Developed by Monkey Moon/BlackMuffin and published by Raw Fury, Night Call is a dark mystery crime-solving game. From its noir style graphics with a large variety of characters to its mood-setting music, this is a game purely for the mind and not so much with the hands.
You play as a Parisian taxi driver with a vague background who is now embroiled into an investigation of a serial killer. You had a run-in with this serial killer who injured you, but you survived – the only person to have done so seemingly. You soon find out the police have questions for you and have their suspicions about you. But life moves on, and so you go back to your job and try to get back to as normal as possible. However, a detective who is suspicious of you forces your hand to help them track down the serial killer from a list of suspects they have. You do this by chauffeuring strangers or people of interest to the police and using your taxing driver charms, you try to glean some information out of them.
The game does go deeper, requiring you to extract all the information from your different passengers on a night’s work, before you head home to your drawing board. This contains an information framework supplied to you by the police with everything they have and then you add all the information you picked up on your night’s work. You then start linking facts, gossip and suspicion against each of the suspects and try to decipher the useful from the irrelevant to try to narrow down who the main suspect is.
That, however, is easier said than done in many ways. The first challenge is just that the game stays in a greyscale view and it’s a lot of reading white text on a black background. I appreciate the irony of saying it is challenging reading a lot of text considering that is what this review is, but with reviews it’s all in one go and it gives you food for thought about whether to take the plunge on the title in question. For a video game however, it feels all too much with little action or reward. Don’t misunderstand me on the text side of things though, as the writing is done very well. The stories from your passengers are very interesting and they are all quite varied. But there’s no voice acting; it falls to some reliance on body language, but mostly it’s just large blocks of text. It can make the game really hard to play through in long stints before you start to feel tired.
There is some strategy involved in the game to help break up the mass text reading. On the map screen, you are shown your petrol gauge, the amount of money you have, the time you have left on your shift, and all the passengers that need a ride. The petrol meter needs to be maintained as you could lose the fee if you need to stop for petrol mid-ride. The money you earn becomes more valuable as time goes on as you may need to slip people money for certain nuggets of information. Each passenger you pick will take a chunk out of your shift time, so you need to pick up your fares wisely. The passengers are obviously the key part in the strategy as you need to decide who to pick up. Who can you take on your current petrol level, who is offering the most money, who is linked in your investigation and might spill information and just generally who looks like they have something interesting to say.
In all the game offers you three main investigations, with some being harder than others. You can play them with different difficulties which means actions can take longer and you don’t get as much money from fares. There is also a free roam option if you want to meet all the interesting characters the game has to offer and interact with them to fill out the passidex with all the people.
Night Call for me is a really tough game to play through as I prefer more – or even some – action. It should appeal to those who like gritty novels and like to play as a detective. For those who can read between the lines and use clues to solve mysteries, it may be better suited. The game plays more as just reading the book with the occasional dash of strategy. But it does have some interesting stories and themes and should appeal to the right audience.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.