By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on July 17, 2019
Do you remember being in class, back when you were like 10 years old? What did you want to be when you were growing up? Surely your teacher asked you this question at least once, am I right? How come that you almost never hear children yell: "I want to be a cabdriver when I grow up!"?
Well, in this case, I can somewhat imagine why. Being a cabdriver is a dangerous business, it seems... Yes, I'm about to play a game that goes by the ominous name of Night Call, in which we take the role of an actual cabdriver in Paris. In Night Call, you have two main objectives: Solve murder cases and make enough money to pay your bills. So let's start making money and solve a murder, shall we? You can actually choose between three murder cases at the start of the game, each of which has a different difficulty level. There are also two surprise options; one will provide you with a random non-solved case and the second option will select a random case, solved or not.
I decided to start with the case that is marked as the balanced one and therefore perfect for a first run. I quickly discovered that this cabdriver is having the worst day ever! You wake up in a hospital and discover that you've been in a coma for two weeks. The medical staff decided to put you in a coma to recover from your wounds, because you have been stabbed by the serial killer everyone has been talking about for some time now. The passenger you had with you at the time didn't survive the killer's attack but you did! Luck smiles upon you. or does it. You manage to catch some of the conversation the police was having with your doctor and they seem to be under the impression that you might not be quite that innocent after all! What?! Are they calling you a murderer? What the hell?!
After a month of recuperation, it's time to once again take up my old job as a cabbie again and it feels damn good to be driving around your cab after all this time. After a quick check up with your boss, you're good to go. By using a map of Paris, you can select your next passenger. Now, I'm bit surprised to see a picture of a cat among the passenger, but I thought: "what the hell?" I decide to just go with the flow and pick up this "chat noir" and bring him to wherever he wants to go. And to my surprise I can have a sort of, albeit a very one-sided, conversation with it and the cat actually pays its bill. The story tells me that the cabdriver is just as surprised as I am.
During your routes, you pick up passengers and bring them to his or her desired destination. Of course, cab rides don't take forever, so the game actually shows you how much time you have left to talk to your passenger and gather info, because at the top of the screen you'll see a mini-map and a moving arrow, showing you where you are, just like a navigation system. The game features no voice-acting but, instead, it has a very nice soundtrack. Together with the whole noir style and the Parisian setting, it all feels very mysterious and cozy at the same time. This coziness is over as soon as agent Busset enters my cab. She is convinced I'm not the serial killer, but she wants my help in return for her help in proving this. She basically wants me to keep talking to passengers, ask around about certain aspects of the case at hand, keep my eyes open and, of course, relay all the information I can gather directly to her. Busset will also forward info to me, if she thinks it can be useful to my investigation.
Night Call is a narrative story game, so playing the game will entail a lot of talking to various people while driving them to various destinations across beautiful Paris. And while you're doing this, you must also try to connect the proverbial dots in order to solve the case at hand. I was a bit worried that the driving people around and listening to their stories in the hope of hearing something useful would possibly become boring at some point, but I couldn't be more wrong! It's actually really, really cool! Yes, you will have to listen to a lot of passengers telling you random stuff, but you can steer the conversation in the desired direction by asking the right questions. Plus, sometimes passengers leave items behind for you to collect. You also seem to have some contacts of your own, who might just offer you information. if the price is right, that is. Sometimes, even listening to the radio might reward you with a vital piece of this murderous puzzle!
After every shift, you have time to work on your case and literally connect the dots at your home, where you have you very own cork board set up, containing all the clues you've gathered so far. Now, I don't know about you, but this certainly makes me feel like a professional investigator! Plus, every run will be different, because there are many, many characters to talk to. Incidentally, each case has a different killer, so someone who comes across as being fishy in one case, might just be a completely innocent bystander in the next one. And, last but not least, your choices maybe different, because you always find yourself caught in the middle between finding your next clue versus making enough money to keep the lights burning.
Night Call is a cleverly designed game which is an excellent challenge for gamers who like to solve mysteries in which the solution is not immediately the obvious one. Every case has some unique aspects and because every case also has three difficulty levels, playing Night Call is a challenge for everyone. So release your inner Sherlock Holmes and catch that killer!
July 17, 2019