Fashion Police Squad Review (Switch) – Doom Wears Prada
6 months and a number of updates after its initial release on PC, the stylish shooter Fashion Police Squad has sashayed on to consoles. The debut game from the Finnish developer Mopeful Games, and published by No More Robots (Descenders, Not Tonight, Family Man), this title is now strutting its stuff on the Nintendo Switch, the version which is the subject of this review.
When Miles reviewed the original PC version of this game, he called it a “tremendously fun FPS with a quirky and creative presentation” and that “Fashion Squad Police is packed with fast-paced and surprisingly deep non-violent action“. This is a statement I wholeheartedly agree with after playing it on the Nintendo handheld. Blending vibrant retro-inspired visuals with modern shooter design philosophy, this game manages to stand out from the crowd of Boomer shooters.
So, what is Fashion Police Squad? In the game you play as Sergeant Des, a dapper agent of the titular police force. Their mandate: forcibly fix fashion faux pas around the city of Trendopolis and look glamorous while doing it. While out there bringing a bit of colour to the drably dressed, Des and his partner Hayley notice an increase in clothing crimes and set out to investigate. They soon get drawn into a conspiracy that goes right to the top…and tails.
Fashion Police Squad wears its inspiration on its sleeve (fashion pun intended). Paying homage to the retro first person shooters that influenced the entire genre, this game is fast paced, packed with potential perils and offers a decent work out for your thumbs. While this game has some modern day sensibilities to its design, there’s a decidedly old school vibe to it too. That’s most obviously presented via the visuals, but the gun play and level structures feel directly influenced by Doom and Quake with a touch of Duke 3D.
Unlike it’s inspirations however, Fashion Police Squad is ‘non-violent’. Well, kind of. It’s as non-violent as ‘forcibly changing people’s clothes by shooting them with specialised tailoring weapons or whipping them with a belt‘ can be. It’s certainly not gory, choosing to go with garments over gibs.
Rip and Repair
For the most part, Fashion Police Squad is made up of individual levels with the aim to get from A to B, with the occasional boss battle breaking up the routine. There’s a decent variation within these levels; some levels are pretty linear, acting as
kill clothing corridors packed with foes to redress, while others loop back on themselves as you look for coloured scissors that’ll open up new routes. The complexity of the levels ramps up alongside the difficulty of combat (more on that in a second) and there’s not a single dud level in the bunch.
Shortly after starting, you’ll get access to the “Belt of Justice”, a multi-purpose belt that even Batman might be jealous of. Its primary use is to stun enemies – give the poorly dressed a smack and they’ll be stunned for a few seconds, giving you chance to style them up. It’s secondary, and slightly more impressive use, is as a grapple. Around the levels of Trendopolis are myriad hook points which Des can lash to and swing through. Some levels have entire grapple sections with hazard pits below, tasking you to Tarzan through the city. Other sections have high points and collectables that can only be reached with the use of the belt. It’s a cool addition to a retro formula which enables a lot of verticality to the levels.
The most impressive innovation that Fashion Police Squad brings to the retro formula that the game is steeped in is the way it balances enemies and weaponry. The system used here is similar in part to the system used in Doom Eternal. Each poorly dressed punk you come across in the game requires a particular tactic to defeat. The ‘Dull Suit’ enemies, named because of their drab, grey attire, have to be splattered with colour from the 2DYE-4 Elite gun that acts like a shotgun. The alternative fire from the 2DYE-4 acts like a Ghostbuster proton pack and draws in colour – perfect for toning down the garish garb on the ‘Neon Brah’ or ‘Flasher’ foes. The Tailormade weapon, kind of like a hybrid between a submachine gun and a sewing machine, can be used to resize clothing. The ‘Loose Suit’ and ‘Karen’ enemies both need their ill-fitting clothes taken in a little, and can be vanquished with a barrage of needle work. As you continue through the game, the arsenal continues to expand, offering up new ways to vanquish old and fresh foes alike. This system makes for a truly engaging first person shooter experience. There’s very little spraying and praying because if you’re using the wrong equipment, you’re essentially doing nothing. You’ve got to constantly evaluate the danger that’s in front of you and change tact appropriately.
When you inevitably do shoot at someone with a weapon that’s not suited to solving that particular clothing crisis, Fashion Police Squad lets you know it via a sound effect. It’s an intuitive system that also tells you with a ding when you’ve corrected your mistake.
A bold ensemble
Because of the way that enemies and weaponry are related to one another, and the blend of enemies you’ll find yourself facing, there’s a requirement to switch between weapons regularly. This could have easily become really cumbersome, as it often does with FPS’ with larger arsenals moving from PC to consoles. Thankfully, the Switch version of Fashion Police Squad makes good use of the consoles features to simplify this. You can quickly cycle through weapons using the shoulder buttons, or hold them to open a weapon wheel that simultaneously slows down time to give you the chance to pick out the weapon you want. You can also use the D-pad on the Switch to instantly switch between weapons. If you’re accustomed to it, there’s also the option of gyro controls for aiming. All in all, Fashion Police Squad is really approaching on the Nintendo console, in either handheld or on the big screen.
As for performance, Fashion Police Squad runs incredibly well on the Switch. I’ve not experienced any noticeable slow down or stuttering, with a steady frame rate no matter what’s going on on screen. The colourful vibe of the game, with vibrant environments and plenty of pixel effects, really pops on the Switch screen.
The version of Fashion Police Squad that arrives on Nintendo Switch also takes advantage of the improvements and tweaks the game has had since it launched on PC. This obviously includes bug fixes, but also includes all of the balancing, level optimisation and polish that has been added since its original strut down the gaming catwalk. There’s still a handful of rough edges here and there – When Des activates a period of invulnerability, he jumps into the air which can send the camera a little wild, and going through air vents can still be a treacherous, mildly buggy endeavour. That said, for the most part, Fashion Police Squad arrives on the Nintendo Switch as a well polished and balanced title.
The one thing that has not needed any improvement since Fashion Police Squad launched on PC is the charm and character of the game. This game has its tongue firmly pressed into its cheek, delivering pop culture references, funny twists on fashion branding and a plethora of puns throughout. The story, the dialogue, the environment and collectables are littered with funny nods to the player and outlandish gags that set a unique tone in a genre full of humourless gruff space dudes. The vibe of Fashion Police Squad is almost enough for me to recommend this game alone; the fact that there’s a thoroughly enjoyable if brief shooter beneath it is all the better.
A vibrant, fast paced FPS that riffs on Doom and Quake in humorous ways, Fashion Police Squad blends its retro inspirations with more modern day sensibilities for a fun if brief game. The Switch version of the game is an excellent port of the PC original, now including gyro controls and taking full benefit of the updates that have been released since launch.
Fashion Police Squad is available now on Nintendo Switch (review platform), PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.
Developers: Mopeful Games
Publishers: No More Robots
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy, please go here.
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