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This article is now OFF

Another indie gem, the game OFF is an interesting one if you’ve never heard of it before. OFF is a french surrealist adventure RPG released by Mortis Ghost in 2008, and later translated to English in 2011. With a strange and complex story, bizarre characters, and strong environmental design, it’s a memorable game to play, and definitely one I’d recommend to any RPG fan out there. 

(art by Mortis Ghost, the game OFF, and its associated community)

Unlike many games, the game OFF has you start out by playing… well, you. Put in your name, your pronouns, and you’ll be greeted by some cursory guidance about your goals in this game world. You control the Batter, a stone faced man, but you are not actually the Batter. The Batter’s quest is to purify the world, and you are merely here to guide him to that end. It can feel very disconcerting when you first start out, with characters referring to you, referring to the Batter, and talking about this world you really are a stranger to. And remember, this was made in 2008. Not a lot of games were playing around with the idea of the player as a separate character yet, nor with games being overly self-aware. 

From overly loquacious cats to ominously prophetic merchants, the character design in this game is bonkers. The surrealism really shows itself in the world building and character design, with stylized ghosts, office workers whose heads have exploded in a pillar of ink, and bloated figures waiting in the dark, as well as bizarre elements that make up the world as a whole. Everything is taken seriously, no matter how horrific or nonsensical it may at first appear. Plus, the battle music is an absolute bop. 

OFF is very much a game worth experiencing, so forgive me for my vagueness. Spoilers abound in this strange game, and it’s best played the first time utterly blind to any consequences. But my main advice for new players is to play the game how you see fit. Fill in your name, and try to approach the game with the seriousness that the characters within  treat it. Visit old areas, as things change with your impact on the world. The entire game is free to play and download here, it takes most players about 3 hours to complete the game.

Without further ado, go forth and purify the world.

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