Review – Fashion Police Squad (PS5)
When you think of video games and the world of fashion, what genres come to mind? A dress-up simulator? A licensed Barbie game? Maybe a more obscure simulator where you have to manage a clothing store? I’m pretty sure something like this exists, if even lawn mowing simulators are available for computers AND consoles. But I’m here today to showcase a perfect marriage of two things that, at first glance, feel like complete polar opposites. What about a retro-styled first-person shooter, inspired by DOOM and Quake, centered around the world of fashion? A game where you don’t even kill a single foe? Yes, that exists. Let’s talk about Fashion Police Squad.
You read that right: in Fashion Police Squad, which is a fast-paced first-person shooter, you don’t kill enemies. You shoot at loads of them, but not to kill them. Instead, you are here to solve fashion crimes. You have a small assortment of fashion-based weapons and a handful of different enemies to deal with: Karens wearing potato sacks, dudebros with neon shirts, German tourists wearing socks and sandals, boring salarymen wearing full grey, and so on. Each weapon can be used to get rid of a specific crime, such as a color shotgun that can either give color to a grey suit or remove excessive color from a neon shirt, or a safety pin machine gun meant to take care of small people wearing XL suits.
In short, this gives Fashion Police Squad a quasi puzzle vibe, as each enemy has to be dealt with in a specific manner. This is one of things that makes Fashion Police Squad stand out, but I do feel this ended up being a double-edged sword. At first, it’s great: you’re introduced to a new enemy, you’re told how to deal with it, and the game throws you a few gauntlets for you to overcome: a one-on-one against this kind of foe, then maybe dealing with two of them and once, and then having to juggle between this new kind of enemy and another one that requires a completely different method of defeating.
It doesn’t take long for the game to assume you’re already great at it and throw seven different kinds of fashion criminals into a small, enclosed arena for you to deal with. It’s not that Fashion Police Squad is as difficult as Quake, but having to constantly switch between weapons with a somewhat clunky weapon wheel is very frustrating, especially when you don’t have a fully-fledged method of cycling between your weapons with the shoulder buttons. R1 works just fine, but L1 activates a belt whip attack, which could have been assigned to any other button.
This belt can also be used as a grappling hook of sorts in specific segments, adding an extra layer of fast-paced movement to the game. Fashion Police Squad doesn’t shy away from being very vertical with its level design at times, with creative designs whenever you start off a new level. Sadly, the following always happens: you begin a new level, you are wowed with the creative landscapes and designs, only for you to then get progressively bored with the length and usage of repetitive assets within said level. The game does overstay its welcome with its levels after a while, which is a shame.
Thankfully, even if the game does get a bit repetitive after a while with its mechanics and overabundance of reused assets, it never ceased to amaze me with its presentation. Fashion Police Squad eschews the edgelord presentation seen in most recent retro shooters, such as Dread Templar, instead opting for a crap ton of colors, puns, lighting effects, and hilarious sprite-based characters interacting with polygonal objects. Likewise, the soundtrack was pretty good, with it being mostly comprised of 16-bit MIDI funk tunes, one of which sounding shockingly similar to “Uptown Funk”. That is definitely not a complaint.
Fashion Police Squad does get repetitive and annoying after a while, but I cannot deny how creative this title is. The idea of a fashion-based, death-free DOOM clone sounded ridiculous on paper, but the developers sure delivered a brand new take on retro-styled shooters with an additional layer of puzzle-solving, dad-worthy puns, and a ton of color and personality. It’s an easy recommendation for FPS enthusiasts. Even if its levels outstayed their welcome with their unnecessarily long lengths, I played the entire game with a dumb smile on my face.
It goes for an old-school Doom-esque graphical style, but with a lot of creativity in its character design. It’s glitzy, colorful, and over the top.
Fast-paced and challenging, with each enemy requiring a different “killing” method. It’s a neat concept, with the game almost feeling like a puzzler at times, but swapping between weapons at all times gets tiresome after a while.
Each level features a funky beat that fits perfectly with the game’s over-the-top presentation.
Fun Factor: 7.5
Despite the incredibly creative premise and tight gameplay, Fashion Police Squad suffers from some dull level design and repetitive combat. It overstays its welcome.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Fashion Police Squad is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Fashion Police Squad was provided by the publisher.