Video Game / Iconoclasts
aka: The Iconoclasts

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Iconoclasts is a Metroidvania Platform Game developed by Joakim "konjak" Sandberg and published by Bifrost Entertainment, formerly a retraux Cave Story-influenced project called Ivory Springs. It was in development for seven years before finally releasing in January of 2018.

Robin is a mechanic (complete with massive wrench) living in a world that's slowly withering away. Her society relies on Ivory, an energy source controlled by a powerful organization called One Concern, which is the center of a religion represented by a figure known as Mother. Robin is not permitted to do mechanical work due to their regulations, but she does it anyway. When she's found out and becomes a sinner in the eyes of the world, she embarks on an adventure with other outcasts in order to stop One Concern once and for all, and find out what's really happening to the planet.

The game's release trailer is here. Links to buy the game, as well as downloads for the 2012 alpha and the Ivory Springs alpha, can be found on Konjak's website.

Iconoclasts contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Royal is hated by practically everybody due to him basically being a superpowered spoiled brat. Pretty much the only person that shows him any kindness or respect is Robin, and even then it can be up to the player's dialogue choices.
  • Action Girl: Robin and Mina, as well as Black being a Dark Action Girl.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • The Omega Controller, first as a Rise to the Challenge scenario on an elevator platform and then as a horizontal chase where it takes the form of a buzzsaw. In both cases, Robin has to repel the boss with bombs.
    • Fitzroy slowly crawls towards Robin for his first two phases, which only makes it harder to keep dodging attacks from his ivory-borne golem monster.
  • A God Am I: Being the physical representative of the Starworm, Mother is prone to this. Royal also shows sign of this since he's supposed to be Mother's successor.
  • Affably Evil: Chrome may be a general in the the Concern, but he's a genuinely nice and devout man who prefers to avoid violence.
  • All There in the Manual: The official names of two late-game bosses (the cat Mother rides on is named Oedipuss after her pet cat, and Black's One-Winged Angel form is the Ivory Beast) can only be found on the game's soundtrack.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage:
    • The Impact Zone consists of several rooms themed after previous locations, each containing enemies from previous areas infested with the blue eyes.
    • The Omega Controller constantly causes the terrain to cycle through the different area textures as you ascend the elevator shaft.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Agent Grey's gender is deliberately ambiguous, with Agent Black using "them" when referring to Grey.
  • Ancient Astronauts: It's heavily implied that all of the humans are descendants of colonists who migrated from Earth to an alien planet. The Isi found and recovered an ancient colony ship which they revere as a sacred artifact, and their city has paintings of known human landmarks such as the Taj Mahal. The Concern similarly have a colony ship in their possession which they use for research purposes.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • One part of Ferrier Shockwood is played entirely as Mina after she gets separated from Robin and Elro, complete with her own boss fight against a Controller. She gets another unique segment during One Concern East, which ends with the Mendeleev fight.
    • Elro gets a segment during One Concern East as well, though most of it is him limping through the hallway with only a few enemies present. He fights Lawrence at the end of it.
  • Anime Hair:
    • Rather than tie her hair into a ponytail, Robin turns her hair into a big "U" stuck to the back of her head, most likely to resemble the head of a wrench. Just look at it!
    • Agent Grey has what can only be described as a big, fluffy mohawk.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The Isi’s seeds have extremely volatile reactions when exposed to Ivory, making them grow instantaneously; this makes them an excellent tool for wrecking Concern technology, which is reliant on Ivory. They also work disturbingly well on humans who have been injected with ivory, being used to take out Agent White and Mother (Agent Black resists their effects until the blue eyes mutate her). When Robin jams a seed into the Starworm, the resulting explosion causes a wave of nature to overtake the whole planet.
    • Detritus is a pinkish-purple powder that is produced whenever an object is drained of its Ivory. It is very much anti-Ivory, negating the Healing Factor of ivory-infused individuals and, in the case of Royal, completely shutting down his powers. Black kills Royal in a pit of Detritus at the end of One Concern West (she planned to kill Chrome there, but he had other plans), though he revives himself shortly after his body leaves the room. Elro's work with the ChemiCo Contra led to him inventing a serum that instantly removes Ivory from matter and turns it into Detritus, which is one of the few things that can kill Transcended humans.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ivory, which is used to power all technology and the Concern's stranglehold on it is the basis for their control of all society.
