Calling All Cars is a party game designed by David Jaffe, the director of the God of War and Twisted Metal franchises. Up to 4 players control cartoon-inspired cars where the objective is to locate escaped criminals somewhere on the map and bring them back to jail. The game has been highly praised for its local multiplayer action, but criticized for having a somewhat low level of content with no DLC or follow-up support provided for the title. As of January 14, 2010, the online multiplayer servers were taken offline and the game is strictly local multiplayer.
Arrows direct players to the location of the criminal, who is "picked up" by running into him (knocking him in the air) and then catching him as he lands. Other players can steal the criminal by simply bumping into whichever car is carrying him, frequently making it a frantic game of hot potato. The goal of the player carrying the criminal is to safely get him back to the jail house, into which there are three different entry points providing three different difficulty levels for three different point values.
The most basic entry into a jailhouse is a simple flat-land drive through which is worth 1 point. An elevated entry point, accessible via a jump ramp, is worth 2 points. A third entry point into the jail house is much more complicated and involves timing the approach precisely, and this extra effort is rewarded with 3 points. In addition to the jail house, a paddywagon or helicopter will occasionally make rounds around the courses and due to the moving nature of these targets, they're worth anywhere from 3 to 5 points.
The game also offers players three weapon choices to help them get a hold of the criminal. A heat-seeking rocket will lock onto the car carrying the criminal and knock the criminal into the air, a mallet will smash into the ground and knock the criminal into the air, and a magnet will pull the criminal from one car into another.
The game comes with 4 courses: City, Trainyard, Alpine and Burbs.
A large, mostly flat map with buildings to destroy by running into them. The 3-point jail return involves taking the criminal up a twisted narrow ramp and making it through a gate which opens intermittently.
A large flat map with trains running laterally through the course. Players can jump through the boxcars, however engines and cabooses are unbreakable. The 3-point jail return involves waiting for a train carrying logs to pass in front of the jail house which provides a necessary jump ramp into the elevated opening.
A large map with varied terrain, there is a chasm which players can fall into and respawn nearby. The jail occasionally freezes over, forcing players to find a paddywagon in which to return the criminal. The 3-point jail return involves waiting for a jump ramp to periodically raise from the ground.
A small flat map, Burbs is notable because it does not have a jail house, but rather the players are to return the criminal using only the paddywagons and helicopters which are sent in periodically.