Title: Night Call
Platform: MAC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC and Xbox One
Developer: Monkey Moon, BlackMuffin
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: Be a friend, confiant or even a therapist
Price: £17 (Xbox One), £18 (Switch) / $20 (PC/Switch/XB1)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Night Call is an investigative noir game where a killer roams the streets. As a taxi driver who was a victim of the killer, you have two specific goals: Collect hints and information about the killer and collect enough money to pay for gas and other necessities. You’ll pick up to 70 various clients (including Santa!) as you roam around the streets of Paris and interact with them; some will have an interesting dynamic while others might provide an insight into the killer. Get enough information from the right passengers… lives depend on it.
When first starting the game, players have to select which investigation they want to tackle. There’s The Judge, The Angel of Death, and The Sandman. You can also let the game decide and select Surprise Investigation or go balls to the wall by selecting Random Investigation which will mix all three of them.
Night Call is a noir visual novel experience where, as a taxi driver, you navigate around on a map and select which customer to pick up. Obviously, as a taxi driver, you have to keep an eye on your gas tank as you roam around Paris and drive around a cast of various and unique characters. You will be engaging in a conversation with each passenger you pick up; the importance and length of said conversation will greatly vary on their situation and your conversational choices. The more you make them talk, the better your chances are to get hints about the killer.
Obviously, and unfortunately, not everyone will be helpful. You’ll sometimes pick up a vigilante who’s doing his own brand of justice, a couple on the verge of breaking up or a woman who’s feeling the pressure. Conversations can go from a simple “how do you do” to near philosophical ones. This is where it’s important to check every possible available passenger on the map before picking them up, while some might come across as innocent, it could be your key to unmasking the killer.
At the end of your shift, you’ll be brought back to your apartment where you’ll need to go over hints uncovered by conversing with the various passengers through your night shift. Obviously, this is where it gets tricky because you can’t pick up everyone so it almost comes down to luck. While stopping for gas, you can also converse with the clerk to see if they can give you useful information.
The main problem I had with Night Call is that sometimes I was actually confused as to what I needed to do. At first, it was really clear that the protagonist, as a victim of the murderer, had to collect clues and help the police put a stop to the murderer’s killing ways, but the more I played, the more it seemed to focus on being a taxi simulator than anything else.
Night Call has a unique black and white esthetic; giving its noir appeal. It does give the investigation feel that the developers were going for. There were a few glitches however as sometimes during a taxi ride, while the characters were conversing, where the screen would be split-screen with some random parts of the city or the map. At first, I thought it was part of it all, but sometimes it clearly came across as buggy and confusing. Visual novels are usually best enjoyed on a small screen, especially if they were initially designed for mobile devices. The score fits the experience very well thanks to its uses of violin and piano; a dark, ambient-like soundtrack to set the nightly mood.
Night Call is definitely one of the most unique and enjoyable visual novel styled games I’ve had the chance to experience. While the narrative is confusing at times and everything seemingly relying on luck, having conversations with random passengers has sort of voyeur-ish aspect to it which makes it fun to sometimes poke around awkward situations. If you’re a fan of visual novels or tempted by the genre, Night Call is the right choice.
- Large cast of unique characters and personalities.
- Unique concept.
- Confusing narrative.
- Some questionable and odd visual designs.
- Feels more luck-based than anything else.
- Visual novels are best enjoyed on a portable device.
Night Call is rated M for Mature and PEGI16 due to the presence of the following content: violence, sexual acts, strong language and use of alcohol.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher