I’ve played a lot of shooters in my days, but I definitely haven’t seen anything quite like Fashion Police Squad. Trading the typical blood and gore, ultra gritty and dark themes we see in many shooters nowadays for a self-aware, flashy and downright goofy tone, Fashion Police Squad makes a big impression. As a member of the eponymous Fashion Police Squad (or FPS for short — pretty witty, right?), Sergeant Des is tasked with solving various fashion crimes with a toolkit of remarkably useful, non-lethal weapons.
- 7 Things You Can Wear to a Wedding That Aren’t Just Dresses
- The 22 Best Prime Day Men's Fashion Finds Below $100
The water is non-lethal, of course!
Fashion Police Squad, A More Casual Boomer Shooter
This is a game that certainly resembles old school boomer shooters like Doom or more recently, Dusk, but emulates this style of gameplay with its own flair. You’ll travel from level to level taking out various “fashion criminals,” which are folks wearing all manner of absurd and horrendously ugly outfits. Unlike a lot of other shooters, your arsenal is fairly limited, which is by design and actually works well. You see, each enemy in Fashion Police Squad has one or two weapons to counter them, but if you use the wrong weapon, it’ll have no effect. Often, the switching of weapons in boomer shooters are crucial to conserve ammo, requiring on-the-fly thinking. While there’s no ammo in this game, you’re still forced to switch around and pick the right counter to enemies. This creates some frantic and fast-paced battles that honestly feel as exciting as Doom 2016 and its sequel.
The tools of your trade are, in concept, amazingly creative, ranging from a shotgun that shoots dye, to a needle-launching sewing gun. Heck, there’s even an endless supply of sock-stealing gnomes you can chuck at individuals wearing socks and sandals. As I mentioned, though, this is a non-lethal arsenal. You’re not blowing enemies to bits here; rather, you’re correcting horrendous fashion mistakes in a totally non-serious and funny way.
In a lot of shooters, it’s the feedback from weapons — the sound, impact and gore they cause — that make these guns satisfying, and Fashion Police Squad still manages to find a way to make these guns feel powerful and satisfying to use. The sound of your various weapons and stylish poof after fixing a criminal’s outfit has a great feel. It really feels like slinging needles at baggy suits is akin to blasting some baddies with your favorite FPS’ machine gun.
The enemy variety in Fashion Police Squad gradually ramps up as you progress through each level. You’ll encounter businessmen wearing gray suits, baggy-clothed brutes, Karens in sack dresses, and fire-flinging Guy Fieri dopplegangers. And pretty much everything in between. The pace in which Fashion Police Squad introduces enemies keeps you on your toes, and they always add a lot to each combat encounter. Enemies are super amusing, and, while difficulty of these foes err on the side of easy, it’s always a lot of fun.
Crocs on the runway? That’s horrible!
Fashion Police Squad’s level design is, at times, quite linear in nature. That’s a bit to the game’s detriment, as the missions feel like they’re holding your hand. In place of colored keys or keycards in other shooters are colored scissors to cut through ribbons, acting as locked doors essentially. The game directly leads you to where these scissors are, which defeats the purpose of key-type items. The whole point of colored keys in FPS games is to cause players to wander, but that’s rendered moot when you have an objective marker telling you exactly where they are.
Although it’s disappointing to see how linear these levels can be, there are occasional instances with variety, where Fashion Police Squad mixes platforming and action. You’re armed with a belt that, besides stunning enemies in combat, allows Des to sling around on poles like some kind of Spider-Man. When you’re able to flow through these segments at high speeds, swinging around can be quite fun. Though, I did find some instances where platforming felt imprecise and caused quite a few frustrating attempts to move forward.
There’s also a few special combat encounters that up the ante and add a lot of fun to Fashion Police Squad, brief though these segments may be. At one point, I took to the rooftops and sniped criminals making their way to a televised fashion show, fixing up their wardrobe, messy hair, and the like. Another instance put me in the seat of a machine gun turret, blasting fashion criminals in a high-speed chase. A few wildly creative boss battles are found throughout, requiring you to make full use of the game’s mechanics and adding a few twists in the mix as well.
What a bizarre adventure this game is.
The Style of Fashion Police Squad
Mixing styles both old and new, Fashion Police Squad is a pretty stylish game in its own right. Environments are 3D yet undeniably have a retro influence with pixelized exteriors of buildings and other obstacles. Conversely, the spritework for both Des’ weapons and the enemies themselves are completely 2D, but certainly breath a lot of life into the gameplay. One particular favorite enemy of mine are the Karens, who are animated in such a way that you really can’t help but chuckle. They’ve got the signature Karen walk — you’ll know it when you see it — and it’s honestly a highlight of my experience with Fashion Police Squad.
Complementing the graphics is a super funky, retro soundtrack. It wouldn’t be out of place coming from the speakers of an arcade machine, nor would the slightly distorted, intentionally low-quality voices of your enemies. There’s also an announcer that yells out various fashionable words when you defeat a fashion criminal, definitely adding to that overall arcade-retro feel.
This is a game that definitely places a much larger emphasis on story than other shoots of this caliber. While there are some witty and punny moments filled with fashion and clothing-oriented phrases, the story often breaks up the flow of combat. Seemingly after every encounter are some lines of dialogue from Des and his partner, or various other characters in the story. Every time these bouts of dialogue come about, it stops you in place and doesn’t allow you to move. While many later combat encounters are hectic and action-packed, the dialogue just siphons all that adrenaline out of my system instantly.
Time to lay down the law.
Fashion Police Squad Review | Final Thoughts
When it comes down to it, Fashion Police Squad is more style over substance. I found myself a little disappointed that it was so brief, with 13 missions total and a few challenges to tackle on the side. Just when combat encounters started to actually challenge me, the game was at an end. That’s not a terrible thing, though, because I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Fashion Police Squad. It’s an FPS unlike any other. If you’re a fan of the genre, do yourself a service and see that there’s a lot more that shooters can offer other than mindless violence and demon slaying.
TechRaptor reviewed Fashion Police Squad on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher.