Night Call PC Review
Night Call is a narrative-driven Investigation game developed by Monkey Moon and Black Muffin and published by Raw Fury. The game is set to be released on PC today (17th July 2019), with plans to release on console towards the end of the year.
From the moment the opening credits rolled I fell in love with the black and white hand-drawn graphics, as the taxicab drove down the street and the assault takes place, I felt like I was watching a 1950’s movie.
You have the choice of 3 cases to choose from, the outcome of which and the fares that you pick up will be random.
After the assault, You wake up to the sound of a doctor’s voice, who explains that you’ve been in an induced coma for the last 2 weeks after you were attacked ( the method of attack differs, depending on the case you take). Your passenger was killed, you are the only person to have so far survived an attack and the police are waiting to question you.
A month later you return to work, but your boss isn’t too sure, after reassuring him and wishing him a good evening, you head out to pick up your first fare.
The gameplay mechanics are fairly straight forward on the surface, The main focus of the game finds you clicking on clients on the city map, picking them up, conversing with them and dropping them off at their destination.
The first night is a short player-led tutorial running you through the basics of the game. On the second night, you notice a new location show up on the map marked with an eye in amongst the portraits of your potential fares, these locations are part of your investigation and help piece together clues from friends, informants etc, which you use at the end of your shift, building up a collection of evidence to use against a selection of potential suspects.
You also need to keep an eye on your fuel level, occasionally visiting the various filling stations dotted around the map to refuel, purchase newspapers or scratch cards (that I’m yet to win anything on lol) or converse with the station clerk to gain more pieces of evidence.
At the end of each shift, your takings are added up and deductions made for vehicle maintenance, company cut etc. It then soon becomes clear that you need to carefully balance collecting evidence to aid your investigation and picking up fares in order to keep the money coming in, too much of one can hamper the other and so begins a small resource management side game. If you find your self in financial trouble then the game and your investigation come to an end with your boss waiting for you at the depot to take back your taxi cab.
Once the night’s finances are in order, you return to your studio, where you then look over any evidence collected and add it to your corkboard to build a case against one of five suspects, it may not always be the suspect with the most evidence against them and occasionally new evidence may surface giving a suspect a sufficient alibi to clear them.
The graphics are beautifully done and certainly delivery the Noir style. I love the black and white hand-drawn graphics, the way the screen splits between the view of the city map and the interior of the cab. The film style cutscenes whilst driving your clients to their destinations all help to paint the picture and set the scene of a Noir Crime film.
The music is again beautifully done, all of the music scores are fitting and helps to really engross you. There is no voice acting, but, as much as a part of me misses it, the silent subtitled conversations work really well in the setting of the game.
At first, I was unsure of the longevity of the game, however, the more I played it, the more I kept coming back, to pick up more clients, to hear the stories, to laugh, to cry. Each of the games clients are different, in their conversations, personalities, situations. There are over 70 different clients to pick up, there’s no way to pick them all up in one playthrough and the suspects and fares are random, so each and every playthrough of the game can be different across the 3 different cases.
I have loved playing Night Call, Everything about it just works so well to me, as I played I found myself becoming more interested in picking up fares and listening to their stories, from a priest to a poet, a couple trying to find a donor to help them conceive to a cat, yes I said a cat, than wanting to solve the actual investigation. I look forward to seeing if they add more investigations to solve and more fares to pick up in the future. I feel the game thoroughly deserves the Thumb Culture Gold Award.