BROK the InvestiGator from Cowcat Games is a point and click beat ‘em up mash-up on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our BROK the InvestiGator review!
BROK the InvestiGator from Cowcat Games is a point and click beat ‘em up mash-up on Nintendo Switch. The game takes place in what the dev refers to as a “light Cyberpunk” future in which anthropomorphic animals have replaced humans. But even with that considerable change, society as a whole remains the same. The rich and privileged get all of the breaks and goods, while those less favored must live in the slums, affected by air pollution and the lack of resources. Who wouldn’t want to live under the protection of the dome?
You’ll be taking on the role of the titular BROK, who’s a former boxer now turned budget private detective for those in need and without a lot of funds. He’s trying to make ends meet while taking care of stepson Graff after the death of his wife. She passed away during an accident, but guilt eats at him every day. The game is fully voice acted, featuring the talents of Bryan J. Olson as BROK and Michael Kovach as Graff, along with the works of Lee Foster as Ott, Daisy Guevara as Shay, Phillip Sacramento as Sin Silver, Brandon P. Jenkins as Klay, John Van Doren as Wes, and Erin B. Lillis as Dee, to name some examples.
Cowcat took BROK the InvestiGator to Kickstarter back in early 2021, seeking €12,000 in overall funding to be able to complete the development of the game. Once the crowdfunding campaign was over – and thanks to the support of more than 1,000 backers, the project ended up with a little over €41,500 in funding. If you’re familiar with Kickstarter campaigns, you know that means there’s considerable potential for the project to have reached some stretch goals, and you’d be correct! Thanks to the additional funding, Cowcat was able to improve the animations of all characters, add a theme song, additional fight challenges, and more.
The main journey can be played in one of three difficulty settings: Relaxed (I’m here for the puzzles and story), Standard (I like some action), or Hardcore (Bring it on!). You could also select the Quick Fight option. Once you do this, you’ll select between BROK and Graff, select the difficulty between 1 (relaxed) and 5 (hardcore), and just take on some good, old-fashioned beat ‘em up action. You’ll play through a short, randomly generated stage as you practice and improve your skills.
For the point and click adventure game side of the game, you’ll be controlling your character with the left analog stick, interacting with objects or other characters with the A button. The D-Pad can be used to quickly cycle between all points of interest on the screen. You can also press the Y button to have the game show you all points of interest. That way, you can instantly see everything you can interact with and spot if anything grabs your attention.
Any items that you find will be added to your inventory, which you can check by pressing the + button. From there, you can press the X button to get a description of the item, use the A button to select it so that you can use it with something or someone else on that scene or press the Y button to combine it with something else. The right analog stick will control a cursor that you can use to play the game as a more classic point and click adventure game. Pressing the X button will change your character into Action Mode.
While in Action Mode, your character will be controlled with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and it will be able to run if you double-tap left or right. The A button can make your character block incoming attacks, and it can also be used to dodge if you press the left analog stick or the D-Pad up, down, left, or right. The right analog stick can also be used to quickly dodge out of the way. The Y button will be for regular attacks that you can use in a combo. The B button is for jumping. As expected, if you press the Y button while jumping, you’ll perform a jump attack.
If you press the X or ZL button, your character will perform a special attack that will hit enemies around it in exchange for some of its health. If you press and hold down either button and charge up, you’ll spend even more of your health to activate a special ability that will considerably damage all enemies. You should always try to charge up this special ability so that it’s ready in case you need it, especially when you find healing items to recover some of your health. The game can also be played with the console’s touchscreen when playing in Portable or Tabletop Mode or if you’re playing BROK on a Nintendo Switch Lite.
Items that you collect during the beat ‘em up segments are also added to your inventory, which is very useful for taking on the more challenging segments of BROK the InvestiGator. You can then press the + button to pause the action and access your inventory so that you can, for example, eat a delicious Antburger to recover 50% of your health or grab yourself a cold Helious Energy Drink, which will boost your strength for 30 seconds, which can make a huge difference during some segments.
If you’re ever feeling stuck, then you can make good use of BROK’s phone to get some hints about what it is that you need to do next. To be able to make the most of this, you’ll need to feed your phone… with ads! There are three different ads hidden in each location that you visit. So, if you want to use hints – or 100% the game – then you’ll have to find all of the ads in the game.
Speaking of aiming to 100% the game, you should also be aware of how there are tons of ways to get a game over in BROK the InvestiGator. Just as was the case for Cowcat’s Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure, there are several ways for your adventure to come to an end. Some game overs are generic, but a bunch of them can only be obtained during this or that chapter. Can you find all of them during your run? Remember… every choice matters!
On top of that, there’s also an in-game achievements system for you to work your way through. There are 29 achievements in total. A bunch of them you’ll get after completing the intro sequence and the game’s different chapters. Along with that, you can work on the rest by, for example, finding all 111 ads, getting all of the main game endings, finding the code for opening the secret locker, jumping on every bed, jumping on every desk, and/or table, trying to hit every character in the game at least once, or making BROK swim for 10 seconds in the swamp in Shay’s garage.
As you progress through the game, you’ll gain experience points. Obtain enough, and your character will get to level up! Once that happens, you’ll be able to select if you want to boost his overall health, increase his attack power, or the special attack. You’ll also earn Extra Points. These are used at the Extras menu, where you can unlock concept art – stuff like a BROK reference sheet or a drawing of a rat thug – as well as fan art. There are also songs to unlock from the soundtrack so that you can listen to them at any time. Oh, and there’s a digital art book available right from the start, which is almost 60 pages!
You can customize your BROK experience by making some changes here and there in the settings menu. You could change the speed at which text is displayed, if the text is to be displayed when characters talk, if damage points should be displayed when a character is hit, and if enemies should blink when preparing for an attack. There’s also the option of setting the global volume for the game, as well as the volume for sound effects, music, ambient sounds, and voices.
You can customize the deadzone for the analog stick, the strength for the controllers’ vibration, and activate or deactivate the touchscreen. On top of that, you can also enable or disable the button for hints, decide if dialogue should be played automatically without interaction, and if the button to skip dialogue should be used for skipping dialogue that you’ve already seen or if it should skip all dialogue. Oh, and you can also decide if the skip button should also accelerate cutscenes, which is a good option to have when taking on a second or third playthrough.
As a fan of both point and click adventure games and beat ‘em ups, I was ready to take BROK the InvestiGator for a spin. While the overall focus is still very much on the narrative experience and the point and click segments, being able to switch into Action Mode at any time to destroy this or that object to progress further is certainly a plus. The beat ‘em up segments are also fun and have been improved since the game’s Steam release last year without turning into something as excellent as, say, Streets of Rage 4. BROK the InvestiGator is out today on Nintendo Switch with a $24.99 asking price, and it’s one you should definitely check out.
Disclaimer This BROK the InvestiGator review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Cowcat.