Having a poor sense for all things chic and in vogue isn’t exactly a crime, but in Fashion Police Squad there is no absolution for bad taste. A retro shooter with its tongue firmly planted in the cheek, bullets in this one are but a process to make every enemy look positively stunning and cheerful. It’s intentionally silly, but somehow manages to make this intriguing concept of a clothing police engaging and fun for everyone, including lovers of meme culture.
A Ravishing Shot at First-Person Shooters
Fashion Police Squad mixes the old with the new, with simple 3D for the locations and items, but every character comes in a 2D papercraft pixel style. This design was used in classic shooters such as Duke Nukem 3D but is now realized with the poise that new tech allows for, offering stages of various themes in a world that still manages to feel whole. From the city streets to a subway and even the beach, there’s enough diversity to keep you guessing what’s in store after the end of each parole ball.
Project Downfall is another recent example of a shooter that takes the same approach as Fashion Police Squad, both games favoring frantic gameplay speed and dazzling visual effects. This is a solo-only narrative with a wacky storyline that won’t take longer than five hours to complete, but our main character Sergeant Des is as clueless as they come, thankfully having the help of the wise Officer Haley during his adventure.
The humor is mostly on point, sometimes with meme references that may or may not fly over your head, but overall it’s a fun time with some intentional cringe moments – who among you have never felt second-hand shame when a tourist wearing socks with sandals passes by? Or someone wearing clothes with colors so bright that almost blind you? What about business men wearing suits that are either too small or too large for them? Let’s not even get into details on obese middle-aged men wearing tight speedos at the beach, because I don’t want anyone to throw up their lunch.
One of the things you’ll be doing the most in Fashion Police Squad is switching weapons. Your arsenal is one of splashes of colors and stitches, sometimes a water cannon that even helps you run faster and jump farther, but the gimmick here is that various enemies are only vulnerable to a certain weapon, and sometimes weapon combinations are required to eliminate them… I mean, to make them fabulous, because in this game no one dies, they become gorgeous, even a Karen!
An example of a normal mission for Sergeant Des is using the standard color splash carbine on a few dull grey suit wearing businessmen, then switching to the gnome to launch them at the sock-sandal wearing tourist, and quickly taking out the frenzied job seeking kid with a blast from the alternate tailormade rifle firing mode, then shooting the now blanket-covered guy with a few stitches from the same gun. Now do this in frequent intervals, with all the chaos that stems from having quite a few enemies around you. Using an inadequate weapon on an enemy won’t do him any damage, so you must keep these weaknesses in mind. When your fab meter reaches 100%, you can unleash your dashing ultimate – a fabulous glove allowing you to chain slaps while instantly moving from enemy to enemy.
Sometimes you can stun your enemies by throwing them a gnome, but the most effective way is by using your dazzling whip, which is actually your belt. A versatile weapon as few can be, you can use it to stun enemies, destroy items, or swing around town in ways that would make Spider-Man proud. This uber-navigation is another game genre in itself, as you swing from pole to pole across rooftops, traveling fast and furious, but with the looming threat of death if you fail to time your jumps right.
On the downside, most levels have a very straightforward and somewhat blocky design. The layouts are not quite on the ingenious side, being fairly monotonous to explore and not as diverse as you’d hope them to be. It’s almost as if the theme changes, but the areas remain firmly grounded on the same ideas.
Such Sparkle, Much Dazzle
Fashion Police Squad is a fun, self-conscious take on the FPS genre and has the merit of not overstaying its welcome. The enemies introduced in regular intervals felt consistent and not forced, incredibly relatable to anyone with the slightest fashion sense. The mechanics are sound, gameplay zips along at incredible speeds, and the diversity of challenges from the various enemy types that you must face simultaneously is enjoyable. Boss battles are amusing to play and watch, with some offbeat humor that mostly hits the mark.
If you’re looking for a light and entertaining way to kill some time in a non-bloody kind of way, Fashion Police Squad is a stylish choice. Take a jab at some of humanity's worst second-hand shame purveyors with the fury of a pixelated Doom guy and enjoy every single moment of it, even if socks with sandals are highly likely to torture us until the end of time.
- An original, relatable, and witty fashion concept
- Pleasant art style mixing the old with the new
- Inventive weaponry and enemy gimmicks
- Level layout can be somewhat bland