I love a retro-style FPS, something that takes you back to the glory days of Doom and Goldeneye, so when I was offered our Fashion Police Squad Switch review, I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I didn’t too, as while I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this one, I was happy to find a charming shooter, brimming with wit and plenty of tasty weapons to fire. So let’s sound the fashion police alarm – I like to think it goes “yaaaaaaaaaaaas” – and get into it.
The basic premise of Fashion Police Squad is pretty self-explanatory. You’re Sergeant Des of said police squad, but of course, one with a difference in that its only concern is crimes of fashion. We’re talking flame-embroidered shirts, bland suits, and yes, the occasional flasher. With your trusty weapons on hand, like the 2DYE-4 Elite, which blasts colour onto grey enemies, or the Tailormade to stitch up any baggy-clothed losers patrolling the streets, it’s not exactly dirty work, and you have a great time doing it.
In terms of gameplay, Fashion Police Squad falls into the best category of old school, a linear story path with challenge options along the way. There’s no annoying fluff around the edges, no forcing you to try the challenge levels, you can simply tackle the game like you used to be able to tackle a game, without worrying about amiibo or multiplayer or anything of the sort. You’re just running and gunning, and with the ease of movement and fast-paced shooting sections, it’s all the better for its clean approach.
There are plenty of ways in which Fashion Police Squad stands out from the FPS crowd, with the most obvious being the post-mission fashion shows that allows the reformed criminals to take to the catwalk in their new clobber. It’s always fun to see the results of your crime-fighting, but this added gimmick perfectly suits the overall aesthetic of Mopeful Games’ title, bringing that extra something to the end of a level. There’s also the fashion belt, which doubles as a whip, allowing you to occasionally unleash your inner fashionista and take out multiple enemies in a thirty-second slot. It’s surprisingly exhilarating and adds another dimension to the already enjoyable combat.
Level design throughout is in the top class of contemporary retro FPS titles, with every mission piquing your interest and with enough scope to find secrets and stashes of health and armour. From the Utopia-like city you start in, to the underground lairs and Bondi Beach tribute acts, there’s more level variety than you might anticipate, though the combat shines brightest in the confined areas like the subway sections, with a surprising resemblance to Golden Eye, but with an extra fabulous James Bond at the centre.
Much like the level design, the characters in Fashion Police Squad are visually impressive, with a clear difference between the variety of enemies and NPCs, though they could be used a little more. Sergeant Des is a great leading man, with plenty of killer looks to change up your loadout, but the rest of the supporting cast lack a bit of his zing – admittedly, he has buckets of zing – making them fade into the background a little, at least until the big bad is revealed and the bosses start to up the tempo in terms of narrative.
I already touched on the weapons, but it’s worth going back to as it’s one of the biggest draws of the game. In Fashion Police Squad, you need to rotate through your tools fairly often, with each fashion crime having an appropriate solution. This need to asses a threat before you approach it does add a thinking element missing from a lot of shooters, which is great, until you accidentally fall into a room with three different kinds of baddies, leaving you to desperately switch from weapon to weapon in a frenzy as you try and figure out who to take down first. In those situations, it can be a little overwhelming, but fortunately never enough for me to quit, though this is in part thanks to a very forgiving checkpoint system.
The highlight of the whole Fashion Police Squad experience for me is for sure the boss battles. These major investigations take up an entire level, but they’re worth it. In that last bit, I talked about how switching weapons can be irritating if surrounded, but in boss battles, it adds to both the challenge and the thrill, with each stage often dictated by a certain weapon mechanic to keep you on your toes. The design of these bosses is consistently challenging and visually appealing, a particular highlight is in the facedown against YouTuber Xx_UwU_Senpai_SwagMan_xX, with the enemy glitching out between stages, showcasing the design skills of the team at Mopeful Games.
The boss battles also highlight the writing, though it’s pretty great throughout, with Sergeant Des whipping out witty lines with snazz and panache at regular intervals. Fashion Police Squad is on-the-nose camp, it’s camper than camp, it’s like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy meets Doom, but it’s not trying to say anything, it’s just a Prada store full of FPS fun, and only the most cynical could find fault with the fabulous forays of Des and the gang.
What I will say, is that if you’re not a fan of FPS titles at all, there isn’t much here to turn you onto the genre. Sure, there are plenty of gimmicks and the dialogue keeps you grinning from scene to scene, but it’s an FPS at the end of the day, with a whole bunch of shooting and not much else. For me, this is great as it’s what I came for, but don’t expect to engage if you’re only here for the concept, as while it’s a funny game, it’s not at the level of hilarity-inducing that you could get through the gameplay just for a few laughs. No, under the illusion of campy kookiness, Fashion Police Squad is a real FPS, and those averse to the genre probably won’t be won over by this one.
I do have a gripe with the platforming sections in the early game, especially when you’re forced to use the whip to traverse gaps between areas. The problem is that the whip has to be bang on the money when you aim it at your launching point and failing this is just a little too easy. Things get better later on with the introduction of the Wet’Ones water launcher, which you can use to boost your run and make it over large gaps, but these sections still feel a little tacked on to give levels a couple of extra minutes of runtime.
I don’t usually talk about music too much in a review, but I can’t not mention the funky, I said funky, score behind Fashion Police Squad. I turned my Switch up loud for every level, jamming out to the chiptune soundtrack, nodding my big ol’ head to some incredible bass slapping. Like the rest of the game, the music is in your face, adding to the overarching vibrancy of the game, with each note popping out of the speakers with the same intensity as the colours on the screen. It’s bright, lively, and everything is there to keep you engaged.
Performance on Switch is essentially fine, though there’s some occasional slowdown in the cutscene sections with dialogue boxes sometimes overlapping or stuttering before they disappear. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for the shooting sections, where I experienced no lag or controller issues, so I could just have a great time blasting baddies accused of all sorts of fashion faux pas.
All-in-all, Fashion Police Squad is an important entry in the Nintendo Switch’s FPS catalogue, offering an alternative to the usual doom-and-gloom deathapaloozas you find in the genre. It might not be enough to turn new players to the genre, but for those who need an FPS with a bit of a difference, or just want to enjoy a surprisingly deep world of fashion crimes, Fashion Police Squad is a riot, and one I hope the real police let burn deep into the night because god knows that’s when I’ll be up playing it til.
For more reviews on the latest titles, check out our Life is Strange 2 Switch review, Roller Drama Switch review, and Trek to Yomi review. Or, for more fabulous outfits, check out our picks for the best fashion games.
Fashion Police Squad Switch review
This fast-paced retro-inspired FPS is a treat for fans of the genre, though there’s little to pull in those who don’t fancy a shoot-off. Despite some annoying platforming sections, Fashion Police Squad offers an alternative to the norm while providing all of the running and gunning fun, looking like a million dollars while it does it.