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BROK the InvestiGator - Point and Click X Beat'em Up!

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
https://www.brokgame.com




https://af.gog.com/en/game/brok_the_investigator?as=1649904300
https://af.gog.com/en/game/brok_the_investigator_prologue?as=1649904300

Hello!

I'm a French PC and consoles game developer. (sorry for posting here, I couldn't find a more suitable location)

I've been working for 4 years on this ambitious adventure game I'm finally ready to unveil...
The first "Classic Adventure" mixed with Beat'em Up and RPG, inspired by cartoons from the 80's/early 90's.
Jymn Magon, creator of TaleSpin, Ducktales... helped me with the script!

brokcover_889_500.jpg


A free prologue is available on Steam and GOG :

Steam : https://store.steampowered.com/app/1318790
GOG : https://af.gog.com/game/brok_the_investigator_prologue?as=1649904300

Yes this is a strange mix, so I invite you to try it for yourself :)

NB : I've released 4 games so far on PC/PS4/Vita/Xbox/Switch, my silly adventure game "Demetrios" + 3 console ports of games from another developer (Xenon Valkyrie+, Riddled Corpses EX, Demon's Tier+)

Let me know if you have any questions!
 
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luj1

You're all shills
Vatnik
Joined
Jan 2, 2016
Messages
13,719
Location
Eastern block
Looks charming mate and that is quite a fresh combination of subgenres. Just be careful around here, based on previous experiences your game might end up as Codex GOTY...
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
What, GOTY? That much? XD
For now players feedback is excellent but Steam is really doing it no favor - despite best efforts to promote it. They did change their algorithms a ton in 4 years...
 

StaticSpine

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Dec 14, 2013
Messages
3,232
Location
Moscow
Shadorwun: Hong Kong
The game looks great and the combination is quite original, though it might be a problem that Beat Em' Up lovers won't dig solving puzzles and vice versa. Hard to determine who your target audience is.
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
The game looks great and the combination is quite original, though it might be a problem that Beat Em' Up lovers won't dig solving puzzles and vice versa. Hard to determine who your target audience is.
No worries, I've thought of everything!
For example :

- Adventure gamers can choose the easy difficulty, for which all action and fights can be skipped. Thus, it becomes very close to a regular adventure game - except you get the ability to hit stuff like a new tool to your "adventure panel"

- You can never get stuck for long - there's an in-game clues system (through collecting hidden "ads" in the rooms) Not only this but choices matter - most of the situations can be solved in two ways, which includes... hitting stuff! (with potential consequences...)
 

agris

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Apr 16, 2004
Messages
6,876
COWCAT looks very interesting, I will definitely give the prologue a spin. One thing though - your Steam page looks very thin. I saw the language of "A deep and emotional narrative-rich experience filled with..." and honestly man, you gotta get out of the crowd friendly, focus group tested-language mindset. Look at the descriptions for games like Strangeland or Primordia (MRY , our resident adventure game dev, wrote both). Don't tell the audience there's rich emotional hooks, provide them. MRY this is much like how you said you wouldn't virtue signal with burritos, but straight up consume them.
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
Well, I chose to go straight to the point and focus on what differenciate this game from the others - the crossover gameplay. This is the most important, catchy part IMO.
I also think there's not much point to go in-depth on a store page when you can simply... play and experience it :p
There's still this line which introduces it : "In a futuristic "light cyberpunk" world where animals have replaced humans, privileged citizens live under a dome protected from the ambient pollution while others struggle to make a living outside of its protective dome." I haven't played either but looking at Primordia, the description is only about double that.

I also think you shouldn't be looking into my game trying to replicate those dark universes. It's clearly not the focus. The narrative rich here is related to the characters more than the universe.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
5,717
Location
California
I don't have any magic formula for writing this stuff, and the style should match the game, as COWCAT suggests. Given that he's released more games than I have, perhaps I should be taking lessons from him, not vice versa!

On the blurb, I think I agree that "epic" and "innovative" are not concrete, and I also think that that the blurb does not highlight all of the game's assets. I think you would want to mention the "80s/90s cartoons" aspect in the blurb, specify point-and-click adventure, and downplay storytelling a little.

"BROK is a hybrid point-and-click adventure and side-scrolling beat 'em up with a Saturday morning cartoon style and character-driven storyline. In a grim world where animals have replaced mankind, what kind of detective will you be?"

Maybe replace "detective" with "Investi-Gator."

But really, this is just guesswork!
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
Hmm I like some of it. I specifically don't use the term "point and click" because the game can be controlled in other ways (use a controller and you'll control the character directly, so it's no longer "point and click" and that's how most people will play it considering I'll port it to consoles)
Also don't want to scare away the crowd who don't know/like them.
As for the style, I don't see the point in writing it - everyone can see the style from screenshots and trailer. But, if it's important, I can keep it.
The beat'em up parts are in small quantity compared to adventure parts - it's still mostly an adventure game, so I hesitate on the formula. But maybe hybrid still works.

