''Submachine'' is the title of a series of Flash games created by Polish game designer Mateusz Skutnik and is the flagship series of Creator/PastelGames.

All of the games are point-and-click style puzzles and (excepting the four AU games) follow a continuous storyline. The general object of each game is to escape from an enclosed (and usually submerged) location that houses a mysterious machine. As the story progresses, the player finds more and more about the history of the "submachines" through clues left behind by a mysterious figure named Murtaugh. One of the well-known characteristics of the game is [[BeautifulVoid a complete and total lack of any other living being, even animals]]. This often leads to the games being filed under NightmareFuel.

The puzzles within the game rely on acute observation, a willingness to hunt for objects hidden in the exact opposite of plain sight, and other such tasks. However, the puzzles are very cleverly made, and on completion one usually feels some degree of self-satisfaction.

There are 9 main entries in the series, with 4 side-entries that sit outside the main series.

----
!!The games so far are:

* 1: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_1 The Basement]]
* 2: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_2 The Lighthouse]]
* 3: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_3 The Loop]]
* 4: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_4 The Lab]]
* 5: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_5 The Root]]
* 6: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_6 The Edge]]
* 7: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_7 The Core]]
* 8: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_8 The Plan]]
* 9: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_9 The Temple]]
* 10: The Exit ''(The final game, scheduled to come out in September 2015)''

The four side entries are:
* 0: [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_0 The Ancient Adventure]]
* [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_flf Future Loop Foundation]] (an advergame for the UK band of the same name)
* [[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/index.php?id=submachine_32 32 Chambers]]
* [[invoked]][[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/submachine/subnet.php Submachine Universe]] (an open-ended "Massively Singleplayer Online" -- [[WordOfGod Word Of Skutnik]] is that it is not a game -- dotted with theories from the Submachine message boards)

[[http://www.mateuszskutnik.com/ Mateusz's main Web site]] also has his other games.

----
!!Some of the tropes found within these games are:

