Detective Gallo (Switch eShop) Review
Detective Gallo is a point-and-click adventure game that wears its classic inspirations on its sleeves. From the very moment you boot it up, you can feel the influence of games by companies such as LucasArts and Humongous Entertainment flowing through its very core. In a day and age where there are so many little titles of this genre, Detective Gallo proves itself to be a flawed, but welcome addition to the point and click library.
In a city populated by anthropomorphic chickens, you take control of the titular character, Detective Gallo. Detective Gallo is a stereotypical noir-style detective, who is one day visited by a bereaved client, mourning the lost of his only loved ones — his potted plants. Upon hearing about this tragic news, our Detective decides to take up the case to find the killer once and for all.
Throughout the game, you search for clues and leads by talking to people and physically exploring the town and its neighbouring areas. If you’ve played any classic point and click adventure, the process is fairly routine, involving the player moving back and forth between various locations and clicking anything and everything that sticks out as potentially useful. This can feel especially rewarding if you’ve picked up a seemingly pointless item early on in the game, only to be able to use it as the solution for a puzzle later on. The game helps streamline this whole process by including a feature called Gallo’s Sense, which allows the player to hold down the ZR button to detect everything that’s interactable in the current location.
Unfortunately, Gallo’s Sense doesn’t entirely alleviate much of the fundamental flaws that happen to come bundled with many point and click games, which is many of the puzzles themselves. Sometimes the solutions to problems are so obscure and specific, that you’ll be beating your head and running in circles trying to figure out what exactly you’re missing. When you eventually do stumble across the correct answer, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking to yourself, “How in the world was I meant to know that?” or “I wish they’d made that a little clearer”. It’s disappointing, because many of the brain teasers that Detective Gallo presents to the player are so close to being pretty great. Something like a hint system, or organically weaving in more clues to help jog the player’s memory would’ve been extremely appreciated.
In many adventure games, a lot of the drive to continue playing hinges on how likeable the player character is. Because it’s funny seeing how characters like Guybrush Threepwood and Phoenix Wright will react to various situations, objects, and characters littered throughout their respective games, it pushes the player to click on more things, talk to more people and spend more time in those worlds. Detective Gallo is not one of those characters. In their attempt to portray Detective Gallo as a stereotype, the writers accidentally made him a little too one-note, with the character either nastily putting down the other NPCs, or bringing up one of his many self-imposed rules for whatever situation he happens to be in. The game tries to subvert his stereotype, but it’s a half baked effort that doesn’t help the player empathise with or relate to him at all. On top of all that, he also often downright insults the player and calls them stupid for experimenting with items — a decision which seems really confusing considering that the whole point of these games is trying to get you to think outside the box.
The quality of all the other characters varies — some are fine, some not so much, but none of them manage to be as charismatic as they were clearly intended to be. Dialogue often feels stiff and unnatural, leading to many of the jokes and punchlines to land flat. There’s not to say there aren’t good moments though! The absurdity of some situations are alone enough to make you chuckle, and the twists and turns the plot takes shows just how much fun the writers had weaving everything together. It never takes itself seriously for even a moment — and I love that.
Aesthetically, the Detective Gallo game is a lot of fun to look at. Evoking memories of titles such as Day of the Tentacle and Spy Fox, the game presents every character and location with fun, abstract shapes and colours, paired with equally quirky and charming limited animation. The music is also a delight to hear, with its jazzy score appropriately accompanying the mystery noir theme of the game. There are a couple of moments where the sound design can feel a little obnoxious, with loud tunes and non-stop voice clips almost seemingly trying to overpower each other, but this is rare. Most of the time it’s totally fine, and really manages to bring each area to life.
While it doesn’t entirely succeed in carrying the spirit of the games that inspired it, the love and care that the team making the game has poured into it alone makes it worth checking out. There are some really quirky environments to explore along with a fun, lighthearted, and silly plot to experience. In this drought of point and click adventures, if you’ve been craving to get your hands on more puzzle-solving action, Detective Gallo’s office is open and ready for business.
+ Fun visuals
+ Jazzy music
+ Quirky atmosphere
- Puzzles can be too obscure
- Stiff dialogue
- Detective Gallo himself