Detective Gallo is a charming point and click adventure game in the vein of old-school Lucas Arts adventure games with its emphasis on inventory puzzles and lots of informative dialogue. If I was to compare it to just one title, I would most likely say that Detective Gallo reminds me a lot of Sam and Max, not only because of it’s theme but also because of the humour displayed and the overall way it feels with the sarcastic detective and pointless case we’ve been assigned to.
That’s right, the case we’re being paid to look into is the murder of a guys plants! It must be quite nice to live in a town where their biggest concern is the death of a plant.
Our adventure begins, as most do in this situation, with our protagonist drinking away his depression and sadness over the loss of his dear friend, MacKenzie, at the nearby bar. Unable to pay the tab, he’s thrown out into the street and forced to walk two houses down, back to his office. Upon entering his place of work, he notices someone stood there, looming over his desk – is this a friend, foe or a client? Only one way to find out – Detective Gallo draws his gun and promptly demands answers from this unknown figure!
Thankfully, to both Gallo and the narrative of the story, our unknown stranger is a client, a means of income, something to take his mind off poor MacKenzie! With the blessing of his trusty cactus, Gallo accepts the case presented before him, a quadruple homicide of our client’s plants. And thus begins our adventure, an adventure which will make you laugh, gasp, second guess yourself and question your sanity. Could the death of a few plants be part of a big conspiracy? Could some unknown beings be behind it? Maybe the answer all lies within a nasty stain left upon the floor? Who knows? There’s only one way to find out, you must tag along with Detective Gallo and help put a stop to this before any more plants become the victim of a brutal murder!
Point and click?
If you’ve played Point and Click adventure games before then you’ll feel right at home with Detective Gallo. You can either use the touchpad on the DS4 or the left control stick in order to navigate your cursor around the screen. The touchpad is faster but the control stick is more precise – it’s up to you which one you think is best, I used a combination of the two in order to quickly navigate and pick up things. I would also go as far as saying that Detective Gallo is a watered down point and click game. I don’t mean anything offensive or wrong about that, I just mean it’s more accessible to people of all ages and easier to progress through as you only need to click on something in order to perform an action.
In older games, such as the Lucas Arts Classics such as Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle etc… you have to pick which command you wished to use on each object you clicked on, such as open, pick up, look, talk, push etc… In Detective Gallo, a single click will automatically initiate the required command. So no missing out on key information because you forgot to do a certain action on an item previously. Well, except for later on in the story *hint* – LOOK at the post-it-note with Circle. That’s the only thing I found where you had to specifically ‘look’ at something rather than press Cross on it.
Other than that though, the game is very simplistic in terms of its controls – your inventory is accessed by moving the cursor to the top, items can be combined or used on people/items in the main game screen, you can interact with people/items by just clicking on them with Cross, and you can look at things with Circle (if you wish).
As Detective Gallo is built around inventory puzzles, this is what the majority of our gameplay will consist of. I wouldn’t go as far as saying moon logic is involved (a process in which the solution to an inventory puzzle is extremely random and farfetched in real-life terms), but some of the puzzles are a little on the illogical side. You can opt to use your ‘Gallo Sense’ and see where all the hotspots in a scene are or consult your notepad for hints, but on a few occasions, the solution isn’t what you would expect. I don’t want to ruin any of the puzzles for you by giving examples, but I would advise you to try everything if you get stuck – no matter how strange it seems in real life.
Also, if you’re new to adventure games which take heavy inspiration from classic games, you may not be used to the deep pockets of our loveable protagonist. If Gallo sees an object which the game logically knows you’ll use later on, he’ll pick it up. If he simply looks at it and makes a sarcastic comment about it, then it probably isn’t used for anything. Yet if he says something along the lines of “that looks interesting”, then it means you’ll need it, just not yet. This can result in you having a load of items in your inventory at one point, however, everything is there for a reason. If you get stuck, try combining items or just randomly try using them on people. Also, if you are looking at trying to obtain as many trophies as you can, without using a guide, be sure to look at the trophy descriptions first as a lot of them are missable.
Get out your A-Z:
My one and only complaint about Detective Gallo is the environments. Not the environments in general, as they are all well drawn out, highly stylised and look great on a big TV, but travelling between them. You would think that a game with only four main areas (with buildings to enter in each) would be quite quick and easy to traverse around, but it’s not. You’ll find yourself tasked with going from one location to another, only to return to the original location then get told you have to go to another one before you get the item/answer to proceed further. I would say at least half my time playing the game was spent just walking to and from destinations.
