Occult Detectives: Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy Kickstarting

Chillaxing with a gargoyle's head and a demon in a child's body.

You get the idea: magic is real and so are ghosts and ghoulies and monsters and Lisbon is full of ’em and you’re the sidekick to a werewolf occult detective. I haven’t read the comic book that Kickstarting adventure game The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizza Boy is based on, but it’s a simple premise and I’m glad the demo they’ve got out drops you straight into this rather than blab on. Things are weird and kind of funny, and you need to collect items and combine them and solve puzzles for reasons you don’t fully understand. It’s worth a play, even just to smile at how pretty it is.

It’s classic adventure game stuff: chat to folks, steal everything that’s not nailed down (and your character doesn’t shrug “I have no use for that” to, as if a robot costume claw is obviously more useful than orange juice), combine items, and solve puzzles that you recognise are puzzles even if you’re not entirely sure why you’re doing them.

You will e.g. steal gum and douse it in holy water (which you wouldn’t pick up until it fell off a table) to turn it into holy gum to get a demon to chew it and spit it out to create chewed gum (you don’t like the flavour, so you can’t chew it yourself). I suspect I need that gum to fix a crack in a radiator to get a possessed basement furnace to explode, but I don’t know why I want to destroy it. Adventure games.

The writing has some wonky English (developers Okam Studio are Argentinian) and while it’s not laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a weird and quirky and pleasant thing. You can download the demo from here with the username ‘lorenzo’ and the password ‘lamas’.

Okam are looking for $30,000 (£18.5k-ish) on Kickstarter to finish the game. They say the English script is written, but it clearly needs a pass from a native speaker. Anyway, pledging at least $15 (about £9.30) will get you a copy of the game when it’s finished.

9 Comments

  1. SominiTheCommenter says:

    A “Ç”! Great Scott, what wizardry is this?
    It’s like this is based on a comic from some Portuguese authors! Last time I saw it for sale, the title was styled like BTTF.
    link to dog-pizzaboy.com

    • datom says:

      The comic was collected/translated in the last volume of Dark Horse Presents, issues 3 onwards, if I recall correctly!

  2. Zanchito says:

    Victorian house in Lisbon? This game about werewolf occult detectives has lost all credibility.

  3. gruia says:

    u really shouldn’t overcomplicate a game. Its like adding a few flowers on a mona lisa frame, or whistling and doing a param pam pam, at the end of a metallica song.

    just do what essential, to relay the vision. for fucks sake

  4. crazyd says:

    Alice – Voice acting is actually a stretch goal, not included in the $30,000. Unless they hit $120,000, there will be no English voice work.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    A friend of mine is spearheading this project! Good luck Matiur!

  6. Monggerel says:

    The last thing I want from a werewolf is for them to be just “a guy trying to make a livin’ “.
    I liked WOLFAMONGOUS and Bigby but he wasn’t actually a werewolf and he was also rather Ivan Ilyich so he got away with having a dreary life and a dulled perspective.

    But I prefer do prefer the ones who shun the city and the worst of the droning ways of contemporary westernity, be they werewolf or any other unusual kind of being.

  7. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    I just gonna say it’s weird that Portuguese language support is a distant stretch goal for this game based on a Portuguese comic. Although it’s even more weird that the same tier is needed to reach support for Spanish, which is presumably the devs’ mother tongue. Cultural imperialism!

  8. Contrafibularity says:

    Heads up for anyone trying out the demo: it only works in its small windowed mode, as soon as you maximize the window (looks there is no full screen mode yet) the side-scrolling mechanism stops working, and you can’t get the character to walk past a certain point.

    Some feedback:

    -Nice atmosphere and visuals. Some animations (like Pizza boy’s idle animation) still look slightly too much like a Flash game but this looks like an alpha version so nothing that won’t receive more work before release. I have an aversion to ‘occult detective’ stories, so I probably won’t be playing this beyond this demo but if this game is aiming for the LucasArts visual style it’s pretty good.

    -As mentioned full-screen doesn’t work, maximizing the window breaks side-scrolling.

    -The inventory button is WAY too large and using inventory should never require this many clicks! One click to bring it up, one click to activate an item, another click to close the inventory – one or two of those clicks are completely unnecessary. You should only ever need to hover over an inventory to bring it up, then click the item you want, and hovering away from the inventory should close it (in my opinion). Or alternatively you could have all the inventory items darkened in a letterbox on the bottom or top of the screen (so that the item lights up on mouseover ala Broken Sword 1&2).

    -The English dialogue needs a lot of work and error/spelling correction. By someone who plays games (for context, jokes, etc).

    -Please don’t interject too many dialogue sequences with “…” (ellipses) because that will only ever translate to a dramatic pause for the first two or three times, after which it just becomes another unnecessary click.

    -The right-mouse button doesn’t do anything. The middle-mouse button doesn’t do anything. Why? Use two of the mouse buttons on the PC version at least. Also the interaction pop-up is a bit too large, too basic and its style doesn’t exactly mesh with the rest of the visuals somehow, and it could optionally be left out entirely with clever use of the primary two mouse buttons.

    -Players shouldn’t have to click through every dialogue. If there’s going to be voice acting you obviously won’t need to require players to click through (I hope) but even if the English version sticks to text-only it seems totally unnecessary (or give players a menu option to automatically advance dialogue after x seconds have passed).

    -Don’t make players visit a location or trigger a scene before they can even interact with objects. It doesn’t matter that the game is linear, players should be free to interact with objects within that linearity.

    -It has been scientifically proven that half the fun in these kinds of adventure games comes from reading the descriptions of objects and characters, as well as making the internal dialogue that results when players combine two objects that weren’t meant to be combined as funny as possible. For example, when I try to hook up the charged battery to the “silver” cage, Pizza boy could’ve remarked something like “That would be a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. I don’t want to do that.” (or if you’re not going to make item interaction dialogue unique-unique then at least make it unique per item, in case of the charged battery that would obviously become “That doesn’t need charging.” or “That doesn’t need 12 Volts.”).

    Nice demo/alpha though, it’s not my type of adventure game, but it shows promise and I’m sure loads of people will enjoy it.

    PS. Perhaps a backer could repost this in their Kickstarter comments.