I’ve been on the hunt for a new game that speaks to my LA Noire, gumshoe-loving heart, and I’ve just found something that perfectly fits the bill: Duck Detective: The Secret Salami. After trying out the Steam Next Fest demo of Happy Broccoli’s upcoming mystery adventure, it has skyrocketed right to the top of my wishlist thanks to its pun-tastic sense of humor, its excellent nods to the detective noir genre, and the voice acting that brings its animal cast to life.
In all honesty, I didn’t want to stop playing it when the demo ended. Move over Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, Poirot, and any other famous investigator you can think of, because there’s a new detective in town, and they just so happen to be a divorced duck with a financially ruinous penchant for bread.
Happy Broccoli Games describes Duck Detective as a mix between Aggretsuko meets Return of the Obra Dinn, but I also saw shades of LA Noire and Tangle Tower as I made my way through the demo. Just like all great detectives, protagonist Eugene McQuacklin (extra points for the name) has their own flaws – with a marriage on the rocks and a bread problem – but crime never sleeps. As the one and only Duck Detective, the demo lets you try out doing some deduc(k)tions when you’re called on a case at the BearBus office.
As part of your investigative work, you hunt down word clues by questioning people and inspecting your surroundings. Anytime you find a new clue word, it’s logged in a journal where you use those words to try and fill in the blanks and progress through the case. They always say don’t judge a book by its cover, which is why it’s lucky you have a trusty magnifying glass to hone in someone’s notable features and spy something out. In one instance, for example, I have to use my detective skills to figure out why a giraffe receptionist is not in a good mood and therefore won’t let me go into the office behind her.
As detective work goes, it’s easy to get a grasp of, and as someone who always loves hunting down clues, questioning people, and riddling out mysteries, Duck Detective is absolutely ticking those boxes. But what’s really sold me on this gumshoe caper is the voice acting coupled with the art style that both humorously nail the mood and look of the classic noir detective stories. From its sepia-tone transitions to the duck monologuing as they move onto the next part of the case, I had such a quacking good time with Duck Detective: The Secret Salami. And if you’re a detective fan like me who wants to get on the case, you have until February 12 to try out the demo for yourself.
For more Steam Next Fest goodness, this cozy sim looks like animal crossing, plays like overcooked, and lets you serve coffee to capybaras.