Night Call is the closest taxi driving experience you’ll get without having to clean sick out of the seats or get stung by multiple speed cameras while doing an airport run. Crazy Taxi or posing as a cabby in GTA V are still the most exciting representations of the profession, but did either of them improve your detective skills?

You aren’t masquerading as a detective and are, in fact, a taxi driver in Paris. A chance encounter with a corrupt cop threatens to pin a crime on you unless you interrogate their suspects under the guise of a 

fare. You’re more of an informant, though you must acquire evidence for a successful prosecution. Should you fail, you’ll be heading to jail.

What makes the situation worse in Night Call, a game from Monkey Moon, BlackMuffin, and Raw Fury, is your implication in the crime: you were the only survivor of a serial killer known as The Judge. After being shot and in an induced coma, you’re back in the driving seat and burdened with finding the killer.

Night Call Steam Review - Lucy
Lucy. Source: Steam

Fortunately, you’re a natural at ‘interrogation’. Customers will confide in you – telling tales of romance, discrimination, politics, and the fact that there’s a killer on the loose. Fares are scattered over the city with their desired destination and how much it’ll pay. The police aren’t paying you, and there are bills to pay.

Fares can be refused, and you may wonder why. As Night Call delivers a deadline to find the suspect, you’ll need to collate as much evidence as possible, cherry-picking fares and visiting key locations for info, so heading off in the wrong direction will be counter-productive. Also, you’ll need to put gas in the tank and pay your bills at the end of each night.

One way of earning extra money is from tips. Customers will tip based on how you make them feel, rather than anything else, as there isn’t a time limit or ‘find the best route’ as all destinations are automated. The core gameplay involves choosing the correct responses and asking the right questions.

Night Call Steam Review - Frank
Frank. Source: Steam

You can be judgemental, or he can be a good listener, provide some advice, or remain silent. People are people, and one approach will work with one but not another, so you have to gauge the right thing to say to unlock new evidence or a decent tip.

Now get this: there are 85 customers in the game, meaning that more than one playthrough is needed. When you first play Night Call, you’ll likely be impressed by the noir ambience, the hand-drawn black and white illustrations and the brilliant soundtrack. After night settles, the characters will pull you in with some superbly written scenarios, often based on real-life stories. It was so good that I was even dreaming about this game.

However… once you realise that there’s an actual deadline and actual consequences if you don’t find the evidence needed for a decent outcome, it becomes clear that there will be a fair amount of repetition – whether that’s starting again or picking up the same customers to unlock the required dialogue. 

Night Call Steam Review - Amy
Amy. Source: Steam

A HUGE passidex feature lists all the customers you interacted with in Night Call with bullet points on what you have achieved with them. There are three cases to choose from where the other two move away from The Judge and introduce The Angel of Death (not Police Quest related) and The Sandman, plus two random options. While these offer up different suspects, it’s more of the same.

Conceptually, Night Call is fascinating and a great way to place a multicultural city under the microscope with genuine problems, irrespective of serial killers roaming about. Conversations are mature and very real, so you feel like you’re in the cab, too. Then again, that realism rears its head when seeing the same old faces becomes monotonous.

Night Call looks and feels the part, and as per the opener, the closest you’ll get to taxi driving without cleaning out the sick. It’s an intelligent noir with a great deal of authenticity. Still, after going around the block so many times, it becomes a bit too familiar and you’re starting to emphasise more with Travis Bickle…