* AfterTheEnd - This is debatable, as the games haven't revealed what happened to everybody else. Given some of the desperate-sounding letters in the more remote locations you visit, it wasn't pleasant.
** According to The Core, [[spoiler:Murtaugh's karma portals have been slowly tearing apart the subnet the more he uses them. On top of this, everything outside the Core is a twisted, self-grown mess that is infinite and cannot be properly mapped. Given the aforementioned fates hinted at in many of the letters, it puts a lot of them in a new light.]]
* AlienGeometries - Several of the rooms in ''Subnet'' are warped in weird ways - one is Escher-like, one is a MobileMaze, one takes you to a random room every time you go through a door...
* AllMythsAreTrue - At the very least, ''32 Chambers'' suggests the Mayan Apocalypse has some truth to it, and Sub 9 reveals [[spoiler: Mur's karma arm was provided by the Hindu god Shiva]]. It's possible Thoth is real as well.
* TheAtoner - In the Sub 9 bonus material [[spoiler: we learn that after his "second enlightenment" Mur dedicated himself to rebuilding the worlds damaged by his karma portals. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do to repair the third layer.]]
* AnotherDimension - The seven "layers" in Sub 8 appear to be the same location in different dimensions.
* ArcNumber - In addition to certain recurring teleporter codes, the number 32 and variations thereupon (23, 3.2) can be found somewhere in most of the games. This is possibly a reference to UsefulNotes/{{Discordianism}}, or just coincidence.
* ArtEvolution
* AuthorStandIn - Mur, the mysterious figure that leaves you clues [[spoiler:and interacts with you during the fourth game]] talks about having a pet black cat named Einstein. Mateusz has two black cats. Coincidence? ...Quite possibly, yes (especially after ''The Edge'').
* BagOfSpilling - Averted, and played straight. There's no good reason for you to lose your stuff between (2 and 3) and (4 and 5), but every other game gives a concise explanation for why you don't have any of the nick-nacks from the last game.
** 6 toys with this trope rather beautifully, as you ''do'' start out with all the items you ended 5 with...[[spoiler: and then, 3 rooms later, you're forced to dump them into a trash hopper to get through a security room. D'oh!]]
** Since 5 opens with you apparently just woken up in a new lab, it could be assumed you simply put them down somewhere between games, possibly in the part of the lab you can no longer reach.
* BambooTechnology - One area of Sub 8 is made of bamboo, and has a bamboo technology version of the recurring valve puzzle.
* BeautifulVoid - unless you find the structural decay, haunting minimalist music and utter lack of population unnerving (see NightmareFuel in the [[YMMV/{{Submachine}} YMMV tab]]).
* BigBrotherIsWatching - There's always a feeling that you are being watched by some unknown entity, especially after game #3. The floating security cameras at Location [[spoiler:317]] in ''[=SubNet=] Exploration Project'' imply this even more heavily.
** In the ''Subnet'', one portal code takes you to the exterior of ''Submachine 0'' ... and the blue sky from the earlier game turns out to be a backdrop against the black void of ''Submachine 5''. TrumanShowPlot?
* BrokenPedestal - In ''Submachine 6: The Edge'' (huge spoilers), [[spoiler:Mur abandons you in the Submachine after you disable its defences; you had no importance outside of enabling his invasion plan]].
** Some of the notes left in ''Submachine 4: The Lab'' already hinted at this.
* CallBack - In ''Submachine 4'' you visit various locations that are similar (but not identical) to areas of the previous games. In ''Submachine 5'', you return to the lighthouse from ''Submachine 2'', and collect the Wisdom Gem you left there, as well as the last screen from ''Submachine 0'' and its respective wisdom gem.
** ''Subnet'' lets you revisit ''every'' previous room. At one point in ''Submachine 4'', you have to shut off the water in a pipe and bash it open. When you revisit the area in ''Subnet'', it's flooded because somebody broke the switch in another room after placing their transmitter.
* CatsAreMagic: Murtagh discovered a cat with the power to move between the layers that he named Einstein and wondered later if perhaps all cats can do this.
* CosmeticAward - In ''Submachine 2'' collecting all the "secrets" (tiny spheres hidden around the world) yields ... absolutely nothing. (In 4, 5, and 7 they unlock a "Making of" section and in 8 and 9 they unlock conversations between the explorers. 6 has five secret areas which yield extra information.)
* DeadAllAlong - In ''Sub 9'' [[spoiler: the catacombs of the eponymous temple contain the tombs of Murtagh and Elizabeth. It's not clear how long they've been there, but the information in the secrets suggests that the computer messages you were receiving from Mur may have been automated.]]
* DeusEstMachina - In 8 it's revealed that [[spoiler: they built a computer and asked it why we exist. They weren't expecting it to have an answer.]]
* DisabilitySuperpower - Mur's diary entry in the first game mentions the loss of his arm on vacation, and later gaining a "karma arm."
* DVDCommentary - From the fourth game onward, there are bonus areas containing commentary and behind-the-scenes info from Skutnik. You usually need to collect tiny marbles hidden throughout the game proper in order to gain full access to said bonus areas.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness - If you had played the original Submachine without any knowledge of later episodes, you'd have probably guessed that the series would just be another set of escape-the-room series that happened to have a suitably creepy atmosphere. Then they introduced the stuff about teleportation, alternate dimensions, relics from forgotten civilizations, strange futuristic technology of an unknown source, etc., and the first game just seems sparse in comparison. Then again, [[spoiler:the first game is just being played by the protagonist of Sub 2 in the base of the library...]]
* GhostCity - You never encounter any people or animals whatsoever.
** The "extras" in ''Submachine 8'' reveal [[spoiler: that Murtagh is so focused on what he does that he can't even see the other Submachine explorers, except Liz. Raising the question: is the Subnet empty when the player gets there, or is the player just as focused? ]]
*** [[spoiler: Likely the former now, since part 9 reveals that this was because of Murtagh's inability to focus on only a single layer.]]
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall - One of the notes you find in ''Submachine 4'' (by someone who stumbled into the submachine network and can't find their way out) reads suspiciously like a call for help on an escape game discussion board, complete with description of how far they've got and cute username.
** In the [=SubNet=] Exploration Experience, if you visit the Loop from the third game (coordinates 555), you'll find a "Submachine As Perpetual Maze theory" which ends with a short plea for help in escaping from the area, and you find it is written by the same character as in the above example. [[spoiler: This one isn't actually the case, it's just a person who was dared on the forum and Mateusz agreed to place that first character's username.]]
* LighthousePoint - The location of the second game.
