair. Once you've done one level, you've effectively done them all. Later stages simply add more enemies and some slightly different objectives, then it ends. If you're so inclined, you can go back and complete each level at nightmare difficulty, with no lock-on, more enemies and less health (one hit and you're dead, pretty much).

There's an achievement for performing that very feat, but completing every stage at nightmare difficulty will take some doing. And a whole lot of patience and perseverance. You'll find a bunch of easy and pretty uninspired achievements, with several connected to killing 100, 200, 400, 600 and 1000 criminals. In total, there are 13 achievements, and they ain't really all that.

LA Cops' simplistic 70s stylised look is appealing and the game is fun in small doses, but the quirky story, though humorous, isn't particularly compelling and there's not really much in the way of longevity. For the asking price, it's not particularly good value and you can potentially breeze through it in a few short hours. Leaderboards, high scores, bonus stages and different characters might coax you back for a little while, but chances are you'll move on having completed it once. For LA Cops, that's an arrestable offence.

LA Cops

LA Cops is a neat game of cops and criminals that's just too short-lived and lacking. The 70s style is a nice touch and the partner dynamic adds a strategic bent (even if we did mostly just use the second cop as an extra life) to what is otherwise a fairly sterile twin-stick shooter. It's not quite our bag of donuts.

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A frightening lack of slap bass and no Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' on the soundtrack is just criminal. Given the game's 70s aesthetic, the tunes ain't nearly 70s enough. It's fine, but not very memorable. Voice work is decent.


The stylised art is kinda cool and quite appealing in it's own way, but we can't imagine it's really pushing the hardware all that much. It's all a bit basic, really.


Fun for an hour or two, a bit boring after extended play. Perhaps best enjoyed in small doses, there's not a lot to it, in truth. Using your partner as an extra life seems like a failing on the game's part.


Eight levels of funky police work to shoot or arrest your way through. It's all a mite samey and a bit short, but bonus levels, leaderboards and different characters add some much-needed life to the game.


Fine. A paltry 13 achievements, five of which are awarded for killing a certain number of bad guys. It's nice to get 100G or 50G for not doing very much, but some more creativity would have been welcome.

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