Best Of 2022: Betrayal At Club Low Opened My Eyes To The Possibilities Of Dialogue

Charisma is one of my favorite skills to level up in RPGs and RPG-adjacent games. Maybe it’s because of my own social ineptitude, but I feel empowered by the fantasy of being able to smooth talk, flirt, or simply make eye contact with a vendor. For decades now, games like Fallout and Mass Effect have sated me with the ability to bend people to my will using a mere stat point and live vicariously through whatever sweet-talking sycophant I wound up creating. However, it turns out that those games and many others are actually pretty bad at exploring conversation in compelling or meaningful ways. Betrayal at Club Low has opened my eyes to the possibilities of dialogue.

Betrayal at Club Low is part of Cosmo D’s Off-Peak series of games, which can only be described as a series of interactive modern art exhibits that snowballed into something bigger. Additional gameplay features have been getting built in to make the various Off-Peak titles more than just walking simulators. However, even with the clear signs of progression throughout all these games, Betrayal at Club Low is a unique experience. The real star of previous titles in the series has been the bizarre world, but here, it’s the dialogue.

My Physique will defeat your High Standards In Dancing.
My Physique will defeat your High Standards In Dancing.

The setup for Betrayal at Club Low is clear: You’re dropped off at the titular club with the objective of extracting an undercover agent from beneath the nose of the local crime lord. To infiltrate, you use the guise of a pizza delivery guy. It should be easy for an established pizzaiolo like yourself. Unfortunately, all your conversational skills start off in the gutter, and you need to spend money to get them anywhere useful.

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Author: Zoey Handley