Smash Cops for iOS: A law-enforcement demolition derby

In this unique top-down racer, it's your job to chase down the criminals and ram them into oblivion. And no paperwork to file after!

Is there anything more viscerally satisfying than a car chase? Especially a cops-and-robbers chase that ends with the bad guys getting rammed into a concrete median?

That's the premise of Smash Cops (iTunes link), a thoroughly engaging new iOS game. You drive the squad car, chase down criminals, then do your best to smash and crash their getaway vehicles.

Hutch Games

At first blush, Smash Cops ($2.99) resembles other top-down racing games, including Reckless Racing and Reckless Getaway . (The latter is pretty much the polar opposite of this game.) But here the view comes from an overhead TV-news helicopter, ostensibly broadcasting the action as it transpires. It's a neat gimmick, particularly the "breaking news"-style status updates.

Another big difference: the controls. Instead of steering your car with an onscreen wheel or left/right arrows or the like, you use a "push" method: you hold your finger behind the squad car to make it go, sliding left or right to steer.

There's a more-traditional "joypad" option if you prefer it, but I found the push option ideal for this kind of driving.

There's one other control, and that's for ramming your cruiser into the getaway car. This requires nothing more than a tap of the screen--and then a wait while your "ram" meter refills. Thus, you can't just ram the bad guys into oblivion; you have to keep up the chase until you've earned another stab at them.

Smash Cops looks gorgeous, especially when viewed large on an iPad (or mirrored to your TV, which you can do on an iPhone 4S or iPad 2). And when you manage a solid ram, the enemy car goes flying in a satisfying slow-motion roll.

There are other challenges besides running down criminals. You'll also face obstacle courses, evidence-gathering runs, timed races to crime scenes, and so on. It's a nice mix.

This is a great little game, and a perfect companion to Reckless Getaway. When you're in the mood to play cops-and-robbers, you can pick which one you want to be.

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