OFF is an RPG game created in 2008 in RPGmaker by Mortis Ghost and the team Unproductive Fun Time.
The game starts like most RPGs asking the player to enter their name. However, this isn’t the name they will be seeing on their battle stats or when characters talk to the protagonist in-game. The main character is known only as the Batter. The name the player enters is unique to them. Interestingly a few characters who acknowledge the player’s presence though they cannot see them. For example the Judge. The character serves as a guide to the Batter throughout the game and has the player go through a tutorial before sending them off on a mission to purify the world of invading specters, one level at a time.
It first appears as a normal indie RPG game. Random-encounter battles, dungeon puzzles, and equipment upgrades all give that impression to the player. But from the beginning, the setting creates a sense of foreboding. It’s raining over Zone 1’s mines and slaughterhouses, where the protagonist has been assigned to root out spectral activity. The NPCs don’t really interact with the player beyond one sentence, sometimes even ignoring them. There are only a few characters that would offer support to the protagonist although they are seldom seen.
The feeling of uneasiness never seems to go away as the levels progress, nothing in the mechanics really changing throughout the first few levels except after defeating the boss the areas would lose their colours, music, and NPCs replaced by an empty white world. The players probably already questioning his alliance as the worlds are indeed pure white and peaceful but is wiping out all life and colour from them really the right thing to do?
The brilliance of the game lies in its ability to induce this discomfort and yet keep the player going until the story’s conclusion. There’s complexity to this game, and unless the player completes the game.
The mood begins to fall even more unsettling, the further the player goes into the story until they reach the final level: the room. The area is completely different to the previous levels, much more menacing and disturbing with its constant reconstruction of the level. The rooms constantly change shape causing confusion yet interest to continue. The constant change in the player’s surroundings almost as if to purposely increase the feeling of uncertainty the player is experiencing at this point.