Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Review – Quack The Case

Everyone loves a good mystery, and I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t appreciate a good detective noir story. Duck Detective: The Secret Salami gives us heapings of both with an adorable cartoon animal paint job. Make no mistake, however, as Duck Detective: The Secret Salami hides a genuinely engaging mystery and humor that transcends the age barrier behind its adorable paper-doll aesthetic.

In Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, you play as Eugene McQuacklin, a private eye and member of the Anatidae waterfowl family. Eugene McQuacklin is divorced, dirty, suffering from a crippling bread addiction, and down to his last Schmarks (that’s a kind of money.) When all hope seems lost, Eugene gets a call to solve the mystery of who’s been stealing lunches at the local Bearbus station.

Using the last of his cash on a ride to the station, it’s up to Eugene to quack the case of the mysterious Salami Bandit.

Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is an incredibly cute game that also manages to get you deeply invested in a genuinely good mystery. One of my biggest struggles in this review will be meeting the word count and showing off some of the game’s features without spoiling the mystery itself. The case deserves to be experienced in its entirety without giving away any of the answers to prospective players.

The first thing you’ll notice about Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is its art style. The entire game is hand-drawn to look like paper dolls navigating a cute, cartoony space. Everything feels bright and whimsical without feeling like the game is catering to children.

While you can most certainly let your kids play Duck Detective: The Secret Salami without worrying about gorey nightmares or having to explain adult concepts to them, the game is not what I would call a kid’s game. Not in the slightest; Duck Detective: The Secret Salami deals with some adult concepts and is, surprisingly, for a game about a duck detective, grounded in familiar and believable moments any adult should be totally familiar with.

The second thing you’ll notice about Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is how shockingly deep Eugene McQuacklin’s voice is, with his first spoken dialogue setting the tone for the game to follow. All of the voices in the game are great, and you can tell the voice actors gave their all in a series of exceptional performances. I want to give special props to the voice actor for Laura, who spends a good amount of the game yelling or otherwise raising her voice frantically.

Duck Detective Office
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Like any good detective mystery, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami keeps its cast of characters small but diverse. Each member of the Bearbus office you meet throughout the case has a unique personality and a lot going on. “A lot going on” is how I would describe the story in general, as again, like a good detective story, the mystery goes much deeper than you’re initially led to believe and unfolds steadily throughout the game’s short 2-3 hour run.

The mechanics in Duck Detective: The Secret Salami are simple. Each part of the mystery to be solved is presented as a sort of fill-in-the-blank sentence prompt called a De-duck-tion. You discover the possible words for the blank prompts as you talk to the suspects and investigate the environment.

Duck Detective Deducktions
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

While you have to physically interact with the game to unlock the words needed to fill in these prompts, the game does not automatically progress the mystery simply by walking to each point of the map and interacting with it. You’re given more options for each blank space than you need to solve the mystery, and it’s up to you to actually examine the clues yourself and deduct what’s going on in order to progress.

Investigating objects and suspects plays as a sort of seek-and-find minigame where you hold up a magnifying glass to the image of what you’re investigating, revealing keywords and information as you hover over the correct spots. Again, you can’t just gather the keywords from these investigations and have them automatically fill in the blanks on your de-duck-tions. You have to examine the hints the story offers and use your brain to solve the mystery presented.

Duck Detective Missing
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

If I had to criticize anything about Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, It would probably be the hint system. I’m all for solving the mystery on your own, and if I’m being totally honest, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami’s puzzles shouldn’t be anything more than the average player can handle. I went for the tip button a few times but didn’t find it incredibly helpful; the tips seemed to always just say to check my notes so far. Regardless, I was never stuck on a mystery too long and ended up getting to the game’s conclusion at about an hour and 45 minutes into my playthrough.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is not an incredibly long game. As I said above, you should be able to finish the game in about 2 to 3 hours, depending on whether you get stuck on certain de-duck-tions. For how short it is, however, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami manages to pack a lot in, with a host of great characters, clever little jokes, and an interesting mystery that is sure to take a turn or two you didn’t see coming.

The Final Word

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is an adorable little detective story with great characters, clever writing, and a genuinely interesting mystery to solve. Clocking in just under two hours, you’re sure to get at least one great afternoon out of this clever and entertaining Ducktective Noir.


Try Hard Guides received a PC review code for this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles on our Game Reviews page! Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch.