Dark Nights with Poe and Monroe is a strange beast indeed. On the one hand, it has some wonderfully entertaining stories and set-ups. On the other, the acting can get a little too campy at times, almost to the point of absurdity. Overall though I had fun with the game, and am definitely going to play through a few more times at least.
What we have then is a kind of live action Telltale-style game. Our adventures follow the titular Poe and Munroe; two plucky radio hosts in the town of August, somewhere in the north of England. Their show is meant to be a call-in type, with the residents of August calling in to discuss their dreams and nightmares. It takes about two minutes for this to go sideways though as the first caller threatens to kill one of the hosts in order to save the other. From here, the radio show is merely used as a convenient backdrop for various scenarios and shenanigans.
There are six episodes in total, each one running approximately 20-30 minutes. Throughout, there are multiple choices to make that affect the story in a number of ways; one might be as simple as affecting how soon a character enquires about a note, while others will see the events branch off in vastly different ways. At the end of an episode we’re given a Telltale-style run down of how many people chose each option from around ten ‘main’ choices, and which camp we sit in. The options themselves are predominantly action – rather than dialogue – based, with a cursor indicating which ones we’re on and a timer pressuring us to act fairly quickly. The transitions are handled pretty well, and there were very few instances of picking an option only to get a different result than we might have expected.
Each episode is a self-contained story, with a few running themes connecting them together. These err on the side of the supernatural, but there is usually more to the tale than that as we progress. They are all very engaging and entertaining though, and are a joy even on repeated watches.
Poe and Munro are more than colleagues however; Poe’s strained marriage is brought up more than once, and the story almost makes light of the affair the two are having. They even mention it on air a few times, and I can’t help but feel this could have been handled slightly better. Perhaps in an alternate story I’ve yet to see Poe’s wife makes an appearance, but as it is she clearly doesn’t listen to her husband’s popular show or else she’d know about the affair by now. Having played all episodes once, and a handful a couple of times, the end result for each can be quite different indeed. There doesn’t appear to any ramifications for future episodes, but that’s no big deal as far as I’m concerned.
Outside of the love affair, the relationship between the two is entertaining. Poe is an over the top eccentric, while Munroe a more damsel-esque portrayal, though she’s capable of standing her ground at key points. Perhaps ironically, the best overall performance is actually when Munroe plays an alternate version of herself. Here she drops the Marilyn Monroe-style American doll accent and gives a fantastic performance as she converses with a British accent to us, her therapist. I won’t spoil the details, but this sequence was by far the best of the game and genuinely emotional. While the rest of the scenes might not quite match this one, they were still for the most part entertaining, and full of twists and turns.
It might hit the camp button a little too hard at times, but overall Dark Nights with Poe and Munroe is an enjoyable live-action adventure. The episodes are short enough to get through in one sitting and are packed with replayability in the different outcomes of our choices, as well as entertaining tales told within. Live-action games have had a bit of a resurgence of late, and this title easily rides high as one of the best.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.