You have been assigned to a being called "The Batter". The Batter has an important mission. Be sure that it's accomplished.
OFF is an RPG created in 2007 by Mortis Ghost, with music created by Alias Conrad Coldwood. Originally released in French, it has since received an English translation. The player enters his/her name and is informed that s/he is now in control of "The Batter," a quiet man in a baseball uniform and the game's main character.Fairly simple, huh? Well, it gets weirder.The game takes place in a world nothing like what you know. The Batter encounters, only a few moments after you gained control, a white, wise and snarky cat with a Cheshire Cat Grin that calls himself "The Judge." The people in this world - called Elsens, though otherwise human - are practically all Inexplicably Identical Individuals other than the items merchant Zacharie, who has perfected Breaking the Fourth Wall (not that the other characters are any better; the player is repeatedly addressed personally). Strange creatures called Spectres are terrorizing everything in sight and mighty Guardians rule over the lands of the world, called Zones.The Batter's mission is to "purify the world" from these Spectres, and you have to help him with it.The latest translation can be found here, and the original French version here. Agent JR has a complete Let's Play of it, which you can view here. There is also a soundtrack, that can be found here. Note: page is in French. The game's become reputable on tumblr, being the sixth most reblogged game of 2013 (in comparison, every other game on the list are big name titles).NOTE: Since this game is highly subjective, be sure to put things that are implied, unconfirmed, or fantheory into a YMMV trope or the WMG section.
This game provides examples of:
Absurdly High Level Cap: You can easily complete the game without much trouble at around level 20, completely massacre everything around 25, and yet the last attack is unlocked at level 45, with steady unlocks in the way, both for the Add-Ons and the Batter. An entire element (meat) is likely to go unused by most players, especially as there is no New Game+.
After the End: Assuming that The Room isn't symbolic - which it likely is - OFF takes place after the world was destroyed by some disaster; it was rebuilt by the Queen and the Guardians, who all hoped to create a new, peaceful world.
Arc Number: Four, with a hidden or atypical fifth member, possibly tying in with the Batter and baseball.
There are four numbered Zones, and the Room makes five total.
There are four elements, and sugar is the artificial fifth one.
Zone 1 has five sub-areas: Elsen, Pentel, Damien, Shachihata, and Alma.
Zone 2 has four areas surrounding the library: the entrance, the park, the residential area, and the mall.
Zone 3 has four areas you traverse by monorail.
The Batter has five healing skills. Save First Base, Save Second Base, Save Third Base, Save Fourth Base, and Save Secret Base.
"I guess it's better that way," and variations thereof.
Art Shift: Whenever the Elsens give exposition on the elements, and sections of the Room.
Artificial Stupidity: to an extent. The Off combat system is rather frustrating, because during the time you spend selecting moves, the opponent's cooldown will not be frozen, giving the AI a significant speed superiority over you. Because of that, it is recommended to set the combat to Auto just about always. However, the Auto system has one flaw - the AI virtually never uses healing moves or items on damaged party members. It may happen sometimes, but only once in a blue moon. If you want a dying party member healed or a status effect removed, you'll have to deactivate Auto and do it yourself. You can rectify this by setting the "Active" option in the main status menu to "Waiting", which makes it so enemies will wait for you to choose moves, items, and which enemy to attack.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Ashley Bat. It allows you to attack twice in one turn, but is only available after collecting all five of the hidden Grand Elements, which can only be found by purifying all the zonesnote though one can only be obtained by buying it from Zacharie in the Room, and one as a drop from the Bonus Boss, defeating Sugar, and talking to Zacharie in Zone 0 right before the final boss battle.
Ax-Crazy: The Elsens from Zone 3 when deprived of their sugar.
Back to Front: The Room tells a story in reverse order, starting with Chapter 5 and ending with Chapter 0.
The music of Zone 3's subways - Yesterday was Better - continues to play over the battle with the Critic Burnt.
The same happens in the battle with Hugo with the Race of a Thousand Ants.
Biblical Motifs: The party members' classes are called "Savior," "Father", "Son," and "Holy Spirit", and the guardians are all named after people from the Bible.
Bittersweet Ending/Pyrrhic Victory: The special ending. Sure, The Batter failed, but only Zone 0 is left by the end, and assuming you kill Sugar, only the Judge, Zacharie and the lone Elsen in the safe room remain besides the Secretaries.
Bread and Circuses: Japhet attempted to provide the Elsens in Zone 2 with this, but they end up going crazy from paranoia regardless.
