Being a taxi driver sounds like a pretty boring job, right?
Always sat behind the same wheel, driving the same streets time and again. But what if you were somehow thrown into the investigation of a serial killer? Somehow, it fell on your shoulders to track down suspects and gather clues. Not so boring now, eh? That’s essentially the premise of Night Call, an upcoming neo-noir murder mystery from Raw Fury Games.
The game opens with your protagonist waking up in hospital. He’s been in a coma for two weeks; turns out he’s the only person to have survived an attack from a serial killer on the loose in Paris. Our guy just wants to get on with his life, but the universe has other plans. A few weeks later, a stern-looking woman gets in the back of his cab. Turns out she’s an officer working on the case. Some people on the force are suspicious of this taxi driver – how did he survive, when nobody else did? – but not this woman. She thinks he can be useful. And so, she tasks him with working for her; gathering evidence from the people he picks up. He’s got no choice but to agree.
From here, you’re thrust into a dark Parisian world, where your nights are spent picking up passengers and your early mornings are spent piecing together evidence. Each character you pick up in the back of your taxi has a story to tell, should you get them to talk. Not every one will be pertinent to the case you’re working on, but each one is interesting in its own way. Night Call feels a little like a visual novel in some regards; much of the game is made up of listening to conversations. But in those conversations will be pieces of information that you’ll need. You’ll frequently be asked to make decisions – some as simple as asking a leading question or staying silent, others more demanding: do you simply want to make money by doing your job, or do you want to sacrifice your income to find out more information?
Because it’s not just about solving a murder you’ve become involved in: you still have a job to do, and so the amount of income you make each night is important. The game measures your petrol use and your mileage, along with the fare generated from each passenger you pick up. An overhead map of Paris allows you to choose the jobs you want to pick up, so it’s up to you to balance the most cost-effective journeys against those that may lead to an important breakthrough in the investigation.
Presented in a gorgeous black and white noir style, Night Call oozes intrigue from the very moment you start playing. It’s minimal in its presentation, with simple monochrome images and a navigational map of the streets of Paris, but it’s effective. Better yet, no two playthroughs of Night Call are ever the same: who turns out to be the killer in one game may be an innocent civilian in the next one.
Night Call is coming to PC and consoles later this year. If you’re a fan of noir style intrigue and murder investigations, then make sure this one is on your radar.