Video Game / Night in the Woods

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"Everything sucks forever."
Mae to Gregg, from the trailer

Night in the Woods is an adventure platformer developed by Infinite Fall and published by Finji. The player controls Mae, a recent college dropout, who has returned to her hometown, the sleepy mining town of Possum Springs. There, she struggles with the changes to her home and her former friends - Bea, Gregg, Angus and Germ. As Mae struggles with finding her own identity and coping with the massive changes in her life, she begins to have odd dreams with ominous messages, and discovers hints of some mysterious force living out in the woods of her community.

Notable for reaching its Kickstarter goal in just over a day. The official website can be found here. In December 2013, a companion game titled Longest Night was released. In December 2014, a second supplemental game, Lost Constellation, was made available as well. The game was released on February 21, 2017, and a release on the Xbox One with both supplemental games on December 13th. On that same date, the PC version, as well as the Xbox One versions received a free update called "Weird Autumn Edition" that added in numerous scrapped scenes and occurrences. This same update was available for the PS4 in January 2018. The game was also released for Nintendo Switch in February 2018.

Announcement Trailer, Release Trailer, Weird Autumn Edition Trailer


Night in the Woods provides examples of:

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    A-E 
  • Abandoned Mine:
    • Whatever's in the woods, it's just behind the shuttered mines.
    • The mines cast a long shadow over the whole town. Decades back they provided for the town and made it prosperous, but were also a cause of a lot of deaths and some terrible working conditions.
  • Accidental Murder: Bea brings up at the end that she and the others due to causing a cave-in have potentially left a dozen people to starve in the dark. Even Gregg is shaken up by this, but Angus says if given a choice he would have done it again. This leads to everyone staring at him in surprise.
  • Adult Fear: This could be called "Adult Fear: The Game" with how often it plays at grown-up concerns and worries.
    • The game starts with Mae walking home through the woods because her parents didn't know she was coming home that day. Mae is a tiny 20 year old "naive" girl in her aunt's words, who wanders through the dark and jumps on power lines. Aunt Molly, who is a local cop, finds Mae, chews her out for being reckless, and takes her home. Mae's dad feels really guilty when she tells him that he forgot the day she was coming home. It gets worse when you find out a cult has been kidnapping people who wouldn't be missed, and Mae was a sitting duck. If not for her aunt, she would probably be sacrificed by the cult.
    • There is also Mae dropping out of college, having to go home, and now wondering what she will do with her life without an education or hope. In addition, Mae has an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness that could possibly be a dissociative disorder. It's not clear, though, and it's best not to presume. You would expect that Mae would be able to find therapy, cognitive behavioral methods, or medication, but all her doctor gives her is a journal as a form of treatment. Not in addition to other methods, just "keep a journal" and that's all. At college, Mae was still unable to find better resources and dropped out.
    • The town of Possum Springs is on the verge of going belly up due to the closure of the mines and factories in the area. The only thing keeping the town going is the local Ham Panther, (possibly) the highway access to the nearby parks, and a cult of townsfolk who are appeasing an elder god to keep the town prosperous. And even that's pretty ambiguous.
    • Mae's parents are concerned about losing the house to the bank after taking out a mortgage to pay for Mae's tuition. Mae also feels really guilty about this, knowing the sacrifices they made.
    • Bea is constantly surly and resentful because she has been forced to act as de facto manager to the family hardware store after losing her mother to cancer and her father's subsequent meltdown. Her father even warns her of potential sexual assault from one of their staff, but they can't fire him because he's their best repairman and losing him would be a major blow to their business.
    • Pastor Kate is fighting furiously against the town council to start a program to help get the homeless off the street. She ultimately does not succeed.
    • Casey, a young adult friend of the gangs' has been missing for nearly a year, with his parents and friends concerned for his safety. Sadly, he wasn't that far away, being one of many sacrifices that "nobody will miss".
    • Mae's constant nightmares begin taking their toll on her mental health, and everyone can tell.
    • Even the background characters deal with adult fears. A pair of Smelters fans grow distant as one of them reveals he plans to move out of town, a coworker convinces a woman to stay at a job she hates because it might pay better than going to work elsewhere, etc.
    • In the climax, when Mae convinces her friends to find the ghost, she ends up with a serious head injury. Her aunt finds her and bring her home, but Mae's parents are worried sick when she wakes up and wanders to her friends' place. In the epilogue, Mae agrees with her mother to set ground rules since she nearly died.
    • During one of the hangout sessions with Germ, he'll recount a pretty chilling story of being followed on his way home by one of the transients he met, where he had to hide in a tree to wait for the man to go away and then make a run for it.
    • The whole group nearly gets buried alive inside a collapsed mine with nobody knowing where they are.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Inverted; to the citizens of Possum Springs, not having ambition is considered irresponsible. Everyone in the game is annoyed or angry that Mae dropped out of college. She spends her days engaging in reckless criminal behavior, and shows no regard for the sacrifices others have made. Her parents want to know why, and are worried when Mae won't open up to them. Bea calls her out for not taking advantage of the opportunities that college offered though in one route she offers sympathy and a possible solution on hearing why Mae dropped out. Meanwhile Bea wants more than to be her dad's unpaid manager at the Pickaxe but is trapped because her dad doesn't listen to her, they have endless bills from her mother's cancer treatment and they can't afford college tuition. Angus and Gregg are saving up money to go to Bright Harbor, to be in a better town that's less homophobic. Justified as that Possum Springs is a Dying Town and there are few opportunities. The trope also gets discussed, since Mae revealing that she suffered a breakdown and couldn't even go to class, as well as her confessing to her mother that she feels like she messed up her parents' lives, shows that she wants to be ambitious but her brain won't let her.
  • Affably Evil: The cultists who have been kidnapping and sacrificing vagrants and criminals to the Black Goat. They clearly don't enjoy the acts they are committing and have no plans to hurt Mae and the others even if they choose not to join the cult. They were even very apologetic for almost shooting Mae and most of them held nothing against Gregg for shooting one of them with an arrow (victim of said shooting being the sole exception, but that's to be expected). And everything the cult does, they do for the sake of the town. Shame it involves sacrificing those they consider the garbage of society to an Eldritch Abomination that might not even be real.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Mae's dad calls her "kitten". She responds well to it.
    • Gregg refers to Angus as "cap'n," and Angus in turn calls Gregg "bug."
    • Before their falling out, Bea used to call Mae "MayDay".
  • Air Quotes: Video Rentals "Too." Mae is confused both by the supposed misspelling, as well as the completely extraneous air quotes.
  • Alien Geometries: Mae's dreams run on this logic, especially the "musical band" dreams. There are buildings which seem to overlap each other, roads that go nowhere, and lights that turn on as soon as Mae walks past them. Everything is also tinged in a faint neon glow. and the gravity is far lower than normal, seeing as how Mae can jump from the ground to the roof of a building.
    • The Historical Society, with its overabundance of elevators, most of which only connect two floors, with no stairs in between. Mae even specifically notes that this design makes no sense, even when trying to think of a logical explanation. The building's connection to the Black Goat could have it veering into Eldritch Location territory.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Gregg sometimes wears a pickelhaube helmet that he reveals in an event with him that it belonged to his great-great-grandfather who (presumably) fought for Germany in World War I. Mae assumes it's the one the "fascists" wore, this annoys Gregg and he reminds her that's the wrong war and at the time they were not fascists. He even refers to Germany as "not the bad guys", whether he means the German Empire wasn't that bad compared to Nazi Germany or that he sympathizes with them because his ancestor fought for them is up for interpretation.
  • Alliterative Name: Arnold A. Applebaum.
  • All There in the Manual: Minor details not specifically mentioned in-game are in the game's code, such as the cranky bird in Underhill being named Varney. Tellingly, all doodles tied to the Black Goat also reference the goat constellation: Ibon, the First Singer...
  • Almighty Janitor: The Janitor, who appears at key moments to give Mae some cryptic advice while doing some kind of maintenance work. At the end, he even knows Mae's name, with implications he might be more than a normal janitor. The fact that a statue looking just like him is on the graveyard only raises more questions as well.
  • An Aesop: Everything is going to come to an end at some point. However, being emotional about it isn't a bad thing; as long as you have something to hold onto at the end, there is a reason to be hopeful and know your life isn't pointless. It's okay to be frustrated and sad that something is gone, but there is always a reason to keep going and move forward.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In a brief scene in Angus and Gregg's apartment, all of the main characters except Mae are there. The player briefly takes control of either Gregg or Bea (depending on who the player had Mae grow closer to) until Mae shows up at the door.
  • Another Side, Another Story: You are offered different perspectives depending on whether you decide to spend time with Gregg or Bea. Particularly, regarding Angus and Gregg's relationship, since doing Bea's route ends with Bea stating the possibility of them breaking up in the future, while playing Gregg's route will imply that their relationship is deeper and more meaningful than what she believes.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Zig-Zagged. When Mae thinks she sees a ghost, her friends firmly assess that ghosts don't exist but they agree with her that she saw something. Angus says he finds a living person more dangerous. In the game itself, there are newspaper clipping of ghost sightings.