  • Arc Words: "This is bigger than you."
  • Artificial Limbs: Those who survive Transcendence often lose limbs in the process, requiring cybernetic replacements. Agent Black has cybernetic arms, General Chrome has cybernetic legs, and Agent Grey appears to have cybernetic ears. Due to their Ivory blood, Transcended individuals are the only ones who can actually make use of these limbs in the first place.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Chrome is fond of quoting the One Concern scriptures, even in the middle of boss battles.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Community Center (more or less a pub, even though alcohol is in short supply) in Settlement 17 is used as a hangout place for the One Concern while they're keeping tabs on the town, much to Black's annoyance.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Ash mentions that his daughter volunteered for Transcendence in order to become like him. The player will most likely assume he is referring to Black, since she's the only female Agent they have encountered at this point, but the credits imply that he was actually referring to Nobel. This was foreshadowed by Nobel's superpower being invisibility, like Ash.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A number of Isi men, as well as Samba and that one pink-haired girl sitting on a couch underneath the save point in Isilugar. Agent Black also gets in on it once The Coats Are Off.
  • Battle in the Centre of the Mind: The first phase of the Starworm has Robin face off against shadow creatures that can only be killed by activating switches. This is symbolic in many regards: the shadows represent her failures (specifically, in order: Elro, Mina, Royal, and Black), and turning the switches represents her desire to “fix” things.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Reminding Agent Black about Agent Grey is a quick way to anger her (more so than usual). And because of his involvement in Grey's death, Elro's mere existence is enough to set her off.
    • Royal does not take kindly to being ignored or otherwise treated as lesser than he believes himself to be. This more or less gets him killed when he attacks Him in anger.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Elro takes this way too far, nearly dooming the planet several times because of it. It's only once Robin literally kills God does he grudgingly admit that maybe she can actually take care of herself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Robin successfully dismantles the One Concern and saves the world from the evil birdman and his Eldritch Abomination, the defeat of the Starworm causes nature to repopulate the planet, and it's implied ChemiCo Contra are making headway into alternative energy research without the One Concern to hold them back, but Royal is dead, Agent Black has become consumed by her grief and rage over the loss of her comrades and can barely be considered human anymore (and that's assuming she survived the combination of Isi Seed overgrowth, blue eye corruption, and being on the outside of a rocket exiting the atmosphere), and Elro has lost an arm, and has been greatly embittered by everything he and Robin have gone through. That said, it's implied that his finally acknowledging Robin's ability to care for herself has granted him some measure of peace.
  • Blackout Basement: The Dark Cave area of Darland Ascent is appropriately badly lit. Robin's wrench acts as a small flashlight when charged, and she can activate generators to turn on lampposts.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Along with the usual superpowers and immortality, Transcending caused Agent Black to suffer constant, unrelenting headaches which she describes as feeling like knives cutting her, meaning they are most likely cluster headaches, known for their extreme intensity. She has been like this for almost 200 years, so it's no wonder she's such a grouch all the time, and why her sanity could take such an abrupt nosedive as it did.
    • Agents in general are stuck with this, as the very act of Transcending has caused them to lose limbs or organs which require prosthetic replacement. Chronic pain also seems to be a common symptom as well, since Ash also mentions suffering heavy pains in his gut.
  • Body Horror:
    • The entire process of Transcending, which involves injecting Ivory directly into a person's body. A few people will succeed and survive the process with superpowers, though some will lose body parts in the process. And the many that fail basically melt into puddles of white goo. Even if it does work out, Transcended people who live long enough will find themselves consumed by the Ivory; Fitzroy turned into a mindless being made of dripping Ivory, while Leticia kept her sanity but is no longer recognizably human.
    • Agent Black takes the cake when the blue eyes try to possess her while Isi Seeds sprout from her body. The end result is a giant monstrosity with ivory trees sprouting all over its body and clusters of eyes hidden inside said trees.
    • The horrors of chemistry are demonstrated when Elro develops a serum that forcibly ejects all Ivory from matter, causing the object to turn into Detritus dust. Its real purpose is to be used on Transcended humans, who are practically filled with Ivory. The result? The affected person's skin turns purple as they start deforming and boiling alive, until they explode into a fine purple mist.
