As someone who absolutely adores films like The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, The Big Heat, the aesthetic of Nightcall got my attention immediately. This genre holds a very special place in my heart. Even when I was using the photo-mode in Marvel’s Spiderman, I photographed my time with in that style.
The first few moments of the game have you waking up in a hospital after a two-week coma. You were recently attacked by a serial killer who has been dubbed, “The Judge”. While you are still waking up, you overhear the doctor talking to a police officer. Apparently you were the only one who has ever survived an attack from this maniac. They assume that you are the one perpetuating these crimes, but how could you have?
Before you begin to pick anyone up, a police officer gets in your car and begins to question you, and then proceeds to say something you weren’t expecting to hear. She is extorting you to find out information about this serial killer. In exchange she is holding the information which hides your true identity. You are now tasked with finding out who this “Judge” character is.
Once you are fully recovered, you begin to go back to your night job of being a cab driver. You are given a map with portraits of people, and from here you can choose who to pick up. On your way to pick them up, a yellow line lights your way and pops out from the map.
You have a decision of who you pick up, and you can also reject rides from people. While on the way to their destination, you have the ability to spark up a conversation with the passenger. This is where most of the game is played. Each conversation feels distinct, and how you respond to them will dictate how that conversation will go.
One conversation I had was about a woman going to the airport. She seemed upset about heading there, she was meeting her husband. She then proceeded to tell me that her family arranged this for her, because it is tradition in her culture. After discussing it with her, she seemed somewhat relieved but also anxious. Shortly afterwards, I dropped her off at the airport, completely unsure of how her night would play out.
During my demo, I noticed an option for an “auto mode”. This allows for the conversation to play out naturally, and still allows you to choose what to say in that situation. After a few seconds pass, the words upon the screen moves on to a new statement. This was something that I preferred, because it made the conversations feel organic. It allowed for the experience to be enjoyed more, as well as how it made it more relaxed.
Night Call is a game which blends classic noir films and a modern mystery. The more I spent with it, the more I actively enjoyed what the game was going for. Seeing the city come alive at night, and having meaningful conversations with people. Small-talk is key in this game, because it can lead to bigger and more interesting topics. Then going home to break down a case to not only make your life better but bring some peace to the shook citizens.