  • Arc Words: "I won't die here." The phrase repeatedly appears both in the supplemental games and in the game proper, even as the title and subject of one of the band's songs.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Holes. Candy tells Mae about a sinkhole that appeared while she was sleeping. Mae tells the Donut Wolf cashier that the last time she ate Eternity Sauce, she dug a hole in the yard and slept in it. The first level of Demontower is called The Hole. The God-Cat creature tells Mae that there is a hole that is constantly growing at the center of everything. The Black Goat cultists kill their victims by throwing them into a subterranean hole.
    • Stars. After being electrocuted, Mae meets Sharkle, who tells her that she will join her ancestors among the stars. Mr. Chazokov and Mae stargaze together. Angus and Mae also discuss constellations during their evening hike in the forest. The God-Cat tells Mae that a hole is growing between the stars. The cultists explain that Black Goat is black like the space between stars. The painting that Gregg and Mae find at the historical society depicts Black Goat descending from the stars. In the "Longest Night" mini-game, Adina is searching for the Ghost Star. In another mini-game, Mae and her friends identify constellations.
    • Pentagrams. The achievement icon associated with meeting the goth kids features pentagrams. When Mae holds Bombshell's hand, a pentagram appears over their joined hands. In the mine shaft, the Black Goat cult has arranged rafters in the shape of a pentagram. Pentagrams also appear in the Demon Tower video game on Mae's computer. In the "Longest Night" video game, the door to the Huncher's house is engraved with a pentagram.
    • Rats. Mae feeds baby rats nesting in a parade float she finds in a storage room. These rats proliferate and later run rampant through the downtown area and abandoned Food Donkey. In the Demontower game, swarming balls of rats attack Pale Cat.
    • Severed arms. Mae and her friends discover a severed arm outside of a diner. Eide's arm is severed by an elevator when he attacks Mae. In the "Longest Night" mini-game, Adina finds a severed arm in the snow, and the Huncher has several severed arms suspended from the ceiling of her house.
    • Fall (both the season and the verb). Fall is the season of fading/ending/dying. Possum Springs — a dying town — is noted to look particularly lovely in fall. It's also Mae's favorite season:she mentions fall and autumn trees when asking the Sky Cat about things that matter to her. One of the band's songs is "Weird Autumn," another word for the season, and it's sung by a group of people in the last days of their youth before they have to take on a more adult role. The name of the third chapter "The Long Fall," is a pun that ties the two meanings of "fall" together: the fact that this will be a complicated and tortuous autumn, and the band's descent into the dark side of Possum Springs. It also references the cult's method of sacrifice/execution: being cast into a pit. Other significant falls are Mae's drop from the telephone pole when she arrives back in Possum Springs, the unfortunate fate of the young girl that Jenny's Field is named after, the way Mae gets injured later in the game, and the elevator drop that kills one cultist and traps the rest.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The musicians in the reoccurring dream Mae has may be a band that used to play in town who eventually started trying to play to ghosts in the woods before dying of exposure one night.
  • Author Avatar: Pastor Karen seems to be partially based both on Alec Holowka back when he was a speaker for a church, and the liberal pastor of said church. Karen combines the pastors left-leaning interpretation of scripture with Alec's wavering faith in God and effort to help other people believe, so they won't hurt as much, even though he didn't fully believe in God himself.
  • Badass Gay: Gregg is the biggest risk-taker of the group, and looks like a badass in his leather jacket. He also arms himself with a crossbow in the climax to save Mae.
  • Batter Up!: Mae weaponizes a baseball bat on a few occasions, like smashing fluorescent light bulbs with Gregg. She also uses one in one of her dreams to smash things in a dream version of town.
  • Being Watched: All three "ghost hunts" Mae can undertake in Chapter 3 have this trope occur towards the end, with Mae and whoever is accompanying her being watched by a hooded cultist hiding in the dark.
    • The trip to the Historical Society with Gregg ends with them being chased by someone else in the building. As Mae climbs down the fire escape to get away, the "ghost" suddenly appears in a window nearby, silent and unmoving.
    • The trip to the graveyard with Bea has the two of them open a coffin and desecrate a grave, only for Bea point out that someone is hiding nearby, watching them.
    • The stargazing trip with Angus to Possum Jump concludes when Angus tells Mae that there's someone standing right behind them in the woods, just staring at them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Angus is a Gentle Giant with asthma, who adores Gregg and cooks for his friends. When he finds out the cult has killed people, however, and one tries to kill Mae, he goes for the elevator lever in the mine and saves her life. He doesn't regret that dropping the elevator logically must have killed Mae's attacker and left the others stranded in the dark, unlike Bea. He does not like bad people, having grown up in an abusive household, and he's furious that the cult was trying to recruit them. Angus doesn't even believe in hell, but he hopes the cult members go there.
  • Bi the Way: There are a few moments where it's revealed that Mae is bi dropped throughout the game. She has an e- boyfriend, was attracted to a good-looking girl she met at a party and was annoyed she didn't get her number, and if she tells the three teenagers about her ideal date, she says she doesn't care if they're a guy or a girl. Additionally, when Gregg mentions that he and Angus are the only queer people in town during the trip to Donut Wolf, Mae responds with "I'm here!". Word of God confirmed her to be pansexual (sexual attraction regardless of sex or gender), though doesn't identify herself as such due to lack of familiarity with the term.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the mystery is solved and the cultists for the Black Goat are killed so that the sacrifices stop, Mae is still alone in the world and has no idea what she's going to do next with her life. Bea is still stuck in the job she hates, unable to pursue her dreams, and Gregg and Angus have an uncertain future together if Bea and Gregg's own predictions are correct. Even then, they only have so long left before the town is hit with another disaster that could injure or kill even more people, with the town eventually dying as a result. In the end, all the group has left is each other, spending what are potentially their last real times as friends with one another. Mae mends ties with her family and appears ready to open up to them about her mental problems and why she dropped out of college, while her dad plans to do the same.
  • Blue And Orange Contrast: A frequent choice of colors from the background to the main character herself. Especially prevalent in the mine at the end of the game.
  • Book-Ends: The first page of Mae's journal is a simple message simply stating "RIP Granddad", the final page is an equally simple statement of "RIP Casey".
    • Also, the music for the original Kickstarter trailer reappears in the end credits, and the two tracks bookend the OST.
    • Near the beginning of the game, the group finds a severed arm lying on the ground outside the Snack Falcon, which is the first clue they and the player receive as to the existence of the cult. Their final encounter with the same cult is when the injured cultist appears in the mine shaft elevator and tries to kill Mae, resulting in his arm getting severed when the Angus drops the elevator on him.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: After eating dinner with Bea, Mae finds out that Bea has to run the Old Pickaxe because her father has suffered a nervous breakdown and doesn't do much. She tells Bea You Are Better Than You Think You Are and that she could leave her dad. Bea gets furious and tells her that unlike Mae, who has no responsibilities and pays no consequences for her actions, she doesn't have a choice but to help her father because no one else will. Mae is correct that Bea has a choice, and Bea is right that no one else will pick up the slack.
  • Buffy Speak: Mae refers to the concept of a virgin birth as 'one of those God things' and 'when you have a baby because God'.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • At the first party, you cannot progress, or even leave, without directing Mae to keep drinking beer, despite her comments that she doesn't like it, :Greg and Angus' comments about her being a lightweight, and some of Mae's earlier comments suggesting that she doesn't have a good track record when it comes to parties. The predictable happens.
    • The game usually employs this to ensure that there is no way to play Mae as a saint. For example, the player may not want to shoplift, and will probably feel that Mae should be causing as little trouble as possible for Bea after the fiasco at the party... but on your outing to the mall, there's no way of getting out of the clothing store without stealing a belt buckle.
    • Lampshaded after Mae’s dinner with Bea; their conversation gradually gets worse over time as Bea discusses her lack of options regarding her future. There are only two options Mae can use and they both result in Bea kicking her out of her apartment. The kicker? Both of those options basically say, “There’s always a choice.”
  • Call-Back:
    • If you go to the park with Angus, there's a callback to the Longest Night minigame that was released as a promo for the game. In the promo, Angus is well versed in nearly all the constellations and what they mean. However, the entire thing turns out to be a dream Mae wakes up from. In the game proper, when at the park with Angus, Mae asks Angus to remind her what the constellations mean but he has no knowledge of any of them. Mae realizes that she thought he knew because he knew what they meant in a dream she had.
    • An easy-to-miss example: one of Mae's earliest dreams involves destroying a semi-abstract sculpture of an (anthropomorphic) bird, repeatedly knocking herself around in the process. Much later in the game, when she talks about the dissociative/depressive episode that led to her dropping out of college, she mentions being terrified of a statue that fits this description.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Mae, by her own admission, "gets woozy on cough syrup", so it's not surprising that she immediately gets sloppy drunk on three cups of watered-down beer.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the epilogue, Lori doesn't believe Mae when she tells her she spent the night being chased by "a death cult of conservative uncles".
