From Footprints Games and Adventure Productions comes a thrilling detective adventure set in a comically Noir environment. With crisp hand-drawn visuals and a fully voice acted cast, Detective Gallo is a charming point-and-click adventure that will leave players squawking for more. We follow our protagonist, Gallo — Detective Gallo — as he takes on the case of his career. This gruff and street-wise detective stumbles upon a hard-boiled murder case that will leave the whole town perplexed. This playthrough is of the Switch version, but interested players can also find the game on PlayStation 4 and PC.
We open with a flustered bird, Phil Cloro, in our office when we arrive. He quickly recounts that upon arriving home, a window was broken and all his beloved house plants were destroyed (a true crime to the botany aficionado). Cloro urges Gallo to investigate this murder. Little does Gallo know this case isn’t an isolated incident, as the whole town’s greenery is dying off. Immediately, the title excels at providing a witty script with a colorful cast of characters. Detective Gallo is reminiscent of that classic Noir-style detective; even talking to himself in a brooding manner. He directs his hard, rude personality at everyone around him, except his cactus-assistant Thorn. His characterization has added depth thanks to excellent voice acting and an incredibly thematic soundtrack. Classic Noir trumpets and jazzy sounds act as the backdrop to this investigation.
As we uncover more clues, classic point-and-click mechanics present themselves. One thing leads to another as we find clues and objects to combine with each other so that we can hatch a plan. Detective Gallo is funnily both street wise and a little naïve, which makes for some hilarious shenanigans. Often we must ask the birds around town about certain clues and events in order to get hints. We may even require other characters to assist us in moving forward with the plot as dialogue choices with other characters change as we progress. As things fall into place, the plot snowballs into more climactic events that keep players invested throughout the game.
Where Detective Gallo excels in ambiance, characterization and aesthetic, there are a few fowl moments in the title. Before starting my playthrough, the title caught my attention. Detective “Gallo” was funny since “gallo” in Spanish means rooster. He’s a detective who is also a rooster and his name is “rooster” (I might have found it too funny). Yet going through the game left a sour taste in my mouth as “gallo” was mispronounced all over the place. As a native Spanish speaker, it was a hawk-ward moment to hear the word pronounced as “gallow” instead of “ga-yo”. Not only was it weird to hear, but it also ruined the whole joke of the title for me. No longer does the pun work when the word is not pronounced properly. Whether this was done purposefully, or not, it severely detracts from the otherwise solid script.
Gameplay is standard of a point-and-click, yet sometimes causes more confusion than anything else. While much of the game is incredibly intuitive, there are moments that leave players scratching their heads in complete confusion. I found myself stuck in some areas, desperately trying all sorts of combinations of items with each other and the environment to no avail. Sometimes this caused me to lose time going back and forth between areas to see if I might have missed an item. That was true in some cases as there are many cleverly hidden details. Dumb luck is the only reason why I passed some areas because there are no cues (or clues) that would indicate certain combinations of items. Yet, most of the game is comprised of clever puzzles and interactions with the world. Being able to ask around town for hints and clues provides deeper world-building and adds to the detective role of our main protagonist.
Much attention to detail can be found in Detective Gallo’s clever story and quirky gameplay. It is a quaint point-and-click that brings much love to the genre with quality sound and visuals. Its vivid, cartoon-y art style mixed with witty humor are a creative choice for the title. It offers pleasant surprises with a fully voice-acted cast and plot twists that will keep players guessing throughout the game. Some clunky, overly-complicated gameplay and script choices, however, detract from the title. Playing on the Switch, I would have expected being able to use touch functionality to drag and drop combinations, but there was none. Despite this, the construction of the title finds a nice home on the Nintendo console. Even with its flaws, this point-and-click’s overall positive qualities make it a memorable experience. Detective Gallo shows that it isn’t just for the birds.