All things considered, Detective Boiled-Hard is a fun, funky, and wacky adventure game developed by one hardcore adventure game and movie fanatic.
Because Because Games is back with yet another funny, crude, and at times just plain absurd adventure game. This time, instead of traveling all over the world as a private detective, we walk the mean streets of New Cork City as a police detective – Detective Boiled-Hard.
Just Like the Movies
In Detective Boiled-Hard, we play as the titular detective out to solve the Death of the Space Dino Hunter case, involving a heinous murder, dinosaurs, and terrible celebrity impressions.
The story is one big cliché, but it’s mostly on purpose. It follows the same beats as every old-school cop movie and includes the same tropes, from the hardass police chief to the final showdown against the murderer. But Detective Boiled-Hard isn’t concerned with telling an engaging, unique story as much as it cares about making you laugh.
Every scene and line of dialogue was written with a pop culture reference in mind. The very first scene is taken straight out of the movie Die Hard, and the game only ramps up its references and parodies from there. Heck, almost every character you meet is either a real-life celebrity, a movie character, or a video game character.
I appreciate the occasional reference and breaking of the fourth wall, but Detective Boiled-Hard goes a bit over the top. Admittedly, it uses a lot of these references in original ways, but I’d prefer a more creative story and characters.
You Better Start Talking
Unlike Matt Barker’s previous game, Trails and Traces: The Tomb of Thomas Tew, Detective Boiled-Hard focuses on dialogue and less on classic inventory puzzles. You talk to your suspect, collect clues, and then go back to talk to them some more. You can still use the very few items you pick up on the world around you to some satisfying results. However, you rarely need to do that to make progress.
The dialogue system works as a menu of subjects – you select the topic you want to ask about, like a missing movie reel, and hear what the suspect has to say. Ask the right person the right question, and you unlock new subjects to investigate.
It’s a streamlined solution for a game that is all about the conversations. Subjects you exhausted disappear from the menu, making it easy to see what you need to focus on next.
If you want, you can choose to insult or flirt with any character you meet. It doesn’t affect the game in any way, but you do get to enjoy a few more silly dialogue lines for you to enjoy.
That Retro Look and Feel
Detective Boiled-Hard may forgo classic puzzles for more conversation, but it still retains the pixeled look of old-school adventure games. The entire game is hand-drawn, though not “expertly.” It’s clear that sole developer Matt Baker is a musician and not a visual artist. Still, the game does have a rather unique look that should appeal to nostalgic fans.
Speaking of music, the game’s soundtrack is just spot-on, as they say. I might not listen to these tunes outside of the game, but they are catchy and help transform each area into a complete scene.
The voice acting, on the other hand, is hit-and-miss. Again, it is all done by just one person (yes, even the women), so you can’t expect a rich and diverse cast. Some of the characters sound pretty good, while others are… less so. It also doesn’t help that, while the game seems to draw from an American setting and pop culture, all the characters speak in British English. But that’s a personal pet peeve more than anything, really.
Boiled Hard or Hardly Boiled?
Compared to Because Because Games’ previous title, Trails and Traces, we have here a considerable improvement. The story and writing are polished, interacting with characters always yields amusing results, and the dialogue puzzle system is promising.
I’d love to see Detective Boiled-Hard return in future cases that combine both inventory puzzles and witty dialogue, and pose more of a challenge.
Developer: Because Because Games
Publisher: Because Because Games
Release date: Jun. 23, 2020
Available On: PC
Reviewed On: PC
Our Detective Boiled-Hard review copy was supplied by the developer.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.