  • Central Theme: One of them being self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, particularly for the ones you love.
    • Mae's parents took out another mortgage on their house so that they could pay for her college.
    • Bea supports her father, even though he does nothing in return and doing this means that she is unable to pursue her dream of going to college.
    • Greg tones down his carefree, crime-filled way in order to be with his boyfriend Angus.
    • Even the cult gets a twisted version of this, as all their sacrifices are for the benefit of their town. However, they don't make self-sacrificies...
  • Cheated Angle: Due to the game's art style, this happens with any character who is a fox, reptile or a bird (Bea, Gregg and Germ being prominent examples), their features (beaks, snouts, etc.) are facing left or right, depending on where they stand. But their eyes just turn to the screen when they have to face forwards. Mae and Angus are aversions, since they are shown from a front angle in promotional art.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The abandoned mine shafts in town. Mae and her friends find out that the cult sacrifices people there. Also it's where the cult dies, thanks to Angus causing a cave-in to save Mae.
    • A mine shaft elevator. When the injured cultist comes up in the elevator and attacks Mae, who's been injured and unable to move properly, Angus weaponizes the lever to end the elevator straight down to the bottom. The impact crushes the cultist's head and severs his arm.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Germ, the only fan of the gang's band. The opening that Mae finds while climbing out of the mine leads to a well in Germ's backyard. He gets some rope to pull the others out, and dynamite to block the entrance.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mae's ability to jump and climb, which is revealed at the beginning of the game. Despite suffering a nasty head injury, she manages to jump to an opening in the climax, so that her friends can escape the mine shaft.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The dialogue text of key characters are color coded. Gregg is yellow, Bea is blue, Angus is red, and Germ is green. It's especially handy in later scenes where there's a lot of walking in very dark areas.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mae does this at times.
    Mae: Our eyes evolved to notice movement.
    Bea: Like dinosaurs?
    Mae: If the dinosaur is moving!
  • Conversational Troping: Invoked by Mae during a conversation with Aunt Molly, a policewoman.
    Mae: Are you trying to kick off a horror movie?! Nobody believes the girl who saw a ghost! Well, I've got bad news for you: the cop always dies!
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mae can pick up all sorts of bizarre ingredients at the grocery store. Both Bea and her dad can comment on how awful her choices are.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Sort of, and sort of an Interfaith Smoothie. Popes and Sunday School at church exist, as do Halloween and Easter (but not Christmas, which is replaced with "Longest Night", some sort of winter solstice festival), and a video cover associates crosses with a priest. Yet, despite having a statue out of a pope outside, Mae's church has the primary symbol of an eight-pointed star and a female pastor who refers to God with the gender-neutral pronoun "They". A local "Virgin Mary"-style shrine also has a flame symbol on it. Mae got in trouble at Sunday School for getting mad about the story of the Broken Snake, the first thing that talked. One of their Saints is known to breathe fire and eat people... okay, that last one is disprovable by historical records. Except the last part.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What the game eventually turns out to be as soon as the Black Goat stuff comes up. Mae also meets a strange entity in her dreams that appears to be godlike.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly every character has one. Gregg is the only one of the main cast without any explicit baggage in his past, and it turns out even he has a pretty meaty traumatic incident he's never talked about.
  • Death Seeker: After suffering a nasty head injury, and realizing that her fear of the "ghost" was entirely rational and led to her friends being endangered, Mae goes back to the mine shaft to confront the strange figure. Given her saying It's All My Fault and quietly saying "I love you" to her sleeping friends, it's highly likely that Mae thought she was going to die.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • A somber, heavier version of "Die Anywhere Else" plays towards the end of Bea's final outing, "Proximity".
    • "Shapes", which plays when Mae is discussing her violent breakdown, is a slower and more somber version of songs that play whenever she's being overly destructive, such as "Clanky Must Die" and "I'm Going to Break Something".
  • Developers' Foresight: Often if you don't trigger certain conversations, later dialogue will reflect that. For instance, if you don't talk to Mae's mom on Halloween, you never get into the argument with her, so later conversations with her and Mae's dad reflect that change.
  • Difficulty Spike: The first two band songs have fairly simple difficulty spikes between them, but the final song, "Pumpkin Head Guy", is significantly harder than the previous two.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The cult's willingness to sacrifice those who "won't be missed" to the Black Goat, in order to cling to whatever prosperity they have left, is a pretty blatant allegory for real-life people willing to throw minorities and outcasts under the bus for the same reason. This is noted by the characters, one of whom outright calls them a death cult of conservative uncles.
    • Also with religion being a heavy theme throughout the story, the cult may also be seen as an allegory of religious extremist groups who kill innocent people in order to please a spiritual power and achieve personal gains.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: At first, the woods seem creepy but harmless, local teens even throwing parties there. You definitely don't want to go in them alone, or go too deep into them, however. Or you just might get kidnapped and sacrificed by a cult...
  • Dug Too Deep: Mae and her friends get too close to the cult's business, and are nearly killed by them.
  • Dying Town: Ever since the mines closed down, Possum Springs has seen better days. There's a lack of jobs, a lot of people are leaving town, no money's coming in, and the citizens seem to accept it all as fatalistic fact that their lives are getting worse. The end of the game talks about it in a Cosmic Horror Story sense; if the Black Goat doesn't get sacrifices, the town will be abandoned, nothing will grow, and everyone will die.
  • Dying Alone: Invoked. The cult specifically targets people who have never stood out and won't be missed.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All four main characters are dealing with traumas from their past, are unhappy with some aspects of their lives, have to deal with Adult Fear and some of them being outright stated to have mental disorders. The rest of the town is also like this; no one seems to be happy, and a lot of people are frustrated at various things.
  • Eagle Land: While the location of Possum Springs is never specified, there are many names, objects and details which heavily hint that Possum Springs is located somewhere near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    • Possum Springs was originally a mining town, a heavy industry in Pennsylvania and Appalachia in general.
    • It's located in "Deep Hollow County". There's a Deep Hollow stream in a mining area in Pennsylvania.
    • The last name of Borowski and references to "the old country" implies an Eastern European heritage; PA has a large demographic of Eastern European immigrants and descendants.
    • The Snack Falcon and its logo somewhat resembles Wawa, a popular chain of convenience stores in PA.
    • The local football team is named the "Smelters," and the logo is very similar to that of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    • There's an issue with sinkholes in Possum Springs, caving in and destroying houses from the underground mines. The almost ghost town of Centralia, PA has been partially destroyed by sinkholes caused by an underground coal mine fire that's been burning continuously since 1962.
    • Pierogies are a popular food in the game as they are in the real life Pittsburgh area.
    • Bea mentions that the library that she and Mae visit is one of the nicer ones around, and that it was funded by "some rich guy" back in the day, mirroring the Carnegie Libraries; Andrew Carnegie helped establish over 2,500 libraries, and the first American one was in Pittsburgh.
    • Mae can meet a Russian hiker passing through on the Great Deciduous Trail, which is apparently one of the National Scenic Trails. Both the Appalachian and North Country Trail pass through Pennsylvania, the latter going through the greater Pittsburgh area.
    • Barnstars, horseshoe-like objects thought to bring good luck that are especially common in Pennsylvania, are featured on a couple of background houses.
    • The places that Possum Springs can't be are Idaho, as Mae mentions to Rabies her dream of moving to a farm there, anywhere on the West Coast, since Selmers references it (and Silicon Valley in particular) as being far away, or west of the Midwest in general, since if Mae hung out with Bea enough, in the epilogue the two talk about planning a road trip "out west to where the land gets flat" (most likely the Great Plains) and seeing Fictional Counterpart versions of some of the Midwest's well-known tourist traps and roadside attractions.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Black Goat. It's described as being "black like the black between the stars," and its mere existence in this reality is causing the complete corruption of Possum Springs.
    • Also, the God-Cat in Mae's dream. It exists contemporaneously with all of space and time, observes time as if all events are happening at once, speaks of a hole growing in all things, and shows Mae blind, twitching creatures at the edge of reality.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Jeremy Warton goes by "Germ Warfare", which Mae considers to be this. He just started hanging out with the others one day...
    • Mae's is "Killer" because of that one time she put someone in the hospital by attacking them with a baseball bat.
  • Epic Fail: One possible dialogue path reveals that when Mae tried to make out with her high school prom date, he ended up bleeding copiously. She herself doesn't seem to be exactly sure how she managed to pull off that one. And then she almost choked him to death by stuffing paper napkins in his mouth to staunch the bleeding. And then she got so upset that she threw up on him. It really wasn't poor Mae's finest hour.
  • Eternal Employee: Bea at the Ol' Pickaxe and Gregg at the Snack Falcon. Subverted with Angus, who only works the day shift at Video Rentals "Too."