Brick Joke: During the Spectre attack in the residential area of Zone 2, there's an Elsen panicking in front of a locked safe room. The Elsen that locked himself in the safe room ends up being the only living Elsen left in the zones by the end of the game.
Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Characters have "Competence Points", or CP, instead of MP. In addition, there are a lot of bizarre names for items (a basic healing item is called a "Luck Ticket") and special moves ("Classical Talking").
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The spectres at least that resemble bedsheet ghosts are not called ghosts, instead spectres, phantoms or ectoplasms.
Cerebus Syndrome: Starts out as an extremely surreal RPG about a baseball player who wants to exorcise Spectres from Wackyland. Then it turns into a surreal horror around Zone 3, and becomes a flat-out tragedy by the Room.
Climax Boss: All of them. Especially the Queen, who manages to both clear up and further complicate the plot just with their pre-battle dialogue.
Enoch as well. The first battle with him, in which he is invincible, occurs right after he reveals that each Guardian is the "living engine" of his own zone, and that killing them turns the zone into a lifeless void.
Contractual Boss Immunity: Downplayed. All the bosses are still susceptible to status effects, but Wide Angle doesn't give anything helpful beyond the boss' name and a brief description - and sometimes, not even that!
Apparently, if you choose the special ending, the Final Boss form of The Batter is not immune to Palsy, which The Judge can inflict. This leaves The Batter unable to attack.
Deconstruction: Of the typical "Heroic Mime on a vague quest to Save The World" story. The Batter is a near-silent stoic, his small snippets of dialogue making him seem almost completely indifferent to anything outside his goal. He also plans to save the world by essentially destroying it.
Deliberately Monochrome: The characters and enemies are all monochrome, and the backgrounds and settings tend to have a limited palette. However, Mortis Ghost drew a picture showing most characters' actual colors, so it's probably a stylistic thing. The Batter seems to be the only truly monochrome character, however.
Enter Solution Here: The game has a lot of these, with codes written on walls or in books that the player must put together and either enter at a keypad-like group of blocks, or tell to a certain person.
Everybody's Dead, Dave: If you choose the official ending, everyone dies. If you choose the special ending, only the Judge, the lone Elsen in the safe room, the Secretaries and Zacharie are left alive (assuming that you kill Sugar).
Fan Sequel: There is a non-canonical fangame titled HOME which tells the Judge's side of the story, made by felix-the-judge of Tumblr. The latest version can be downloaded here, though it is advised you play through and complete OFF before challenging Home, as it is rife with OFF spoilers, of course. There are numerous other fanmade spinOFFs, both completed and in progress, that can be found on the OFF fangames tag on Tumblr.
There is another fangame known as UNKNOWN, made by Claude Huggins. Unlike the above,the Player mainly plays as Zacharie in order to undo the events of OFF.
Dedan, right before you fight him, says: "I'm the guardian of zone 1! It ain't nothing without me!" - his words turn out to be literal.
The library in Zone 2 tells a lot about the rest of the game: It mentions Enoch before you properly meet him and reveals Japhet's true identity as a phoenix in the puzzle with the books.
It also contains a faded old book about orchids with no apparent name, which was given to Japhet, creator of the Library, by Hugo in Chapter 4 of the Room.
It also contains a notebook with only one page written in messy handwriting: "I have run out of oxygen-". This, added to the knowledge about smoke being what the Elsens breathe, makes for a pretty good hint that the world you are playing is After the End, which is confirmed by the Queen later on.
It also has a hidden book which contains the story: "The Toad King", which tells you about a hideous king which is challenged by a masked man, much like Batter challenges the guardians. It ends with nothing but the man killing the king, which reflects how Batter's victory literally ends with nothing.
One Elsen in Zone 2 is afraid to go in the next room because it might suddenly cease to exist. Once Japhet is defeated, the entire park disappears.
While running away from Enoch, one hallway suddenly becomes completely white. After Enoch is defeated, the entire Zone looks like this.
The villain from "Panic in Ballville" is a baseball player, and when you fight the enemies in this section they appear on the right side of the battle screen, right where the Batter's party should be.
Also with Sugar, when you speak to her before fighting her, she mentions something about imagining a "huge, frightening ducky". After the fight, she says that the ducky has won this round. It doesn't make much sense at the time, but when you get to the end of the game and side with the Judge in the special ending, you'd see that the head of the Batter's monstrous form resembles a huge, frightening duck bill.
Any time you return to a purified Zone before the ending.
