In the not-so-distant futuristic setting of Mega City Police, crime is out of control. Criminals and psychopaths run rampant. And overbearing megacorporations squeeze the free will from innocent civilians. To fight back, players must make the bad guys bleed as one of the incorruptible officers of the Mega City Police Department. If it isn’t already obvious, this game is heavily inspired by the likes of old-school 80s and 90s action films like Judge Dredd, Terminator and Robocop. Whilst not as on-the-nose as something like Broforce, there is an enjoyable amount of campy action tropes included.
Back to the 80s
The visuals are also heavily inspired by the 80s and 90s. As with many indie games, Mega City Police features a nice crunchy pixel art style throughout. To increase the retro feel even more, there is an option to apply a CRT-esque filter too. Some may say that features like these are overused, but I enjoy them and find them endearing.
The game looks and runs exceptionally well on Steam Deck. The aforementioned CRT filter looks great when coupled with the surrounding matt black plastic of Steam’s popular portable device. The file size is also small enough to be a permanent addition to an installed library, ready and waiting for another session.
Shoot to kill
Gameplay-wise, Mega City Police is a top-down twin-stick shooter with an abundance of rogue-like and permadeath mechanics. This means if the player dies, they have to start a run again. This also means that each run is slightly different as all the weapons and layout of the levels are randomized. Most of the bonuses achieved are also reset, although some can be carried over to the next run. The game expects the player to die, and this is incorporated into the mechanics. It’s not a re-invention of the wheel, which is perfectly fine.
My biggest problem with Mega City Police is those pesky rogue-lite mechanics. Of course, this issue is not a problem specifically created by this game. I completely understand why developers include such mechanics. I was just hoping more for a typical level-by-level system like Broforce. Progression hinges too much on getting a lucky run, as opposed to actually being skilled enough. Deaths can feel cheap sometimes, especially when you’ve had a particularly unlucky run.
Although there are plenty of variables that help mix things up, the gameplay gets repetitive extremely quickly. On a more positive note, this encouraged me to switch and experiment with characters to find one more suited to my playstyle. Each playable character has individual stats and loadouts. I preferred a defensive style, with higher health and less powerful starting weapons. Those few extra hit points were invaluable more times than I could count.
Cut to the chase
Pushing my grievances aside, Mega City Police is a well put together rogue-like with some delightful combat, and some sufficiently meaty weapons. Enemies and bosses are varied enough, and each stage is equally so. Just don’t expect to be enthralled by it for very long, unless you are a diehard fan of the genre.
Disclaimer: A code was provided for this game to aid in writing this review.