  • Bonus Boss: There are two, Mother's Corners and Fitzroy, both requiring some serious Guide Dang It! to find.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Iron Heart tweak - all it does is absorbing a single hit before breaking, but the fact that it's possible to stack three of them at a time and landing shots on an enemy helps regenerate a broken tweak means that they're incredibly useful to have equipped for most boss battles.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: For the purposes of a single playthrough, the Double Jump tweak granted after defeating Mother's Corners is useless, since all that's left of the story by the time they're available to fight is to confront the Starworm. It can still be carried over to a New Game+, however. Same goes for defeating Fitzroy, since the tweak from his fight is a Joke Item designed for a Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • But Thou Must!: There's no getting around leaving Royal to die on a decompressing Midway, as one scanner is pulled too far away from the door to work while you're carrying him, and the other is just flat out broken, meaning trying to use the Usurper Shot to position him near it would be pointless even if it did work. The game even twists the knife by giving you way more time than you need to escape, as if to suggest that there is actually a way to save him when there isn't.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Silver Watchman really can't catch a break. He gets his ass kicked by you three times, then accidentally saves your life while trying to kill you a fourth time, then gets possessed by the blue eyes (and gets his ass kicked by you again in his possessed state), and finally is taken out by Royal of all people, who drops a boulder on top of him, trapping him underwater where his teleportation powers don't work, drowning him.
  • Canon Immigrant: Mina the thief was originally the focus of another Konjak project, though she was redesigned significantly for this game (her original design was recycled for an unique NPC in Isilugar).
  • Captain Ersatz: Not in terms of what she does, but Robin looks familiar...
  • Cardboard Prison: The trio of Robin, Mina, and Elro find themselves caught by the Concern and locked in The Tower’s jail cells at one point. Mina and Elro are locked up tight, but Robin’s cell includes a floor plate that she can stomp through to easily crawl out of her cell. Admittedly, not many people can Ground Pound as well as Robin.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The game starts out as a wacky adventure as Robin struggles against cartoonish, Large Ham villains, but as the game goes on, the villains get far less cartoonish as we see just how depraved and despotic the One Concern is. By the end, a large number of people have died in a bloody civil war, and the final battle is against an outright Eldritch Abomination that threatens to consume the entire world.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Elro's job is a chemist. He's apparently good enough to create a serum that will forcibly remove all Ivory from any object, which makes it very effective at killing Ivory-infused people such as agents.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: The only doctor in the game has an incurable disease.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Quite a few of them.
    • Agent White: killed by an Ivory Tree Isi seed growing out of his back.
    • Mother shares Agent White's fate, though her entire body explodes into the tree.
    • Agent Grey and General Chrome: exploded into a purple dust thanks to a syringe made by Elro.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The whole thing starts when Robin and Elro's father's death is presumably caused by the Concern, causing Elro to kill Agent Grey in revenge, causing Agent Black to pursue Robin and Elro in response, starting Robin's quest to rescue Elro and take down the One Concern for good.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Agent Black went careening past it long ago, according to herself. She almost came back when Agent Grey started trying (successfully if her dialogue before her final fight is any indication) to woo her, but that ended when Elro killed Grey.
  • Determinator: Black in her final battle is absolutely determined to protect the rocket from you, to the point that she eventually breaks open the rocket's fuel tank and starts drinking the Ivory fuel just so her Healing Factor can keep up with the damage you are dealing. By the end of the fight she is weakly shambling around, with multiple Isi Seeds sprouting out of her back, barely able to form a complete sentence, and vomiting up the fuel she's been guzzling, but still refuses to stop fighting until she is swarmed with the blue eye parasites and dragged offscreen. And even then, she's still not done.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Agent Black and General Chrome manage to outlive Mother. Chrome doesn't get far before he's taken care of, but Black lives long enough to fight Robin one last time, long after she has a reason to keep fighting her beyond revenge.
  • Dual Boss: Mother's Corners are an example where both bosses share the same health bar, and either boss can choose to hop into the background temporarily while the other keeps attacking.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The final boss, Him, a giant, pale worm-like thing that destroyed the moon and that Mother secretly intends to unleash upon the world. This is actually subverted when it's revealed the Starworm/Him is really a spaceship piloted by an alien bird-man who just wants his gas tank filled up with Ivory.
  • Enemy Civil War: When Chrome finds out about Mother's plan to flee to the Moon with a select few chosen ones and leave the rest of humanity behind, he stages a revolt to overthrow Mother.
