NOTE: This was written shortly after release into Early Access. There have been a couple of patches adding more police missions to the game, but my initial impressions remain the same.
Lights flash, sirens blare - and for once I’m not the one running from them. No, instead Flashing Lights sets you in the driver's seat of a police car, an ambulance or a fire truck, in both a single player and a multiplayer open world.
It recently hit Early Access on Steam, and plans to be there for about 18 months, so I knew that I’d probably have to give it some slack. The developer is also a lone individual, so it has some way to go.
As a police officer, you currently have one call - stop a car from driving dangerously. You have to get close to him with your lights and sirens going, then once his compliance bar is full he gets out. You have to handcuff him, grab him and put him in the car before dropping him off at the station.
Other than that, you can ticket vehicles for parking illegally - or really for any reason you want. You lose reputation points for choosing the wrong option, or ticketing incorrectly, but since those don’t really tie into anything yet there’s no problem doing it.
As a medic, you have a couple of scenarios where you have to check over someone at the scene of an accident, then get them on your stretcher and take them to the hospital before offloading them.
Finally, the firefighter has the most options at the current stage in development. Use the jaws of life to get someone out of a vehicle before checking them for injuries. Fight a fire at a shack. Fight a fire at a warehouse. Fight a dumpster fire.
All three jobs and their respective “missions” are available in single player and multiplayer servers, though the first multiplayer server I joined didn’t have any missions pop up, so I assume it glitched when the other person on the server left. You can have up to six people on a server at a time, and password it if you want, but that’s really it as far as options go. There are placeholders for friendly fire and NPCs, but they are inactive, and multiplayer servers have no NPCs wandering/driving around.
Currently, Flashing Lights is quite glitchy. It runs fine, but object interaction isn’t anywhere near perfect. For instance, I took a guy on a stretcher out of my ambulance and wheeled him into the hospital to drop him off - and no matter what I tried the mission wouldn’t end on the marker inside the hospital.
Another thing is the physics - my cop car hit a few cones and was launched into the air in a wild flip. I’m glad there’s the command available to reset your vehicle, because at multiple points I had my fire engine in very odd positions…
If Flashing Lights was cheaper, I’d probably recommend it as a way to mess around with six mates, and spell rude words using the mile-long firehose. However, at this current stage in development I can’t really recommend you pick this up. If you wanted to spend money on some great ideas, then you probably already paid for Star Citizen. Flashing Lights looks like it’s going to be a fun game - but right now it’s very empty, and you can do pretty much everything in the game within half an hour. That is if you can work out what to do, unaided by more than a couple of random tool tips. Definitely check back in a few months, when it has more content.