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • While exploring the Historical Society after hours, Gregg and Mae hear strange clunking sounds. They come to the Map room, which has an animatronic making the sound every time someone presses the button. Gregg would be relieved, except Mae points out that it only moves if someone is in the room. This must mean that someone else is in the building.
    • In the climax, as the cult explains that they only kidnap and dispose of the delinquents, vagrants, and kids who wouldn't be missed, Mae says only one name: "Casey..."
  • Expy: Deceased magnate Arnold A. Applebaum is one for historical industrialist Andrew Carnegie, down to the union-busting and self-glorification.

    F-M 
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Mae's is her unwillingness to open up about her problems. Her friends and family want to help her — at least, Gregg and Angus want to — but she doesn't want to talk about her disassociation episodes recurring at college. It's not until she nearly dies and Gregg tells her that people care about her, that she decides to open up and confess about her issues with Gregg or Bea, and with her parents.
    • The flaw of the Big Bad is their unwillingness to change. They believe they must sacrifice people to keep Possum Springs prosperous, despite the fact that the town is obviously dying regardless of their actions. Bea calls them out for it, but they remain stubborn. This later leads to their deaths, either by the cave-in or by slow starvation and suffocation.
    • The Dragon's flaw is his obsessive watching over Mae and her friends when they go ghost-hunting, and his targeting her specifically. While Angus, Bea and Gregg are skeptical that it's the same figure that Mae chased on Harfest, she identifies him and is further convinced that he has something to do with the kidnapping. It's notable that in the climax he attacks Mae when Gregg was the one who shot him with the crossbow. When he attacks Mae from the mine elevator, Angus smashes his head and cuts off his arm using the elevator.
  • Flavor Text: Quite a lot of it, and you often have to examine things several times to see it all, especially if you're gunning to get all of Mae's notebook sketches.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Two of the quotes from Grandpa's ghost stories in the intro. The specific quotes are "They feared death, so they ate the young.", foreshadowing how the cult would sacrifice the young and directionless to preserve themselves and the town, and "They went looking for the gods, and died in lonely places.", foreshadowing how the cult, after seeking the Black Goat, ends up trapped inside the abandoned mine.
    • At several points, people mention cults.
    • When Angus fixes Mae's computer, he says it's not magic, just ones and zeroes. If you stargaze with him, he says he doesn't believe in a God, or if there is a God, he doesn't care.
    • Pentagrams are seen in a few places, such as the Demontower minigame or the secret handshake used by the cute girl at the party. One final five-pointed star forms from the wooden supports in the mine shaft.
    • You can find a missing poster for Casey before you learn he disappeared.
    • Mae at one point teases Gregg by saying she wants to see his head get stuck and chopped off by elevator doors. Guess what happens to one of the cultists in the mine?
    • Mae earlier chided Gregg for teasing her by saying it was too bad she didn't get crushed in a falling elevator by pointing out that it's a legitimate phobia of hers. At the climax, she narrowly avoids this exact fate.
    • Mr. Chazokov tells Mae during a stargazing session that the gods in the legends they discus are just metaphors for unfortunate things that can't be controlled (such as death, disease, natural disasters, etc.). As is the Black Goat, metafictionally.
    • Mae's last conversation with her mother at home has a big one for the upcoming climax: "You... We... Wouldn't be in this mess if I wasn't such a massive screw up. I just want to fall into a pit and die right now."
    • Mae eventually expresses her romantic preferences, essentially wanting someone, gender irrelevant, who's strong enough to beat her in a fight. If you pay attention to the porn popups on her computer early on, you'll notice ads for "Meet Burly Singles in Your Area" and "Tough Angry Singles".
    • Right before going to the party in the woods, choosing the right choices will have Mae reveal some of her experience when she was in college, like how she wasn't able to make any friends while she was there. At the party, while drunk, she talks about the statue of the founder and how to her, it just looked like shapes, which is foreshadowing that she might have dissociation.
    • While not plot foreshadowing, Mae's walk home from the bus station has three certain actions that relate to future interactions with her friends:
      • Directly outside the bus station, the fireflies begin to swarm around her if she jumps into them. Attracting fireflies is required at the end of Bea's second hangout.
      • In the pit, Mae has to cause a pile of logs to slip by jumping on one to break it loose. Mae breaks a fallen tree with Gregg in his third hangout, as well as breaking a branch in Bea's investigation quest.
      • In the playground it's possible to spin the pirate ship's wheel by jumping near it. Repeat this with the four windmills around Towne Centre to release their payloads, and you get more lines of dialogue with Angus during his investigation quest.
    • There are hints that Mae suffers from serious mental health issues very early on. If you open the options menu early in the game, you can see some rather obvious and hollow-sounding psychologist-speak phrases written in the diary, such as "Count to ten!" "Take a deep breath!" and "I.P.S - Identify possible solutions!" The diary is the closest thing Mae got to treatment after suffering a serious breakdown:her parents had no option but to take her to the town doctor, a jack-of-all-trades whose strength was definitely not in psychology or psychiatry.
      • On a related note, the unreliability of the town doctor is mentioned in a random early game conversation, where one resident expresses doubt and discomfort about having to rely on him, only to be shouted down by another two residents who don't have any problem with him and his multi-discipline approach.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: They may not be related, but Mae and Bea have this vibe. Mae has a loving relationship with her parents and could afford to go off to college, but remains completely immature and dropped out. Bea, meanwhile, lost her mother and was forced to stay behind to work to keep her father's shop afloat, maturing in the process. She expresses her frustration about this multiple times. Subverted when it is revealed that Mae has serious, untreated mental problems, to the point where even Bea stops thinking of herself and Mae like this.
  • Fun with Subtitles: At one point, Mae is incredibly drunk. The dialogue options are crisp and eloquent almost to the point of Expospeak Gag, but what she actually says is slurred and wobbly.
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Possum Springs contains both anthro and non-anthro rodents, cats, birds, and raccoons. Mae has a stuffed raccoon, her prom date was an anthro raccoon. Her parents have a bird in a cage. Lori M. is an anthro mouse usually found perched next to a building full of non-anthro rats. Mae's grandfather tells of a talking cat in Lost Constellation as if a talking cat were unnatural, even though both he and his granddaughter are anthro cats. When breaking into the Shreigeist house, Gregg gets attacked by an owl.
    • Probably the most blatant example is when Mae talks about how a dog chewed up her ear when she was young, causing to look like it does at the present. She then says something along the lines of "The joke is on him though, dogs only live for like 10 years, unlike people."
    • Lori M. refers to "the human spirit". There are no humans anywhere in the game.
    • There are references to buck hunting season in the game even though there are deer people wandering around the town.
    • If Mae fails to raise the rats in Mallard's Tomb, she'll complain about the fact her father owns a bird to Germ when he asks her if she has any pets. Germ agrees with her that birds are the worst.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Mae can play with a ball of yarn despite finding it "patronizing," and if she ends up going to Donut Wolf with Gregg and Angus she's able to seriously scratch up a mirror with her bare hands, so she clearly has claws.
    • Many of the constellations in Longest Night are referred to as being anthropomorphic, and others are said to resemble other characters: Bea mentions that her mother always said she resembled Harmonium, Germ is said to resemble Invenerus (Specifically with the beak), and Lucio is specifically cited as a fox. In the game proper, Mae refers to Corvin the Thief as "asscat".
  • Gallows Humor: Many characters. Greg and Mae tease each other about possible horrible and unlikely deaths. Mae's dad comments that she shouldn't go out "unarmed" after Mae and her band find a severed arm, and Mae's mother jokes that it shouldn't be too hard to find out who said item belonged to, with she and Mae acting out a light-hearted skit about someone locating the owner.
  • Game Within a Game: Demontower, a roguelike Mae can play on her laptop. Potentially a Shout-Out to The Binding of Isaac or Enter the Gungeon.
  • Garage Band: The four mains occasionally take evening breaks to play in a band together — Angus on vocals, Gregg on lead guitar, Mae on bass, and Bea using a computerized drum kit.
  • Gay Best Friend: Gregg is Mae's best friend, but their friendship consists mostly of things like petty vandalism rather than the usual stereotypes.
  • Goth: Bea. She becomes more positive over the course of the game, however.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Growing pains and arrested development are some of the biggest themes in the game from the start, touching on everything from the mingled disillusionment and longing one feels upon looking upon their own naivety as a kid - especially with regards to losing the faith they were once able to take for granted when they were young - to how daunting the future looks when a person is thrust into young adulthood despite not having grown out of old coping mechanisms and bad habits yet, and they're now able to see old and familiar things in their lives start to decay with age.
  • Guide Dang It!: If you're going for the "Seriously?" trophy, you have your work cut out for you, as you will have to traverse each and every inch of Possum Springs, multiple times, looking for things to examine and people to talk to. The description even lampshades just how hard this achievement is.
    "All sketches? We made the game and have never gotten this. Wow."
