We’re getting a lot of point and click titles on the Switch at the moment. Of course, the console’s make-up has it as the perfect system for the genre, but having so many will always make it difficult to stand out. Detective Gallo has a memorable presentation, though, which is a good start. It’s a detective thriller crime comic-noir, starring a cast of chickens, of all things.
Gallo, the player character, is a gruff, no-nonsense kind of chicken. He doesn’t take kindly to wasting his time with those who can’t help him out in his mission, and he’s certainly not scared to whip out his revolver in order to lay some pressure down on a suspect, witness or informant that isn’t helping out with his case as much as they should be. Gallo doesn’t seem the kind of guy who wants to be chasing love, but he does have hopeless romantic Candy Bop, who runs a sweet shop business from right outside Gallo’s office. Candy Pop quite clearly has the hots for Gallo, but Gallo doesn’t reciprocate, leading to an interesting personality dynamic which plays out throughout the game’s plot.
Gallo is summoned to his case almost immediately after a swift tutorial at the game’s start. It turns out that there’s a plant killer on the loose, and residents all across town are reporting their beloved greenery succumbing to an unknown disease. From there, gameplay is about picking up items and moving them elsewhere, with some conversational sections which require you to select the correct responses to advance.
It’s very easy to draw parallels between Gallo and his fellow gaming detective, Detective Pikachu. Both share the same attitudes and even sound alike in terms of their gruff inflection. The two games share the same point and click investigating mechanics, but it’s the Pokemon game which feels best adapted for the system that it’s on. The puzzles in Detective Gallo require you to double tap on key objects by hovering the cursor over the top barrier of the screen, bringing down a menu of all of your active items which you’ll then need to drag towards a relevant character or object down below. Sometimes you’ll need to combine two items within your list of wares.
This of course sounds like a lay-up to the Switch’s touch screen – but it isn’t. For some reason, the double-tapping is not receptive enough, and operating this collecting from the items menu approach feels really clunky. It’s weird for a point and click, but it feels better to play on the TV. On the TV you can adjust the cursor speed, but it goes from being too slow to too fast and doesn’t really strike a happy medium. There are a bunch of unused buttons – it would have been nice to see utilisation of the L and R buttons to cycle through items without dragging the cursor to the top each time. That input is noticeably absent.
Voice acting and music is done excellently here. The highlight though is the beautiful hand-drawn visuals, with colours far more vibrant than your typical noir. The Switch version is missing the achievements from other versions though – this obviously reduces play time and totally diminishes the replay value. But for its 3-6 hour run time, there’s a nice story to take in.
Detective Gallo is a charming and beautifully drawn comic point and click, but it’s the controls which stop it from scoring higher. It relies too heavily on dragging a cursor back and forth, and there’s a fair bit of in-game backtracking too.