Contraband Police – Review
Follow Genre: Action Adventure, Simulation
Developer: Crazy Rocks
Publisher: Playway
Platform: PC

Contraband Police – Review

Site Score
Good: Comrade customs officer, A lot of action, Immersive gameplay
Bad: Story wise your actions don’t really have an impact
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

When it comes to developing simulation games there’s Crazy Rocks, a household name having published some of the better job simulators on the market. This time we find our dream job as a customs inspector at a checkpoint, being tasked to ensure only people with the right credentials enter the country. Now, in the past, there was a highly successful title called Papers Please which started this genre. Contraband Police builds on that premise and sprinkles in some extra action elements to bring you maybe one of the most interesting simulators out there.


You wake up in a van driving you toward your new job. This is your first day on the force and your colleague fills you in. It looks like your predecessor was caught doing some illegal business and is now serving time at the local punishment camp. You arrive at the Karikatka border checkpoint which grants those eligible entry to the glorious country of Acaristan, a communist-led country suffering severe internal conflict for quite some time now. As your daily life continues, you will get dragged deeper into the ongoing conflict between a local gang and the Blood Fist, who are a liberation team that wants to free Acaristan from its communist Tyrant. The game does force you to pick a side in this conflict, but we felt that there was little impact no matter what we picked.


Visually, the simulator games from Crazy Rocks look decent but they’re nothing to write home about either. Adding too many different elements to a game often means cutting corners left and right, and that is also the case here. That being said, the game does look decent and there is enough attention to detail as vehicles get damaged once you start searching for contraband or when you get into shootouts with criminals. Your base, colleagues, and vehicles will change once they are upgraded, and the open world can be enjoyed without any loading screens in between.


The game takes place in a communist state and thus one can imagine Slavic influences, and this is also the case here. This immerses you in the location, and with everyone calling you comrade, it feels like you are one with the party. As you are in a communist regime, there are only two radio stations available for music, and these are only available when you are driving a car. The songs are simple, but they feel very authentic for the time period and location of the game. Furthermore, the sound effects from the various items are correct to real life, and vehicles all have that old exhaust note which makes them unique.


Contraband Police is an action-adventure simulator game in which you are tasked with keeping the borders of Acaristan safe in Karikatka. The game starts with a short tutorial on what you must check for, allowing the visitors access or sending them back the way they came. Initially, it is really easy with only a few rules in place but gradually they are expanded, and you must complete more tasks and make sure no smugglers or criminals get through. During each check, you have your trusty notebook with you and you are able to compare information on the various documents provided. This skill costs perception stamina, which will wear down after a while, after which you get tired, and the checking will become slower. It is not mandatory to check like this, but finding errors this way will mark them immediately on the border sheet. If you deny access, you must give the visitor the right reason.

After each check, you can get an analysis chart to see how well you did or what you may have forgotten. When you handle a check perfectly, you will get the full reward, or if you did the right thing but missed something you get a smaller reward. Making sure you get enough money from your job is essential, as after the tutorial you are left to manage the facility yourself, and running out of money means immediate termination. Fortunately, there are various ways of making money, but getting caught doing illegal stuff will cost you more than it is worth. Want to make some good cash while not breaking the law? Then just bring in prisoners and contraband to the designated locations and get a nice bonus on your paycheck, or you can also trade with the various visitors for a quick buck.

Sometimes you get intel that a smuggler is about to pass the border. The information can be found on the billboard and you must watch closely who this could be. Luckily, they use a specific mark that can be seen under UV light, and then you must use the right tool to extract their contraband. There are cases where if you don’t detain the smuggler beforehand, they might try to escape. You can either blast a bullet through their face on the spot without repercussions or try and arrest them to bring them to the work camp later for a cash reward.

As you might have noticed by now, the streets of Acaristan aren’t safe. Your checkpoint can be attacked at any time or you can get ambushed by criminals while you are driving around town after your shift. These shootouts are fun and it feels like the shooting engine works just right. You have a few different weapons and you can always get ammo at the shop or find it on defeated enemies. The shootouts in your base are mandatory and it is best to keep yourself safe, as if you are injured it will cost you quite some cash. To counter this, you can invest in better gear, granting yourself more firepower and health. In addition, you can hire more guards to keep the checkpoint safe and lower the frequency of attacks. You can also decide to invest some money into upgrading your vehicle fleet, and most importantly, your housing and office. Upgrading your house gives a bonus to health and perception stamina, while upgrades for your office give you more storage for prisoners and goods.

Not only is your day filled with action, but you’ll also get random calls from colleagues asking for assistance. These missions can be quite difficult, but the rewards can mean the difference between sleeping in a caravan or a house in just a matter of minutes. There is always something going on and it doesn’t feel like you get bombarded with missions or events while playing the game.


Contraband Police is an experience that keeps you hooked from the beginning until you stop playing. Every day is filled with action, shootouts, and people trying to cross the border illegally. You can be the good cop and say “nyet” to all of those who are wrong, or you can have a change of heart and decide to be an infiltrant for the Blood Fist. (Un)fortunately, it looks like your decision doesn’t have all that large of an impact, which may be good in comparison with Papers Please, where certain paths could lead toward an early game over. The visuals are decent and the sound design is also of reasonable quality but what matters most in a simulator game is that the gameplay is on point, and this is where Contraband Police truly delivers.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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