French indie developer COWCAT has recently worked together with blind accessibility consultant Lirin, to update the point-and-click adventure game BROK the InvestiGator with significant accessibility improvements for blind players. The update has since been positively received by players.
Accessibility new and old
An overview of the accessibility features is listed on the BROK the InvestiGator’s accessibility page. It includes features such as fully narrated through text-to-speech and audio descriptions of characters, locations and scenes. Puzzles and tutorials have been adapted for blind players. Puzzles and fights can be skipped if a player wants or needs to do so, which is helpful for any player. Positional audio is available for fights and wall vibrations may give feedback when players walk into walls. The game is playable with keyboard and mouse, or controller. Additionally, for sighted players there are options to choose a larger font and increased contrast for text and characters.
Not mentioned on that page are accessibility features that were already available, such as highlighting of interactable elements and the hints system. Remapping is also available for keyboard inputs. Volume is adjustable for several categories of sounds and subtitles are available as well. Of course, accessibility options and features don’t have to be labeled as such. It would be difficult to find any option that does not impact accessibility in some way.
As someone who isn’t blind by any definition, it is not my place to judge whether the blind accessibility features are implemented well. I’m glad others have shared their experiences. For example on Twitter and the AudioGames.net forums the responses of those who played the game have been generally very positive indeed. The responses also include feedback that would be valuable for any dev looking into blind accessibility in adventure games like BROK the InvestiGator.
The most recent update at the time of writing (update 1.3.1) also introduces an option to disable screen shake. An option to automatically be given the choice to skip a fight is also included. I hope this is an indication of more to come. The accessibility features were added in version 1.3.0. The update should arrive on all versions of BROK the InvestiGator in time.