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Inverted in the climax. When Mae asks the cultists why the latter is monologuing about what they do, including murder, the cultists point out that they can't go to the police. Even with Mae's word, the police will only know that hooded figures meet in a mine shaft to throw people down a pit. Plus, the cultists know Mae and her friends, as well as where they live, but Mae and her friends don't know who the cultists are.
  • Hidden Depths: Gregg can actually write really good music. When the band jams, Mae even mentions that they can look into playing at venues if they want to continue.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Well, "humans," but regardless, as terrifying as the Black Goat is, it's ultimately just a destructive, unknowable, and quite possibly near-mindless force. On the other hand, the cult members are fully aware of what they're doing and don't care because, the way they see it, they're targeting undesirables to protect their way of life.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During the mall trip with Bea, she dismisses the local Hot Topic Expy as being for teenagers and claims to be embarrassed to even be there... and yet her shirt comes from that store.
    Mae: [Pointing to a copy of Bea's shirt in a rack] Hey, isn't that...
    Bea: Shut up.
    • Shortly after, if you ignore the shoplifting scene you can find a short conversation between the two with Mae complaining about the lack of any good music in the store, saying it's all for twelve year olds. Bea then points out that the store is draped wall to wall with merchandise from Mae's favorite band and that Mae herself isn't far off from being a twelve year old.
    • Gregg and Mae discuss how much of a scumbag criminal Steve Scriggins is during "Crimes", while glorifying their own crimes.
      Mae: So should we smash a window to get this out of here?
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: The player is never told what the eternity sauce at the Donut Wolf is made of, but after saying that she didn't want any, Mae said that the last time she had eternity sauce, she stayed up all night digging a hole in her backyard with her parents finding her asleep at the bottom of the hole the next morning.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bea. She's stuck working constantly to keep her father's store open and her bills paid. With her mother's death and father's subsequent breakdown, any hope of going to college and living a normal life like she dreamed of has been shattered as she tries to keep what's left of her family going.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Mae after the party does this while drunk after relearning that Bea's mother is dead. By the time Bea pulls up to Mae's house, Ocular Gushers is ensuing.
  • I'll Kill You!: Gregg says this when the cult reveals that they killed Casey, his and Mae's best friend. He just can't because the cultists have guns and he has a crossbow. Later on, however, when Bea points out that the cave-in will trap the cultists underground, Gregg denies that it was murder.
  • I Never Told You My Name: In the epilogue, the Janitor calls Mae by name, and Mae realizes she never told it to him.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: A defied trope. Mae wanders off to confront the "ghost" on her own, only for Gregg, Angus and Bea to arrive and shoot him with Gregg's crossbow. Through the rest of the game, the three friends refuse to abandon Mae. The final lines of Mae in the game are along the lines of "We may die tomorrow, but at least I am not alone today thanks to being with you guys".
  • Injured Player Character Stage: The final chapter has Mae grievously wounded after she falls down a mountainside escaping the cult. The player guides a slow-moving Mae back to town. Sudden inexplicable changes of scenery suggest that Mae is experiencing memory loss, fading in and out of consciousness, or suffered a concussion in the fall.
  • Innocently Insensitive: All over the place. Because a good number of the characters conceal their issues and traumas, what seems like perfectly ordinary conversation can trample all over one of the participant's feelings. For example, people in town constantly taunt Mae about dropping out of college, either complaining that she has it too easy, joking about it, or sneering that a waster like her was never going to cope at college. The adult residents in particular seem to think that they're just being Brutally Honest or dealing out tough love, but Mae didn't drop out because she was a slacker — she dropped out because her mental health issues made college a nightmare.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Gregg believes he does this in the climax if Mae told him and not Beatrice about her disassociation. He tells Mae firmly that even if he doesn't understand what she's going through, he's not going to let her die on him, and it's not her fault that the cult started hurting people and stalking them.
  • Ironic Echo: "Nothing to be scared of down there. Just a party." First used by Bea to calm Mae before attending a party, later echoed by Mae before descending into the mines to confront the cult.
  • Irrational Hatred: Mae is never anything but abrasive to her aunt Molly, despite Molly seeming to be a fairly mild-mannered Reasonable Authority Figure. The reasons are never stated - either there is some bad blood between them that's never explicitly brought up, or it's simply that Mae just generally resents authority figures.
  • It's All My Fault: Mae says this in the climax when Gregg shoots the cultist to save her. Her friends tell her that she didn't cause the cultists to commit murder or endanger them, and that they're there for her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Aunt "Mallcop" does have a point in that Mae shouldn't be wandering in the woods on her own to get home, especially to walk on power lines. She points out that Mae by being a Woman Child is naive about the world, and thus more vulnerable to getting hurt. Mae ultimately agrees with the sentiment, even if she's snarky about it.
    • Subverted during Bea's route. Bea gives Mae a What the Hell, Hero? speech for wasting her college opportunities, while Bea would kill to have gotten the chance to attend college. Bea backs off from this one when she finds out Mae left because she was having mental health issues.
  • Jump Scare:
    • When on Gregg's ghost hunt, Mae and Gregg hear a lot of odd noises in-universe. Turns out it's an old animatronic that isn't quite fixed yet. Later in the same scenario, the "ghost" randomly appears in a window when the two are running down a fire escape.
    • Earlier, when Gregg is picking a lock to get in, an owl will loudly screech and swoop in on the two of them out of nowhere.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Mae's dad's attempts to make a funny about family taco night are... not well received.
    Dad: The family that tacos together rockos together.
    Mae: ...
    Mom: Honey no.
    Dad: What?
  • Lampshade Hanging: It was already established that Mae knows all the stories of the nighttime constellations, so when there's a sideplot involving finding constellations in stars at dusk, she asks why she's never heard of these before. The answer? By the time they got to dusk star formations, they had already used all the well-known legends and myths.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The cult shoves its victims down a pit in the mine, one that has a long fall. The person falling would be awake for a long time while heading towards the bottom, if the Black Goat doesn't eat them first. Thanks to Mae and her friends causing a cave-in, the cult is Buried Alive in the mine, and it's possible that the impact made them fall into the pit.
  • Leitmotif: All four main characters have melodies that are associated with them; Gregg and Bea both have musical stings that are repeated elsewhere in the soundtrack (The Snack Falcon Gregg theme and both renditions of Crimes for Gregg, MaeBea for Bea). Angus has a theme that's represented in Video Outpost "Too", Angus at Home, and Angus Climbs the Hill. Mae's theme is typically associated with her being destructive and stretches throughout Durkillesburg, Clanky Must Die, I'm Going to Break Something and Shapes.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Gregg, meet crossbow.
    • This simple, repeated exchange between Mae and Gregg always signals that they are about to get real about some shit.
    Gregg: Crimes?
    Mae: Crimes.
    • Angus would like to raise Gregg a notch. As the gang leaves the mine shaft, using the old elevator, the cultist that Gregg shot reappears. He grabs the nearest person, Mae, who's injured and can only kick at him. Angus then grabs the elevator lever and switches it, so that the cultist loses and arm and crushes his head.
  • Living Motion Detector: The main mechanic of the shoplifting segments. Mae even says that people evolved to track movement, so as long as she doesn't move when they're looking at her, she's fine. Even if the clerk is looking right at her with the stolen item in her grasp.
  • Mama Bear: Aunt Molly portrays herself as this. She offers Mae a ride home on threat of arresting her, when Mae was dreading a walk through the woods at night, alone. It's somewhat justified in that Mae was jumping on the power lines, which is dangerous.
  • Manchild:
    • Mae is a character study in arrested development. At age 20, she's still immature, unemployed, and rudderless in life. She amuses herself with petty crimes, despite being old enough to know better.
    • Gregg is also this, albeit to a lesser degree than Mae. Even though Gregg has a job, an apartment, and a serious romantic relationship (unlike Mae), he demonstrates immaturity on multiple occasions. He commits petty crimes and allows Steven to shoplift from Snack Falcon, even though both could get him arrested and/or fired. He nurses grand plans for moving to Bright Harbor with Angus, oblivious to how unrealistic his dream is. Angus even ends up calling Mae out for encouraging this behavior despite his best efforts to keep Gregg stable.
  • Master of None: Dr. Hank is the town's resident doctor. As is discussed by the townsfolk, Dr. Hank tries to do every field of medicine, but he doesn't do any field of medicine particularly well. Especially not mental health therapy. Dr. Hank's entire solution for Mae's mental problems, among others, is to have her keep a journal. Not in addition to anything else; just "keep a journal" and that's it.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The nature of the "ghost" Mae keeps seeing around town. She is convinced that it really is a ghost that is kidnapping people, while her friends whenever they see it assume that it's a guard or a hunter. The truth is none of them are right. It isn't a ghost, but it IS a cultist supposedly powered by an Eldritch Abomination with the ability to walk through walls.
