There’s been a terrible crime! Well… someone’s lunch has been stolen, but that still demands an investigation… right? That’s exactly what you’ll do in Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, where one seemingly innocuous case eventually develops into a deep (and surprisingly darker… but not too dark) conspiracy.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Playing as Eugene McQuackling, players are tasked with solving a devastating case within the offices of Bear Bus Station: somebody has had their lunch stolen. It’s a gruelling case that’ll take some quick wits and solid detective work to get to the bottom of, but don’t be surprised if you uncover some other secrets during your investigation…

Listen, on first impressions alone, you might not think that Duck Detective: The Secret Salami takes itself too seriously. I mean, yeah, you’re playing as a literal duck with a terrible bread habit, so it makes sense. However, the way that it ties into the typical themes of a noir detective story is so clever and endearing that it’s hard not to find yourself completely absorbed in the game’s storytelling. It’s wonderfully written and full of creative little ideas that play into the theme perfectly, whilst it really does have some genuinely surprising moments that’ll catch players off-guard. It might be easy to dismiss Duck Detective: The Secret Salami as just another cutesy game, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

“It might be easy to dismiss Duck Detective: The Secret Salami as just another cutesy game, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.”

The gameplay mainly consists of scouring through the Bear Bus Station, interrogating the staff working within it, and gathering clues to try and get to the bottom of the mystery. A lot of this is broken down in the game’s cleverly named ‘Deducktions’, which see players fill in the gaps of sentences with words they uncover related to the mystery. It might be a character’s name, a motive, or just a mannerism they have expressed, with players having to piece everything together effectively if they want to progress through the case. It’s a simple system, but one that works well and ties in with the investigatory elements of the game in a satisfyingly clever way.

It’s very accessible in design too, with the game making it clear when you’ve uncovered words, where there are more to find, or when you’ve got the information you might need from one of the characters you meet. It never holds your hand too much to alleviate the challenge of the experience, but it does enough to ensure that you’re not left aimlessly wandering for clues or wondering if you’ve done enough detective work to progress. Whilst Duck Detective: The Secret Salami isn’t the most difficult game you’ll play, it does balance out your investigative work effectively to ensure you’ll still have to think things through carefully if you’re going to solve the case.

Check out some screenshots down below:

It all comes together wonderfully to make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience, with the game’s blend of clever inspective gameplay and its charming storytelling making for a mystery that’s a joy to be a part of. It looks gorgeous too, with the colourful world a treat to explore and the Paper Mario-style characters perfectly befitting of the game’s kooky vibe. It’s also fully voice-acted, with some genuinely great voicework on offer that helps bring the quirky cast of characters to life. It is worth noting that Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is on the short side though, with it easily beaten in two-hours. In fairness, the game isn’t too expensive, so you won’t feel like you’re not getting enough bang for your buck, but you’ll probably wish it was longer just because you’d have been having such a good time playing.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Review

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a charming experience that adds an endearing (and fowl-themed) twist to the world of detective work. I loved the way that the game embraced the tropes that you’d typically associate with noir detective stories in its own silly little ways, whilst the tale brought with it some cool ideas that escalate MUCH further than just a stolen lunch by the end. The investigative elements of the gameplay are well-implemented too, with them embracing a simpler approach but one that’s easy to find yourself fully invested in. And come on… ‘deducktions’… it’s perfect.

It’s just a really, really fun experience from start to end, with both the storytelling and detective work engaging throughout. Here’s hoping that this won’t be Eugene McQuackling’s last case, because honestly, it was a delight to be a part of.

Developer: Happy Broccoli Games
Publisher: Happy Broccoli Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch