BROK the InvestiGator Review - Screenshot 1 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

BROK the InvestiGator gets right to the point: you begin the game in a burning room. You naturally start pointing and clicking to solve a simple puzzle. This leads to another puzzle: Alligator PI Brok urgently exclaims, “I need to get past that door!” Before your grey matter cogs can even get a-whirring, a dialogue box tells you to press 'X' to activate Action Mode. With a good bit of Double Dragon-style – or should we say Double Crocodile-style! – button mashing, the door puzzle is “solved”. So Cowcat Games’ cards go straight onto the table: Brok the InvestiGator is a point-and-click, but sometimes you just punch stuff to smithereens. But does it have an ace up its sleeve?

Brok is the second game to be developed and self-published by indie shop Cowcat Games. The first was Demetrios, another point-and-click adventure, first released six years earlier in 2016, which arrived on Switch in 2018. Based in a small town in the south of France, the company is a one-person operation, making this second game under their belt all the more impressive.

BROK the InvestiGator Review - Screenshot 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The game tells the story of its PI alligator protagonist, his teenage cat stepson Graff, and various other animal associates. It takes place in a dystopian future, where “slumers” are second-class citizens, banished to live in the run-down wreckage of old cities, while “drumers” are the privileged few, living in a pristine bubble run and guarded by robots. Tormented by guilt after a traumatic event, Brok is trying to get his life on track while raising Graff. Graff is navigating his teens and the school exams that might earn him the status of “drumer”. Kicking off – like so many a good gumshoe yarn – with a mysterious phone call, Brok takes on a case that leads to the unravelling of something much bigger.

The early puzzles are fairly shallow, to say the least. Some of the objects in the game – like a remote control that works on cameras, or a device that detects “good intents” – feel so contrived that they might as well be called things like “Solution to puzzle number 14” or “Opener for that particular door”. However, this does improve as the game gets going.

One puzzle sequence that takes place in a holding cell feels almost Day of the Tentacle-esque. We were reminded of discovering and manipulating the quirks of the Edison house and its inhabitants, just on a smaller scale. There’s something inherently amusing about learning the patterns of characters’ behaviour, then treating them as cogs in a puzzle machine, making them repeat their actions endlessly until you’ve cracked it. Here, the prison guard’s necessarily infinite patience in this affair, while having their time repeatedly wasted by their own prisoner, is hilarious.

In the same scene, there is another similarity to Day of the Tentacle: you can control multiple characters and switch between them. Unlike that LucasArts classic of the '90s, however, this is not leveraged for puzzle design. On our playthrough, we completely solved Brok’s stepson Graff’s side of the chapter without playing Brok’s part at all. The split scenarios of the characters just provide a change of scene if you get stuck, rather than some kind of four-dimensional Tetris.

Talking of getting stuck, the hint system in Brok is quite unusual. Straight-up text hints can be dispensed via the in-game menu: things like “Talk to so-and-so” or “Go back to such-and-such location”. However, these hints are only dished out at the cost of an “ad” - a small collectible advertising flyer hidden somewhere around the game world. Collecting these ads requires close examination and thorough interaction, becoming a trackable achievement in its own right. In theory, you might solve a puzzle for yourself as a side effect of searching for an ad to get a hint. In practice, however, we always had plenty of ads, so as a hint system, it’s not the most elegant, but as a boost to replayability it works. Much like the game itself, it’s mixing two things that don’t necessarily play off one another very intuitively – but ends up being fun.

BROK the InvestiGator Review - Screenshot 3 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The writing feels a bit ropey at first. Perhaps as a result of translation into English, it lacks an edge, as do the overly-earnest characters at the start of the game. However, despite some proofreading errors in the on-screen text, it does find its feet. At times, the game veers towards visual novel territory, with extended conversations between characters with onscreen portraits and even the chance to put clues together in a way reminiscent of Ace Attorney or Hercule Poirot: The First Cases. It took us a while to warm to the characters enough to tolerate the longer talking sections, but when the writing is briefer and serving the gameplay it’s at least perfectly functional.

One impressive feat is the implementation of different routes through the game. Many puzzles have multiple solutions – usually characterised by thinking or fighting – but these are couched in the decisions of the characters. It feels meaningful if you decide to rise to provocation from a school bully or to stop your hot-headedness from getting the better of you.

And there are sometimes consequences to taking the rough approach that are more than superficial. When we missed our son’s science fair because we got slammed up in the slammer for slamming a few too many robots, it slammed our heartstrings. Too often, branching story paths can just be an administrative burden of trying to tick off all the ways the story could have gone. Here, it feels mysterious without being obtuse and was the thing that finally made us care about the characters – albeit a fair few hours into the game.

BROK the InvestiGator Review - Screenshot 4 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Until now, the pairing of branching paths and fist-fights in a graphic adventure has been timelessly associated with the bleepy-bloopy, mouse-and-keyboard-rattling skirmishes of LucasArts’ 1992 title Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. It’s fair to say that, 30 years later, Cowcat Games has found a better way to pull off that particular niche combo.


Brok the Investigator is a true original. It’s a hodge-podge of point-and-click, side-scrolling beat-‘em-up, visual novel, and find-the-object. Most of the time, these disparate ideas sit slightly awkwardly alongside one another, but despite a slow start we did eventually feel a little spark and the whole thing became more than the sum of its parts. It's all the more impressive given that it's just the second game from a one-person studio. Graphic adventure fans should absolutely consider thoughtfully pointing and clicking it onto their wishlist – or just drop-kicking the heck out of the buy button.