In the future, America’s roadways are policed by a squad of tough, all-female motorcycle cops called the SXPD. Is this title shorthand for the Sexy Police Department? While these high-speed, machine-gunning women have a lot of attitude, they also act like they’re starring in an unrestrained adolescent fantasy.
SXPD resembles aggressive, mature comic books like Heavy Metal or Tank Girl, and compared to most mobile games, the artwork is downright gorgeous. The visual style (depicted in comic book panels between missions) is refined in its artwork but rough in its content. The characters and environments are elegantly drawn, even if the action is all explosions, gunfire, and motorcycle wipeouts.
It’s an intriguing setting for a game, so we wish that there was more depth to this first episode. The brief bursts of gameplay are secondary to the comic-style storyline.
In the interactive segments, you’ll zip around a handful of 3D, black-and-white landscapes in a first-person view, trying to line up escaping motorcycle hoodlums in your sights. When you take out all of the enemies, the story advances, setting up another chase and destroy mission.
Mixing up the combat are two power-ups, nitro boosts and rockets, but these feel like a missed opportunity for more mayhem. In this crazy futuristic world, there should be more gadgets the SXPD can utilize to take out the bad guys.
The world is also nearly empty — there are no crowds on the street, oncoming vehicles to avoid, or insane jumps to clear. Additionally, you can’t slow down your bike to more easily turn towards your opponents, so these chase scenes often feel out of control.
Due to its adrenaline-rush storyline and brief bursts of gameplay, SXPD is over before you know it. It’s like taking home the first issue of an exciting new comic series, only to finish reading it in ten minutes of free time. SXPD lasts maybe an hour, plus more if you tackle optional the arcade-style challenges, but it’s still over before it really gets going.
SXPD is meant to be just the first installment of a larger series, and we certainly think it’s got promise. The artwork is undeniably hip and beautiful, but the storyline could use a bit more depth in the place of mindless action. Similarly, the 3D gameplay could use more variety. If SXPD wants to succeed, it should focus more on the personalities and minds of its heroines and less on how they look in leather.