Review: Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Is a Short and Fun Case
Image via Happy Broccoli Games

Review: Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Is a Short and Fun Case

I know a game captivated me when I find myself wishing there was more to it. It usually doesn’t mean I literally want it to be longer, but rather that I find myself utterly charmed with the experience. However, when it comes to Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, I genuinely want to spend more time with Eugene McQuacklin, crack more cases, and find out more about the enigmatic and dapper detective. At its core, the story presented in the game is as simple as its title implies. Eugene is going through a rough patch, with business going as worst as it’s ever been and no work prospects on the horizon. That is until he receives a call to investigate a salami-related robbery turned conspiracy.

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My first impression of the game was of total delight upon finding out that all dialogue is fully voiced, with veteran voice actor Sean Chiplock giving life to our protagonist Eugene with a rough caricature of a performance, among many other recognizable voices. The comedic tone is immediately set, with some of the tropes it tackles riffing on typical hardboiled detective drama stories. As an example, Eugene is addicted to bread crumbs, a very unhealthy food for ducks, with the detective himself commenting on the shame he feels for his habit and how it damaged his relationship to his ex. If you enjoy this type of humor, you’re in for a good time, as the game delves into plenty of classic tropes of mystery stories coupled with more topical and modern topics.

After arriving to the scene of the crime, a bus company, Eugene gets to work. His first step is figure out who hired him to investigate the disappearance (and reappearance) of a piece of expensive charcuterie, and unveil the overarching conspiracy lurking in the shadows. The gameplay loop consists of talking to suspects and asking hard hitting questions. By talking to characters and addressing the mysteries available, players get a set of words that they can use to fill in the blanks to make “de-duck-tions.” These deducktions start easy, with Eugene needing to develop profiles and figure out the identities of everyone in the offices, as the characters are not particularly cooperative. Shortly after this introduction, the game throws more words and ideas to use your skills, and it can get somewhat tricky as the plot thickens.

However, there is never an unfair difficulty spike or a moment in which the mystery or any given question feels unintuitive. While there were moments when I felt a bit unsure of what the answer at hand was, the nature of the deducktions helped me piece together the puzzle. It’s possible that the number of information and words you eventually get to handle, coupled with a few red herrings and character relationships clashing, might feel confusing. Which is why you have to pay attention to what you’re being asking to unveil at any given time.

I would say that the game is on the easier side, but it never reveals each mystery before you put it together yourself. In a way, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami feels like the vertical slice of a bigger game, a self-contained Ace Attorney case of sorts. In between deducktions and asking questions, you also have some investigative parts. These are sections in which you observe a character or a piece of the environment up close with your trusty magnifying glass. The art style here shifts between a more complex and detailed one when looking up close and personal, and the regular style the game uses.

The premise of the mystery in Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is simple and lighthearted, and it is never uninteresting. It helps a lot that the cast of wacky characters have very marked personalities and fun relationships. By the end of the game, I came to care for Eugene and the great cast of the game. The game lasts roughly between 2 to 3 hours, and it is the perfect length for the story it aims to tell. However… I want more! Considering how the game ends, I can imagine seeing more of Eugene McQuacklin, maybe with a new sidekick and putting his life back together. And I think the world in general deserves more Duck Detective.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is readily available for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC via Steam.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami

Solving crime is no walk in the pond. You are a down-on-his-luck detective who also happens to be a duck. Use your powers of de-duck-tion to inspect evidence, fill in the blanks, and bust the case wide open! This is a short but twisty detective case. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a short and fun adventure that captivated me so much it left me wanting to see more of the titular detective.

Food For Thought
  • More games need a dedicated "quack" button.
  • I loved Freddy Frederson and want to see him become Eugene's own Dr. Watson.

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Image of Daniel Bueno
Daniel Bueno
Daniel is a staff writer and translator from the Spaghetti Western land of Andalusia, Spain. He got his start writing for Xbox Outsider in 2022. His favorite genres are RPGs, survival horrors, and immersive sims. In truth, he is a Dragon Quest slime in a human suit.