  • Eye Beams: Agent White's main ability. Its properties actually change depending on the colour of sunglasses he is wearing. Red makes him shoot a fiery beam of death, while blue gives him a Freeze Ray.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Mother herself, who presents a facade of being a matronly goddess, but really is a glorified One Concern super soldier with a god complex and a hell of a temper.
    • The Concern officials present themselves as affable to the general public, but each of them aside from Grey is consumed by some sort of emotion that drives them to commit heinous acts. Chrome is a self-important fundamentalist with delusions of grandeur, Black is an emotionally-driven spiteful cynic, and so on.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Both varieties of Croaktus in Shard Wastelands will eat bomb projectiles shot at them, blowing up shortly thereafter.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a few things get hinted at pretty early on.
    • The Agents being superhuman is shown by Agent White throwing Robin into the wall in the scene introducing the Agents.
    • Agent Black's constant headaches get a small foreshadow by her pinching the bridge of her nose in almost every scene before her fights.
    • Samba and Mina's dialogues drop massive hints towards their relationship.
    • After beating the first boss, you may notice some large black feathers attached to the underside of the planet spine you fought the boss on, which obviously came from the Birdman (or at least a Birdman).
  • The Fundamentalist: Chrome genuinely believes in the religion he follows, and quotes the One Concern equivalent of The Bible or The Qur'an frequently, even during boss fights. He's also a hard line believer in everything that his religion is against, though he's open to discussion about the the differences and ideology between the pirate's religion and his own. Once he leads the One Concern militia into City One, he becomes a full-tilt Dark Messiah, wishing to remake the world after thinking himself to be "chosen" once he No Sells one of Elro's syringes of anti-Ivory material and losing faith in the higher echelons of One Concern. In reality, said syringe was only one of the two parts of the binary liquid, and he's killed in the Bastion when Elro hits him with the other component.
  • Flipping the Bird: Agent Black tells a Bastion trooper that she is going to crush his skull using only her two middle fingers.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • Interestingly, it's not the enormous worm from the stars that crashes down onto your planet - the worm's pretty well established into the lore of the game, and bears a resemblance to some previously fought bosses. It's the giant, muscular alien bird piloting the worm, who was never hinted at before the fight, and is never properly explained afterward as the game ends. Context allows you to piece together that the bird was using the worm to pose as a deity and exploit the planet for fuel, but he's still an alien bird of an otherwise unknown species, with no dialogue and no connection to any other characters, and he's the final boss.
    • Similarly, the blue eye corruption seems to appear out of nowhere after Robin escapes the Tower and it's never explained what exactly it is or what its relation to Ivory is. Computers in the underground area hint it's some sort of biotech, and The Starworm has a cluster of the eyes roughly where another creature would have actual eyes, as well as the ability to manipulate and create more. However, other than that, the game doesn't reveal anything.
  • Given Name Reveal: Out of all the Agents, we only learn Black's real name: Madelyn Binoche.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Agent White really likes doing this, even using it as an attack in his boss fight.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The last event of The Tower requires Robin to break into Black’s office to attempt to save Elro, which manages to be more confusing than intended. In the preceding cutscene, Mina laments that she’s lost her seeds and can’t blow up the office’s gate; Robin picked up the seeds while she was infiltrating the tower, so this seems to hint that Robin must figure out how to use the seeds or hand them over to Mina. Neither option is possible (the seeds don’t come up again until One Concern West), and the actual solution is to jump up to a hidden ledge that leads to a crawlspace going directly into Black’s room, which is marked by a small outcropping but is easy to miss in the panic.
    • All three key item quests have a confusing trait to them. Laurie’s letter delivery is simply transferring key items back and forth between two people, but the location of the second person is hidden well. The cupcake quest starts simple since you can find its NPC in several areas, but the person you give the item to in Ferrier Shockwood just takes it without giving you anything; you must go back to the original person to get a different item and then backtrack to receive your reward. The Soldier’s RSVP is the trickiest: you can get the letter after Isilugar Labs, but it won’t be relevant until the end of One Concern West (at which point the game encourages to progress to the endgame), and you can’t deliver the item since the recipient was killed in Black’s rampage, so after examining the body you have to return to the Isilugar jail cell to report your failure and receive the quest reward.
    • Both Bonus Bosses are tricky to activate, especially for players who make a habit of exploring past areas as soon as they can.
