Welcome To August
Dark Nights with Poe and Munro is the game in question today. A collection of six interactive episodes following the odd and eerie escapades of the titular duo. But while you’re a part of the journey, your control only goes so far.
Set in the presumably fictional town of August, Poe and Munro are two local radio hosts that tackle dark mysteries and dangers when not on the air. The partners take on a missing persons case in one episode, and find themselves held hostage by a painting in another (Yes, you read that right). There’s never a dull moment in their company, and all these adventures make for an entertaining collection of stories. I can genuinely say I enjoyed playing through them all.
Out Of Control
When I refer to Dark Nights as an interactive game. It’s exactly that, essentially just an interactive experience. There’s no choosing your own adventure, or drastically changing the outcome of any episode because of the choices you’ve made. Too many of my choices felt superficial or perhaps like I was deciding the flavour of a milkshake. At the end of the day, whatever choice I make, it’ll always be a milkshake. Regardless if it was chocolate or strawberry-banana.
One expects a certain level of control in the progression of the plot when playing a game of this nature. While generally in choose your own adventures there’s an overarching narrative that’s set in stone. By the end of it, the world state, which characters are still around, who hates or loves you can all change.
In this way the story sprouts out from the ground like a tree trunk set in place and immovable to the individual. However, there are a multitude of branches. With variations in the way the arms of the tree jot out, or the number and locations of leaves.
This kind of variation, branching, and control felt lacking in Dark Nights. It felt like too much of the plot just happens and the player just observes. Or perhaps I’ve just been spoiled by the level of influence one has in games like Until Dawn. However, as harsh or negative as this point sounds. The branching that does take place is still enjoyable in its own way. When you make one choice instead of another, you get alternate dialogue that adds interesting layers to the conversation. Your choices can lead to extra scenes that might take the story in darker directions. Like the first episode that has the potential to end in murder. Although, even this alternate ending is essentially just a different flavour to the vanilla. It still ends up as a milkshake.
While the destination may remain the same, the scenery on the road there may be entirely different. You may even gain some information early that would have otherwise been revealed later. Such as a big reveal in Poe and Munro’s relationship that can be uncovered as late as the fifth episode or as early as the first.
Speaking of Poe and Munro, I was a big fan of their dynamic. The two leads Klemens Koehring and Leah Cunard had great chemistry and played off of one another really well. They make for a believable couple, if not a bit heavy on the innuendos. Honestly though, that just made them all the more entertaining to watch.
Munro was an instant hit for me. Leah nailed her performance, especially in the fourth episode, where she delivered some killer monologues. I have to admit though, at first I was not the biggest fan of Poe, especially his line delivery. It just felt a little forced; but it didn’t take long for him to grow on me. Soon I started to love his dramatic way of talking. As if he was constantly on the stage of a community theatre.
While most of the additional cast did a fairly good job. There were a couple of questionable performances. Especially in those moments when the scene calls for intense emotion or nuance.
Do It Again
Dark Nights with Poe and Munro may be a bit on the short side when you first play through. Episodes are about 20-30 minutes in length. However, with it being an FMV you’re more than likely to run through each episode a couple of times to experience every little bit of story you can.
Overall Dark Nights is a pretty enjoyable series of adventures. It’s shot well, it’s lead by two likeable characters and it has healthy doses of mystery and the supernatural. If you’re a fan of interactive games and FMVs, then there might be something here for you.