First person shooters aren’t really my first choice of genre when it comes to video games. Blasting bad guys with a variety of grey guns just doesn’t do it for me, and unfortunately that’s all some shooters have to offer. A bit of creativity though and I’m all over an FPS, so imagine my delight when I heard about Fashion Police Squad – a retro style shooter where all the enemies are committing crimes against fashion.
As Sergeant Des, your job is to fight the unfashionable walking the streets of Trendopolis. This is a tough task at the best of times, but recently the style faux pas have started getting out of hand. You decide to get to the bottom of this, and follow some clues which lead to some of the biggest fashion designers in the land. To truly beat bad taste for good you’ll need to take it down from the top, which means it’s time for a fabulous adventure.
So how do you stop people from committing fashion crimes I hear you ask? You shoot them! Not with bullets; that would be barbaric, instead you use guns designed to correct clothing catastrophes. Your first weapon is a dye shotgun that pumps colour onto drab suits. Then you unlock a sewing gun that stitches ill-fitting outfits into tailored couture, followed by a water gun that tones down garish neon ensembles. It’s a really creative way to handle combat in an FPS, and is thematic perfection.
I can’t think of another shooter with more entertaining enemies than Fashion Police Squad, and they’re fun to fight too. From Karens in potato sack dresses that need sprucing up to men in that awful 90s flame shirt setting fire to the world, every encounter is unique and fast paced. The attacks these badly dressed villains unleash are always dodgeable too, which means that as long as you’re quick on your feet your health bar will stay nice and full.
It’s crucial that you use each and every gun at your disposal when dealing with these varied enemies, because this isn’t a one size fits all situation. Blasting dye at someone wearing a baggy outfit does absolutely nothing, which means you can’t just stick with your favourite weapon throughout the game. It’s such an interesting concept, but in practice having to constantly switch weapons is just a bit fiddly in the middle of a massive arena battle especially as your arsenal grows.
When you aren’t busy shooting perps, you’ll probably be getting to your next objective by way of platforming. There’s a huge emphasis on jumping around the environments in Fashion Police Squad, especially once you unlock the Belt of Justice that stuns enemies and can be used as a grappling hook. First person platforming might not be everyone, but once I started swinging through the city like Spider-Man I was well and truly hooked.
You’ll need to use that grappling belt a lot if you want to uncover all of Fashion Police Squad’s secrets too. Every level has a selection of secret areas to find, which contain pictures of the main character wearing hideous outfits. There’s absolutely no reason to try and collect these from a gameplay perspective, but it’s worth checking them out just to see the selection of faux pas and bad cosplays the developer decided it was important they design.
The selection of enemy types, weapons and secrets alone would have easily been enough to make Fashion Police Squad an entertaining retro FPS, but that’s not all the game has to offer. As you progress further into later levels, almost every single one will have a new fun gimmick to mix things up. One level features sniper sections where you fix fashion issues on a red carpet from afar, another ends in a high speed police chase with entertaining turret action. There are inventive boss fights throughout the game too, which require all your skills and weapons to survive. It’s impossible to get bored with the amount of variety on offer in this game.
The most impressive aspect of Fashion Police Squad though is how dedicated it is to the theme. There were so many times where a new enemy was introduced that had me cracking up, and I never tired of defeated enemies being announced with cries of “Eleganza” or “Vivacious” as they proudly stood in their new snazzy outfits. Getting to see your hard work pay off at the end of each level with a runway show of all defeated enemies is a nice touch too, and watching their little pixel dances was always a treat.
Fashion Police Squad is much more than another retro style FPS, with a fantastic theme and interesting gameplay helping it stand out from the pack. Constantly switching weapons can get a little tiring, but the new ideas and gimmicks keep coming and ensure the game feels fresh from start to finish. If (like me) you’ve always thought that DOOM could use more catwalks, then this is the FPS for you.
A unique take an the classic FPS
Packed full of new ideas
Great enemies and weapons
A fabulous fashion theme
Switching between weapons can be a bit fiddly
The platforming won't be to everyone's taste