Throughout the story, the Batter is shown to be indifferent and outright dismissive of how miserable the lives of the Elsens are, which hints at his truenature.
There are four elements, but only three Guardians. Hugo is the fourth, most likely of the Room, or at least that's what is suggested in both the game and some concept art. The Judge is another one, the Guardian of Zone 0, also hinted at in the game and confirmed by Word of God.
Zacharie's final line may be an allusion to the final battle, where you could potentially fight the Batter. Too bad it's in Latin.
Gainax Ending: While the official and special endings make sense on their own and tie in with the game perfectly well, if you manage to get the secret ending, it is revealed the whole game was planned by space apes so that they could build factories in the purified zones to fight flying brains. Yeah.
Game of Nim: Found in the Zone 2 amusement park, with balloon popping.note The trick is not to get stuck with five balloons.
Good Bad Translation: The English version lists your special attacks as "Competences" which probably refers to "skills". This actually works in the game's favor, as it goes with the cerebral nature of the game and the awkward and abstract naming schemes of the competences themselves.
Getting the secret ending.note You must get all five Grand items, defeat Sugar - you have to defeat her anyway to get one of the Grand items - and talk to Zacharie in Zone 0, then you must choose the Aries Card over the Infinity+1 Sword.
One of the puzzles in Zone 3 is unsolvable without looking at the game's Readme file. You only get told this by Zacharie, who is hidden in one of many rooms in one of the many hallways of Zone 3 Area 4. And the only way to get him to tell you is for you to get a Music Box. And the only way to get the Music Box is to find and defeat the Boss in Mook Clothing - who puts up a very long and tedious fight mainly due to its Damage-Sponge Boss nature - who is also hidden in one of the many rooms in one of the many hallways of Zone 3 Area 4. And even then, you still need to find an extra sheet of paper that decodes part of the puzzle for you (although the game is kind enough to tell you that it's important). Yeah, that's pretty bad.
Face-Heel Turn/Heel-Face Turn: Depending on your opinion from the game's revelations, every player does one or the other at the end of the game when confronted by The Judge. You can either betray The Batter or help him finish his quest, but which side is less bad really is up to interpretation.
Hub Level: The Nothingness, which also serves as the World Map. It even has "World Map?" floating to the side of the screen.
The Room has selecting areas of the level through a fake title screen at one point, and walking upside down in one of those areas.
In Zone 3, the answer to a puzzle is in the game's Readme file.
Ironic Nursery Tune: "Grey Pencil," which plays during the scribbled section of the Room, and another one called "The Race of a Thousand Ants" plays multiple times - during the scenes with Hugo after defeating Dedan and Japhet, when you use the Music Box, and during the final, red-colored section of the Room.
Due to the loud and sudden pre-battle noise, nearly every single random encounter could count as this. The Secretary encounters in the purified Zones in particular feel like this, due to the Zones' barren nature and how low the encounter rate is.
Which does pose some questions: how does a giant flying sky whale manage to sneak up on you?
Enoch also gives you a big one after getting back to the Zone 3 Area 4 subway. The fact he's even bigger when he does doesn't help in the least.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: All three Guardians, especially Dedan and Japhet turning Jerk Ass and Ax-Crazy respectively. In Chapter 4 of the Room they're all shown to be kind and have legitimate ideas and hopes for how to make the rebuilt world into a Utopia. Dedan and Japhet turn completely against their Elsens and plans when things do not work out while Enoch sticks to his methods, albeit as a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
Kill 'em All: Pretty much what happens through-out the whole game due to purifying the Zones, culminating in the official ending where all the survivors get killed due to the Batter pulling the switch.
Last Second Ending Choice: Before the Final Boss fights, you either you let the Batter basically destroy the world or you side with the Judge to defeat the Batter and save what little is left of existence.
Load-Bearing Boss: All three Guardians. After you defeat them, their Zones turn bleak, empty and lifeless.
Lost Forever: Many items and events if you don't manage to get them all before purifying the respective zones.
Macro Zone: The second battle against Enoch is this, because of how monstrously large he becomes. Your battle sprites don't even have their regular jittering.
Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Mining for smoke? Getting metal ores from cows? Meat fountains? Don't expect an explanation for those; a lot of the weirdness is just plain weirdness.
Mind Screw: While somewhat straightforward for the most part, the Room definitely doses up on this. And then you have the secret ending...
Mini-Game: The balloon game and pedalo ride in Zone 2's amusement park, and the "Game Of The Mortal Fall" in Zone 3 Area 3.
