Night Call


Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:  Monkey Moon,Black Muffin

Publisher:    Raw Fury

Released:   July 17, 2019              

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher 
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-7100, AMD FX-8100 or higher
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel UHD 630, Geforce GTX 275, Quadro 2000D, or equivalent
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Note: The above requirements are those listed at Steam at the time of this review (September 2019). Some other websites list slightly higher requirements as "minimum" but then say those requirements are for playing in 1080p (1920x1080).




By flotsam


Night Call

Monkey Moon/Black Muffin/Raw Fury

Paris at night, a cabbie and a cop. A shadowy past, an unfortunate encounter, a corner backed into. And a serial killer. Blackmail; either play ball and help identify the killer or get banged up. So it’s back behind the wheel and into the night, trawling the streets for fares and information.

Night Call is broody, sultry, black and white noir. There are great bits, not bad bits and repetitive bits, mainly hits but also some misses, but it is ultimately well worth the drive.

Pick a case to start (there are three) then a difficulty level (story, balanced or hard). Balanced is the self-proclaimed way the game is meant to be played, and who am I to disagree. Except I reckon that playing for the first time on the story setting will allow the best bits to stand out, and enable you to better settle into the game.

Let me explain.

An aspect of the game is resource management. Fares are how you make money, so you need to get people into the cab. You can see where the would be passengers are on your map, but you don’t know where they are going until you arrive. Travelling halfway across Paris for a minor fare may simply not be worth the expenditure on petrol, but refusing the fare will leave you with no return on the investment unless there is another possible fare close by. And not everyone pays (or can pay). Tips help, so it can pay to be accommodating, but cab driving is not a lucrative business.

Petrol is the main commodity you will need to buy, but you can also purchase newspapers and lottery tickets, as well as information, some of which is far from cheap. The game plays out over 7 nights, and your shift each night lasts from 10pm until about 4am. At the end of the shift there will be an economic reconciliation, which will see money deducted for a range of expenses as well as the owner’s cut. Hopefully there will be money left in your balance. If there isn’t, your boss takes the taxi and your license and its game over. You can choose to start from the beginning of the particular night, or try again from the beginning of the case.

Time passes as well. You can’t manage it, but you have to be aware of it. Once the clock ticks over to 4am, you get returned to your flat, and whatever you have earned is it. There is no capacity to stay out longer to seek more fares, so depending on how you spent the evening you might be short of funds.

I like managing resources, but when I first began playing (having chosen the balanced setting) I found that I was focussed on these things to the detriment of the passenger conversations. These are key to uncovering potentially useful information, and provide the heart of what the game has to offer. I therefore started again on the story setting, in which money is more plentiful, the investigation is easier, and actions take less time (according to the menu). It was indeed a “chiller” experience; there was very little need to provide more than cursory attention to resources, and I could fully engage with the rich tapestry of tales coming from the back seat.

Most were wonderfully written, and the passengers and their circumstances covered the full panoply of Parisian inhabitants. The homeless, the privileged, and everyone in between climbs in, some drunk, some afflicted in various ways, some not even human or real. They might be angry, sad, joyful, conflicted or vengeful. They might be looking for inspiration, or just a ride to the airport. Some swear, others have gritty tales to share, and for many it’s a back-seat confessional.

There are 75 characters in all, and you won’t meet all of them in the course of a single case. I had about a third of them in my cab over the course of the first one, some more than once. You can keep tabs on who you have met and a bit of what you have learned about them through the menu screen. While some were better than others, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversational experience.

None of it is spoken, which means inadequate voice acting is not an issue. Ambient sound and music suit and enhance the overall mood.

A little pop-up animation will indicate you have learned something of possible importance, or been given some relevant information. All of that will be available in your flat when you finish your shift, and can be examined prior to the night ending. It all finds its way to a large bulletin board, where it might link to one or more of the five possible suspects. You can move it around and review where it came from to try and determine your preferred suspect.

You will ultimately have to give a name to your police “handler”. That might or might not lead to a successful outcome. Even if you identify the correct suspect, you won’t necessarily get a good result. Having played the end of the case a few times to see how it might play out, I ended up dead in the front seat on one occasion, and sent to prison for having failed the police on another.

If I had stopped there, I would have had an enjoyable three hours of storytelling, with some detective work thrown in. But with two more cases, and the desire to up the resource intensity having got a feel for the game, I went again. I met some different characters, but also some of the same ones, and repetitiveness kicked in when that occurred. However, by refusing some fares if I had met them before, I maximised the extent to which I met new people, all the while keeping tabs on the resource requirements. It did indeed feel balanced, particularly with the benefit of one playthrough. I am yet to try the highest setting, but still have a case to go.

I am not going to try and describe the look; the pics will do a better job. Most of the time you will have either a top down map view while you seek and select a fare, or a front on perspective of you driving with your passenger in the back seat, with the map in the background. Little cut scenes punctuate the journeys, and it all comes together rather well. There is nothing flat or lifeless about the presentation.

It is all point and click and you can have the conversations occur in auto-mode (dialogue will advance by itself, and you can fiddle with how fast that occurs) or you can click to advance them yourself. The game autosaves as you go, but there is only ever a single save point. You can have all three cases on the go at one time if you want, with different difficulty settings for each. You load whichever one you want to play at the menu screen. You can also adjust some of the other settings.

While it could be described as limited in scope (you drive around and have conversations) and can be repetitive when you get the same person in your cab, there is much to like. The stories were the thing, engaging in themselves, with the investigative thread offering another reason to have them. I was enjoyably surprised by Night Call and it hasn’t finished surprising me yet.


I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7 GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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