BROK the InvestiGator is a creative spin on the relatively played-out point and click genre, and it’s one that I’m glad I took a look at.
The whole experience is a high quality and user friendly one. The controls are perfectly mapped in ways that feel natural. (Those of you who’ve read other reviews know that bad controls are a giant pet peeve of mine.)The graphics have a hand-drawn look that have a bit of a 90’s callback to animated anthro classics, like Road Rovers or Biker Mice From Mars. Arguably the best part is the voice work, which is just over-the-top enough to add, rather than detract from the game. The soundtrack is much the same way, adding emotional notes to a scene, and while you’re not likely to find any one track you’d call a banger, it’s impossible to understate how much it adds to the experience. The voice acting is mostly solid, with Brok having a pleasing, semi-gravelly voice that very much feels like it embodies the character. There’s some voices that aren’t really standouts, but only one really minor NPC that I’d call “bad”. (And even she wasn’t terrible – she just read her lines in a very artificial kind of way.)
The twist this game adds to the standard point and click formula is that you can go into “action mode”, which turns the gameplay into a fairly simplistic beat-em-up, allowing you to fight enemies and destroy obstacles. This is entirely optional, and you can set the option to allow you to skip the fighting portions completely, which I also appreciated. The dev clearly realized that not everyone was going to enjoy this hook, and chose not to force the issue. It prevents players from passing on the title solely due to a gimmick. Cowcat studio has definitely put a lot of thought into every aspect of the game, and it shows. The standard point and click parts are exactly what you’d expect, and happily, there’s a button to push that shows you every inspectable hotspot in the environment. Not having to pixel hunt is a nice QoL aspect that is weirdly absent from a lot of games. The lone exception would be the hidden ads, which are currency that you can spend for hints. You have to discover these on your own. Some are hidden in objects you can inspect, while others are scattered around the environment and won’t highlight until you’re right up on them. You can also do the standard “show a person every item in your inventory” thing, leading to a lot of funny optional (and sometimes useful) missable dialogue, along with combining items. All of the puzzles that I encountered were very straightforward, which I appreciated. One of my larger pet peeves in the P&C genre is the nonsense solutions some of them insist upon.
The story is a bit trope-heavy, hitting a lot of notes you’ve probably seen in other games, movies, and tv shows. You’ve got the hero haunted by his past, the adopted son-single dad family drama, and the dystopian world with extreme inequity, along with the “private investigator with money problems” that’s almost a standard in any detective story. It’s really the only criticism I have – this story’s only really unique part is that you’ve got anthropomorphic animals as characters. It’s all very familiar. I honestly don’t know that the animal cast really adds much to the game, as this could probably have hit just as effectively with human characters.
Another highlight -there’s some points where you have a choice in what you’re going to do (an early one is an encounter where an NPC is being threatened by criminals. Walking away leads to them dying, whereas intervening keeps them alive). These sorts of things may or may not contribute to which ending you get, but always allow you a degree of personalization of the narrative, giving you an element of control that I can’t recall having seen in this genre before. I understand why – you’re dealing with established characters in a pre-existing world; too much choice just isn’t practical to telling a story. But it’s nice here, and I’d like to see more of this sort of innovation, particularly in a stale genre like this.
In short, I like the risks they’ve taken here. They add something to the game, and don’t seem to exist purely to make the game different. It’s truly innovative, and Cowcat deserves to be applauded for trying something new and generally sticking the landing. At $20 USD, this game provides remarkable value and gives tangible reasons to replay, which is the first time I’ve ever said that about a point and click adventure title. Unless you absolutely dislike the genre, you almost owe it to yourself to check this one out.
CLICK HERE to buy BROK the InvestiGator on Steam.
The Chuck is a lifelong gamer who was born in Ohio, but now lives in much closer proximity to Mickey Mouse.
The Chuck has found his life to be a series of improbable and almost unbelievable events, starting when he was twenty and caught the bubonic plague from a prairie dog. He was as surprised as anyone when he found out that's something that can happen.
When he isn't gaming, The Chuck can be found enjoying baseball, (American) football, pro wrestling, and horror movies. He is most commonly seen in the company of one or more cats.
Reclusive by nature, The Chuck is (like most semi-feral creatures) reward-driven. Approach with caution and some form of treat.