Mirror Boss: A more subtle example, since the Final Boss battles don't last very long, but The Judge has substitutes for most of the skills the Batter and the Add-Ons have.
Mood Whiplash: Zone 3 has this in spades. Before finding out the awful truth behind sugar, you're treated to a cheerful minigame, and right before the proper boss fight with Enoch, he chases you down with happy ragtime music and a ridiculous walking animation.
Multiple Endings: Depending on whether or not you pick the Batter or the Judge to side with in the ending choice,note Though if you lose the final battle, the game acts as if you picked the other's ending, e.g. if you choose the special ending yet lose the fight you end up with the official ending regardless and then whether or not you have the Aries Card in your inventory after the credits roll.
In the hallways of Zone 3 Area 4, you know shit is about to hit the fan by the suddenly disturbing music that plays, especially during battle.
The first two times when you fight Japhet, the normal battle theme is still playing. Likewise, the theme when you're talking to Enoch is still playing when you're fighting him, and when running away from him, the battle music is the same as the running away theme. Obviously, these aren't the real fights.
Also with Enoch, his music from the runaway section is a jaunty, cheerful piano remix of his actual boss theme.
The boss battle in Panic in Ballville is a chiptune remix of the final boss battle.
The Zones after defeating the bosses. The colors are gone, anything readable turns gibberish, all NPCs disappear - with the exception of a lone Elsen in a safe room and a mourning Judge in Zone 2 - the encounter rate is lower than usual, and the only enemies the Secretaries, which are creepy doll-looking things. The music - Not Safe - makes this even worse, with it turning creepy and full of demonic whispering, random slamming noises and muffled cries.
The fact that the Secretaries are never alluded to by other characters and that the Batter seems to think their presence is still an improvement.
Some of Zone 3 Area 4's hallways turn bleak and white, after running away from Enoch and before the proper fight with him. The fact no proper explanation is given for this may or may not make it worse.
The Room can also count - while being all dark and derived of color, many rooms inside are empty, or turn empty depending on what you do. One Chapter of the Room fills some sections with shadows, and in one Chapter is a section resembling a very sketchy doodle design, complete with similar enemies. The music in some sections doesn't help either - one in particular has music full of nothing but strange and demonic whispering.
The Nothingness/World Map's music is aptly named, being a strange blank state with only a few flower-like objects, and its music also contains nothing but demonic whispering, however usually you will enter and leave the area before the whispering even starts.
Elsens are easily fooled by using a necktie. They only catch on when you finish whacking spectres in the residential zone, at which point they'll promptly evict you. And take the necktie.
Zacharie attempts this, in Zone 3, while filling in for the absent Judge. It doesn't work, but that doesn't stop him.
Playing The Player: At literally the end of the game the player and the Batter are confronted by the Judge, and the player learns that what the Batter has been calling "purifying the zones" is actually just another form of mass genocide. All of the zones the Batter purifies become incapable of sustaining life (with a few very minor exceptions) and if the player sides with the Batter in the final confrontation, not only does he kill off the Judge and Zone 0 (which is where Zacharie also was) but then even ends himself by shutting off the switch in the Room, which we can assume erases their world from existence altogether.
Pure Is Not Good: Purifying those Zones might not be such a good idea after all...
Sequence Breaking: If you go to Zone 0 and manage to discover Sugar before going to Zone 3, you'll discover sugar as an element before it's properly introduced. Of course, if you read the library book used as a puzzle in Zone 2 you probably already know about it anyway.
Theme Naming: Just about the only sense the attack names make for both enemies and allies. Examples include the Secretaries hitting you with mathematical operations, your add-on Omega using graphic edition terms (blurs and perspectives), and Dedan attacking with clock hands. More details on the characters page.
Title Drop: "The switch is now on OFF." You finally find out what "OFF" means at the very end of the game.
Unreliable Narrator: Here and there, particularly in the battle between The Batter and The Queen.
Verbal Tic: Every character except the Batter has some sort of signature sound when talking, as detailed on the characters page.
Violation of Common Sense: There's a part in Zone 3 where the only way to progress is to jump inside a smokestack. Though hitting the floor doesn't kill you, the minigame on the way down could very well do so.
The Walrus Was Paul: Certain things in the game are explained, but just barely. A lot of the backstory is left open to interpretation, as encouraged by the creator, Mortis Ghost.
Western Zodiac: The cards required to enter Zones and the stat-boosting Orbs are named after them.