Dark Nights with Poe and Munro rounds off the D’Avekki Studio’s trilogy of mysterious FMV adventures. Dr Dekker is very much one of my favourite games of the last decade, The Shapeshifting Detective was wonderful fun with tons of hidden Easter eggs to discover. Whilst Poe and Munro takes a slightly different approach to X-Files send-up silliness that doesn’t always reach the dizzy heights of its counterparts, it’s still a great FMV adventure.
This time around we have six short stories, each one lasting about 20-30 minutes each with Poe and Munro – two characters we met in Shapeshifter. You don’t need prior knowledge of anything going into the game but fans of D’Avekki can expect small references and wink wink nudge nudge moments throughout the game. Poe and Munro run a radio station for the town of August and are also dating – although Poe is married and that is an overarching story of the six episodes.
Each episode starts off with the radio presenters doing a story or taking a weird call and things take a paranormal turn from there. We have stalkers, werewolves, demons, hypnosis and ghosts of old lovers… and a rabbit costume. It is a bit of a greatest hits montage in a way as episode 4 returns to Dr Dekker’s couch and gameplay style whilst characters from Shapeshift and the map return for episode 3. These are fun nods and it changes the way how choices and dialogue can be made. A great addition this time around is the ability to freeze-frame choices. This can be helpful as sometimes the game presents choices as UI on the radio panel and I wasn’t always sure what I was clicking immediately. It also allows for groups of people to discuss and choose choices too. I also enjoyed the stats now collected after each episode to reflect your, your friends and the global first choices everyone picked. Each page shows you up to 8 key decisions but there are plenty of others per episode that give smaller, mini dialogue changes throughout.
The acting is largely great and the script is fine too but overall the production (apart from the final episode) seems to have been stuck to being in just a couple of rooms and some trees. This stationary storytelling without too many variants or paths to take mean that things feel a little smaller this time around. The stakes feel smaller too. Initially, I thought this was because of the bitty stories and I still think this is true, but I think the Buffy/X-Files themes of the paranormal felt a little less chaotic this time around.
Possibly owing to the pandemic, some episodes feel much larger and more diverse than others too. Episode 6 is easily the games most expansive and intriguing puzzle as Poe & Munro get caught out by a wishing painting demon. Depending on one choice early on, you get two completely different episodes. I was really impressed replaying the game a second time and picking opposites at just how much of that episode you could perhaps never see. It is a great cause for playing Poe & Munro at least twice and even then for that episode specifically, you won’t have found most of the endings.
FMV adventure fans, this is another great one to pick up. Gamers who aren’t quite sure about FMV adventures, I’d recommend perhaps Dr Dekker and the Shapeshifting Detective (or Contradiction if you are on PC) over this one. I feel like Poe & Munro is a game that gives out more fun and enjoyment to fans who’ve been through the D’Avekki cinematic universe. It isn’t quite the studio’s crowning achievement but it is still a decent game with plenty of laughs. Enjoyable.
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