The point and click genre is one that has been around for almost as long as games themself. So finding a point and click game that adds something unique to the genre is quite the task. But Brok does precisely that, going above and beyond the usual exploration and puzzles. With its Beat ’em Up mechanics and Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic. The free to play prologue to the upcoming Brok The Investigator sets the scene for a larger story nicely but is not without its faults.
Surprisingly deep story
When I first started up Brok, I did not expect to get hit with an emotional gut-punch straight away. But that’s what the game delivers, with Brok waking up in his burning apartment before finding his partner Lia trapped. Unable to save her, she blames Brok for her death, claiming that all this is his fault and that he’s not fit to care for her son. Brok looks confused at the situation before waking up and revealing that it was all a nightmare. Or so you are made to believe but after some traditional point and click investigating around the apartment. And talking to Lia’s son, it becomes clear this was not a nightmare but a flashback to past events.
Once you finish looking around the apartment, you received a call from a police officer asking for his help urgently. After traveling across the city to meet with him, you discover that not everything is as it seems. The police officer asks you to travel into the heavily government-controlled “drums” to find his missing gun. Reluctantly you agree, and this is where your adventure will begin.
I was pleasantly surprised with how deep the story was and how developed the characters are, all with their own motives. The game does a great job of explaining the backstory quickly and getting you right into the action. While also leaving enough hidden to keep you intrigued to find out more.
Unique idea with rocky execution
I must mention that the game opens with a message saying. “This prologue contains the first chapter of a game under development. Expect improvements for the full game release – particularly the animations, the fights gameplay, and artificial intelligence”. So please bear this in mind when I talk about these things.
What stops Brok from just being another point and click game is the ability to swap from adventure mode to combat mode instantly. Giving a beat em up twist to change the pace now and again. However, the combat does not compare well to the smooth and refined adventure segments.
Broks limited range of attacks makes him feel very stiff to control in combat mode and gives you few options. It would have been nice to see some other ways to take on the enemies. Maybe a grab and throw or the ability to crouch down and leg sweep with enemies with his tail. While Brok does gain XP and levels up after fights, the upgrades you earn aren’t very exciting. He has only a choice between extra health, damage, or special attack damage. This makes leveling up feel more like a formality than something I looked forward to after finishing a fight.
Death in Brok is far too punishing for a point and click game. When you die, you only come back with as much hp as you had when the game last auto-saved. This means that if you trigger the save point with low hp before a battle and fail, you will start the fight again on low hp. However, it’s important to remember that Brok is a point and click adventure game with a beat em up twist, not the other way around.
Point & click classic
The point and click mechanics are straightforward, as you would expect. Not that this is a bad thing as the game plays smoothly with nice animations. And there are lots of hidden collectibles and items to look out for that felt rewarding to find. Brok’s real strengths come from the number of choices it gives the player. You can choose what you might say to certain characters and that could lead to side quests that help you build relationships with other characters. And I would expect that these relationships will play a larger part in the main game. You also can take on certain situations with cleaver negotiation instead of combat if you chose to. This makes everyone’s Brok play differently whilst some will choose to punch everything in their path others might try to talk their way out of difficult situations.
After completing your adventure, you return to the police officer to discuss your findings. Here you will have to combine the clues you found correctly to extract information from the police officer. I found the interrogation mechanic annoying as I was missing some clues, so I had to backtrack to find them. Making the ending feel unnatural as I hopped in and out of the conversation to piece together information that I had already deduced.
Upon finishing the interrogation of the police officer, the game throws up a twist that I won’t spoil here, but it sets the story up perfectly for the main game, and I look forward to seeing what happens next when the full game releases in 2021.
Full of replayability
Once you finish the prologue, the game displays a summary of the choices you made, similar to the likes of Detriot: Become Human. It includes all the side quests you have completed and their possible effects as well as hinting towards some you might have missed. The summary also displays how violently or methodically you are playing the game. My split was a healthy 49% to 51%, but it’s nice to be able to see what direction you are heading in. Looking back at the choices I made throughout my adventure was a blast, and I was impressed by the amount of information displayed. I saw parts of the story that I had not even noticed during my playthrough that made me want to go back and complete another run of the game.
Lots to look forward to
As someone who has never been into a point and click adventure games, I did not expect to enjoy Brok as much as I did. It has a creative story with a unique idea that helps change the pace even if some of the combat mechanics are unfinished at the moment. Complimented by its easy on the eye nostalgic art style, I can strongly recommend Brok for people looking to get into the point and click genre. And am looking forward to its full release later in 2021.