Maybe :
"BROK is a hybrid classic adventure and side-scrolling beat 'em up with a Saturday morning cartoon style and character-driven storyline. In a grim world where animals have replaced mankind, what kind of detective will you be?"

Isn't that a bit long? I always kinda prefer very short tag lines easy to read.
Also - English is not my native language so it's not always easy to find the best words to use!
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
5,717
Location
California
Like I said, it's guesswork. Shorter may be better, but I doubt it. When Twitter doubled the length of tweets, it seemed to increase, rather than decrease, engagement. At a certain length, you're right, but I assume Steam set the character limit based on some analysis of how long a blurb can be without losing its zing. You're well under the limit.

The reason to describe the style is that some fairly significant number of potential players will see your game like this:

The question is, do they click through the link? You're trying to offer as many hooks for someone to click through as you can. They're not going to see the screenshots, so you can't rely on those.

In fact, regarding length, to me this actually is aesthetically unpleasant; the text seems too short for the space it is allotted.

Traditional adventure seems fine instead of point-and-click!
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
Good point. On retrospect I think you're right! It does look better.
I've just updated the English and French blurbs for the prologue and will do the same for the full version :)
 

SerratedBiz

Arcane
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
Messages
4,143
Also don't want to scare away the crowd who don't know/like them.

Seems counter-productive. If I want to sell Coke, I don't advertise the fact that Coke can be enjoyed warm so as to not alienate the coffee drinkers.

I get out there and I put Coke in its magnificent form, ice cubes dropping into it from the netherworld, glistening drops of sweat running down the length of its glass. I sell TO the people that enjoy refreshing drinks. I don't make my selling point ambiguous in case someone falls into the trap of trying a drink they wouldn't buy otherwise (because they'll still not like it, and then they'll shit on me for selling it to them).

And yeah, them two lines of text just look like you ran out of things to put there.
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
But I don't consider it a point & click. Adventure game yes, point & click, no.
It can be played like a Point & Click if you use a mouse.
But use a controller and it actually plays close to a JRPG.
Is Shenmue a point & click ? No, definitely not.
I do use the term here because that's a specific audience so I expect most of you to play with a mouse ^^'

If I make the description longer, then the most important parts will be hidden and people would have to expand - most don't. I really need the crucial parts to be on there, visible immediately.

Just checked a random page - Life is strange. Description is so concise there's not even an expand button! Did they also "run out of things to say"? https://store.steampowered.com/app/319630/Life_is_Strange__Episode_1/
 
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SerratedBiz

Arcane
Joined
Mar 4, 2009
Messages
4,143
That has been edited from its original caption to indicate that Episode 1 is free, but this is only after the game has been available on that platform since 2015 and has been highly popular since then.

Meanwhile, you're a nobody with a mediocre grasp of the English language working 4 years on a game nobody knows about.

FFS, you already pulled a good one on your first post:

The first "Classic Adventure" mixed with Beat'em Up and RPG, inspired by cartoons from the 80's/early 90's.

That's much more eye-catching than the uninspired crap you have now.
 

Dexter

Arcane
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
15,655
You play as a cartoon alligator in a future Techno-Dystopia full of other cartoon animals with problems in this crossbreed between an Adventure game and a Beat'em'Up. You can play with a Controller or Mouse+Keyboard. It seamlessly switches between them depending on what you're using, so you can easily mix and match too. There seems to be only one interaction button for most items though. You have 120HP at the beginning of the game and certain actions give you -10HP. You can switch to "Action Mode" with the "Y" button to beat the shit out of objects (beat down doors, destroy crates and similar) or fight enemies, which gives you fight XP. You gain levels by Leveling Up that way and can improve your HP, Strength or Special Attack. You can Jump and fall down places in Action Mode, you can't in Adventure Mode. Beat'em'Up sections aren't trivial either and there's various mechanics like dodge, light and hard attacks, special attacks while under 50% health etc.
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There's also some sort of hint system I haven't really used based around collecting "Ads" (3 on every screen), some of these seem relatively tough to find and they aren't highlighted by the Highlight system. There's deaths and you can try to "collect" all Game Over screens, you can do wrong shit or lose fights etc. This doesn't punish you too much though, it returns you to the same Screen with half HP (sometimes this means you get healed) and memorizes everything you've already done before e.g. what items you've picked up or conversations you've had with other characters. Talking about conversations, there's a circular menu for dialogue, top row is the themes you can talk about. As long as they still glow blue there's still new information to be gained and bottom row is about your own thoughts about someone and showing items to NPCs to see their reactions to them.
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I will admit I was a bit apprehensive at first regarding whether to even download this due to the Furry-esque art style, but it seems to be more in the style of 90s cartoons before anthropomorphic animals were irrevocably tainted, and the game kind of grew on me with time. The world, story, characters and mood don't feel simplistic and it kind of reminds me a bit of Beneath a Steel Sky with a bubble city and two-class society etc. and with characters that have a similar charm to them, are more complex and don't come off as "one-note", but not at all from the art style. The Demo is long, 4-5 hours for what the game says is about 15% of the entire story. Just as you're about to finish the Demo, the game also pulls an "Interrogation" mechanic based on clues you uncovered in Adventure Mode out of the hat:
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There seems to be quite a bit of C&C, most of it based on whether you "solve" problems via Brain or Brawn, which mostly means that you can bypass some puzzles by using your fists or on the other hand bypass some fights and platforming sections by using your brain. But based on your decisions and whether you decide to help certain characters or not they can apparently even die. This definitely gets a Wishlist. Here's my final decision tree for the Demo/Prologue:
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It also teaches you important lessons, like:
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More Screens:
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COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
Hey, thanks Dexter! Sorry for noticing this only now!

