Years ago, games fell into a few genres – shooter, board game, sports, platformer, sports, or and a few others. But, over the last few years genres have been expanded and games tend to fall into multiple categories. BROK the InvestiGator is one of those games that kind of falls into several genres, while making its own, the point and fight game. Developed and published by indie studio CowCat, this game has a little something for almost everyone.
You play as BROK, a former boxer turned private detective in a dystopian future. Humans have been replaced by animals, and the environment has seen better days. There is a poisonous haze that blankets the area, but it is only a real issue for the lower class. The upper-level society lives under a dome that protects them from harm, while the lower class must rely on the government to supply them with pills to help lessen the effects of the haze. Recently the pipes delivering the pills have been damaged, and other odd things have been happening. It is up to you to figure out what is going on and try to save those living outside the dome.
At its core, BROK the Investigator is a point and click adventure filled with intriguing puzzles to solve as you navigate through the story. What sets this game apart is there are many areas that you must fight your way through, literally. BROK will switch to action mode which allows him to jump, punch, kick, and ground pound his way through the story, and the world around him. You can even choose how to level up your stats as you destroy more enemies, giving a slight RPG mechanic to the game. If you are not into the fighting, you can set the difficulty level to a casual game where you will focus on the story and puzzles.
The story takes place over the course of 3 to 4 days. During this time, you will have to explore, solve puzzles and complete several interrogations or deductive sequences. While the game does have a linear path, you are given some leeway. In several chapters, not only will you play as BROK, but also his son Graff. Every decision you make while playing has a chance to affect the ending of the game, so pick wisely. There are 13 different endings that you can get. After your first completion, you will see a summary of your choices, and figure out how to tweak your gameplay to earn the other endings.
If you struggle with puzzles, fear not, there is a hint system. As you are playing, you will find collectable ads hidden in every location – 111 in total. If you get stuck and need a nudge, just use one of these ads for a hint. The more that you use for a puzzle, the more specific the hints become. From a gentle nudge in the right direction all the way to do this action, in this area. The one slightly frustrating thing is that there are 3 ads hidden in each location you visit, and some are pretty difficult to find unless you slowly move your cursor over every inch of the screen. To compound this, there are several areas that you only visit once, so if you miss them, you are locked out of the extra scene only available to those that collect all of the ads.
The graphics in the game are bright and colorful, even making the ravaged environment come to life. Crumbling buildings are brought to life with layers of color, and a slowly growing and shifting haze. Each character is drawn well and has a wide range of emotions. Even the robots have been designed to not be soulless piles of parts. Also included in the game is a collection of concept art and fan art. This will give you an even deeper look into the characters.
With an intriguing story, innovative puzzles, and the fighting, there is a lot to do in this game from a smaller indie developer. The fact that they designed the difficulty system to accommodate almost every play style shows that they are thinking about the player. The game has a $25 price tag, but when you take into account that the 1st playthrough is between 15-20 hours, it is a bargain. Available on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and Steam, you can play on just about every system.