Brok has been released since this was written, but here are my thoughts on the demo. Do yourself a favor right now, and download the Brok the Investigator: Prologue on either Steam, Game Jolt, or ItchIO. Right now it’s in demo mode, but it is pretty massive for a story introduction. It’s a nice game to try out for a regular gaming session, twitch, or whatever.
It’s a side-scrolling point-and-click cartoon adventure detective story. Fully interactive, voiced characters. It’s chock full of feel-good, heartwarming, animal noir gameplay. And what would an animal people noir be without a detective croc named Brok?
Forget it Brok…
The game begins in an inexplicable house fire, although things aren’t quite what they seem. After this introduction, you’ll start your story from an underground apartment. Brok’s son, Graff, is a raccoon or bear, I think. Graff is a teenager who’s your typical snippy teen, but fairly helpful in establishing location.
Brok’s phone rings shortly after he wakes up and a call comes in. A client summons him into the surface world to a gritty sci-fi animal society–not too gritty though. There’s no context, but it becomes clear the Brok is a working gumshoe and gets around quite a bit.
The mechanics in the game are very smooth. The house fire and the apartment provide the function of teaching you how to play the game. You’ll be introduced to the story interaction, inventory, and combat modes to progress in the story.
While Brok is just a sweet ol’ crocodile, he can really bust a move on obstacles and bad guys. The combat is simple cartoon beat-em-ups but nothing too stressful. It is exciting to watch him whomping open a door or a mob though. There is a difficulty level selector as well; if you want a more action-packed Brok experience, you can do that!
Bring Back Saturday Mornings With Brok
The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was the character Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, shoutout to Shellheads Podcast. An easy comparison aside from the fact that Leatherhead is an alligator, and Brok is a crocodile, amongst other things. Although I guess Brok might be an alligator too because he is an Investi”GATOR.”
The closest style comparison I can make from the game is the 90’s Disney cartoon tv show TaleSpin. If you’re not familiar, it’s The Saturday Morning anthropomorphic chartered pilot service series, which somehow featured Baloo as a seaplane pilot. Yeah, it kind of made no sense, but it went well with sugary cereal in the living room.
The game animation is totally perfect with a lot of attention to detail made. I’m not sure if any titles have combined personified animals with an anime-like backdrop this way. It’s not quite Shadowrun, but it’s not quite Duck Tales.
For a more elegant comparison, might I give acknowledgment to the classic children’s fantasy series Redwall, about a monk warrior mouse in an andromorphic kingdom, which itself is getting a Netflix restart soon? We like animals, and we like fun characters, it’s a good genre.
Beat-em-ups for Good Guys
I’ll probably know as much as you within 5 minutes of gameplay but there’s just one more thing I want to talk about. Between the house fire opening segment and the regular story, there seems to be some plot being set up for the rest of the story.
As Brok is a detective, it is highly likely that this plot will involve learning some context-changing information about the fire. Probably later on revealing that the incident in that fire was orchestrated with some life-altering malice. I only say this as an observer of storylines. There is a lot of unique material here though, so I’d be open to anything. My experience of it so far is quite interesting.
There are some psychological references to cybernetics here and there too, just based on my own observations. This makes me think maybe things are really, really, really not what they seemed, but that is total speculation, and probably not true. Actually, that’s not an uncommon theme in sci-fi games. The Steam description says “Light Cyberpunk.” I like that!
It certainly would be an okay way to go that route, but I rather enjoy the complex technological and sociological themes throughout this prologue.
It’s not your average tough-guy beat-em-up, but there’s plenty of action if you want that. Brok has introduced right away as a likable nice crocodile guy. I want to see him succeed. And I really enjoy the way I can interact with him but also watch him interact. There’s some quality character development here that is worth checking out. A lot of unique ideas here in general.
In fact, you can specify that when you start the game. I went with story mode because that’s usually my best bet at avoiding throwing off my first impressions.
If you like anthropomorphic video games and you like good sci-fi noir, make sure to check this one out. It’s bound to make some heads turn.
Thanks for reading my review. If you want to read more games go to MrDavePizza.com. I’m also on social media, with links at the top.