Dark Nights with Poe and Munro is one of those narrative adventure games where real actors go through various scenes and at different points in the game players are given choices which the actors follow. It’s developed and filmed by D’Avekki Studios, which is getting quite a reputation for games like this, especially ones that are both creepy and cool.
We previously reviewed Dark Nights with Poe and Munro when it originally came out on the Steam platform. Our reviewer loved it back then, but wished that she could play it on her big TV. Now people can, as the game has moved to both PlayStation and Xbox consoles. And it works fine on both last generation and next generation hardware.
Presented episodically, almost like a television series, Dark Nights with Poe and Munro follows full-time radio hosts and part-time investigators John Pope (Poe) and Ellis Munro through a series of mysterious and sometimes supernatural happenings. The game has six fully interactive episodes and about five hours of full screen full-motion video.
Poe and Munro are the hosts of a nighttime radio show called “Dark Nights with Poe and Munro” on the lone local radio station called Radio August. The town of August is also the name of the mysterious place where they live and where all sorts of strange events and supernatural happenings take place throughout the course of the six episodes. The pair interacts with their often odd, sometimes dangerous and at times vanishing while on-air devoted listeners over the phone during their radio shows discussing such topics including listeners’ dreams and secret confessions. It is enjoyable listening to Poe and Munro’s witty banter as they speak to their listeners. It would be a good radio show in real life.
Unknown to their listeners, Poe and Munro are also in a secret relationship, but it is a bit of a star-crossed one. Poe often professes his love and admiration of Munro to her in private, and yet he is a married family man that doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to change that status any time soon (to the disheartening of Munro).
Klemens Koehring is the actor who charmingly portrays John ‘Poe’ Pope and Leah Cunard is the delightful Ellis Munro. There is a lot of great chemistry between the two, and they are very entertaining to watch in their interactions with one another. Both are highly skilled actors who have clearly mastered their craft, and I hope to see them again in new games or shows. In the game, Poe is portrayed as a dark, witty and waxing philosopher whereas Ellis is usually the wide-eyed, full of light, childlike eternal optimist. Poe admires these qualities in Munro, but it is also noted in the game that Poe doesn’t recognize her as his intellectual equal (the game even allows the player to explore this fact and try to remedy the situation in one given scenario.)
The episodes have intuitive point and click hot-spots that allow the player to decide how they want to proceed in the game. The hot-spot buttons hover over objects or characters, and each of the player’s individual choices influences the direction of the storyline of each episode. In normal mode, the player must make their decisions quickly before time runs out when faced with hot-spot choices. But in the game options, you can set these hot-spots to pause throughout the game which allows you to freely mull over your decisions without the pressure of a time limit.
The six episodes have multiple avenues to be explored in their story lines. You can play the episodes over again and see how the changes in your choices influences shifts in the plot. The actors must have filmed and re-filmed each episode multiple times given the number of choices. Each episode has at least two or three different final endings, and lots of different ways to get there. At the end of each individual episode, the game presents you with how your decisions for each of the hotspots compared with that of the rest of the gaming community.
The episodes revolve around the couple’s radio show. As the player, you must guide Poe and Munro through such scenarios as confronting stalkers, a live bed-in radiothon to try and save their cash-strapped show while dealing with a vengeful literary-inspired ghost and other odd visions, talking with a devious and demonic painting, and navigating through the odd and mysterious happenings that they must investigate in the community of August. While dealing with all of these peculiar and often dangerous supernatural happenings, the player must also attempt to sustain and hopefully improve upon the course of Poe and Munro’s relationship while simultaneously trying to keep them both alive.
I thought that the game was pretty fun, especially starting with the second time I played through the episodes. With the second time playing through the game, I was more familiar with the plots and the characters which helped me feel more confident in my decision making with the hot-spots. It was very enjoyable to see the changes in the plots and gameplay in response to my different choices. Players will feel like their choices really do matter, as they can really change not just the outcome of the scenario but also what they see on their way to get there.
Dark Nights With Poe and Munro is an entertaining television show like experience. It is well acted, well written, and the plots are exciting and interesting. Dark Nights With Poe and Munro easily earns 4.5 Gin Gems for being a creepy and cool video-based adventure game that anyone can play and enjoy. If you are looking for an interesting series of mysteries that does not require too much thought to play, then spend some quality time with Poe and Munro.