Flashing Lights is an ambitious third person view police, fire, and EMS simulation where the player can act as a police officer, fireman, or EMT. The setting is a small city with a few suburban style areas and a downtown. Flashing Lights is designed to be played via multiplayer, but can be played solo. It appears that there is a wide range of regional support for multiplayer, but it is unclear if the regions mean that there is multiple severs or if they are merely categories to help player pick and start games where the connections will be closer.
Flashing lights supports controllers and custom bindings for all of the control, including controller axis’. The key remapping function is a little oddly designed, but it works. The graphics options are numerous and by default most of them are turned off. Turning all of the options on with an Nvidia 3080 didn’t seem to present a problem, the frame rates are fairly high. A few of the options don’t look great; the God Rays are way too strong, Depth of Field is a bit too strong, and turning on clouds causes the clouds the form and deform at a rate that looks like it belongs in a supernatural thriller. There are sound volume options for in-game communication, sirens, and overall sound. It is a good idea to turn the siren volume down as it is very load by default.
Playing Flashing Light as any of the first responder types is fairly straight forward to start, however, there is no tutorial. The player spawns in and is basically going to learn by trial and error. A police mission to locate a missing person sounds simple and it is, but it doesn’t happen in the way that real police would respond to such a situation. When picking up the radio call and accepting it, there is nobody to talk to at the address or location of the call to get more information. The officer is supposed to drive to the map location and simply run around looking for this missing person. Fire missions are more engaging and feel more fleshed out. There are accidents, structure fires, and laughably, even dumpster fires are common. The firemen also do rescues and can do some first aid. The EMTs (medics) have a wider range of tools to resuscitate people that have stopped breathing or have no pulse. The EMT’s also do patient transports.
Flashing lights is pretty rough around the edges. Multiplayer can be glitchy, with a little bit of jerkiness in the rendering at times. The map design is straight out of old school GTA, where long snaking highways lead to geographically close locations. Many of the roadways are unrealistically narrow, making navigation very difficult. It is very easy to run off the road or over a bridge. The AI cars frequently pop-in right in front of the player, and the level of detail, even at the highest setting, makes for very jarring scene changes. These can range from cars with pizza cutter tires suddenly becoming detailed vehicles to roadways suddenly appearing where it looks like a scrub brush field. The missions are very repetitive, so the replay becomes a bit of a drag after an hour of play as one of the types. There don’t appear to be a lot of players online; keep in mind that Flashing Lights has been in early access since 2018, so it is not a new game. Flashing Lights is recommended on sale, with the caveat that it is a game in development and it may never be totally complete.