    • The Janitor has a recurring and cryptic appearance through the game. In the end, he might be just someone really old and experienced who happens to be wise and be in the right place at the right time, at the end, he knows Mae name even though she never introduced herself. He is possibly God or another entity as there is even a statue of him in the graveyard.
    • Mae has recurring nightmares of a astral band in strange places that always end with she meeting a gigantic and bizarre creature. It's hinted at the possibility that Mae has some sort of connection to the supernatural and that those entities are some sort of Cosmic Horror, and the cult practicing Human Sacrifice to keep the town prosperous worships it, or if it's just converging delusions of the involved parties. The nature of Mae's dreams are ultimately left unexplained, though there is genuinely a possibility that Mae is sick and is hallucinating in her nightmares, not helped that the end of the game confirms she has some sort of psychosis, with symptoms of dissociation and sleep paralysis and one of the newspaper in the library reveals that there was some sort of gas leak in town that makes people hallucinate.
    • Whether or not The Black Goat actually exists is never explicitly confirmed. It is left open to interpretation whether the cult's superstitions have any grounding in reality.
  • Mini-Game: When Mae hangs out with her friends, the gameplay switches to this, such as a Rhythm Game during band practice and a Stealth-Based Game when shoplifting.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Mae wanders into the woods alone, at night, after no one picks her up at the bus station. She then sees a flashlight and fears the worst. Then the person holding the flashlight speaks, and Mae starts to snark with an annoyed expression. It's her aunt Molly, or rather Aunt Mallcop. Aunt Molly then takes her home, pointing out the alternative is that Mae spends the night in jail.
    • After a fun band practice, Mae and her friends find a severed arm lying in the road. Even the music acknowledges the change. Then Black Comedy ensues when Mae pokes the arm with a stick.
    • At the party, a drunken Mae first moans about embarrassing herself in front of her ex. She then rants about wanting to cut people with a knife, and throws up her dinner tacos. Bea takes her home, revealing to the audience and a forgetful Mae that her mother died, and that she's bitter about not going to college. After this, Bea helps a drunken Mae to her room and tucks her into bed. Then Mae has a scary, trippy dream about smashing things with a baseball bat.
    • At Harfest, Mae and Gregg help Bea with a Stylistic Suck Halloween ghost play about the town. They have fun with it, especially since Mae had to memorize her lines in five minutes. Bea and Gregg after the show tell Mae that she can't join them on their respective trips for business and romance. When Mae is trying to figure out what to do, however, she sees someone being kidnapped.
    • The ghost hunt with Angus in the state park is a sad but ultimately touching scene where Angus tells Mae about his Abusive Parents and his disbelief in gods or the supernatural, and the two are having a pleasant time stargazing and getting to know each other better. At least until Angus notices that they're being watched by one of the cultists, and the two run for their lives back to Bea's car.
    • In Lost Constellation, what you hear about the Huncher before you meet her makes her out to be terrifying, but in person, she and the Kid turn out to be pretty funny. Then you find out what she's done and what her origins are.
  • Multiple Endings: While the ultimate outcome of the story doesn't change, there are two possible variations of the ending:
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Ride the chariot to donut hell!"

    N-R 
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Intentionally done with Germ's pet possum, Rabies. Germ wanted the other possums to respect Rabies, so he named him after something they'd be scared of.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The cult had already disarmed Gregg at gunpoint and pointed out to the group that they can't tell the police what happened, since the gang doesn't know any of the cultist' faces. Mae can't think straight due to her head injury, so the gang decides to head home to regroup and think a plan, ideally to not become the next generation of cultists. Then the cultist that Gregg injured with his crossbow comes up the elevator shaft and attacks Mae. Angus weaponizing the elevator against him causes a cave-in; while the gang gets out thanks to Mae's adrenaline rush allowing her to climb and find an opening, the rest of the cult is trapped down below. While Bea is shaken at the possibility, Angus points out that the cult were bad people.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • Mae's mother, of all people. Her favorite books are about either grisly murders, or tales of survival against wanton human cruelty (such as "Barrel Boy", who was locked inside a barrel his entire childhood).
    • Lori loves horror movies. She also reveals her daydreams about being a monster to Mae when they hang out by the train tracks.
  • Noodle Incident: Mae mentions a "cement incident" where apparently some old things from the house were lost from being encased in cement.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: When Mae meets Bombshell at Jackie's party, Bombshell is wearing a low-cut V-neck blouse. Since Bombshell is a bear, the blouse doesn't reveal anything.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Almost every middle-aged person in Possum Springs has one of these. They're still mourning the loss of the mines that used to be the lifeblood of the town, and the cult's main motivation is to restore life to the town via the mines. Mae's dad bemoans that in the old days, bosses respected workers, workers respected the bosses, and everyone got a day's wage for a day's work. However, stop to read the non-ghost related microfiche in the library, and you'll release they are not so much rose-tinting the past as soaking it with pink paint: the mines were so dangerous that people above the ground weren't safe from their faulty structure (see: Jenny's Field, the boy who heard voices), the bosses' neglect of safety caused many fatalities, and the strike action taken to try and make working conditions less lethal resulted in the mine owners calling in the army. Thus, the idea that "mines opening = wonderful perfect blue-collar world" isn't just flawed, it's ludicrous.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Possum Springs is a sleepy mountain town with not a lot going on except for the new superstore, the Harfest festival, and a robed cult kidnapping undesirables and feeding them to an elder god.
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: Possibly unintentional, but in pre-release material, Mae's black jeans and sneakers make her look like a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal at first glance. In the final game, her pants and shoes are adjusted to lighter colors, likely to avoid this.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe. "Go Get Dead, Angel Face" is Mae's. It's even available as an option to practice in Mae's bedroom in the Weird Autumn edition, but selecting it causes Mae to refuse to play it and remove it from the list of options. Forever.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Bea (who works very hard at a job she doesn't like much) repeatedly wonders how Gregg manages to hold on to his job, given how casually he skips work whenever something more interesting turns up.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the three neighborhood kids all named "Harley". There's also probably two people called Dan in town; the cat that keeps changing jobs throughout the game, and the unseen Dan that Aunt Molly mentioned helped her with searching the woods for the kidnapped kid Mae reported.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Anytime Angus gets angry, with Angus being a Gentle Giant and a Nice Guy, Mae knows that something is wrong. Such as when he fights with Gregg after a bad night outing to get donuts, or when he says he doesn't regret leaving the cult to die.
    • Happy-go-lucky Gregg wields a crossbow when an injured Mae goes back to the mines, and yells at her for trying to die. Then he gets furious on hearing the cult killed Casey, his and Mae's friend, and threatens to shoot whoever did it with an arrow. He only doesn't because the cult thought to bring guns.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Angus, Mae's father and Adina Astra from Lost Constellation obviously. Though due to the art style, every bespectacled character seems to have opaque glasses.
  • Opposites Attract: Gregg the knife-wielding, leather-clad, petty criminal (albeit he's trying to turn his life around) with Angus the Adorkable, neatly dressed, polite, bespectacled, science geek.
    • Discussed in Bea's route; at the end, she will point out that when they move and meet new people, they might break up, with Angus realizing there are better options for him than Gregg out there and that fit him better. Of course, if the player chooses to go ghost hunting with Angus, he will point out that Gregg saved him from his Abusive Parents, so their relationship might be deeper and more meaningful that what Bea thinks.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As briefly mentioned in one of Gregg's hangouts, a defining characteristic of vampires in this universe is shiny teeth rather than sharp teeth, since lots of people have sharp teeth anyway.
  • Parental Neglect: Subverted. While Mae bemoans this when having to walk home through the woods, her parents sincerely did forget that she was coming home a day early. When she's actually in town, her parents are more than willing to spend time with her. It then becomes double-subverted when we learn her father is a recovering alcoholic.
  • Parting Words Regret:
    • Averted between Mae and her mother, if they have that nasty fight on Harfest. They apologize to each other the next morning and are on good terms when Mae gets a potentially fatal head injury.
    • Played straight when Mae argues with her friends about the ghost being real or not. Nevertheless, they follow her into the woods when she insists on going, because being in the woods alone is dangerous. Then she suffers her head injury, and her friends are worried sick while hiding in Gregg and Angus's apartment.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Courtesy of the late "Little Joe".
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • You only have so many days to do things you want with your friends. Realistically, you can only reach the end of Bea or Gregg's storylines once per playthrough, and even then they have multiple endings.
    • There's also various side activities in the town, which don't take time out of each day, but are plentiful enough to be easily passed by.
    • When Mae chooses to go ghost hunting with her friends, there are three available options between Bea, Gregg and Angus. You can only see two of them per playthrough.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Aunt Molly's first act is to take Mae home when the latter is walking home alone in the woods. For the rest of the game she's a bit obstreperous.
    • The janitor appears to a comatose Mae and her parents, and appears to heal her. There are some implications that the janitor is a god, or God, but in his previous interaction with Mae he had simply asked her to get him a free soda.