      • For Fitzroy, you first have to meet Leticia in five separate locations; the first time is in Blockrock, which you will likely find when you explore there after leaving Isilugar, but the rest are in out-of-the-way areas around the map, one of which requires the Galvanized Wrench to reach (she places her flag in the room next to where she is, as a slight hint). After the final encounter, you have to swim to the secret cavern deep within Glass Strait; the only hint for this is that Leticia’s flag is on the water’s surface, but it's in an area that has little purpose otherwise.
      • Mother's Corners can only be fought at the very end of the game after the Starworm crash-lands in Blockrock, where it really doesn’t seem like there’s anything else to do (unless you notice a missing space in the tweak collection box). It's at least easier to find the items necessary for the fight, though they are spread out a bit and one is way back in The Tower. The hint the items give is also a bit confusing.
    • There are only slight hints that the Usurper Gun's swapping shot works on City One's gatekeeper and Mother, and no hints that it can remove the blue eyes protecting enemies in the Impact Zone.
  • Ground Pound: Robin starts out with the ability to do a midair flip and stomp downwards, which can break red blocks. It’s a surprisingly effective attack as well: many enemies can’t attack Robin while she’s jumping on their heads (such as the Concern soldiers), and the stomp deals good damage even late in the game.
  • Harder Than Hard: After beating the game, you unlock Challenge Mode, where you are a One-Hit-Point Wonder. Iron Hearts will still soak up a hit, but enemies don't drop Ivory cubes to repair them. Instead, they are repaired at Save Statues.
  • The Heretic: Well, considering the game is called 'The Iconoclasts'...
  • Heroic Mime: Robin does not speak at all and only communicates through emotes and body language (and a few dialogue choices), but everybody seems to understand her anyways.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Despite how obvious it is from the get-go, Mina and Samba are never explicitly stated to be a couple (at least until the ending credits). Justified in that Isi culture places an extremely high importance on procreation, which likely means same-sex relationships are not tolerated and they have to keep it secret.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the third phase against the Starworm, the Birdman reactivates it once he gets low on HP. This comes back to bite him when the Starworm's right hand crushes him before dying itself.
  • Honor Before Reason: Agent Black admits that keeping Royal and Robin from using the rocket to attempt to reason with Him is a poor decision, but her orders to protect the rocket are the only point of stability she has to cling to at that point.
  • Implacable Man: Two of the boss fights near the rocket.
    • While you are trying to get the elevator working, Black can not be stopped. Defeating the boss is not an option; you must fix the elevator and get out of there.
    • A more classic version is Elro, going up against Lawrence. Lawrence can shoot Elro, throw knives, punch him if he gets too close, but unless he runs out of HP, Elro keeps. On. Coming. Good thing you're playing Elro, and your job is just to No-Sell Lawrence's attacks while you keep marching up and stabbing him.
  • Invincible Minor Mook: There are a lot of enemies that start off invincible (such as the Ghosmo ghosts), but the Usurper Gun can kill a lot of them. Ones that are always invincible include:
    • Herculeans are big one-eyed boulders that can't be destroyed, though they can be knocked back by Robin's wrench.
    • The Hazard Armor enemies are special Concern troops that can't be hurt or even stunned. The first time you encounter one is in a pseudo-boss fight where you have to play chicken with it while breaking down an ice block, but later ones just have to be avoided.
    • Blue-eye possessed Bipedro enemies also can't be damaged... by you. However you need them to break down certain walls for you so it's probably a good thing that you can't accidentally kill them and render the game Unwinnable. After they are done, there is usually a convenient pit of Spikes of Doom nearby that you can make them run into which will kill them. They also are the game's only non-respawning enemies.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Royal. He means well and can be nice when he's not focusing on himself, but it's clear the One Concern have their claws in him with the whole thing about him being Mother's heir.
    • Elro is fairly nasty to everyone, but he has the best interests of Robin and her friends at heart, and he’s been broken by the events of the prologue. In reality, he’s a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk, as the traumatic events of the storyline push him into Villain Protagonist territory.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Agent Black, who heralds the more serious parts of the story. Especially once she rips off Elro's arm with her bare hands. That's where the story really takes a turn for the darker.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Mina and Samba have this vibe going on. In the credits, it's revealed that they are indeed a couple, although they made it pretty obvious throughout the game even outside of this trope.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: On the one hand, Ivory is revered as sacred and powerful for good reason, as it can cause superpowers in those exposed to high amounts of the stuff, ultimately culminating in psychic powers that border on Reality Warping and an absurdly powerful Healing Factor. Not to mention removal of it causes things to turn into a purple dust that inhibits said powers. On the other hand, considering how the birdman piloting the Starworm (AKA Him) treats the stuff, it may just be a strange, mutagenic oil.
