Reviewing Chase HQ – Street Pursuit has been torture.
It hurts my soul when an actually brilliantly crafted mobile game is hindered because of its constant advertisements. It hurts my soul even more when that devotion to ads renders that game unplayable because of constant, game-breaking at times, bombardment. On opening Chase HQ I was immediately faced with an ad. I duly waited to skip and brushed it off as small developer bill paying – that i’m ok with. It’s when ads pop up during gameplay, while the action is still happening behind the car commercial, that I get frustrated. Leave the game for more than a second, ad. Go to a title screen, ad. Heaven forbid you start a new game, that’s a stream of ads one after the other. What makes this overkill so much worse is the fact that when you actually get onto the game, and enjoy it immensely, the level times are so short you end up spending more time rifling through ads than you do playing.
Anyway, rant over, onto the actual game which, when playable, is actually very good.
Evade police cars which collecting cash and avoiding obstacles on each course. Typically against around five police cars, if said cop rams you precious loot is dropped and must be rapidly reclaimed before it disappears. Progression depends on the amount of dollar you collect, with your first challenge set at $150. It may take some time to learn the movements of the police cars, as well as get to grips with the controls enough to actually complete this – it’s certainly no joyride. It can in fact be incredibly frustrating, but at the same time tantalisingly challenging. If one police car sends you spinning, you can bet more will be there and ready to bump all the cash out of you. It’s a tantalising mechanic that keeps the threat of going from hero to zero very real and very prominent.
Controls are simple – tap the left and right of the screen to steer around the track. While the car is nicely responsive, the turns need to be a lot sharper. As it stands they’re sloppy, making most gameplay over correcting of previous moves, especially on road block courses where this imprecise turning mechanic makes it incredibly difficult to smoothly slide past road blocks. That being said the wide turns to make for some good handbrake turns. Dipping and diving in this way becomes gorgeously smooth and satisfying, and can counteract a lot of the otherwise dominating police presence on your course.
There are certain power ups that make this police force a little less competent, and bring some variety into each course. There’s one to add another 5 seconds onto your time limit which can be both a blessing and a hinderance considering how quickly all your cash can be rammed out. Another freezes police cars, and a shield helpfully turns police cars into cash when they bump you. These powers, as well as the bundles of cash for collection, regenerate in the same spot on each course so it’s easy to know where a helping hand is when needed.
With 80s arcade-esque music and smooth graphics, everything about the actual play experience, minus the level of control in turns, runs very nicely. It’s just a shame the entire campaign is ruined by constant intrusion from advertisers. I would have been happy to pay between 99p and £2 for Chase HQ if it meant relaxation on the ads as they simply make the game unenjoyable from the outset and that’s truly heartbreaking.