[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/theybleedpixels_5133.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:BodyHorror has never been so cute.]]
''They Bleed Pixels'' is a 2012 indie platformer by Spooky Squid Games for PC. Arriving at the Lafcadio Academy for Troubled Young Ladies, an [[NoNameGiven unnamed young girl]] finds a mysterious book that constantly drips blood. It brings her strange dreams of other times and places, and of another self with claws instead of hands--and with each dream, the line between herself and the monster thins...

''They Bleed Pixels'' combines ''Super VideoGame/MeatBoy'''s tough-as-nails style of retro platforming with a one-button combat combo system, all wrapped in visuals inspired by [[Creator/HPLovecraft Lovecraft's work]]. A Macintosh and Linux port of the game was released at the launch of the Crimson Update in 2015, in addition to being rewritten on a new engine with extra content, leaderboards, and more blood.

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!!This video game provides examples of::
* HundredPercentCompletion: There are a hundred and twenty six achievements (or rather "Blood Badges") in this game!
** Beat all the chapters.
** Kill all the enemies in all the chapters.
** Collect all the pages in all the chapters.
** {{Speedrun}} all the chapters.
** Get an S rank in all the chapters (covers 2 achievements per chapter, since A rank also gets an achievement.)
** Complete all chapters without dying, and just one chapter [[NoDamageRun without taking damage]].
** Get a 60-hit combo (covers six achievements, one for every 10 hits.)
** And various other achievements, like "set off a chain reaction involving five different [[ActionBomb Bomb Imps]]."
* ActionBomb: Bomb Imps. They're very fragile, but there's no way to destroy a bomb other than to wait for it to explode, and they do double damage at close range. (Thankfully, you can kick them into the nearest crowd of enemies. Or bat them when in mid-air, which the game calls the "Exploding Palm Technique".)
* AdvancingWallOfDoom: Expect to spend a ''lot'' of the late-game running from sawblades. Hell, the first half of The Final Dream: The End is almost entirely composed of these sequences.
** RiseToTheChallenge: Sometimes vertically, most notably in the beginning of The Fourth Dream: Chapter 3.
* AlienBlood: Oddly, all the monsters spout fountains of normal red blood, but the ([[LovecraftianSuperpower sort of]]) human protagonist bleeds white.
* AllTheWorldsAreAStage: The Final Dream: The End is basically a long series of death courses that reuses a number of specific challenges and sequences from earlier chapters, usually with an AdvancingWallOfDoom added if there wasn't one before.
* ArcSymbol: A stylized claw, which appears on the Book Of Claws itself, the shape of the [[spoiler: Headmaster]]'s knife, several places in and around the Academy, on every Save Sigil, and countless times in the background scenery and the shape of various levels.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The Book of Claws. [[spoiler:Apparently, the Student Library has many books like it.]]
* AwesomenessMeter: The game has a combo meter that builds on how creative you slay your enemies, and resets if you don't do damage for a short time.
* BlackBeadEyes: The protagonist has them.
* BladeBrake: The protagonist uses her claws to cling to walls.
* BleakLevel: The First Dream: Prologue and The Third Dream: Chapter 3 are much gloomier and less colourful than most other chapters, the former being set on some kind of dark purple plain littered with giant bones and ruins, the latter over an ocean at night in a rainstorm.
* BloodierAndGorier: The Crimson Update ups the blood count substantially
* BloodyBowelsOfHell: [[spoiler: The Final Dream: The End]].
* BoardingSchoolOfHorrors: [[spoiler:Its headmaster is an evil magus trying to turn his students into CuteMonsterGirl servants, for one.]]
* BuildLikeAnEgyptian: Egyptian-looking pyramids and obelisks can be seen in the background of The First Dream: Prologue.
* CatSmile: After she finishes transforming, the girl has this expression on her face.
* ClingyMacGuffin: No matter how hard the girl tries, ''nothing'' can get rid of or destroy the Book of Claws.
* ClockTower: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 3.
* CuteMonsterGirl: The protagonist when transformed.
** [[spoiler:As well as some of the other transformed girls.]]
* TheCorruption: The Book of Claws seems to cause this rather than TheVirus.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: All the platforms are plain black, all the hazards and traps are grey or white with the occasional red bloodstain, and all the enemies are mostly black, white, and shades of grey except for their yellow eyes. This contrasts greatly with the somewhat more colourful protagonist, the red blood spilling everywhere, the purple Save Sigils, and the colourful and highly detailed backgrounds.
* DoubleJump: The protagonist is able of jumping in mid-air, allowing her to high places and maneuver intricate obstacles.
* EasyModeMockery: The Crimson Update adds a Novice difficulty with shorter and easier levels, but comes at the expense of removing pages, not tracking high scores or best time, restricting which badges can be unlocked, and lock players out of the final level.
* TheEndOrIsIt: [[spoiler: The headmaster's dead, but the books are still around.]]
* EternalEngine: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 2 and to a lesser extent Chapter 3.