  • Petting Zoo People: A world populated by anthropomorphic cats, dogs, bears, birds, alligators, rodents, goats, etc., as well as feral animals running around. On top of that, there are examples of feral and domesticated versions of the anthropomorphic animals, like people having pet dogs despite anthropomorphic dogs walking around a few feet away.
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-Zagged with Aunt Molly. She does find Mae on the first night and takes her home, instead of letting her walk through the woods. She also finds Mae when the latter goes missing near the climax, after the cult chases her and causes her to have a head injury.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Even though they are Affably Evil, the cult for the Black Goat isn't messing around. When Gregg pulls his crossbow on them, several of them pull out guns, explaining that they have them for protection against wild animals in the woods. And they let Mae's group go peacefully, seeing as how none of them fit the standard of "people that nobody would miss" that the cult requires to sacrifice someone. This is in spite of Gregg shooting one of their members in the shoulder with a crossbow.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Mae says one when trying to get the goth guys at the party to move away from their car so she can get across the rooftops to the river. It kind of works.
    Mae: If you don't get away from your damn car, I'm gonna run it over your damn head.
    Goth Guy: Can you even drive?
    Mae: Wanna find out, citizen?
  • Predatory Business: The Ham Panther supermarket is a downplayed example of this, as everyone knows it's not the workers' fault, but there are still quite a few people, potentially including Mae, unhappy that it drove the folksy, apparently family-run Food Donkey and its animatronic performers out of business.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Adina Astra from Longest Night: Lost Constellation can be seen as a constellation during one of the "Dusk Star Hunting" sidequests.
  • Properly Paranoid: As Gregg or Bea lampshade in the climax, though Mae was scared it was a resurgence of her disassociation, she did see a kidnapping on Harfest and it isn't connected to her mental illness.
  • Punny Name: Perhaps. The name "Mae Borowski" abbreviates to Mae B., and her onetime best friend is "Bea".
  • Quirky Town: Possum Springs, filled with dozens of hooligans and a lot of weirdos.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Mae's reaction when Pastabilities closes down.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Although things haven't really changed for the group, Mae seems to have a more optimistic outlook about her life by the end. She considers becoming a janitor and plans to talk to her parents about what happened at college, while her dad will talk about his work problems. Bea has renewed her friendship with Mae, and Angus and Gregg move forward with their plans to leave Possum Springs. The gang will also meet for band practice.
  • Reality Ensues: The intro establishes Mae's skill at jumping onto and walking on things. When she gets to Possum Springs, she can freely walk on cars and wires without any trouble. Starting from Mae's fourth full day in Possum Springs, environmental changes in the business district enable her to climb onto the buildings and windowsills there... where she gets yelled at by an elderly person and barked at by a dog. She also gains the opportunity to break-and-enter into a random building.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Mr. Chazokov. He's disappointed that Mae dropped out of college but still invites her to stargaze with him.
    • Aunt Molly. She takes Mae home when finding the latter jumping on power lines to get home through the woods at night, while warning her and Mae's mother that such behavior could get Mae arrested in the future. She also takes care of the severed arm outside the diner and orders Mae and her friends to do the buddy system.
  • Red Shirt:
    • The random silhouetted kid that gets kidnapped on Harfest.
    • The Harleys mention that a girl from Mulvey went missing after Harfest.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Possum Springs is based on small Pennsylvania towns, and Selma ("Selmers") went to rehab for a prescription painkiller addiction. As of the time of the game's release (2017), Pennsylvania is experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mae getting shocked with various kinds of Harmless Electrocution.
    • Mae being dragged into performing a song she doesn't know during band practice.
    • Gregg and Mae muttering, "Crimes," to each other.
    • Gregg and Mae thinking up various painful ways that the other person could have died, and increasingly getting into Cruel and Unusual Death territory. Often phrased as "too bad you didn't [die in this horribly gruesome manner]."
    • Mae frequently writes "GREGG RULZ OK" in her journal when making an entry that involves him.
      • Extended to Jen in Weird Autumn, whom Mae describes as "GREGG'S COUSIN OK".

    S-W 
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Palecat from Demontower is androgynous-looking, and only revealed to be female in the bad ending.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Poor, poor Casey. He'd been another victim of the cult before anyone knew what was going on.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Characters often drift into this in optional conversations, such as realizing that "orange drink" is the only way they've ever referred to that kind of juice.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Pastor Kate's story is essentially this. Spends the entirety of the story trying to convince the City Council to let her start a program to give the homeless somewhere to stay, starting with Bruce, a vagrant who is relatively new in town. In the end though, the Council rules against her motion and even before then, Bruce already decided to leave, not wanting to burden Kate with his presence. Though she is clearly unhappy about it all, she takes it in pretty good stride.
    • And, of course, Mae's search for Casey. Despite brief hope spots, such as telling Mr. Chazokov that missing is not the same as dead and asking Angel to ask around after Casey, he's revealed to be one of the victims of the cult. He's gone.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mae thinks Angus and Gregg make the cutest couple and won't hesitate to express it. Bea inverts it, as she thinks Angus and Gregg are together because they're the only gay men in Possum Springs, and that they'll break up when they meet new people in Bright Harbor It's worth noting that their relationship is actually much deeper and more meaningful to them than what Bea thinks, although it's fair that she wouldn't know, considering neither of them talk about it unless Mae hangs out with them to bond.
  • The Shrink: The unseen Dr. Hank is Mae's therapist. He turns out to be The Harmful Shrink — specifically, he's so ineffective, it crosses over into being harmful. His idea of treatment for Mae's obvious mental problems, which have resulted in her having a nervous breakdown and previously led to her putting a kid in the hospital, is a journal. Not in tandem with other treatment — just "keep a journal" and that's it. He also encourages Mae to "repress" her anger, rather than actually work through it. Bea lampshades this if you become close friends with her, pointing out that Dr. Hank treats a lot of different kinds of health problems, and that he's obviously incompetent at treating the mental kind.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The blue canary night light in the Borowski home is a reference to They Might Be Giants song "Birdhouse In Your Soul".
    • Possibly one: the eventual reveal in the latter half of the game, an Eldritch Abomination with deep ties to the lore at the bottom of a mine shaft, revealed when the minors Dug Too Deep, and slowly corrupting a small town, is also the eventual reveal in Desperation by Stephen King.
    • Gregg mentions that Angus plays a game called Sword People Online, which may be a reference to Sword Art Online.
    • The plot of a small, dilapidated town with sagging industry and general decay turning to Eldritch gods for help revitalizing the town through ritualistic sacrifice because the beast promised to revive the town if they cooperated is very reminiscent of The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft.
    • The reveal of a group of townsfolk in a cult dedicated to keeping their town clean and stable by murdering undesirables or those who would disturb the peace, all wear matching outfits, and explain themselves as being a positive force for the town, is almost certainly a shout-out to Hot Fuzz.
    • Angus mentions the Bell constellation reminds him of "prog rock album covers", which most likely refers to Nektar's Journey to the Centre of the Eye or the cover to Pink Floyd's live album, Pulse.
    • In yet another Lovecraft allusion, one of the lyrics in Pumpkin Head Guy almost perfectly name-drops the title of Lovecraft's novella, The Whisperer in Darkness, "A whisper in the dark..." Considering the other, previously mentioned allusions to the Cthulhu Mythos scattered throughout the game, it likely isn't a coincidence.
  • Show Within a Show: Lost Constellation is a ghost story told by the characters.
    • In the main game, Mae's father watches Garbo and Malloy, a comedy show.
    • A game within a game example with Demontower, a game that can be played on Mae's laptop.
  • Sleep Cute: In the Weird Autumn edition, if you have Mae take a nap in the church when her mother suggests it. The ghost of her beloved grandfather appears, watches Mae sleep for a moment, and smiles.
  • Sticky Fingers: Mae shoplifts, amongst other petty crimes, compulsively.
  • Story Branching: Dialogue and certain story elements (like who Mae sleeps with on the couch the day after she comes out of the hospital) change depending on dialogue choices. Choosing to not show up on the days certain events happen can even cause potential conversations to never happen, and sidequests to never kick off.
  • Straight Gay: Angus and Gregg don't act very stereotypical at all.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Garbo & Malloy, a comedy duo Mae and her father enjoy watching. They trade roles depending on who is setting up the joke.
    "That's a whoppah!"
  • Stepford Snarker: Mae for most of the game is a Deadpan Snarker that pretends she doesn't care about her problems. Towards the end she apologizes to her mother for being a screw-up, and while recovering from her head injury talks to Gregg or Bea about why she dropped out of college.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Harfest play which Bea ropes Mae into performing is this, even if you choose to try and follow along with the script, likely due to the numerous rewrites it suffered over the years. Mae, Gregg, and the Janitor frequently break character; Bea can barely contain the contempt she feels about having to narrate the whole fiasco, and while Danny and Bill both get their lines right, their performance is more wooden than the store countertop they're using as a stage.
