Thursday, March 18, 2021

REVIEW: Night Call

I love mysteries. I love reading about true crime, looking at all of the clues, and hearing everyone’s different theories. But it’s rare that I’m able to partake in a real mystery myself. That’s why I was excited to check out Night Call, a neo-noir mystery game.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Night Call courtesy of Raw Fury.
Opinions are my own.

You are a taxi driver. Paris is your city and you know every corner of it. Your shift starts when the night is dark and ends when the city wakes up. You work hard to pay back your car, your taxi license, and your bills. Everything changes when the police reveal that the recent murders shattering your city are connected. As their investigation is stalling, they ask everyone to keep their eyes peeled.

Night Call is a game where the player must solve a mystery in a short amount of time with nothing but your wits and a yellow cab at your disposal. Each night you head out and pick up some fairs. Keep the conversation going, learn everyone’s stories, and identify which one of them is the killer.

Gameplay in Night Call is fairly simple. Each of the dozens of passengers you find looking for a ride at night comes with a few dialogue trees of info to get out of them. Listen to their stories and collect clues. One of those passengers is the killer - it’s up to you to find out who.

One of the game’s biggest strengths is the diverse passengers you can pick up. In addition to quite a few usual suspects, you’re likely to pick up a cosplayer, a cat, a masked vigilante, a different cosplayer, Santa Claus, a robot, a ghost, a different ghost, and even someone from the future. These interactions are a lot of fun, but ultimately lead to one of the game’s biggest problems.

Only a handful of the characters in the game are potential suspects, so only those characters and their associates are going to give you any actual clues. That means you should only focus on the goofier characters when no important suspects are available. But the suspects aren’t all that interesting or fun to talk too. If I wasn’t trying to solve a mystery of course I’m going to want to pick up a superhero instead of a drunk war vet.

Another slight issue I have is the way the mysteries are actually solved. As you talk with your passengers you gain clues that point toward your prime suspects. When time is up the person with the most clues against them is the killer. That’s pretty much it. You don’t have to actually piece any information together yourselves. Keep them talking long enough and you’ll have your guy.

While it doesn’t fully simulate solving an authentic mystery, Night Call captures an eerie atmosphere with it’s night-shift setting that just cruising around the streets of Paris is a fun experience. Each character you meet has their own story worth listening too. If you just want to kick back and meet the locals, there’s a Free Roaming mode that lets you pick up passengers without having to solve a murder.

Night Call is a well-made game about getting to know a large cast of characters under bleak circumstances. It’s not the best game about solving a mystery, but it’s still a fun game to for when you want to chill out.