We'll soon return to the weird and wonderful world of Cosmo D's Off-Peak City, with the next game in the series today announcing a shiny release date of September 9th. Betrayal At Club Low is the name, and an RPG infiltrating a former coffin factory-turned-nightclub is its game. This time, Cosmo D says he's inspired by one-shot indie RPGs as we roll dice, bake pizzas, and try to help an undercover agent escape.
Our agent will roll up to Club Low with seven stat skills (Athletics, Cooking, Deception, Music, Observation, Wisdom and Wit) and roll dice to attempt various challenges. These include a pizza which we can... bake with different ingredients to give it different abilities? Interesting! Apparently various approaches can lead to different endings—11 in all—and it'll have extra optional mutators and challenges on top.
I'm interested to see how an RPG will shake out because so far we've visited his Off-Peak world through mild adventure games with walking simulator vibes. Apparently this is inspired by "short, punchy, independent zine RPGs", aiming to feel like "a one-off tabletop session, with Cosmo D as your Game Master."
This has been one of my favourite series. It explores many nooks and crannies of a surreal city where buildings talk, conspiracies are abound, money is rising up, music courses through life, and tender human stories grow from every crack. They're soundtracked by Cosmo D's own excellent music, and I really like garish bricolage look. Individual elements might look unusual taken in isolation but together everything feels right. It's not 'wacky' or 'zany' or other veiled disparagements, it's wholly itself.
Do grab the first game, Off-Peak free from Steam or Itch.io to see for yourself. It's set inside a strange train station run by a sinister "curator", loud and colourful and crammed with curios. Pip and I explored that together. This was followed by two commercial sequels: a visit to a legendary musician's home, now a hotel, in The Norwood Suite, as Adam reviewed; and a tour of a city block in Tales From Off-Peak City, which Nate reviewed. All very good.