Detective Gallo tries to solve the murder of plants in a world that is populated with all sorts of animal misfits.
Detective noir comedy with animal instincts
Capturing the atmosphere of a film noir story and combining it with an animal twist is already an ingenious idea, and it works quite well when making fun of the genre with characters that are as weird as they’re memorable. So despite being over-the-top ridiculous, having a baby acting like a punk who likes to steal and destroy things and a candy vendor being in love with the protagonist who despises all sweet things make for some very funny scenes. If only the writing wouldn’t rely on too many bad jokes, then one would enjoy listening to the characters even more, like Gallo’s sarcastic remarks. Unfortunately, the humor is hit-and-miss, especially in the case of the detective whose constant citing of a noir-detective-behavior book’s rules and his weird relationship with his true love, the cactus Thorn, become very annoying.
The story isn’t the most interesting, either, and even if the detective work one does for solving the case motivates, the nonsensical ending is highly disappointing. This doesn’t mean that the investigation isn’t fun, because following leads and interrogating people/animals is engaging. It’s just that with all the twists and turns, the game should have deserved a much more satisfying conclusion for both its main character and the player.
Puzzling and confusion like in the good ol’ times
Fans of classic object combination puzzles will experience as much fun and frustration, because the number of objects Gallo carries around and the various locations don’t make it easy to progress. Fortunately, one can often call an informant who provides hints, and the detective’s notebook also lists specific goals and suspects. Still, scrolling through all kinds of items that aren’t obvious in their application and are often used much later after certain actions are performed and events have taken place, makes it all rather cumbersome. The way how already used dialogue options are marked as such is a blessing, though.
The puzzle design is reminiscent of classic point-and-clickers like Sam & Max Hit the Road, Simon the Sorcerer or Simon the Sorcerer II, to name but a few. This means that solutions can be quite obscure, especially without any clues, and much trial and error is involved, particularly in some annoying time-sensitive sequences.
While Detective Gallo never reaches the same level of quality like LucasArts’ games (although the surreal dimension of sincerity comes close to it) and there are quite a few illogical conundrums, it’s still a lot of fun to try the weirdest object and environmental combinations. What isn’t so great is a lot of backtracking and the re-use of locations. The game is also rather short with only 4-5 hours of playtime, so going through the same scenes only to figure out how a new item is used or another character can be asked about something new becomes tiresome, which isn’t helped by slow walking animations.
Comic look and jazzy sounds
Technically-wise, the game looks and sounds amazing. Lovely hand-drawn, varied backgrounds and comic characters give the illusion of playing a cartoon, while the soundtrack offers atmospheric jazz and catchy guitar musical pieces. Voice acting is also great with each character coming to life thanks to a convincing cast of actors and actresses. Unfortunately, in the build I played, there were some annoying sound stuttering problems.
Classic adventure entertainment
Detective Gallo shows that classic point-and-click adventures aren’t dead yet, and that they don’t need to be low-res pixel art titles with mature storylines. Even though the humor isn’t the greatest, the game has its funny moments. It’s a rather short experience, but one that makes one forget about modern gimmicks and remember the good old times in which one could get lost in silly but still believable worlds, solve ridiculous puzzles and talk to even more ridiculous characters that all somehow create immersion in a genre that has become too focused on decision-making and serious themes.
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