Been a while since the last update!
I have published a brand new screenshot, from the Chapter 2 of the game and featuring the second playable character, Graff:

screenshot2021.jpg


BROK is now slated for 2022. I'm having great progress but it's a very ambitious adventure game and I want to take the time to make sure it's as good as possible.
For more info, check the latest Kickstarter updates, this one in particular:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cowcatgames/brok-the-investigator/posts/3311945

By the way, the free Prologue is now 97% positive on Steam and 4.8/5 on GOG!
Remember to wishlist the full version: https://store.steampowered.com/app/949480/BROK_the_InvestiGator/
 

agris

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Apr 16, 2004
Messages
6,876
best of luck, i'm looking forward to time with this when it's released.
 

V_K

Arcane
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
7,714
Location
at a Nowhere near you
Played the demo and I'm quite impressed. The game seems very non-linear, both in terms of brain vs. brawn branching and in terms of exploration. "Cyberpunk with anthropomorphic animals" setting works much better than it has any right to be. Puzzles are generally on the easy side, but not completely braindead, especially if you're aiming for a pure non-combat run. Even though interactions are one-click (which personally I don't see anything wrong with), the inventory is reasonably large - it's not like modern Adventures where you have 3 items and 2 hotspots, it's closer to Monkey Island games. Besides it's just the beginning of the game, I expect - or at least hope - that they will ramp up in subsequent chapters.

The only criticism I have is that the game doesn't really need difficulty modes. Since it is so flexible regarding the choice of playstyle, and there is a hint system for puzzles, there's no reason not to play it on the highest difficulty and just choose the solutions that play to your strengths. Having an easy difficulty takes the weight away from the brain vs. brawn choices since the brawn ones are much easier to figure out and, on a low difficulty, easy to execute. For example, I didn't realize that the combats were almost entirely optional and went for the difficulty that allowed skipping them. I regret it because this had the (unintended?) effect on the adventure part, making the penalties for making braw choices negligible (since you win all the fights you get into anyway). Or maybe at least there should be a warning that the difficulty setting, in practice, doesn't only affect the combat difficulty but the adventure as well.
 

COWCAT

COWCAT
Developer
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
33
Location
France, Saint Etienne
Difficulty and implementing difficulty settings is always a debatable topic, as seen often these days on Twitter etc...
Personally I'm for giving choice so that anyone can enjoy the game, in different ways.
Some people are pure adventure gamers and hate fights, they were very happy to get this "relaxed" mode. On the other hand, some hardcore gamers look for a challenge.
Believe me, if I didn't offer the relaxed mode, many people would be angry and/or not interested in the game! Even if it's technically possible to bypass them through puzzles, not everyone can find how. And they still would like to see all the alternate paths without the annoyance of succeeding fights.

I can confirm, however, that the setting affects only the fights & action parts, not the adventure - at least directly.
There are other penalties for doing only fights or hitting NPCs... keep in mind there's relationships points and brawl/brain points, and these can affect the ending and some other scenes later on.

Don't expect Monkey Island level of freedom, the game is very story focused. It varies according from chapter to chapter, according to the narrative and the character you're playing (Graff is playable later on), some are more open than others. Ending up in jail will obviously limit your freedom for example :p
 

V_K

Arcane
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
7,714
Location
at a Nowhere near you
I can confirm, however, that the setting affects only the fights & action parts, not the adventure - at least directly.
But that's what I'm talking about - directly, it only affects the fights difficulty, but indirectly also puzzle difficulty, so there should be a warning about that.
Even if it's technically possible to bypass them through puzzles, not everyone can find how.
But you have a whole hint system for that!
Don't expect Monkey Island level of freedom, the game is very story focused. It varies according from chapter to chapter, according to the narrative and the character you're playing (Graff is playable later on), some are more open than others. Ending up in jail will obviously limit your freedom for example :p
Sure, it depends on your frame of reference. It might not be as open-ended as MI, but what I'm comparing it to are most modern adventures where you typically have access to at most three screens at a time.
 

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