Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

We all know that a taxi ride is like a little life. Or like going to a priest for confession. For the duration of the trip, the driver and passenger become perhaps the most sincere and sensitive people in the world – they practically do not see each other and are unlikely to see each other again, so they can share the most intimate, talk about their lives, their worries and problems . Well, or eloquently be silent, trying not to drown in the verbal flow of a suddenly talking interlocutor. The authors of Night Call decided to use this particular “taxi phenomenon”, but forced their hero not just to chat heart to heart with passengers, but to study them and check – he is trying to catch a serial killer operating on the streets of Paris.

Seven nights in Paris. All inclusive

Our bearded taxi driver didn’t have much of a choice. During the killer’s attack on one of the passengers, the driver was also injured, but survived, and the police began to suspect our hero of at least complicity. Now he was given a week to drive around the streets of Paris at night, asking around, talking and watching. They also gave a list of suspects, pictures from the crime scene and leads.

And then the bearded taxi driver himself must turn into a detective – ask (or just listen), look for information, clues and, like Sherlock Holmes, show miracles of deduction, building logical connections and chains in order to tell the cops the name of the killer in a week. If his conclusion turns out to be wrong, the taxi driver himself will be put behind bars.

All this, of course, looks frankly strained. Do the police give all the information about the suspects to one of the suspects? But. Yes, this was done unofficially and by the hands of just one female investigator who believes in our innocence and thus gives the taxi driver a chance to prove it to others. But still, such a plot is clearly sewn with white threads to the very idea of ​​\u200b\u200bletting us play for a taxi driver who is looking for a serial killer among his passengers.

Green-eyed taxi, take me to the maniac!

On the other hand, why grumble if the idea turned out to be interesting and really unusual? Night Call looks like a kind of black and white visual novel with elements of a detective quest and light time management. Lists of available calls appear on the map every night. We choose who to go to, and then we decide whether to agree to a trip for such and such an amount to such and such a district of Paris for such and such a distance or not. The amount and distance matter, because gasoline is spent on the road, which, of course, must be purchased at local gas stations.

And our time is spent on moving, which, you know, does not wait. As dawn breaks and the first rooster crows, the taxi turns into you… I mean, when it gets light, we forcefully finish work and head home to pin new information and evidence on the suspect board.

Night Call game review

Typical noir frame and tone.

Information can be drawn not only from conversations with passengers. We also buy newspapers at a gas station (or find them under the seat in a car), listen to either music of various genres or news on the radio. It happens that someone drops a piece of paper in the cabin – and you need to decide whether to give it away or keep silent, having received important information. In addition, important plot points appear on the map from time to time – these are meetings with informants or friends / colleagues of our taxi driver who may ask for money in exchange for information.

Everything ingenious is simple?

However, I have never experienced problems with money, lack of time or gasoline during the entire passage. Night Call in terms of gameplay is not exactly primitive, but it is closest to a visual novel. Basically, we just click on the lines that are spoken by the talking (but not voiced) heads inside the cabin. Sometimes the frame changes, and we are shown several black-and-white plans prepared for the whole game – shop windows flooded with rain, a view of the car from above while it is driving again in raindrops, a gas station or the hero’s apartment, where he checks the evidence and then smokes in the dark, remembering their passengers, their conversations, problems and dramas. Atmospheric, of course – here it is, real noir! Yes, and to the appropriate melancholy music and the sound of rain. But still, the variety of locations in this game, to put it mildly, is not enough.

The detective mechanics in Night Call is also implemented, let’s say, not at the level of adventure from Frogwares. We are not required to conduct any laboratory examination under a microscope, personally take prints, scan traces, break into a suspect’s apartment, or even put together pieces of a torn photo / note. We simply substitute tablets with found facts and evidence to the portraits of suspects – while the game itself shows whether any of these facts connect with any of the suspects or not.

ugly four

On the other hand, here we still have a taxi driver in the lead roles, and not a private detective or a graduate of the visiting school of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Paris. And it is quite logical that he works only with the available facts, thinking out and trying only to guess who the killer is. And this is not easy, because all four potential criminals are really different people. There is a bum, and a former policeman, whom many current Parisian cops consider their teacher, and a lawyer, and a pathologist. Each has its own interesting details of the biography, its own characteristics. And evidence that may or may not fit them. Night Call game review

The final choice is the hardest one.

For example, we learn that the third victim is a colonel who worked for the junta in Argentina. And one of the suspects, a female pathologist, had just fled military tyranny from Buenos Aires to Paris. It is clear that such facts automatically agree (and are specially highlighted) with certain potential criminals. But there can be a lot of these data, and some point to one, others to the second. As a result, suspicions are approximately equally distributed among everyone. But the game does not indicate or highlight the name of the criminal – this choice must be made by yourself. And it directly affects the ending of the story.

Taxi-taxi, connection-connection…

To make it easier for yourself, you need to communicate more and more correctly with your passengers. By the end of the first playthrough, I had a bunch of plates with facts that didn’t directly connect with anyone. What does it mean that the killer knew his victims? That a well-known politician was killed fourth? That they killed everyone with a shot in the neck?