* EvilIsVisceral: The final level [[spoiler: appears to be [[WombLevel organic]] and the PostfinalBoss is a giant heart]].
* FlashStep: One of the protagonist's combat maneuvers, also useful for crossing spike pits. It can be done unlimited times when flashing between enemies, but it requires a short recharge if it doesn't hit anything that bleeds.
** Ghosts also teleport in a manner similar to a FlashStep when hit. They rarely block attacks, so getting a good combo on a ghost means chasing it around and hitting it over and over. (Naturally, you eventually have to fight them while clinging to walls and unable to chase them without the risk of falling.)
* GameplayGrading: You're given a letter rank based on your performance in each level as well as a title that goes with it. From lowest to highest: D (for "Dreadful Dagon"), C (for "Common Cthulhu"), B (for "Basic Bokrug"), A (for "Awesome Azathoth"), and S (for "Squidtastic Shoggoth"). However getting high ranks requires near-perfect memorization of a level, as well as deliberately skipping over a lot of possible checkpoints.
* HailfirePeaks:
** The First Dream: Prologue is DeathMountain, WorldInTheSky, BuildLikeAnEgyptian, BleakLevel, and also a sort of CreepyCemetary.
** The Second Dream: Chapter 2 is JungleJapes and SlippySlideyIceWorld, while Chapter 3 is TheLostWoods and {{Wutai}}.
** The Third Dream: Chapter 3 is PalmTreePanic and {{Wutai}}, and also something of a BleakLevel.
** The Fourth Dream: Chapter 1 is a LethalLavaLand WorldInTheSky with elements of TempleOfDoom. Chapter 2 is LethalLavaLand, EternalEngine, and PipeMaze.
* HairDecorations: Cutscenes show the protagonist as wearing a little red bow in her hair. It's probably not coincidental that the pixel art seen in gameplay makes this look like devil horns.
* HeartbeatSoundtrack: At the end of The Final Dream: The End the level music fades out and is replaced by the sound of a heartbeat as [[spoiler:you're taken up to the heart, and it gets faster the more you stab it]].
* IdiosyncraticComboLevels: They're mostly words Lovecraft liked, such as "gibbous", "rugose", and "necrotic."
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Oh yes. Can happen to both you and your enemies.
* InterfaceSpoiler: With the addition of Steam Trading Cards, [[spoiler:The Headmaster]] can be seen long before he becomes relevant to the plot.
* IronicHell: The backgrounds reflect what the heroine has most recently attempted to rid herself of the Book of Claws, such as the bottom of the ocean or a lake of fire.
* JuggleFu: The upwards strike is intended for this.
* JungleJapes: The Second Dream: Chapter 2.
* LethalLavaLand: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 1 features this in the background, which is downplayed in Chapters 2 and 3.
* TheLostWoods: The Second Dream. Chapter 1 is set on the forest floor and partially underground, Chapter 2 along the trunks of the trees, and Chapter 3 in the canopy with platforms shaped like branches.
* LovecraftLite: Make no mistake -- this is not a CosmicHorrorStory, or even that much of a horror ''game''. [[spoiler:[[EarnYourHappyEnding You win, and manage to destroy the Book and the guy using it to make monstrous servants]], after all, [[TheEndOrIsIt though it wasn't the only one of its kind]].]]
* LauncherMove: Tapping the attack button while standing still will kick enemies away from you, whereas holding down the button will send enemies upwards where they can be juggled or stabbed repeatedly in mid-air.
* {{Mayincatec}}: Ruins in this aesthetic can be seen in the background of The Fourth Dream: Chapter 1.
* TheManyDeathsOfYou: Get used to seeing the protagonist impaled, shredded, and disintegrated. What's more, deaths that don't [[ChunkySalsaRule completely destroy her corpse]] will leave behind an after-image. Particularly challenging sections will quickly amass quite a collection of bodies lying around or hanging from spikes.
* MetaMultiplayer: The game features online leaderboards for high scores and fastest runs of each level, as well as watch replays from other players.
* MooksButNoBosses: Instead of bosses, the game ends each chapter with a gauntlet of regular enemies and platforming hazards, getting longer and more complicated further on (the earlier ones introduce a new type of enemy). [[spoiler:There is technically the heart at the end of The Final Dream: The End, but it [[StationaryBoss can't move]], defend itself, or hurt you, [[ZeroEffortBoss there's no way to lose against it]], and it dies in five hits. The real final challenge is the waves of enemies you face just before it]].
* NintendoHard: Expect to die several times per level until you get a good handle on the controls. They are VERY precise and overdoing ANY movement can lead to your death (no shortage of enemies, spikes, and other sharp objects in this game). Inertia is present and the floor is always a bit slippery even without ice. Also, not mashing goes against your natural instincts (there are only 2 buttons used other than the arrow keys), so mastering the character takes practice. The game supports and even suggests a controller be used, but the game is difficult enough for this trope to apply even if you do use one.
