Game: We are OFK
Genre: Adventure, Visual novel
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam (Windows & macOS), PlayStation and Xbox)
Age Rating: EU 16+| US Mature
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: August 18: Ep1 + Ep2 | August 25: Ep3 | September 1: Ep4 | September 8: Ep5
Review code provided with many thanks to Popagenda PR.
It will come as no surprise that over at LadiesGamers we love video games, after all, that is how the site came into existence. When something entirely new and innovative appears on the horizon, we, of course, can’t wait to investigate. We are OFK has come to the Nintendo Switch and all major consoles, and offers us a new kind of gaming…or should I say, watching a mini movie on your console?
The Making of a Band
Don’t you love the stories of friends that jam together while still in school, growing up together in their music and catching their lucky break getting a record deal and fame? It’s what a lot of people, young and old, dream of. It’s not the only route to fame and fortune: there have been examples in the past of bands formed for the sole purpose of making commercial hits. Most of the time this leads up to an album being pumped out at a high rate and to stardom for the band members. But whether or not there is some longevity in there hinges on how well the band members can actually get along with each other.
We are OFK is a project that takes it one step further. This time, we follow the story of friends forming a band and making music together in a video game. The purpose though isn’t the making of a game. The purpose is to launch the band’s music. In the five episodes of the game, five singles are debuted. The video game episodes tell the story of four young people living in Los Angeles, each with their own struggles. A sort of biographical story about a real band. Only, the characters exist only in pixel, though of course, there are real voices behind that.
Four Young People in LA
Let’s take a look at the members of OFK. There’s pianist Itsumi Saito who is dealing with a bad breakup with her girlfriend while she practices for a concerto recital. There’s lyricist/lead vocalist Luca Le Fae who has trouble committing to songwriting while he deals with his day job and a neverending search for love. A chance encounter with music producer Jey Zhang at a party is the trigger for Luca, and eventually, Itsumi and their mutual friend Carter Flores, to form the band OFK and record music professionally.
Each of the characters deals with things that are often recognizable in this day and age like harassment in the video game industry, exes who can’t stop texting to get you back, being lonely in a metropolis and more. We are OFK manages to bring the feeling of the band members to life in a great way, making the characters relatable. The developers made sure that there is LGBTQ+ representation and weaved that into the story in a natural way, not focusing on it or letting it lead into conflict.
Part of the time you look at the story without having to give any input. But, as with all young people, Luca and friends spend a lot of time texting. Here, your input is required, and choices can be made about what to say next. However, it’s not like a visual novel with multiple endings. Your choices won’t affect the outcome, it’s more like you are witness to all the thoughts flitting through their minds. It made the characters in We are OFK endearing to me. Whether or not you will like the music is a matter of taste. I must say I like the songs, and I can easily see the songs as part of my own playlist.
I’ve been writing about video games for quite a while, playing them too of course. I never had the idea that maybe I was too old for that. On the contrary, always felt like it made me feel young, We are OFK however has challenged that. There’s a huge dose of slang, abbreviations and pop culture references that I know are totally natural for young people to communicate with, but it made me feel old.
The game contains a lot of strong language, using that kind of language as stop words and adjectives. I get that it’s how young people these days communicate, but LadiesGamers being a family-friendly site, I wouldn’t recommend this game for kids. The rating in Europe is 16+, while it’s mature in the US.
Addition of Mini Games
We are OFK looks good and plays well. As I mentioned, you can give input in the thoughts the characters have and in texting, but it doesn’t have an effect on the outcome. Every episode is very much like looking at a tv series, except for the end of the episode, where the song is played. That’s where it got weird for me.
You are drawn into little mini-games, like save the cats, get the shards, bounce it and keep them away. I’m not a big fan of mini-games anyway, and I don’t see the added value of using them while listening to the music. First of all, it’s the music We are OFK wants to promote, so why steer attention away from that? Plus, we know this is more of a video clip to watch instead of an actual video game. Adding this only feels confusing,
We are OFK certainly brings something new to the table: a video game that is more of a tv series to promote a soundtrack for a new group. A group that only exists in pixel form, but that makes nice music. I have found the characters that I followed relatable and endearing, but I didn’t like all the strong language that is included. It’s not a game I’d recommend for kids, but I suspect young people will embrace this with gusto. The storytelling is great but I could have done without the mini-games at the end of each episode. With all of this in mind, I must conclude that I love this new territory that Team OFK is exploring!
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot