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Tales From Off-Peak City's eccentric first volume hits Steam and Itch next month

Cosmo D’s Tales From Off-Peak City Volume 1 might as well be a dream. None of the lines make sense, voices are disembodied and audible only as music, with a general sense of being neither somewhere nor elsewhere. The pizza toppings look gross. But even if the developer’s world seems pieced together from half-forgotten memories, it’s all quite real and – as a new trailer this week attests – available to buy come May 15th.

One of this tale’s stranger twists is that the game’s already been out for months. If you’re a Humble Choice subscriber, you’ve had the keys to Off-Peak City since February. This week, Cosmo D announced that all us non-subscribers can take a trip to their bizarre city via alternative methods next month.

Coming from the bloke wot made musical hotelier The Norwood Suite, Off-Peak City runs alongside its vacationing predecessor as a bizarre first-person adventure. Pizza, jazz, crime and intrigue abound, framed in a surreal adventure where sound and architecture and narrative are woven together in a single street corner.

Alternatively titled Caetano’s Slice, Volume 1 is the first in a planned anthology of games set on the intersection where July Avenue and Yam Street meet. Each will tell its own standalone story, coming together to build a more complete picture of this strange urban vacation spot.

Our Nate Crowley was set up to hate it, being an adventure game and all. And, yes, it still had plenty of point n’ click genre gripes. But never mind the game’s left-field visuals, it was that masterful soundscape that really had your man changing his tune in his Tales From Off-Peak City review.

“Off-Peak slaps harder than a mid-90s Tango advert, and as relentlessly as E Honda. Cosmo D is a musician, you see. And you’d know it within seconds, even if the game’s theme had nothing to do with music, purely through the principle of ‘show, don’t tell’. Honestly, I’ve never known a game make me so utterly aware of sound before, to the point where it often registered with me more powerfully than the (extremely striking) visual design did.”

Tales From Off-Peak City Volume 1 hits Steam and Itch.io on May 15th for $10. For a taster ahead of then, wonderfully-odd predecessor Off-Peak is still free on both Steam and Itch.

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Natalie Clayton

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