miniLAW: Ministry of Law is an time-based action game. It’s the future and you are Roboco… I mean an elite miniLAW officer with the rank of Constable. There’s only one city left on the planet, as the rest of it has become a desert wasteland, and someone has placed a bomb in the city that could level it. Constable Robo… ummm Constable metal man here has to do his normal job, all while looking for information on the bomb to find it.
Usually there are information packs that the officer can pick up as he’s doing his job in whatever block you go into. Upon finding the info he eventually learns of people who are important in the different gangs in the city, of which there are three. When he finds information on important people, he can call them up and try to convince them to help give the police information which could lead to the bomb, or if he fails to convince them, the Ministry can just take the person into custody to suck memories out of their head by force.
Part of the gameplay is you going around in the sky, figuring out which block you’re going to drop into. There are many places that have crimes going for you to pick from, and there’s time limits for how long you can take to get to them and start them. So while you’re flying to them, you’re losing time. While you’re repairing your armor, buying items, calling suspects, even working on other missions, all of this is counted against how much time you have to start each mission. If you don’t go into it, it just ends, which isn’t a problem as crimes happen all over and often. The game also ends after so many hours in game as the bomb will eventually go off. How much time is based on what difficulty you play on, which also affects how much base power your armor has.
The other part of the game play is after he’s dropped himself into the city block to combat crime. In this, he has a gun he can use to shoot the shit out of baddies til they die, and can use specialty ammo, which often explode or something of that nature. If you don’t wanna just kill all the things, there’s also the option to knock the shit out of them with melee, and while shooting around them or knocking them about, you can also demoralize them until they surrender. Others, you can just demoralize without attacking in any way as well. However, while being demoralized they still attack you until they’re demoralized enough to surrender. Every enemy type tends to have certain things that affect them more than others, however, even within each enemy type there’s a fairly drastic difference to what affects demoralization. But again, you can just shoot them in the face and not worry about that shit too. I preferred demoralization, personally.
In this mode you have abilities that you’ve bought and equipped for your character as well, like helpful targeting system, more armor if you’re like me and don’t block gunfire, a better battery for your armor, etc. Almost all of the abilities and equipped bits, affect each other to some degree, like armor makes you slower but gives you better defense, most items that help with abilities causes the battery to drain faster or impacts how much you heal, etc. You also want to try and deal with all of the enemies without dying, because if you die you are defibrillated if you have battery, but if there’s a ton of enemies, or a strong one right there, you’ll just die again immediately, which sucks. If you die completely, it’s game over I assume. If you’re in a tight spot and want to leave the level either because you’re out of armor, or you have all the data and don’t give a damn about criminals doing crime as long as you stop the bomb, or whatever reason you want, you can leave. If you leave though, obviously anyone you didn’t deal with is going to get away scot free. Everyone you dealt with still goes to jail or the morgue or maybe jail then the morgue. I don’t know, or care honestly.
The good things the game has going for it are, the combat is nice, you can get behind cover as there’s a lot of it, you can block bullets, you can jump super high, and take no fall damage. Combat ends up being fairly fun, but it’s also, even on easy, kinda hard if you just wanna run and gun. This game is not made for that, at least if you don’t use the fucking block bullet ability which I never really did, it just isn’t my thing. Battery doesn’t fade quickly so you can deal with multiple blocks’ crime issues without needing to get recharged or repaired. So the combat is enjoyable.
The problems with the game, there’s a few of them. First, the tutorial some of the text only appears on screen for a split second. I couldn’t even get my eye to the start of the sentence before it flicked off and moved to the next part. This prevented me from understanding everything I needed to do in the tutorial, or learn in it for that matter. The character has a pager that gets information which I didn’t notice til I had like eight things on it, and it was just small bits of information that just didn’t feel like it mattered, so I ended up ignoring it, and the text was super small so I couldn’t read most of it anyways. The overall story exists, but there’s no real narrative, and narrative is important to me at the very least, so that was sad. The overall story is just there’s a bomb that’ll wipe out the city, go find it but do your job too. That’s where it starts and ends, that’s not me summing it up, that’s the game. Most of the game I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. The tutorial tells you how to do combat in game, but doesn’t explain anything else so I don’t really understand what I’m doing to actually find the bomb and deal with the situation the game wants you to deal with. Since I’m not given any information to know what I’m really doing, the game feels like it’s going nowhere. It ended up just being a future, pissed-off Robocop, daily-life simulator for me.
All in all, I liked the combat, but that’s about where it stopped. It’s a good time waster if that’s what you want, but from a story-telling perspective, it leaves a lot to be desired. Also, it needs some more polish which is fine after all it’s still in Early Access, so there’s plenty of time to improve the problems in it. Fix the tutorial a bit, make it to where we can enlarge the text in general, after all different people have different eyesight, allow us to open a menu with the pager so it can actually be read, and relay more information in game so we know what we’re doing. Like, for instance, I raided an enemy HQ that was triangulated by the police force. After raiding it, I went right back to doing what I was usually doing, just dealing with random blocks and their crime. I have no idea what raiding the HQ building did for me or even the point of raiding it in the first place. It kills the momentum dead since there’s seemingly no reason for anything. I think the game is worth keeping an eye on, cause again, it’s a good time waster, and the combat is fairly fun.
miniLAW: Ministry of Law was developed by Lasso Games, LLC
Point of Sale: Steam
A review copy of the game was provided by the developer.
darkmikasonfire awards the game another review when it’s fully released.