Dark Nights with Poe & Munro Review
Games can take any form, and storytelling in this medium have grown as games have more capacity to store video content. Dark Nights with Poe & Munro delivers storytelling in spades with the foundations of the long and once forgotten genre called full-motion video.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
This is a third of a trilogy set within the same D’Avekki universe, after The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker and The Shapeshifting Detective. All three are FMV games and are played very differently. This one has you play through six chapters with multiple choices on screen. Through a panel-like design, you click on the spot that indicates the character or item that you want to interact with.
While the choices aren’t as in-depth as the previous two games, you can see different scenarios play out, depending on what you pick. For example, you could solve the mystery and find a victim before the aggressor kills him, or you could be too late. The game surprises you with the turns it will take, but there is a big issue that comes with this type of interaction.
At multiple times with the game, it was confusing what the pointers were indicating and how that would progress the story. And as the decisions are timed, it might be too late before you can figure out what the game is asking of you.
In addition, the pointer style implementation makes it hard to click with the mouse if it is moving at a rapid pace. I failed to catch an item in the air, due to the difficult nature of using a mouse. If you have a controller, it will automatically click if you press the A/X button; no hovering the mouse required!
Story – 9/10
So, how is the story? Well, as a prequel to The Shapeshifting Detective, you follow the peculiar stories of late-night radio hosts Poe & Munro from the small and mysterious town of August. Their curiosity of dark stories and the strangeness of the village attracts the occult and the unexplained. Each chapter has a different flavour; one is a detective story, one is a ghost story, and another is a weird occult narrative. The script steers you through interesting scenarios and conundrums that kept me hooked throughout its 2-3 hour playtime with its smart writing.
With each playthrough though, more aspects of the game become clearer, which rewards people who replay the chapters. I was quite surprised at how different the story can play out from your choices, especially during Chapter 5, which gives you completely different gameplay segments! There is the skip feature too, which fast forwards the scenes before each decision. My one issue is that some of the threads of the storylines are left unexplored, like the existence of Frankie, how Poe became part of the same dream as Munro’s, and the location of Doctor Dekker. The chapter Many Happy Returns is also a bit disappointing to those who want to find out what was happening in Wolf Lane.
Both Leah Cunard and Klemens Koehring help bring the writing to life with their excellent chemistry and comedic timing. FMV games aren’t what they used to be; the acting has evolved as both Poe & Munro struggle to keep their relationship going as Poe continues an unfruitful marriage. The cinematography has improved throughout the series of games too with more emphasis on dynamic shots and the engaging panel-like display.
Dark Nights with Poe & Munro also gives tantalizing cameos and hints towards previous games from D’Avekki Studios. While some mysteries are still unsolved, it is quite interesting how they integrate the overall plot threads together.
In Coffee Terms
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Dark Nights with Poe & Munro. While not as technically full-fledged as the previous games, each chapter manages to tell an engaging story with a duo that has so much chemistry between each other. Just play it with a controller.
Poe & Munro Links
Dark Nights with Poe & Munro Review Summary
Ever since playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Mega Drive (that’s right, Americans!), Chris has had a love of the gaming medium. He may write too much about Kingdom Hearts, but he also likes to play first person shooters, platformers, Japanese RPGs, walking experiences, and more! You can check him out on the Active Quest podcast every week with Joseph Yaden and Josh Nichols.