App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Detective Gallo first released on PC last year, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that by playing it. Its particular brand of point-and-click adventure gameplay would feel right at home in the 1990s alongside classics like The Secret of Monkey Island, though it wouldn’t be remembered nearly as fondly as other games from that era.
The world of Detective Gallo is inhabited by anthropomorphized birds. You play as one such bird, and he also happens to be a detective named Gallo. The game starts with Gallo receiving a call to investigate some mysterious plant deaths, which kicks off an adventure full of clue gathering, item combining, and wacky hijinks.
If you’ve played any sort of traditional adventure game, Detective Galloshould feel almost too familiar. You tap to move Gallo and tap on items or environmental features to interact with them. Gallo will collect certain items when you tap on them, and a lot of pushing the game’s story forward involves using combinations of items in your inventory to solve puzzles.
Detective Gallo very much feels like someone trying to follow the formula for old adventure game design to a T. There’s no new mechanics here, and the game’s tone is lighthearted, silly, and even a bit nonsensical. This also ends up spilling over into the game’s puzzle design, which can definitely involve some truly bizarre combinations of items on objects that you probably won’t try until you’re just desperately trying everything to brute force your way through the game.
For better or worse, there are no modern innovations to help you figure out Detective Gallo’s nonsensical puzzles. You can’t contact a character to get a hint, Gallo doesn’t narrate suggestions of what he should do next, and nothing in your inventory ever gets highlighted as something you should try to use. All of Detective Gallo is almost exactly like adventure games from 20+ years ago. For purists, this might sound great, but there’s a reason adventure games have changed slowly but surely over time.
Banging your head against the strange logic of silly adventure game puzzles gets tiresome. This is why the genre has introduced ways of taking guesswork out of their experiences. Instead of putting any of these conveniences into the experience, Detective Gallo strictly stays old school, which would be fine if the game lived up to the high watermarks of games from that era.
Unfortunately though, Detective Gallo isn’t a particularly remarkable adventure or story. The scope is pretty small, its characters are poorly realized, the voice acting is extremely one-dimensional, and nothing really happens. As far as adventure games go, Detective Gallo looks and feels the part, but none of it really comes together in a satisfying way.
The bottom line
Detective Gallo definitely has all of the stuff you’d expect to be in a great adventure game, but it’s also missing something to make it truly special. There’s no innovation here, and the game’s setting, plot, and characters don’t much to make the experience endearing. The end result is a game that feels really hollow.