  • Mecha-Mooks: This is One Concern's primary means of offense aside from their troops, mostly showing up in their late-game facilities.
  • Mega Neko: Mother fights you by using her Reality Warper powers to form a giant cat out of pavement, cars, and other objects in the vicinity, which she rides on.
  • Mind Rape: The Starworm is capable of doing this to people, as Robin and Royal find out the hard way. It appears that the Concern is also able to reverse engineer a gun that can replicate the effects.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mina's mother is basically a stereotypical Jewish Mother in a setting where Jews don't exist, constantly guilt-tripping her daughter with the usual "You never visit! You're leaving me again! You don't love me!", as well as suggesting Mina get together with that Nice Isi Boy who keeps asking about her. Since she is in a wheelchair this could also cross over into Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Even though Royal had crossed the Despair Event Horizon and asked to be left behind to die on the decompressing Midway moonbase, Robin obviously still feels enormously guilty for doing so. As soon as she lands back in Blockrock the first thing she does is sit in the Troubled Fetal Position and cry.
  • Mythology Gag: The Isi lady who's always seen sitting on couches in Isilugar is based on the design for Mina that was used in Mina of the Pirates, one of Konjak's earliest big projects and the origin of Mina's name and base design.
  • New Game+: Beating the game allows you to save a completed file. Continuing the file will restart the game, but keep all of your Tweaks.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It seems that Royal is particularly good at this. First, he accidentally activates and is forced to destroy a Mega Controller, which throws the planet's ecosystem out of balance. He heads to City One to confront Mother, which basically allows Chrome to start his rebellion, which sparks a vicious civil war. He also attacks the Starworm when it ignores him, only causing it be angered and attack the planet. Though that last one may have been for the best, as the attack left a vulnerable spot on the Starworm, and it's likely a fight would have occurred regardless of Royal's assault.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had the Silver Watchman not tackled Robin and ended up pushing her out of the tower in an attempt to kill her, it's very likely Agent Black would have successfully shot and killed Robin then and there.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Chrome is a cyborg cowboy general with superpowers.
  • No Name Given: The ending credits list the name of every character, enemy, and boss in the game. Except the Birdman, whose name is left blank.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Agent Black is a very pale girl. Agent White is a Scary Black Man.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Agent Black is very much a student of the Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? school of thought. Indeed, she almost shoots Robin point blank in The Tower, and is only stopped by the Silver Watchman tackling Robin through the wall and out of room they were in due to wanting to kill her himself.
  • Not So Stoic: Agent White's death by Ivory-accelerated Isi Seed growth clearly terrifies Agent Black, while Grey's death at the hands of Elro actually made her break down. And that's not getting into her Sanity Slippage in the game's climax.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted. Dr. Gustavo is a medical doctor who says he's not the right kind of doctor to deal with the craziness of the Tower's pupils.
  • The Pig Pen: Mina apparently isn't too keen on bathing frequently, since a Running Gag throughout the game is that she smells absolutely awful. During the fight against Ash, she has to hide in the pools of water, since he can smell her when she hides in the bushes.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Mina's melee attack involves using her shotgun like a club.
  • Playing with Fire: Mendeleev's powerset.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mother blames Royal for hastening the end of the world due to him activating and destroying an Omega Controller. However, Mother herself is partially at fault because she didn't tell Royal anything about her plans or the true nature of the planet they were living on, which she was very well aware of.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple seems to be the signature colour of the One Concern, and they are The Theocracy that rules the planet.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Reborns— Lawrence, Nobel, and Mendeleev— fought at One Concern East.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Two bladed Controllers are fought in the game: one with Robin as a Warm-Up Boss in Blockrock, and another with Mina in Ferrier Shockwood.
    • The Silver Watchman is fought four times. The first three fights are in The Tower, with one and two being Duel Boss encounters and the third being a gimmick fight inside a tiny elevator. You face him one last time in Dark Cave, where he’s being used as a puppet by the Possessed Thunk, a Kathunk mecha infested with the blue eyeballs.
