Parents' Guide to

Night Call

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Great Parisian storytelling, but clunky mystery solving.

Game Windows 2019
Night Call Poster Image

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While the stories in this mystery are very compelling, the crime solving and detective work leaves much to be desired. You're not an elite soldier, a superspy, or a skilled assassin in Night Call. Instead, you're an ex-con trying to put his life back together by driving a cab. That's where the incredible stories start – you wouldn't expect it during the night shift, but you're exposed to lawyers defending terrorists, political firebrands, police officers struggling with personal secrets, and much more. Those are just the tame tales you'll encounter, without including the supernatural experiences that the cabbie seems to go through (are they hallucinations, or is something actually going on in streets?). Plus, as you start picking up the same fare, they'll open up to you more, sharing their stories in a kind of mobile therapy session. It's striking to see people unburden themselves like this, and fascinating when you can suggest something or make a comment that helps them with their problems, especially when the content is handled in a respectful and fascinating way.

Unfortunately, the crime solving isn't nearly as engaging or as intuitive. It feels like it's a stretch that random cab fares will have any sense of what's going on in an investigation to give you the clues you need to pin down the murderer. In fact, the clues that do pop up seem so disconnected from some stories that it's hard to figure out why they might be relevant. On top of that, manipulating and interacting with your clue board in your apartment feels so confusing that it can frequently be easier to just let the game make connections on its own. Also, the killer for a case doesn't seem to be randomized from case to case, so once you discover who did it (often by chance instead of by deduction), you won't return to play apart from learning more of the stories. It's unfortunate, because Night Call has intriguing stories to tell, but the mystery misses the mark.

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