Detective Gallo review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Mixedbag
Developer: Adventure Productions / FootPrints Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Maybe it?s just because they were released fairly close together by the same publisher, but I?m struck by how much what I said about The Wardrobe goes for Detective Gallo too. I mean, both are point-and-click adventures that lean heavily on the ?90s in every respect, from the strong influence of LucasArts/early Double Fine games, to their colourful aesthetics, to their love of sarcastic characters. I?m sure there are games that have even more in common than that…but I?m struggling to think of what they might be.

In any case, if MixedBag is set on making a ?90s-style adventure game revival happen, I?m not sure that Detective Gallo is that game to instigate it. All of the flaws that gave The Wardrobe such a narrow appeal are even more obvious here. The visuals are just as funhouse mirror-ish, only with less personality: whereas The Wardrobe looked like it sprang from the notebook doodles of a ?90s teenage metalhead, Detective Gallo just looks like a less vivid approximation. Points to the game for being hand-animated and hand-illustrated, but that doesn?t make the graphics any more exciting.

Things are even worse when it comes to the dialogue. Whereas The Wardrobe jumped back and forth across the stupid/clever divide, Detective Gallo just comes off as repetitive. Whatever fun is to be had from having all the lines voices is quickly lost when you hear the titular detective saying the same line (or, in the case of his many rules, some variation of the same line) for the umpteenth time.

And, of course, there?s the fact that the game?s many puzzles require some interesting leaps of logic. To be fair, there aren?t as many head-scratchers here as there were in The Wardrobe — to say nothing of the game?s from which Detective Gallo draws inspiration — but there are moments here where you just have to click on everything with everything and just hope for the best.

In other words — and as I said up top — what went for The Wardrobe goes for Detective Gallo, too. If you long for the days of Maniac Mansion or Day of the Tentactive…well, this is a pretty poor approximation. But it?s still an approximation nonetheless, and if you miss the days of ?90s adventure games, you can rest assured that Detective Gallo shares your pain, and wants to try and help you relive them.

MixedBag provided us with a Detective Gallo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C