Video Game / Night in the Woods

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nitw.jpg
At the end of everything, hold on to anything.

Mae: Don't panic, but we're maybe all gonna die soon.
Angus: Just maybe?

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 in February 21, 2017.

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.
  • 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 Fears: The Game.
    • 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 dead.
    • There is also Mae dropping out of college because she was suffering and is 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? No. Her doctor gives her a journal as a form of treatment. At college she was 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.
    • 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 fails.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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). And everything they do, they do for the sake of the town. Shame it involves sacrificing those they consider the garbage of society to an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Mae's dad calls her "kitten". She responds well to it.
  • 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.
  • 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: Well, game code; but minor details not specifically mentioned in-game are in there 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, but there is always a reason to keep going.
  • 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," or some slight variation thereof, repeatedly appear both in the supplemental games and in the game proper, even as the title and subject of one of the band's songs. See Dying Alone.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 linoleum lights with Gregg.
  • 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 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 hints that Mae is bi dropped throughout the game. She has an ex 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, 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 are killed, 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 of the Black Goat. 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 problems, 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.
  • Bookends: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 eexamples) thier features (Beaks, Snouts etc.) are facing left or right, depening on where they stand, but when it comes to face the front their eyes just turn to the screen. Mae and Angus are aversions, since they are shown from a front angle in promotinal 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 so you know who's saying what. Gregg is yellow, Bea is blue, Angus is orange, 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: Pick up all sorts of bizarre ingredients at the grocery store.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Sort of, and sort of an Interfaith Smoothie. Popes and Sunday School at church exist, as do Easter and Halloween (but not Christmas, which is replaced with "Longest Night", presumably some sort of 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 as a "They". A local "Virgin Mary"-style shrine also has a flame symbol on it. One of their Saints is known to breathe fire and eat people...
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What the game eventually turns out to be as soon as the Black Goat stuff comes up.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly every character has one. Gregg is the only one of the main 4 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: Possibly, Mae in the climax. After suffering a nasty head injury, and realizing that her fear of the "ghost" was entirely rational and led to her friends being endangered, she 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 intended to not return.
  • 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.
  • Dug Too Deep
  • Dying Town: Ever since the mines closed down, Possum Springs has seen better days. 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 4 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, many themes in the game hint that it's in Pennsylvania (specifically near Pittsburgh).
    • Possum Springs was originally a mining town (a heavy industry in PA).
    • It's located in "Deep Hollow County". There's a Deep Hollow stream in a mining area in Pennsylvania.
    • The Borowski name and references to "the old country" implies an Eastern European heritage which 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 sport team in the area 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 was was in Pittsburgh (then part of Allegheny).
    • The one place it can't be is Idaho, as Mae mentions to Rabies her dream of moving to a farm there.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Expy: As noted, deceased magnate Arnold A. Applebaum is one for historical industrialist Andrew Carnegie, down to the union-busting and self-glorification.

    F-M 
  • 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.
    • 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?
      • Granted, it was only the cultist's arm that got chopped off, but their head DID get stuck in the elevator doors.
    • 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."
    • 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.
  • 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. Somewhat 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.
  • Four is Death: In Mae's dreams. In some of them, she has to jump around a strange landscape to find four spectral jazz musicians (who add to the background music once awakened). After finding all four, she is accosted by a huge forest creature of some kind that fills the area with blinding light and wakes her up. How many dreams does she have like this? Four.
  • 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 rat 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 humanoid cats.
    • 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 references to buck hunting season in the game even though there are deer people wandering around the town.
  • Furry Reminder: On the other hand, 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".
  • 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.
    • 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 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.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: HEAVILY SUBVERTED. 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 or fading in and out of consciousness.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Greg 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.
  • 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.
    • Bea isn't that nice of a person for the most part, but when they confront the cult and find out about everything, she brings up the point of how many of them were ever actually miners and questions how many of them are actually having money trouble, considering their motivation is that the mine being shut down is what caused Possum Springs to start decaying. The cult members just say "It doesn't matter." Even earlier, she gives Mae a What the Hell, Hero? speech for wasting her college opportunities, while Bea would kill Mae to have gotten the chance to attend college. Though, that last point could be argued, as Mae left college because she was suffering from a severe mental breakdown.
  • 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.
  • 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. If Aunt Molly was part of the cult, then she was potentially keeping Mae from becoming their next sacrifice.
  • Man Child:
    • 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.
  • 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 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. Yhe 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.
  • 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.
  • Multiple Endings: While the ultimate outcome of the story doesn't change, there are two possible variations of the ending:
    • Mae hangs out with Bea the most and becomes her best friend.
    • Mae hangs out with Gregg the most and becomes his best friend.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Ride the chariot to donut hell!"

    N-R 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 prerelease 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.
  • Odd Couple: 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Explicitly 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Petting Zoo People: A world populated by anthropomorphic cats, dogs, bears, birds, alligators, rodents, goats, etc as well as feral animals running around. (See Furry Confusion example above).
  • 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. On the other hand, there are hints that she's a member of the cult and keeps Mae from investigating on her own.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Even though they are Affably Evil as described above, 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 even though they let Mae's group go peacefully, they A:force Gregg to leave the crossbow since they know he could try something if he picked it up and B:they warn the gang not to try to find out more since they know who Mae and her friends are, but Mae's gang don't know who any of the cultists are underneath their robes.
  • Pre-Asskicking 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?
  • 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 lampshades 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 electrocuted.
    • Mae being dragged into performing a song she doesn't know during band practice.
    • Gregg and Mae muttering, "Crimes," to each other.
    • "GREGG RULZ OK"

    S-W 
  • 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 (and is strongly implied to have actually committed suicide), 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Demon Tower, a game that can be played on Mae's laptop.
  • 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 for sure. As for Gregg...less so, though it's hard to tell with dialogue being text only.
  • 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!"
  • 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!!!
  • Tap on the Head: Double-subverted. When Mae gets injured running from the cultists, she falls and suffers a nasty head injury that keeps her from running, and to wander towards her friends' house. Her family even wants to call a doctor, but they don't have time before she returns to the mine shaft with her friends, to seek answers. Angus at one point has to carry her, after they find out what happened to Casey. Then after the injured cultist nearly kills her, the "dolphins" rush — Mae means to say endorphins — allows her to jump and find an opening to save her friends.
  • 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.
  • 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 country specifically mentioned as existing is Italy, and that 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.
  • Tomboy: Mae.
  • Too Dumb to Live: 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.
  • 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". Any other curse words seem to be fine though.
  • 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.

I just wanna die anywhere else
If only I could die anywhere else
So come with me let's die anywhere else
Anywhere...
Just not here...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/NightInTheWoods