Calum Petrie reviews Dark Nights with Poe and Munro…
D’avekki Studios have an extremely impressive line up of FMV games under their belts. This studio first came to my attention when I was sent a review code for The Shapeshifting Detective, a charming and atmospheric game about murder and deception. After that I was drawn to another title The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, which is a mind boggling journey into the madness of a group of patients, and last year they released a prequel of sorts to the Shapeshifting Detective entitled Dark Nights with Poe and Munro.
Poe and Munro are two radio presenters in the fictional town of August, situated somewhere in the English countryside in the midst of great radio reception areas. This new game is six short stories all playable in a single 3/4 hour play session, which does not put it in the category of longest games to ever have been created. Though the adventures range from mind boggling quirky to a race against the clock to save a life, the entire game is not a typical adventure; if you are expecting TellTale Games, you might be in for a shock.
Digging down deep to the core of Dark Nights with Poe and Munro is to get to know the two namesake characters, a pair of local radio legends who are forever trying to stay on air and just keep doing what they love. However, the undercutting sexual tension of Poe and Munro makes the “will they, won’t they” moments throughout the story have the player dealing with the moral conflict of infidelity. That last sentence alone is probably not what you were expecting from the this quirky yet heartfelt title.
The game’s main gameplay mechanic has the player stepping in to either button mash to fill a meter, or to chose a specific option on screen. The options on screen can sometimes be on a timer, meaning that there is an urgency to the question and that it might have further consequences down the line.
The other mechanic is the button mashing, but it is never really clear that is what players are supposed to be doing. I would have liked the button prompt to have been a little different of pulse violently to indicate the need to mash the controller buttons; however, that is one of the few complaints I have about this title.
Mentioning earlier in the review, the game is an FMV title, meaning it is fully filmed using actors and edited together like a TV show with interactive choices. The game was created with open auditions for actors giving people a fantastic opportunity to raise their portfolio, presence and get their faces out there. That being said there are a couple of performances where the acting might raise criticism from people who are expecting Oscar worthy acting from every single person on screen.
The visual quality within this game is pretty outstanding, and the quality of filming and editing has been carried out extremely well. It’s very reminiscent of titles like The Night Shift which do a very similar experience, giving the impression of an interactive film. Poe and Munro feels more like a bizarre TV show that will never apologise for being charming, slightly tongue in cheek and interesting enough to make you want to see through to the end of the six-episode adventure.
Something that I absolutely loved about The Shapeshifting Detective that made it into this game is the wonderful opening credits. These magnificent globules of colour suspended make for something out of a OLED display at Currys. The games score is definitely not something to be overlooked, while I am writing this review I have had the game on pause listening to the wonderful piano music, something calming yet haunting. The perfect accompaniment to the games overall tone, a gentle melody to grant us the brief reprieve of strange and macabre moments that fill the game from start to finish.
The differences from the games PC to Console port was not anything major enough to really taker note of. The game is enjoyed most as a journey, one in which we must use the knife edge of suspense to cut through the undertones of sexual tensions and only then will we be totally engrossed in this spectacular title.
I jokingly messaged the studio on Twitter whenever The Shapeshifting Detective was mentioned about a Poe and Munro podcast. Then when a standalone game featuring the two was announced I doubled my efforts. I am not sure if this is the only reason their is actually now an episode up on podcasting apps, but I would love to thank Klemens Koehring and Leah Cunard for taking the time to reprise their roles to entertain the following they have ended up with.
Dark Nights with Poe and Munro is an utterly delightful experience, and I would gladly welcome more hijinks from this dynamic duo. I understand that the talented team at D’Avekki Studios will have more larger and daring tales to entertain us with, but if they do contain Poe and Munro then they will more than likely always have a fan in me.
- Quirky and charming acting
- Short burst stories
- Funny and witty writing
- Button prompts not always clear or give you enough time
- Can be difficult to get into if not played the previous game
Rating – 9/10
Callum Petrie – Follow me on Twitter – @Cetrie