    • Agent Black is the boss of both One Concern West and the Rocket Platform, where she's technically fought three times; once as an invincible enemy while activating the rocket, another time as a true rematch in front of the rocket, and then as the Ivory Beast, which has two forms.
  • Ring Out Boss:
    • Once reduced to just a head, all the Carver machine in Ferrier Shockwood can do is spin its blades to produce debris. Elro will jam his sword into the blades to lock them up, at which point Robin has to charge up and grab a rail to ram into the head and knock It back; this repeats for a while, with Robin occasionally dislodging Elro’s sword from the ceiling, until the Carver nearly falls off a cliff (it stays balanced, but the Controller that Mina was chasing pops out and wrecks it).
    • Mendeleev works somewhat like this. If she's shot while she's outside of her fiery mode or when she's dropping fireballs, she gets knocked back and temporarily stunned. If she falls into an active electric current in this state, she gets zapped and loses a lot more health than she does from individual shotgun blasts.
  • Relationship Reveal: Though they made it glaringly obvious throughout the game, the ending credits show Mina and Samba reuniting for the first time since rescuing her from the Tower... and promptly start passionately making out.
  • Relationship Values: Say the right things to a few characters and the Battle in the Center of the Mind right before the Final Boss has one or more phases become easier by stunning them once you activate a switch), and Mina might join you for the Final Boss itself.
  • Retraux: The Ivory Springs version was very much so, and the newer version still has elements like square flowers.
  • Sad Battle Music: The final fight against Black has this, though it stops being sad once she goes One-Winged Angel. The same sad music returns outside of battle when you are escaping from Midway, and are forced to leave Royal behind to die.
  • Sanity Slippage: Agent Black's sanity doesn't slip away so much as take a running leap off of the deep end after the first time you beat her in One Concern West's detritus pit. We don't see the actual process, but once she shows up again at One Concern East for her rematch, she's clearly not in the best place, mentally speaking.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The plight of the acolytes Mother was grooming in isolation to be the chosen ones to escape to Midway. Mina leaves the entrance to the Tower open, allowing the acolytes to wander into the outside world for the first time. Unfortunately, the result is that many of the die from the elements or are murdered by Mother's Corners, with the few surviving ones devolving into Lord of the Flies level dysfunction.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The fight against Possessed Thunk involves damaging the Silver Watchman (who is being puppeted around on blue eye strings) until he falls over, then attacking the main boss while it repairs the strings. Eventually, the boss gives up on this and starts charging at Robin, though fortunately it's Weakened by the Light.
  • Shock and Awe: Robin's wrench gets an upgrade that lets her charge it with electricity by spinning it, and a second upgrade that lets her bombs and missiles become charged as well. The Birdman can do the same thing with his wrench.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Handily averted by Mina’s pilfered shotgun, which has more range than any of Robin’s gun types, but absolutely no spread.
  • Signpost Tutorial: By means of signs that you walk past that expand to show how to perform commands. Some inexplicably reappear in The Tower despite said area being long after you've gotten used to the controls.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Robin wields a massive wrench, although her actual gun is appropriately sized, as is Mina's shotgun. Agent Black, however, shows up for her rematch wielding a large rocket launcher.
  • Smug Super: As polite as he's capable of being, Royal has pretty clearly let his psionic powers influence how he perceives others. Mother doesn't display this nearly as openly, but the fact that she seems pretty comfortable with everyone else being considered lesser than her has to indicate something about her personality.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Dr. Gustavo has an unspecified genetic disease, which makes him somewhat of a social outcast among the Isi since their culture highly values procreation and he refuses to have children since they would inherit his disease.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • Early in the game, Robin has to escape from jail by crawling through the community center’s attic. The Concern soldiers having a break near the bar will periodically laugh loudly at each other’s crude jokes, allowing Robin to crawl forward unheard until she can get away.
    • The fight with Ash is a stealth-based boss. Ash is invisible, and if he sees Robin or Mina out of hiding, he’ll rush to them (regardless of who the player is controlling) and slam them into the ground for unavoidable damage. To hurt Ash, the duo has to stay in hiding spots (there are bushes and puddles to hind it, but Mina can only hide in puddles) until he starts wandering around; his location is signaled by sound waves and rustling grass, and he’s vulnerable to attack at this time.
  • The Stoic: Agent Black, whose main emotions seem to be apathy and annoyance.
