“Off-Peak” by Cosmo D & Archie Pelago (Hirshi, Kroba & Cosmo D).

“You’re stranded at cathedral-like train station in the near future, searching for a ticket out of town. Explore the secret passageways, interact with strangers, dig for records, and get hypnotized by the soundtrack[.] […] [P]layers will uncover a world where the fate of it’s musicians and artists is unclear, yet their tools of the trade are highly prized. […] [A] short first-person adventure game.”

Whenever I moved in a new place and searched for flats, I tried to get one near the local train station. Why? I’m not quite sure, but “Off-Peak” made me thinking about it, as it paints these type of buildings in a maybe absurd, but not too unrealistic way by filling it with a lot of quirky characters.

You play as someone who has no real place to go, but a stranger offers you his ticket to an unknown destination. The problem is, it got ripped to pieces, so it’s your job to find each scrap of paper to glue them back together. All pieces are scattered in the station, but by exploring each corner, each food stand, each hidden passage you will find them for sure.

But of course, the more or less simple collecting quest isn’t what makes “Off-Peak” a special game. Instead, the construction of the world and its atmosphere is what really fascinates me: The dialogues as well as the monologues of the train station’s occupants, the drugged cookies in the underground, the stares of the triplets that you can feel on you even though they are wearing sunglasses inside, the board game club, the mesmerizing soundtrack… There is so much to see, hear and read, just like in regular train stations. All the different people with their unique motivations and life stories; maybe that’s the reason why I always love to be near them. A place of transition, not just in the literal sense. Well then: All aboard, please!