They name drop 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer in episode one
As a simple country game reviewer who sort of lives in the south if you squint, the mythical land of California is but an illusion to the west. Especially the city of Los Angeles, though you likely do not need me to tell you this, every piece of media in existence has likely told you that the people of LA are largely… different. Add one more thing to that list of media with We Are OFK, a narrative game that serves as the biopic/backstory for the titular band. It’s a story about a bunch of younger folks trying to break into their respective dream jobs, and all the struggles and self-sabotage that can come with that endeavor. While some of the younger, more “Angelino” (are they really called that?) aspects of the characters may have made me feel old and out of touch, I can at the very least say that We Are OFK is a heartfelt story about people struggling to find their path to contentment.
We Are OFK follows the story of four individuals. Luca is a games writer who has found himself dreaming of writing and performing his own music, but his various anxieties as well as adult life in general have gotten in his way at every turn. His roommate Carter is a VFX genius, but they clearly keep themselves closed off in specific ways that cause them to bottle their feelings up until they’re at a breaking point. Itsumi is a childhood friend of Luca’s who’s just uprooted her life and moved to LA with hopes of becoming a concert pianist, while she also finds herself unenthused with her current job as social media manager for the same company that employs Luca. Lastly, Jey is a certified audio production genius who sees a lot of potential in Luca’s music and decides to push him to begin writing again, but she finds herself cautious and hesitant about the seemingly close friendships that appear to be forming as a result. All four of these characters have well developed personalities, and their actions always make sense in the context of their mental state at the time, which I found rather refreshing. For what it’s worth, there is also a holographic cat named Debug, and while we don’t deserve him he is also a fine and cute addition to the already well done cast.
Gameplay in We Are OFK is very sparse; for the most part all you will find yourself doing is selecting dialogue options when they present themselves. These come in two varieties, spoken and text, and are exactly what they sound like, with the only main difference being that spoken options come with a time limit of ten seconds while text responses give you as long as you want to decide. I don’t think that these options have any significant impact on the story as a whole, and mainly just seem to exist to push the current conversation forward with different dialogue. The remainder of the gameplay comes near the end of each episode, which features an interactive music video for one of OFK’s singles. These music videos are not unlike a remix level from Rhythm Heaven, though without the ability to fail as far as I could tell. These music videos are always simple to control and figure out, and some of them really give the feeling of helping make a dynamic music video alongside the band. The music is also fantastic and something you’re sure to be tapping your foot to long after the credits have rolled.
We Are OFK is presented episodically, with an aesthetic specifically meant to evoke the feeling of watching a TV show on a streaming service (there’s even a timeline bar on the bottom when you pause). These episodes are all roughly an hour long, with the exception of episode five which clocks in at just under an hour and a half. At launch only episodes one and two will be available, with episodes three through five releasing on August 25, September 1, and September 8, respectively. For this review we were given advance access to all five episodes, but even then I found that the episodic format really clicked with me when I found myself still waiting at least a few days before playing the next one. If you find yourself checking this game out even after all five episodes have dropped, I do highly recommend leaving a gap between each one to help make the experience more authentic.
Unfortunately, it is not without its problems. I found text conversations to move far too slowly even after going into the options and cranking up the speed, something that caused me to habitually mash the A button to make it go faster, only to accidentally pick the first response option when it popped up before I was able to read the other two. I also experienced two separate crashes during my playthrough, both happening right around the time the music video at the end was about to kick in. Luckily, the game is constantly autosaving and those crashes did not mean any lost progress, but it was still an annoyance nonetheless.
Overall, We Are OFK is a well written story of people trying to turn their creative endeavors into a job that pays the bills, and all the problems that come along with that goal. Other than those relatively minor problems, I found my time with OFK to be quite enjoyable, and if you have an interest in music or just want to hang out with a bunch of creatives for a few hours, this game is very much worth your time.