Dépanneur Nocturne (Nighttime Convenience Store, by the way, if your French is as bad as mine) is a new game from KO_OP, creators of the fabulous GNOG. And it’s something really fascinating, a short game about exploring a late-opening shop run by a salamander.
You’re looking for something for your partner, you see. You’ve just moved into the area, and want to buy her a gift (if you’re a him or a her is ambiguous), and this is the only place you can find that’s open. So you chat to the store owner, Eugénie, and pick over the shelves, looking for items that might make a nice gift.
It’s slightly more complicated than that, but you don’t want me giving any of that away. So let me dance around some of the details.
The store mostly sells convenience store stuff, toilet rolls, cleaners, basic food items, a few DVDs. But there are some more interesting things in there, be they immortal turnips or nice salamander fur jackets. You can take these up to the counter and discuss them with Eugénie, find out more details, and decide if you want to buy them.
There are also little details hidden about, coins to find to feed a bubble gum machine selling little plastic toys, a complementary coffee station where you can make yourself a drink, or perhaps retune the radio to pick some different background music. Every single part of it is superbly presented, with some really special art, made even better with excellent lighting.
The dialogue is in French or English, decided by which language you speak in at the start, and while the rest of the shop is in French, there’s nothing that’s going to get in your way if you don’t parle français.
Aaaaaaaand, I realise what I’ve done is described a game about going to a shop. Which is really what this is! But it’s also so much more, in so many subtle ways. Let’s just say, assume you really really need to go for a wee.
For a weeny $5, this is well worth your time. It’s intelligent, peculiar, and replayable. I do wish more items in the shop could be interacted with, even if it’s just to pick them up and put them down again. But there’s enough detail hidden around to keep me happy.
KO_OP describe this as the first of their experimental games, published as “KO_OP mini”, so I’m really hopeful for more excellent little ideas like this. Dépanneur Nocturne is a brilliant first entry.