* OverdrawnAtTheBloodBank: There's a reason the score counter is measured in "Pints."
* PaintingTheMedium: [[spoiler:Attacking [[PostfinalBoss the heart]]]] causes the screen to shake with each hit.
* PalmtreePanic: The Third Dream: Chapter 3 is set on the coast by the sea, but at night.
* PerpetualFrowner: As a human, the protagonist only smiles once, [[spoiler:at the very end]]. However, she acquires a CatSmile [[EvilFeelsGood every time she transforms]].
* PinataEnemy: It's relatively easy to string out a nine-hit combo off a single Shambler (ten if you finish by punting it into spikes.)
* PipeMaze: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 2.
* RuinsForRuinsSake: Present in The First Dream: Prologue, The Third Dream: Chapters 1 and 3, and The Fourth Dream: Chapter 1.
* SaveGameLimits: Killing enemies and collecting orbs fills up your "Sigil Meter." When filled, you can empty it to place a Save Sigil on any flat, non-slippery surface with no nearby enemies, sawblades, or crushers. Alternatively, you earn double points for all kills performed and orbs collected with the meter filled. (Of course, you lose all those points if you die.)
* ScoringPoints: Some attacks builds the combo meter whereas other increases the multiplier. Figuring out how to effectively dispatch enemies is key for scoring more and more Pints. Additionally, filling your Sigil Meter and keeping it full will double the points you earn. At the end of the level, you're given bonus Pints based on your performance and certain criteria (such collecting every page in the level, not using a save sigil, or items collected).
* ShoutOut: Lovecraft is particularly well-loved here, but there are references to everyone from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lafcadio_Hearn Lafcadio Hearn]] to Creator/PhilipPullman.
* SilenceIsGolden: There's screaming, laughter, and a bout of BlackSpeech, but no one ever says an intelligible word.
* SinisterSilhouettes: A figure in a bowler hat, wielding a claw-shaped knife, appears behind the protagonist at the end of every dream. The observant player will notice that [[spoiler:there's a painting of a man in a bowler hat on a wall in the school.]]
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: Most chapters have a few slippery surfaces, but The Second Dream: Chapter 2 is absolutely covered in them.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: The game contains unlockable "guest levels" created by different indie game developers. They include:
** "Seraphs Bleed Stardust", based on ''Seraph'' by Alex Bethke.
** "exp 0.666..." based on ''Exp. Magazine'' by Mathew Kumar.
** "They Bleed Ponycorns", based on ''VideoGame/SissysMagicalPonycornAdventure'' by Ryan and Cassie Creighton. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhIPo8jeZI8 It must be seen to be believed.]]
** And "All Hallow's Eve", a Halloween themed level that changes up the gameplay the most by making you kill enemies with traps in specific ways to receive candy.
* SoundtrackDissonance: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 3, probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, chapter in the game is accompanied by an upbeat chiptune that sounds much more cheerful than most of the rest of the soundtrack.
* SpikesOfDoom: ''Everywhere''.
* SteamPunk: The Fourth Dream: Chapter 2 has this aesthetic.
* StringyHairedGhostGirl: One of the enemy types that shows up in The Second Dream - Chapter 2. They can teleport.
* [[TalkToTheFist Talk to The Claw]]: [[spoiler:The protagonist does this to the headmaster at the end.]]
* TomeOfEldritchLore: The Book of Claws seems to be this, although we never see any of what's in it.
** While the protagonist only interacts with the one, it's not the only one around. [[spoiler:The student library's ''full'' of them, and they're evidently doing similar things to the other students.]]
* UnderTheSea: The Third Dream. Chapter 1 is set on the sea floor, 2 in the middle of the open ocean above the floor, hopping between jellyfish-shaped platforms and giant criss-crossing chains. Chapter 3 is instead set on the surface of the sea.
* UnderwaterRuins: The Third Dream: Chapter 1.
* VagueAge: The protagonist looks very young in the game itself, and some of the concept art reflects this, but in other concept art, she appears to be a teenager.
* WombLevel: [[spoiler:The Final Dream: The End]], though technically, it's a [[spoiler:heart level]].
* WorldInTheSky: The backgrounds of all of The Fourth Dream feature chunks of land floating in the air with no ground or support in sight (The Second Dream: Chapters 2 and 3, The Third Dream: Chapter 2, and The Final Dream: The End are also suspended, but on trees, in water, and in [[spoiler:a circulatory system]] respectively, rather than in air). You can see similar floating islands above the ground in the background of The First Dream: Prologue and above the ocean in The Third Dream: Chapter 3.
* {{Wutai}}: The Second Dream: Chapter 3's background is full of paper lanterns hanging from the trees and has many floating platforms shaped like them. Similarly, The Third Dream: Chapter 3 has Shinto shrines in the background and some of them in the foreground as part of the platforms.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: These can occasionally be seen in the background of The Fourth Dream: Chapter 2.
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