By: Quinn Potter
The name of the game is a bit of a mouthful – AIPD: Artificial Intelligence Police Department – but its objective is quite clear: acquire and fire. Lock onto the enemies and blow them away. Simple, retro and fun.
Controls are jolly good. Move forward, backward, rotate, shoot and use those power-ups. There’s nothing complicated here and no need to re-map (you can’t anyway).
Sharp, clean, futuristic graphics give you a nice set up for your journey into the future of law enforcement. As you navigate your police cruiser around a circular environment, neon sparks zigzag across the screen. Inside this fighting dome, you’ll face enemies that bring the proverbial “bug in the code” to life. Armies of ants, pairs of flies, and large centipedes invade the nucleus of the hive. Shapes are fairly abstract but engaging.
A heavy synthesizer with a nice backbeat keeps the drama going as you circle the fighting arena. Sound effects are well done. Firing, shifting into the next stage and squeaky movements in the fighting sphere are all nice accompaniments to the music and action.
And, just like the classic monotone computer-aided vocalizations from the ’80s, there’s an endearingly bland “super weapon gained” announcement when you acquire one. (The voice is less Siri and more Twiki from Buck Rogers, or KITT from Knight Rider.)
No tutorial, no back story. AIPD is a throwback to a time when video games first entered the mass market, so we’re just here for two things: point and shoot. Think of it as Centipede on steroids, though, because you’ve got a rockin’ soundtrack, sweet sharp graphics, and tons of game combinations generated by Unreal Engine 4.
The premise of the game is really super-straightforward. Seriously. Enter the arena in your police cruiser, swing that bad boy around like you’re flying the Millennium Falcon, and zap the heck out of some bugs.
Let’s take a look at these snazzy weapons: Gatling, shotgun, phaser, accelerator, Howitzer. Now let’s look at ship modifications: allrounder, point defense, radiator, automatic.
Not doing it for you? How about the fact that, with some weapons, you can manually fire faster with the trigger than you can with fully automatic mode? Yeah, it’s old school, baby. And, yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Local co-op is available for up to four players. There’s no online co-op, but you can compare your scores with others via online leaderboards.
We’ve seen a lot of pixelated throwbacks lately, but the clean neon graphics in AIPD, a Tron-era homage set to a great soundtrack, give young and old gamers alike something worth coming together to shout about.