* LostForever - In ''Submachine 9'', it's possible to for two secrets to be lost. [[spoiler: One requires you to use a ladder rung as a lever. If you attempt to use it as a ladder rung, it's stuck. The other requires a balance you pick up just before the endgame, and if you enter the endgame before getting it, you can't go back. And you can't even pick it up in the NewGamePlus, because that route is now blocked.]]
* MasterComputer - In ''Submachine 3'', the "Loop" was a ''[[Film/TheMatrix Matrix]]''-style sort of computer in the sense that it separated people's consciousness from reality, engaging them in puzzles to keep them from questioning their surroundings.
** ''Submachine 6'' also sees players engage with the computer elements of the machine.
* MindScrew - Becomes particularly prominent in the second installment.
** The [=SubNet=] Exploration Project is devoted largely to presenting many of the various [[WildMassGuessing fan theories]] as to what's really going on.
* NewGamePlus - In ''Sub 9'' [[spoiler: returning to the temple after completing the game lets you explore what the area looks like in the eighth layer. There aren't many differences, but it's the only way to access the bonus section.]]
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: The bonus material at the end of ''Sub 8'' reveals [[spoiler: Mur really regrets having abandoned you (and all those who went before you) in ''Sub 6'']].
** The bonus material in part 9 describes it hitting even harder when [[spoiler: the other explorers lured Murtagh to "the Knot", the place where all the layers meet and the one place Mur could perceive in less than 7 layers. The text describes him falling to his knees in horror when he finally discovered the damage he'd previously caused but couldn't see.]]
* MysteriousBacker: Murtagh to the player.
* NothingIsScarier - The empty places and eerie, creepy music throughout the series have this effect on some people (also noted in the [[YMMV/{{Submachine}} YMMV tab]]).
** When you first start ''[[http://www.pastelportal.com/stories/game.php?id=submachine_2 Submachine 2]]'', there is a record player providing background noise of chirping crickets and other peaceful woodsy sounds. When you turn it off, the actual soundtrack kicks in, which begins with a near-ScareChord and is full of creaking and electronic distortion sounds. Nothing horrific happens, but you might spend a good few minutes waiting for it anyway.
** The "Hell" room in Submachine Network Exploration Experience (Location [[spoiler:666]]) can be this, given that all the scary stuff in the room is only suggested or ambient. Visually it's a small room, dimly lit with red light, with a ladder that you cannot climb to the top of because it leads into absolute darkness... and the audio is loud, intense distortion noises, some of which sound like growling and shrieking.
* OntologicalMystery
* OrWasItADream - Not in the exact sense, but some well-placed comments about being part of "the loop" made for some interesting thoughts after having completed one of the games.
** The second game starts with you completing the first game on an arcade machine, and ends with you realizing your "escape" was just another game.
*** The "or was it?" part comes in when you realize what your inventory is at the beginning of the second game - the diary entry, as well as the Wisdom Gem you can find in the extended version of the first.
*** However, [[BagOfSpilling you no longer have the coin]], [[FridgeBrilliance but then again, you did just play an arcade game.]]
* OrwellianRetcon - The current version of The Basement is the third incarnation. The original notably lacks Wisdom Gems, which only became a thing with The Lighthouse.
* PixelHunt - Quite often.
* PortalNetwork - In multiple flavours. Not only are there the teleporters that use the three-coordinate system, but there are a much older set of two-coordinate portals and as of The Core, [[spoiler:Murtaugh's karma portals, and the Winter Garden doorways.]] The machine that lets you [[spoiler: cross between "layers"]] in The Plan and The Temple probably counts as well.
* RedHerring - Quite a few in ''Submachine F L F''.
* RevenueEnhancingDevices - Games 6 and beyond are available for sale with higher-resolution graphics and music. Fair enough, since the regular game is free.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge - [[spoiler:Murtaugh's motive in returning to the core. His karma portals were damaging the submachine and possibly killing people, so they buried him in the lighthouse. He didn't like that too much]].
** Possibly subverted by the ''Sub 9'' bonus material [[spoiler: "Murtagh never said it was about revenge. But by then he was used to not being understood."]]
* ScareChord: In ''Submachine 9'', when [[spoiler:you find the entrances to Murtaugh and Elizabeth's tombs]].
* ShoutOut
** ''Submachine 2'' opens with the words "I didn't wake up. And I do remember", parodying the opening of "The Crimson Room".
** In Network Exploration Experience, [[Series/{{Lost}} type in 815]].
** Also, in Network Exploration Experience, there's a room with cake crumbs strewn on a table, and a gramophone playing an instrumental of "Still Alive", which you can access through a [[VideoGame/{{Portal}} portal]].
** The text from the opening of ''Submachine 3'' references ''Film/TheMatrix'' with the phrase "There is no spoon", but is also internally consistent, as there is a spoon in game 1.
** [[invoked]] [[WordOfGod Mateusz himself]] says that the design of the computers and the Core were specifically inspired by ''{{Tron}}''.
* SorryILeftTheBGMOn - Inverted; ''Submachine Future Loop Foundation'' starts in silence. Solving the first puzzle involves switching on a tape recorder, which also starts the BGM for the rest of the game.
* [[spoiler:TreacherousAdvisor - Murtaugh.]]
** Ultimately subverted. [[spoiler:Submachine 9's bonus content implies that Murtaugh's messages may have been automated and not actually him.]]
* UndergroundLevel - Very common. Mateusz himself says that "Submachine" is short for "Submerged Machine," which hints at the [=SubNet=] being based underground.
* UnwinnableByDesign - In ''Submachine Extended'', the second version of ''The Basement'', a puzzle was added where one of the four pieces you needed appeared in a teleporter once you pulled certain switches and the power was on. However, it also retained the puzzle where you had to burn out the power in order to get another piece. Blow the fuses before you've found the former piece and it disappears again, so you're screwed. This was an intentional feature, but Skutnik decided it was a mistake, so in the current version the teleporter doesn't require power.
* UpdatedRerelease - The first two games were eventually given updated forms.
* WildMassGuessing - The game tends to support this sort of thing, even having a [[http://submachine.wikia.com/wiki/Theories page dedicated to theories]] that eventually got included in their own "game", the Subnet Exploration Experience.
* {{Zeerust}} - You can tell that some of the abandoned technology is old both because of the dust and rust and also because much of it just looks dated otherwise. Up to several millennia dated.
----