With probably one of the coolest game names and visual presentation in some time, comes AIPD. This is the Artificial Intelligence Police Department, and it’s a twin-stick shooter that does some interesting things, but doesn’t explore them to its fullest extent to take advantage of such a name. This is a highly engaging entry amongst other twin-stick shooters like it, and thankfully AIPD is just different enough to earn your attention.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons to Geometry Wars with the bright visuals, geometric shapes, and particles that blast off dead enemies that are collected to increase a multiplier. It’s not actually Geometry Wars in any real, comparable way. AIPD plays almost as you’d expect. With support for controllers, mouse & keyboard, you can move and shoot. However, aiming doesn’t automatically fire, as it requires a press of a trigger or mouse button to actually start firing. Power-ups dropped can be picked up and dropped at-will in favor of others in order to maximize damage and protection for yourself.
With a title like AIPD – Artificial Intelligence Police Department lacks, even being a twin-stick shooter, is maybe a more detailed story to go along with it. There’s certainly a limitation with a game such as this, but there’s a whole lot of promise as to knowing what exactly is going on and how you’re doing police-work within this technological universe.
Instead of a singular weapon, you unlock new weapons with a total score, that’s accumulated over time rather than a high score earned in one game. It is neat that way, as it doesn’t become unreasonable to attain better weapons through having to achieve a massive high score in one play session, it provides a great sense of progression. When unlocked, you’ll have choices among machinegun, shotgun, howitzer, rockets, and of course lasers.
There’s a healthy amount of modes in AIPD. One of them lets you bypass the problems most twin-stick shooters have of things just being too slow and monotonous in the early goings until it ramps up. By choosing High-Tech Armada, every enemy has full upgrades and moves at increased speeds. You can even design your own game mode, with up to three slots of various modifiers for different types of play.
The soundtrack is quite good, with punchy beats and aurally stimulating sounds that are exciting to keep playing to hear more of. Paired with the visuals that the Unreal Engine 4 provides, makes the game look ridiculously gorgeous with overexposed neon lighting that’s like TRON on virtual steroids.
For the competitive aspect, there are leaderboards to compare yourself against others in the world, or your friends to have asynchronous competitions. In kind, there’s also local multiplayer for up to 4 players to play in co-op for some massive high scores and bragging rights.
AIPD is a visually stellar game with some tight controls with entertaining and cyclic combat for a modest and familiar experience. There was more that could have been done with something titled Artificial Intelligence Police Department, but Blazing Badger played it safe. AIPD is great to return to whether you’ve got a few minutes or an hour.
A pre-release Steam code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.