Off-Peak could justly be called a Kafkaesque game, a sensibility informed by the surreal writings of Franz Kafka and similar-minded visual representations like the aforesaid film by Orson Welles but also Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or Richard Ayoade’s The Double. Kafkaesque works emphasize a sense of personal alienation amidst an illogical, unresponsive world resistant to providing answers. Cryptic power structures are set in place that prevent individual betterment, reflecting the emerging fascist political contexts of Franz Kafka’s time. Moreover, the works of Kafka and his imitators have a concern with duplicitous doppelgangers, surreal urban spaces, and distortion of sizes, all of which are present in Off-Peak.
Perhaps most redolent of Franz Kafka is the thematic content of Off-Peak. Though the world of Franz Kafka is often plagued with indecipherability, Off-Peak sneaks in snatches of dialogue that slowly provide a sense of place and context to better understand what Cosmo D has to say. Like Kafka, Off-Peak primarily concerns the tension between individuals and shady authority figures, a theme visualized early on in the game with a brewing protest outside the station. More specifically, Off-Peak is about the relationship between artists and the overbearing urban spaces and authorities that seek to suppress it.
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