Perhaps it was necessary to learn more in order for these logical threads to stretch. In any case, I obviously opened and learned far from everything. A kind of “passenger pedia” is built into the game, which shows who you managed to meet and what facts about him to find out, what events related to this character happened. So, after a week, even half of the 75 potential passengers were not open to me, and most of the open ones had a lot of gaping gaps in the list of interesting facts, actions and events.

The fact is that every night and after each trip, the game randomly throws icons of potential passengers onto the map. It is clear that in the allotted time it will not be possible to chat with everyone. That’s why we won’t even know anything about many of them until the end of the passage – the authors of Night Call clearly put on “randomness” and replayability. And if you try to drive as many people as possible overnight to open as much content as possible at once, then there may be problems with money, and over time for all this, and with proper planning of your actions. In addition, there are different levels of difficulty and different scenarios: some are simpler, designed for the first passage, while in others the victims are determined randomly, the motives of potential criminals are unclear, money and time are spent faster.

Night Call game review

Parisian taxi drivers are so severe that, apparently, they are not surprised at anything.

All people are welcome!

In any case, it is passengers and communication with them that are the main value of Night Call. Among them, as you understand, are not only suspects who can be met and picked up on the streets, but also ordinary Parisians. A politician, a publicist, a musician, a slightly crazy poet, a sad tourist from Japan, a couple of teenagers in love, whose parents prevented them from secluded at home, and they are now looking for a hotel – there are a lot of people, they are all different, everyone has their own dramas and their own stories, somewhere funny and sometimes sad.

At the same time, the authors do not avoid fashionable topics. Here you can ride with two lesbians who are discussing which man to choose as a donor for their future joint child, chat with the local bearded Conchita Wurst (that is, this is a man in women’s clothes), discuss with a publicist the features of relations between the US and the EU, talk with volunteer for immigrant assistance programs.

Moreover, from time to time the game resembles a drug addict taxi driver simulator, whose roof began to leak after the attack. How else to explain the fact that among its passengers is the ghost of a child who seems to have died in Paris during the storming of the Bastille; Santa Claus discussing the issue of gifts; and even the ghost of the driver’s brother?

Do taxi drivers love with their ears?

There is only one explanation: it is difficult to work as a taxi driver, you constantly sit behind the wheel, look at the road – here it is no wonder to doze off. On the other hand, it’s even more interesting, and you definitely don’t get bored with such colorful characters. And in each case, we are free to choose for ourselves, to be sharp, friendly, curious, or simply turn into a frowning (or maybe indifferent?) Silent person. This affects what we hear in response, what facts that are useful in our investigation (or maybe useless), we learn and how the relationship with the character develops further. After all, many then meet us again and again. We learn something new about them, we hear on the radio about the new work of the poetess who wrote these poems here in the salon, calling us her muse, or we again act as an arbitrator in a dispute between two lesbians, for whom, moreover, time has already become a friend. Etc.

Not always, I repeat, this is directly related to our investigation and can help in it. However, the stories themselves are interesting, different, emotional, somewhere sad, and somewhere funny, but almost always very vital (well, except, of course, for the problems that overwhelm Santa Claus). And there are so many options for how to behave and what to answer that you just want to listen, try different replicas and absorb the atmosphere that Jim Jarmusch once very accurately noticed and conveyed in the film “Night on Earth” . True, without knowledge of English and love for such conversational stories, I’m afraid it will not be easy to appreciate the beauty of Night Call.

This is pretty much how the whole game goes.

***

Yes, we can say that Night Call is such an igroization of the picture “Night on Earth”. Jarmusch, let me remind you, told five sad or funny stories that happened to taxi drivers in one night in five different cities around the world. And if from the point of view of the game mechanics directly, there can be questions and comments to the game, then as a sort of interactive movie, and in the Jarmuschian style, it is almost amazing. The game redeems all its problems with the gameplay precisely with the cinematic atmosphere, direction, style, work with text (especially with the one from the narrator’s point of view), music and characters.

Pluses: the atmosphere of a good author’s cinema; many sad and funny stories and characters; non-linearity of communication, which affects the information received and relationships with passengers; collecting information and trying to find the killer is really interesting, and the intrigue remains until the very end; cool music.

Cons: basic gameplay is too primitive; monotonous and static (though stylish) backgrounds; the denouement may seem banal – we have seen this more than once in films.

Similar content:

Kena: Bridge of Spirits Review & Guide

Reviews • 29/03/2022

Hardly anyone expected from Kena: Bridge of Spirits anything other than a beautiful animated fairy tale about how a cute heroine, hugging some cute ...

Korean Gods in the League of Legends World Championship Finals

Reviews • 15/04/2022

The main tournament of the year in League of Legends is rushing to the finish line at full speed. In the final showdown, which ...

Pac-Man 99 Review & Wiki

Reviews • 03/04/2022

Relevant for platform: NSW Main Content There are never too many pacmen Understand yourself Unusual multiplayer entertainment from Nintendo appears when you least expect ...

Kingdom of the Dead Review & Wiki

Reviews • 25/03/2022

There are such games, films, texts that seem not only bad, but strange, or something – with features, let’s say so. But in their ...