My solution, a map. I know it’s only a small town and that’s most likely why a map wasn’t included within the game, but I feel a map would have really helped with the pacing and kept my engagement with the game at it’s highest. This ‘issue’ is rectified towards the end though, where a shortcut is opened up which allows access from one location to the far right to easily access a place on the far left. However, you get access to this shortcut mear minutes before the game comes to an end – thus making it a “too little, too late” moment.
That being said, the game itself was only around four hours in length, so a map may dramatically reduce the playtime of the game as I did spend about half that time walking around. I don’t see this as a negative against the game, it’s just something I thought could have been improved – although I do like the fact the developers had included the option to double-click at exits/entrances (red arrows) in order to skip the animations and perform the leave/enter process instantly. This is a feature a lot of point and click games do, yet some don’t.
Even though the core gameplay mechanics are the puzzles, an adventure game is usually make-or-break with the combination of its story and the characters who you’ll interact with along the way. I can happily say that Detective Gallo (the game) is full of charming and unique individuals who all have their own personalities and back stories. Gallo himself is a stereotypical Noir Gumshoe-type detective who has been voiced perfectly for his role. Along your journey, you’ll also come across a candy seller who has a rather obsessive addiction to our poultry protagonist, our plant-loving victim who can’t stop mourning the death of his plants, a punk baby who goes by the name ‘Baby Punk’, and many more. Each one has been voiced really well, in both English and Italian, as well as type-casted as their own individual character with their own style of humour.
This brings me to the writing of the overall game. I thought it was really well done. The game is fun and light-hearted with frequent jokes, sarcastic comments, slap-stick and subtle humour. There is even a moment in which you drug a guy with a hallucinogenic drug in order to enter his subconscious and obtain information from him. Again, it’s all done in a comedic fashion, as well as offering a fourth-wall breaking easter-egg. Even with its PEGI 12 rating, I would say that due to its simplistic controls and gameplay style, the writing is at a level where anyone of all ages should understand it and be able to make their way through with no issues.
Detective Gallo looks and sounds amazing. All of the animations and images are hand-drawn and they all add to the overall cute aesthetic the game has going on. Sure, the walking animations of Gallo are a little ‘dated’ in that he only appears to have four directional movements which he uses as he shrinks or grows whilst moving in or out of the screen. However, that’s exactly what they used to do in the classic point and click games, so I can’t really fault anything there as it’s literally mimicking those. In regards to the music, it comes packed with a noir-style soundtrack which really helps to set the mood and builds upon the atmosphere the game is out to represent. Finally, as I’ve already stated, the voices are of high quality in both English and Italian with no complaints from me here at all.
Personally, I love point and click adventure games, I grew up on Lucas Arts games and the old Sierra ‘Quest’ franchises. As such, Detective Gallo was a game I couldn’t pass up once I first heard about it – it’s a cute-looking, simplistic adventure game which is accessible to everyone as well as being deep enough to keep the more advanced gamer entertained for around four hours. I do feel that the game would have benefitted from more shortcuts or a map system, but either way, I still thoroughly enjoyed playing through the game. I found myself actually going back and talking to all the characters at every opportunity in order to listen to everything they had to say, which is something I wouldn’t usually do, just because I really enjoyed the voice acting and I wanted to see what the developers had come up with next in terms of the dialogue.
If you’re looking for something to satisfy a point and click adventure gap in your life, then you could do a lot worse than Detective Gallo. It’s charming, fun, non-violent, and original – Perfect for people of all ages.
Detective Gallo is a really fun adventure game with a really cute hand-drawn aesthetic. Taking inspiration from old-school classics, such as the Lucas Arts adventure games, we are presented with a short but sweet point and click adventure which emphasises on inventory puzzles and lots of well-spoken dialogue. Even though the game is short, it’s crammed full of jokes, humour, excitement and entertainment, as well as a lot of trial and error if you refuse to use the in-game hint system. If you’re a hard-core adventure game connoisseur then you may find Detective Gallo a bit too easy for your liking, but if you’re new to the genre, or just want a nice casual game, then this is perfect for you.
Also, if you’re a trophy hunter, Detective Gallo can present you with a new shiny platinum trophy within around 2-3 hours with the only trophy that may be difficult is one requiring you to finish the game without pausing or using any hints.
- Interesting and funny story with loveable characters
- Great voice acting and soundtrack
- Accessible to people of all ages with it's various hint options
- Great hand-drawn visuals
- Challenging platinum (if not using a guide)
- The lack of a map means you have to backtrack quite a bit
- Some solutions can be a bit 'random' to work out logically