The human race does not exist in this world, instead, animals are walking and talking in their place. With massive pollution everywhere, the privileged stay safe inside a dome, while the poor live in the outskirts, and are trying to survive. In this cartoonish point-and-click, there is another mechanic introduced that makes it a hybrid beat-em-up! The term “Punch and Click” has been coined and rightfully so. You not only solve puzzles and interact with the environment, but you can also punch things! You play as Brok, a crocodile that is a single parent raising his stepson. Brok is a handyman as well as an investigator when he has clients needing help. You will be able to pick up numerous items around the world to help you solve cases. There is even an interrogation mini-game in which you can come to a conclusion at the end of a case. You level up and can increase your base stats to make things easier in battles. Or, you can completely avoid all fights if you use your wit!
Here’s what I liked:
Mouth, Meet Fist — You can handle situations by using your brains, or brute force. Sometimes, you can just bash something to get what you need. When I first started, I was just punching everything I could. This came back to haunt me later when I couldn’t pick up a collectible because instead of looking at the object closely, I punched it until it broke. Luckily all of the progress for collectibles carries over to your next playthrough. There are a few really great scenarios that make you choose how you want to go about solving a problem. One example is a character that will attack you later on. You can first drug them so they fall asleep before they can attack. Another is when a bunch of rats are wanting to fight you. There’s a funny method to deliver them an explosive bomb so that it takes them all out without you needing to get in a fight. Of course, fighting can be fun. You have a VR training room that you can level up in and gain stats to make your future fights easier. Being violent is often the fastest route, however, you may find it coming back to bite you in the tail.
Cast Takes a Bow — Cute cartoon graphics featuring animals will always win people over. Not only do they have dialogue, but it’s all voiced. Every single line! It’s always disappointing when you have to read everything. You still can, if you need to. Every character had a personality. There weren’t any NPC characters that just stood around, you could talk to everyone. I may dislike crocodiles in general, but Brok was a great protagonist. He was silly but serious. Gentle but rough when he needed to be. It was a character you can hope has a good life after the closing credits. But I guess that’s up to what ending you receive.
Replay It — Once you have finished the game, you’ll be shown all your important choices and see things that could have been done differently in many situations. Depending on what you have chosen, you’ll be given an ending. It is very hard to just lay the game to rest after seeing the stats. For example, you can choose a violent or non-violent approach to an altercation or even a puzzle. Don’t want to be fussed with fixing a machine? Punch it! You can destroy a lot of things. The wrap-up of the story has an actual reason for being able to go change your choices, so it’s really not a “new save” but just fixing what you did to get the ending you desire. Once you have completed the game once, you are able to pull up a new menu that shows all of the choices. Not all will be revealed and that’s what makes it fun. You are even shown what the majority of other players chose to do! It’s really neat seeing the percentages of the choices. I am going back to try for all endings because you can speed through scenes when you know what to do.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Item Management — Many items can be discovered throughout the various chapters. They carry over to the next chapter as well, so some items you may have in your inventory for a long time. Some of these seem quite useless after one use but are stuck in your inventory as if they will be needed later. One such item is the magnifying glass. I had it the entire game, yet used it in the first case just once. Why wasn’t there something I could burn in the sun with it? There’s also a combination option where you can combine two items. I actually don’t recall ever having to combine two items. If I did, it wasn’t often. It seems as if the mechanics were made but not utilized much. Maybe some puzzles were cut from the game that needed access to this feature. I like when I’m told “you won’t need that anymore” and it gets deleted from the inventory. When you have too many items that are useless, you tend to keep trying them on things to solve puzzles. While I’m not looking to make life easier with less clutter, I do not understand why items that seem permanent in my inventory remain there throughout the entire adventure.
Son of a Switch — In many chapters, you can swap places with your stepson. I actually wish they were just their own chapters. It was really annoying needing to give the other character something side quest related and couldn’t because they cannot cross paths when they are able to be switched to. Graff, the stepson, has a lot more puzzles to solve that are based on him trying to succeed in a series of tests for school (I think it’s school). Sometimes this can feel tedious, doing trials one after another to solve a bigger one. I guess I just didn’t enjoy controlling Graff as much as I did Brok. He doesn’t get in as many fights and was lower level by nature. It just seemed kind of off.
With a pretty good blend of puzzles and fighting, Brok the InvestiGator doesn’t have very many dull moments. People who don’t normally enjoy this genre might be pleasantly surprised! If you get stuck you can always get the hints, which will tell you exactly what to do next. The story is well-written and the voice acting doesn’t skip a beat. A big bonus is being able to go through the game multiple times to discover all of the endings and scenes. It makes it very replayable, and you actually won’t feel like you’ve completed the story until you’ve run through it a few times to find an ending that you are happy with. I like that there are multiple ways to progress certain encounters, and it was actually fun looking for the Ads which are the collectibles that can be used for hints. I do wish there were a few more cases though, as they kind of took a backseat to Brok’s family drama. Would I play a sequel or DLC? I definitely would. Hopefully, they are finished with this character.
Score: Highly Recommended
BROK the InvestiGator was published by and developed by COWCAT on Xbox One. It was released on February 28, 2023, for $24.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.