Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 — Review
Follow Genre: Indie, Point and click, exploration, adventure
Developer: Cosmo D
Publisher: Cosmo D Studios LLC
Platform: PC/Mac
Tested on: Windows PC

Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 — Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: quirky and intriguing story, adventurous, creative visuals, bopping soundtrack
Bad: no waypoints, objective not clear, controls aren’t editable
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Pull up your pants, tuck in your shirt, and get ready to uncover the first part of the intriguing but weird tales from Off-Peak City. Discover the surreal suburban city full of cool art, mysterious venues, and curious characters. But don’t get too settled in because you’re here for business, not pleasure. So buckle up, buckaroo! Tales from Off-Peak City vol. 1 is taking you for a wild ride.

Story

Where to even begin… 

While we slowly arrive at the shores of Off-Peak City, the player wakes up in a rowing boat and is greeted by an odd pair. Immediately after learning your name, the lady tells you that you’ll be receiving many assignments from her in the coming future. For now, the first assignment is to steal Caetano’s prized possession: his valuable saxophone. To steal this, the player has to go undercover and work as a shop assistant for Caetano – a former musician turned pizzeria owner.

After learning the ropes and delivering your first pizza, the player returns to the pizzeria and finds a dying Caetano being loaded up into a suspicious black van that is disguised as an ambulance. With his final breath, he manages to tell us that the pizzeria is ours and that we should keep it up and running. And to avoid suspicion, this is exactly what we will do: making and delivering pizzas whilst we figure out how to get into Caetano’s very secure vault and steal his saxophone.

By delivering pizzas, the player gets to explore a bit of the city, meet its curious inhabitants, and discover all the (secret) tales the city entails. But there’s really something about Off-Peak City that is just… off. 

Graphics

Tales from Off-Peak City vol. 1 uses a very distinctive but surreal mindfuck art-style. Using the word weird here would be an understatement. The characters are very 3D-ish but still kind of realistically rendered that it crosses the line to the uncanny valley, giving us this unsettling feeling when seeing a super-realistic humanoid. Which in itself, suits perfectly with the atmosphere of this game. The same goes for the surroundings. Everything looks so fake but so real at the same time. The texture, color, lighting, and details are quite on point, and this can truly fuck with our brains. But it all fits so well together which doesn’t make it seem so weird after all.

Besides all that, you can also find random artwork everywhere you go e.g. portraits, statues, graffiti, etc., which is much appreciated. It’s like finding art in art itself. It all comes together so well.

Sound

This game is so unique when it comes to the use of sound. There’s so much to tell about this. But let’s start off with the background sound and music. You will never find a silent moment throughout the game. The sound can sometimes be so subtle that it’s not always that noticeable. But it brings out the vibe of the surroundings so well. Besides great sound effects such as the usual city sounds, or droplets, or doors creaking, there is this kind of white noise of some kind that fills the void. Like it’s electrically charging the air. But in a good way. It’s very hard to describe it.

But then you have some sound effects that are just goofy and ridiculous. Every action you make in this game is accompanied by the sound of someone who is tone-deaf trying to tune an instrument. For example, putting on pizza toppings will get you the screeching sounds of violins getting butchered. It’s not pleasant, but certainly very unique.

What is also not very pleasant, but certainly very unique, is the voicing of the characters you encounter along the way. The game does not use voice actors but instead, replaces the voices with what sounds like sped-up synthesizer sounds, mixed with a dose of auto-tune. Thank God there are subtitles.

Finally, let’s talk about music. Which is peak Off-Peak. It varies from place to place, but always quite enjoyable. Most of the time, you will get this 808/drum, electronic beat. It’s hard to describe (like the rest of the game) but it’s ‘experimental’ to say the least. The soundtrack is brilliant and fits the game perfectly.

Gameplay

Tales from Off-Peak City vol. 1 is a first-person adventure game, close to a point-and-click game but with more controls for walking and looking around. The game is similar to well-known games such as The Stanley Parable, and Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist. All intriguing, surreal, and based on your way of exploring.

Before the player is left to their own fate, instructions and controls are given on the screen. The controls are pretty easy and similar to most games: the usual W, A, S, D, and clicking if you use a keyboard and mouse, or controller if you happen to own one. It’s nice to be given the option to use a controller, but if you have an azerty-keyboard, you need to go tinker around in your settings if you want to make it easier for yourself to play. Easy fix but it would’ve been a lot nicer if the player can adjust the controls in the game itself.

For the rest of the game, it’s also quite simple. You explore, walk around, pick up items, interact with your surroundings, and fulfill objectives as they come. But since the objectives aren’t written down somewhere, it’s important to pay attention to the story and what is said. The same goes for wayfinding. Some kind of quest log and way pointer would’ve been much appreciated.

Conclusion

Tales from Off-Peak City vol. 1 is a brilliant indie game that is intriguing, quirky, and weird to say the least. It’s easy to play and fun to explore. The soundtrack and visuals are outstanding and unique. The surrealism in this game is just impressive and very creative. Getting mindfucked has never been this enjoyable.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 — Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
JenRox
JenRox


“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

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