ReviewDark Nights with Poe & Munro
Dark Nights With Poe & Munro follows the eponymous radio hosts across six scenarios that are captivating and fun to experience.
Posted by Nate on 8 June 2020 at 11:17AM
The moment you launch Dark Nights with Poe & Munro you are greeted with atmospheric music and slow-motion visuals setting the tone for your impending experience. The eponymous pair were some of the stand out characters in The Shapeshifting Detective so it's great them reprise their roles in their own game. The radio hosts star in six short episodes as if in a TV series in which they face a threat ranging from murders to the supernatural while still trying to remain professional for their audience. After all, the show must go on!
The presentation is really slick. Each chapter begins with a title sequence and concludes with a 'next time on Poe & Munro' to really drive home the episodic nature of the game. It should be noted that it's episodic in terms of how the game is presented and not the release method, the full game is here.
Each episode lasts about twenty to thirty minutes and are thematically different. You find Poe and Munro in various scenarios and I was gripped and entertained throughout them all. I have some complaints and I felt like I got the bad ending in nearly all the chapters but was left feeling I would absolutely play more if they released more episodes for the game. I did find the very end of the game to be somewhat abrupt.
The pace of Dark Nights with Poe & Munro is considerably faster than I was anticipating. The shots do not pause when you need to make a choice. Instead, you have idents and a timer and make your choice by selecting within the limit. While not selecting anything is a viable option, it will pick whatever your cursor is on should you run out of time when faced with an either-or. This is great for the flow of the game but also somewhat stressful. Some of the visuals representing the choices aren't all that clear meaning that you only have a vague idea of what dialogue or action you're selecting. Several times throughout the game I selected something then was immediately displeased as it played out considerably different to how I thought it would.
It's quite light-hearted in a sense especially with some of the more goofy scenarios, the twenty-four hour charity drive especially comes to mind. There are some scenes that seem completely out of character; for example: Munro's bedroom interactions with Violet in the guest-house. It's almost uncomfortable watching the scene play out while wondering if Munro took a knock to the head on her way there. However, one of the scenes later in the game which harks back to The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, showcases some of the strongest writing in the game with details bordering on the distressing describing a murder complete with a gripping performance as Elizabeth recalls her memories. This was one of my favourite sections and I haven't even played Doctor Dekker yet! That will change soon.
The on-screen chemistry between Poe and Munro is pretty good and I enjoyed the dialogue. The cinematography was outstanding and reflected the tone the game is clearly going for. Not for the first time, D'Avekki Studios have created a captivating and memorable cast of characters that are interesting to interact with and August would feel right at home in Midsomer Murders. I found Poe to be rather arrogant and manipulative but that was never really addressed, at least in my play through.
I felt like I didn't learn much more about the titular characters throughout the game, other than confirming notions that I'd already learned in The Shapeshifting Detective. Well, that's not quite true. I learned they both have absolute nerves of steel. They seem oddly unaffected by the numerous death threats, murders, disappearances and other crimes that unfold throughout the six episodes. There is the odd line of dialogue that reflects on their influence on the events but overall it makes them seem somewhat detached from reality.
In fact, a considerable amount of suspension of belief is required in this game. At no point do you see any evidence of police investigations despite the number of crimes. They are referenced and you do get the option to report or not but it's of no consequence. Poe & Munro seem content and intent on handling every threat themselves no matter the severity. Even the characters they meet seem okay that it's them asking questions rather than a detective. A line of dialogue stating 'this is for your show right?' may have contextualised this better. It also really bothered me that there was no one else ever in the building where they were broadcasting their live radio show. Who goes on air after they stop? They seemed to have the power to stop broadcasting whenever they wanted rather than a set slot. I know it's best not to ask these questions sometimes but it's one of those things that I cannot help when watching a show like this.
Overall, I had a fantastic time with Dark Nights with Poe & Munro. The cinematography is great throughout and while the punchy pacing took some getting used to it succeeds in putting pressure on the player to be more decisive. I don't think this was as good as The Shapeshifting Detective, but what D'Avekki Studios have absolutely succeeded in over the course of the two games I've played is creating a universe that I'm invested in. In my eyes they are the leading studio producing FMV games at this time. Whether or not they release any more games in this universe, I'll be keeping a keen eye on their future output.
- Excellent cast of characters
- Nails the atmosphere it's going for
- Fantastic cinematography and audio work
- Just really enjoyable to play through
- Varied episodes and effective pacing
- Not a lot of character building for the main pair