  • Technical Pacifist: All of Robin's attacks only kill the local wildlife, and destroy robotic enemies and machines. Human enemies are merely knocked out, with visible circling stars above their heads. Throughout the entire story, she only ever directly kills one person out of necessity: Agent Black. In contrast, Mina's shotgun and Elro's sword actually do kill human enemies.
  • Teleport Spam: The Silver Watchman's main ability, which he uses to dodge your attacks as well as close the distance to strike with his sword.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The Agents are all named after shades of grey: Black, White, Ash, and, er, Grey.
    • Other Transcended individuals in the Concern are named after metals: The Silver Watchman and General Chrome.
    • The Reborns appear to be named after famous scientists: Mendeleev, Nobel, and Lawrence.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mina and Robin. Mina carries a large shotgun, bashes things with its butt, has enough body odor that a trained hunter can track her by scent, and gets angry a lot. Her chosen profession at the start of the game is wandering the world looking for stuff to take. Robin may be a mechanic with an oversized wrench, but also carries a small stun pistol (see Technical Pacifist), apparently bathes regularly, gets flustered, embarrassed, or scared far more easily, and even dolls up her hair. Her chosen profession at the start of the game is to fix up and nurture a settlement near where she lives. This distinction is on display in the fight against Mother, wherein Robin counters and dodges Mother's attacks, occasionally stunning Mother and pulling her out from protection while Mina is the one to do the actual damage against her by shoving seeds into her body, after Robin has made her vulnerable.
  • Undying Loyalty: The basic One Concern Mooks all have complete loyalty to General Chrome, and refuse to let anyone but Chrome and possibly his Number Two Tolo order them around. Not the Elite Mooks of the Bastion, not the Agents, not even Mother herself. They all universally back Chrome when he rebels against Mother.
  • The Unfought: General Chrome is never fought in true combat (he rides on the helicopter at the end of Shard Wastelands, but he doesn’t pilot it or use any attacks himself), and is ultimately killed by Elro’s serum at the end of City One.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Swimming of all things follows real-life rules. You can mash the jump button to swim faster, but your Oxygen Meter will deplete more quickly. By swimming at your default, agonizingly slow speed, you conserve oxygen much better and can cover far more distance. The game never tells you this, and knowing it is required to reach Fitzroy. It's impossible even with three Breathlesses equipped if you mash.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: You'd think the Silver Watchman would be a little more grateful that you freed him from his blue eye possession, but no, he still tries to kill you again the next time you see him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Elro, whose stubbornness and selfishness nearly doom the planet to destruction several times over. His controlling nature with Robin and fear for her after losing his wife and child also cause several problems throughout the game and result in a needlessly antagonistic relationship with Mina. His Revenge Before Reason attitude also results in his arm getting torn off by someone much stronger than he is, wounding him even further.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Chrome. Some of the Isi men also wear open shirts.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There are quite a number of NPCs and side characters that are briefly seen but never mentioned again. For example:
    • Thor and Thandie finally manage to reach City One, right on the same day civil war breaks out between Chrome and Mother's factions. They are never seen or mentioned again.
    • We never see any sort of resolution regarding Mina's strained relationship with her mother.
    • The last we see of Royal, Robin is forced to leave him behind in the decompressing Midway moonbase. It's not clear if he actually died or not, but seeing as he's effectively immortal with the only known methods of permanently dispatching him being the seeds or Elro's serum, it's highly likely he's still stranded up there, dying and regenerating endlessly.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Agent Black nearly says this word-for-word when Chrome insists on going through an unnecessary execution scene.
  • Where It All Began: The entrance to the last stretch of the game before the Final Boss opens up in the exact same spot where you fought the very first boss.
  • Wrench Wench: The heroine, Robin, to the point of having a gigantic wrench that is used for most of the gameplay.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Mendeleev gets zapped in this manner if she falls into an electricity bar during her fight.
  • You Are in Command Now: Tolo inherits command of what remains of Chrome's forces after Chrome's death.
  • You Killed My Father: Though it's not exactly clear what caused the death of Robin and Elro's father, Elro clearly lays the blame on the Concern. This is what causes him to create his anti-Ivory chemical which he uses to kill Agent Grey.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The final shadow creature during the final boss's first phase can be shot without any resistance. If the player lets it crawl to the other side, it ends up exploding anyway.

Alternative Title(s): The Iconoclasts

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/Iconoclasts?from=VideoGame.TheIconoclasts