We Are OFK is an interactive experience that spans five episodic entries. Like many visual novels or point-and-click-styled games before it, you’ll be greeted with the combination of stylistically drawn still images mixed with animated characters on the forefront.
At the end of each episode, you’ll experience a little treat, the next track in OFK’s EP.
What Is We Are OFK About?
The story revolves around four artists from varying backgrounds trying to juggle their work-life balance while still maintaining a passion for their respective art.
Businesses in the entertainment industry often clash with creative visions in real life, and here is no different- corporations do what’s profitable, not fresh or fun. The group has no choice but to evaluate their love of creativity and the necessity of paying the bills.
So? Time to start a band.
I don’t know if it’s the hype and anticipation of seeing what comes next in your favorite tv show, or in this case, game, but introductory title sequences that blend music and visuals with pinpoint precision always deserve a shout-out We Are OFK is no different.
At the start of each episode, the scenes nail the feeling of LA. At the same time, the music transitions NYE on perfectly with its environment and characters before the title crawls upward alongside the last few notes of the intro’s song. Considering that you’ll see this same sequence five times, it must rule, and it does.
How We Are OFK Blends Its Mediums
Omniboi’s music is a fantastic addition to the production. Seriously, someone needs to force collaborate some of this stuff with the Persona series. From the pitter-patter of piano keys to the electronic-fueled music, each moment is delightfully backed by the score.
Other times the OST is even choreographed alongside the cadence of a character’s voice or movements during conversation or gameplay and lends a nice flare to the presentation.
The art style is soft but bright and colorful, and it uses an almost depth-of-field technique where assets that aren’t meant to grab your attention are simplified, while the focus of the scene is more detailed. Itsumi, Luca, Jey, and Carter all have great designs that complement their expressions and emotions, supporting the animation work throughout conversations.
Even the bro music producers (broducers?) have a nice defining douchey look. You love to see it.
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A weekly release schedule is an excellent happy medium between a fully released game and staggered episodic content. Significant gaps between episodic interactive experiences work against the natural flow of narrative-focused games, and luckily there are no pacing issues to be had here.
The steady feed of We Is OFK’s content is greatly appreciated, and it’s a welcomed decision made in tandem with each track’s debut.
We Are OFK’s Gameplay
How the gameplay pulls the story forward is standard for the genre. You get to choose from various dialog options while controlling the decision-making of the four characters, most of which happens through each character’s cell phone.
Interactivity within the game’s world is simplistic by design and can become relatively static. You can’t navigate or interact with your surroundings “…” as you wait for “…” another text message from “…” one of your friends. As someone who reads quickly, this can be pretty disruptive to the flow of conversation, but from a design standpoint, I understand the intended feeling of waiting on someone to finish typing.
Luckily you can speed up texting in the options menu, and while it’s a nitpick, I wish you could immediately continue to the following line of dialog.
Talking points between characters can sometimes be intriguing with references to work crunch, the cogs of capitalism, the difficulties of implementing your passions, heartbreak, reconciliation, and how much we lean on one another to survive.
There are also many video game references amongst a solid understanding of gaming culture that speaks to its audience.
The VO work is top-notch, and it must be noted how important it is in games like these. Each voice fits every line of dialog very well, regardless of which direction the writing runs off. I could quickly close my eyes and listen to them talk; what can I say? Some folks just have friendly voices.
Negatives of We Are OFK
Unfortunately, this is where my praise for We Are OFK ends.
The banter between characters quickly starts to wear paper thin. While I know many people who flood conversations with pop culture slang, you need an abundance of patience and a specialized dictionary to wade through the waves and waves of… “coolness.”
In addition, a particular character is criminally underdeveloped until it’s too late into the story, which crushed my hopes of seeing them contribute to the otherwise eccentric cast.
As episode three concluded, I honestly thought we were in for something special; the music, the scene direction, and the drama was so well done with an artsy flourish. I didn’t realize that the climax had just happened, and the remaining two episodes were too directionless to follow the opening acts. The story orbits a single pivotal moment that it entirely forgets to capitalize on, and then the game ends, and that’s it.
Final Thoughts On We Are OFK
If you’re looking for an experience in the realm of Life is Strange and you need to fill that void, We Are OFK can, at times, facilitate those feelings and emotions over its six-hour adventure. However, if you’re expecting the crossover between the band Daughter and LIS: Before the Storm, you’ll be pretty disappointed.
Foremost, the game is an interactive advertisement for OFK’s EP first and a melding of two mediums second, and while there is some enjoyably fresh indie pop to be discovered here, We Are OFK will leave you AFK in the end.