  • Super Doc: Dr. Hank takes care of all of Possum Springs' medical, dental and psychiatric needs. Deconstructed when dialogue makes it abundantly clear that he does none of them well, especially in the field of therapy. Treating Mae's disorder amounted to telling her to repress her anger and keep a journal, which is evidently his go-to suggestion. Bea and Selmers lampshades just how bad Dr. Hank and his suggestions are, and Selmers had to go to someone else for her rehab.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: All of the band's songs have lyrics that are remarkably relevant to the events about to unfold, serving as musical foreshadowing.
  • Symbol Swearing: In a game which uses a lot of normal swearing and only censors "fuck" into "eff", this still manages to make an appearance after Gregg shoots the cultist with the crossbow.
    Gregg: I am gonna *$%ing %*$**$%**$% you!!!
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-Universe. Even as a child, Mae absolutely hated the cloying wholesomeness of Charity Bearity.
  • Taught by Experience: After going around for most of the game not carrying any weapons, even when realizing that Mae saw someone dangerous, Gregg arms himself with a crossbow in the climax.
  • Team Mom: Bea is this reluctantly. She takes charge when Mae wants to find the ghost she saw on Harfest kidnapping someone, makes sure to drive Mae home safely for most of the game, and even tucks her in at one point when the latter is too drunk.
  • There Are No Therapists: Actually, there is. Dr. Hank is, among other things, the town's therapist, and Mae and Salmers both mention seeing him. His usual technique seems to be "Write it down in a journal." However, it's actually Double Subverted: he's shown to be utterly incompetent at being a therapist, with his journal method not really helping Mae with her multitude of disorders.
  • The Old Country: Mentioned in passing by Mae, particularly about their family's old cuckoo clock. Judging by the name, one would assume it's Poland, but the only other countries specifically mentioned as existing are Russia and Italy, and the latter was in the context of a historical pope who killed and ate his rival, as well as having a pretty good horror movie industry, so it's anyone's guess. When Mae's father is telling her a folktale from there in Lost Constellation, he only refers to it as "back where my grandparents came from".
  • Title Drop: During the Harfest play and when the group is trapped in the mine shaft.
  • Token Minority Couple: Bea believes this to be the case of Gregg and Angus, the only gay people in town: at the end of her story path, she believes that once they move to Bright Harbor, Angus will leave Gregg due to having "better options".
  • Tomboy: Mae.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Mae spends a good portion of the game using power lines to get around. She tries to do this at first to get into town over the fence; Aunt Molly finds her and takes her home. Later on to find extra playable content you have to climb on the power lines all around town.
    • When going to explore the "ghost" sightings, Mae and the others don't think to arm themselves even though according to Mae she saw the ghost kidnapping someone. After Mae barely survives running from the cult, she goes back while suffering a head injury and not up to par in terms of combat. Though it's implied she was trying to die, believing it was her fault the ghost was threatening her friends. Gregg calls her out for her actions because he cares about her, and so do the others.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: There's a cult of people who are kidnapping people and sacrificing them to an Eldritch Abomination, which may or may not exist, in hopes of reviving the town. Most of the town has no idea.
  • True Companions: Gregg from the start, along with Angus and Bea. Despite their own problems and their conflicts with Mae's shortsighted behavior, the four all care about each other and stick together to the very end. Gregg says as much in the climax.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: At game release, anyway. It's set in October 2017.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Mae and a few of the others say the word "eff" instead of "fuck". Which according to the developers was done to prevent an "M" rating. Other swear words seem to be fine however.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Subverted; Mae is a snarky Nightmare Fetishist.
  • Voice Grunting: The Longest Night supplemental game has this, while the main game doesn't, oddly enough. It does give some idea of how the characters sound like in relation to the others; Angus for one has a much deeper grunt than the rest of the gang.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The cult as a whole. They're otherwise normal people trying to protect their families from dying and their home from rotting away and being forgotten; to do this, however, they believe they need to make ritual sacrifices to an Eldritch Abomination within the mines whenever it hungers.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mae and Bea abruptly ended their friendship in the seventh grade. They become friends again over the course of the game.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The first night in the woods. That's where it will really hit you that the characters are a Dysfunction Junction, with Mae revealing about her dad's old drinking problem and Bea tells Mae about her dead mom.
    • Harfest/Halloween, where the supernatural plot finally kicks into action as Mae sees someone get abducted.
    • Near the end of the game, depending on whether you've hung out with Bea or Gregg more, there's two possible ones. On Bea's route, after ruining her night at the college party, she vocalizes her hatred for Mae. On Gregg's route, he and Angus end up having a big argument, the first and only time that any problems with their relationship are shown to exist outside Gregg's head.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Angus and Mae are done with their stargazing.
      Angus: There's someone behind us.
    • Right after Mae and the gang learn about the sacrifices in the mines and how they choose their victims:
      Mae: Casey...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When the gang finds an arm at the start of the game, they decide to poke it with a stick. Upon doing so, they notice there is a diamond tattoo on it. One of the gang says that they found a clue. The tattoo is never referenced again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Bea gets mad at Mae for acting like a drunk fool at the first party in the game. Mae had also forgotten that Bea's mother had died, and is acting irresponsibly, complete with having wasted her college opportunities. With that said, she is more sympathetic when Mae tells her in the Bea path why she dropped out, though she is right about the other parts.
    • Mae gets angry at her friends when they won't believe her about a ghost, because she did see something, and someone has been watching them during their ghost hangouts. It doesn't help that they all realize she was half-right; it wasn't a ghost, but rather an actual person kidnapping others and tossing them down a deep hole into the mine.
    • Angus is furious on seeing that Mae is encouraging Gregg to revert to his previous criminal behavior, which he was cleaning up so that the couple could move to Bright Harbor.
    • Jackie tells off Mae for humiliating Bea at a college party and for being a jerk. It's all very true. This motivates Mae to chase after Bea, to apologize and to hear her out.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Horribly averted when cult members are chasing Mae. When they fire at her, they miss, but she ends up careening into a ravine, suffering a nasty head injury as a result. Then discussed when they apologize to Mae, since they didn't want to actually kill her.
    • Averted; in the climax Gregg does shoot the cultist that Mae was approaching with a crossbow, nonfatally. Then when he threatens to do the same to Casey's murderer, the cult reveals that they are armed, and force Gregg to put down his crossbow.
    • Played straight when the cultists explain why they aren't killing Mae and her friends, especially when Mae threatens to go and tell the police; they're getting old, and they need a new generation to pick up where they left off and kill the Black Goat. Mae and her friends are outright disgusted, with Bea asking how many of the cultists actually used to be miners.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Zig-Zagged. After the events from Harfest, Mae starts believing she's in a ghost story, and refers to horror movies when talking to Aunt Molly about the "ghost" and his kidnap victim. However, while she is right that something horrific is going on, she ends up being wrong on everything else: she shouts, "the Cop always dies!" at Aunt Molly, but the Weird Autumn update revealed that Molly survives the events. Also, the "ghost" is actually a human being, albeit a murderous one that nearly kills Mae.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Mae is annoyed that no one believes her about a "ghost". It gets to the point where her friends only follow her into the woods not because they believe her, but they don't want her wandering around at night. Eventually they all realize the "ghost" was a hooded figure kidnapping children for a cult.

    Lost Constellation 
  • Bittersweet Ending:
  • Call-Forward: Mae says that Granddad won't see her kids because she's going to have hound dogs instead. Granddad dies before the start of Night in the Woods, so he isn't around when Mae's mother mistakenly thinks Mae is pregnant. The first two lines of the Prayer of the Forest God are one of the quotes that the player can choose for Granddad to have said before he died.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: While seeking an audience with the Forest God, Adina finds out that he's been poisoned, and that is affecting her access to the frozen lake. He dies despite her efforts to thwart his poisoners, and she goes out onto the lake alone.
  • Doomed by Canon: Granddad dies before the start of Night in the Woods.
  • Framing Device: Adina's Adventure is a bedtime story that Grandad is telling to a younger Mae, during Longest Night.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Mae's commentary on the tale is hilarious. Granddad is equally amused and tells her to never change.
  • Humble Goal: Adina only wanted to see her dead lover again and find the Star where all souls go to after death.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Grandpa lampshades this when Mae asks him if the tale really happened. He says if it could have, but it happened a long time ago regardless.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Mae is really into the tale, especially when ghosts and severed body parts are involved.
  • Screw Destiny: Adina points out to the cat that she survived her encounter with the Forest God, when the cat predicted she would die. He goes "meh" about it.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Forest God's sickness is never resolved, the true nature of the Cat is never revealed, the Huncher's captive never escapes, countless spirits are trapped in the snowmen that Adina created with no immediate hope of liberation, and the audience never finds out what happened to the group of royals Adina met in the forest.
  • Snow Means Death: A cat warns Adina that if she goes into the woods, she will die. It's snowing hard, and much harder when she reaches the Forest God's realm.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/NightInTheWoods