Video Game / Within A Deep Forest

Within a Deep Forest is a platforming game by Nifflas, the man behind Knytt and Knytt Stories, with a unique protagonist and an extremely simple concept.

You are a ball. You can, by completing certain objectives which are not given to you, acquire new materials from which to form yourself. The overarching story is that you must stop a mad scientist from detonating a bomb which will exterminate all life on the planet.

Notable for its simple graphics, virtually limitless exploration of the game world, and breathtaking music. You can find it here.

This work contains examples of:

  • Bad Future:
    • The Future. Dr. Cliché has won in this future, and therefore everything is frozen over and bleak.
    • The intro says he did it to prevent a worse future. Or so he believes. See Well-Intentioned Extremist below.
  • Cyberspace: Utopioca and Utopioca Minor have this aesthetic to them.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You can't solve a puzzle/progress as your current material? Commit suicide and pick a new one when you regenerate at the nearest Save Point.
  • Dungeon Bypass/Sequence Breaking: You only need to collect six of the ten ball forms to complete the game - 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 0. This means you can skip three of the game's dungeons (Ljus/Utopica, That Hover Thing, and the Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility) entirely.note 
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The final form you can pick allows you to fly with careful timing of your button presses.
  • Escort Mission: In Shinock Reign's Tower. And you can die during it of course — from the escort (a cute little spider) itself!
  • Eternal Engine: That Hover Thing, parts of The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility, and Dr Cliché's Underwater Base.
  • Excuse Plot: You're a ball. You're going to Save The World.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Everything about the game — the environments, the music and the exploration-based gameplay — seem designed to encourage a serene, Take Your Time experience. Yet you are ostensibly racing against time to find and disarm a bomb. With only SECONDS TO SPARE, according to the ending!
  • Green Hill Zone: Harara Mountains and Pinewood Heights.
  • Ground Pound: Not in the most literal sense, but the metal ball has this effect if bounced enough, as it can destroy cracked wooden bridges.
  • Gusty Glade: Lots of areas have windy corridors that only the metal ball can resist the flow of, but the main one is The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility with it's giant fans that constantly threaten to push you into pits.
  • Hub Level: The main area, Pinewood Heights, sort of acts as this to the other levels, including the moon.
  • Invisible Block: They're visible only when you're close to them in the Shadowlands. The visible ones aren't actually platforms...
  • Level Ate: The Moon is known as the "Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility" and appears to be made mostly of Cartoon Cheese, with mice running around some areas. This could also be a Mythology Gag since one of Nifflas' older songs is named "The Cheese in the Sky", and his first game #modarchive story also showed a moon made of cheese with holes in it during the Nifflas Forest level. (Nifflas sure likes the Cheesy Moon trope.)
  • Metroidvania: An unusual mix of a bouncy ball and a no combat style, but it fits well considering each new ball form will allow you to progress to new areas.
  • Minecart Madness: Appears as a sudden change of pace and ambience with an upbeat trumpet track.
  • MOD: All of the game's music is in this format (specifically, .IT files).
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Cliché. His name is particularly tongue-in-cheek about this.
  • Nintendo Hard: You will die a lot, especially in glass ball form. Save points being frequent (usually) and the charming atmosphere make it less frustrating though. Usually.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Obviously, given the nature of the game, this is the case for nine of the ten balls as you're required to bounce higher and higher to reach new areas. The exception is the Glass Ball, where bouncing too high or too fast will make the fragile ball shatter, requiring careful precision platforming and not attempting to bounce too fast or too high. This is what makes the sections where you need to use the Glass Ball to go through laser barriers incredibly challenging.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: You're the prototype bomb, but you ended up as a failure.
  • Remixed Level: The frozen over future is this for Pinewood Heights.
  • Space Zone: The moon, of course.
  • Scenery Porn: Nifflas is especially good at this, and Within a Deep Forest does not disappoint.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The future. Everything is frozen over, including the water. However, since you bounce everywhere, it isn't particularly slippery.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Pathetic Ball has two very specific uses: not being eaten by the tiger that eats powers by way of not having any powers at all in order to access the final area, and unlocking a part of the combination lock to the time bomb in said final area.
  • Time Travel
  • Tutorial Level: Harara Mountains. It's entered in a completely separate area to the main game.
  • Underground Level: A large chunk of the game, actually. Crystal Path, The Shadowlands, Ljus, Markstone Ridgemine and the optional Crystalline are entirely underground. The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility is half underground, while several areas of Pinewood Heights (and therefore The Future by extension) and even Harara Mountains are underground too.
  • Underwater Base: The very last area, Dr. Cliché's Underwater Lab.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: You can choose several materials to use to progress, ranging from your standard rubber superball, the easily-shattered glass, steel, and snow. There are far more to choose as well, though Spider isn't one of them.
  • Womb Level: It's extremely brief, but the very end of The Shadowlands has you go inside a giant monster to receive the power up, from some weird cat thing living inside the creature quite happily.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Cliché's plan is to freeze the world in order to prevent it from being torn by war. Was the future really that bad? (According to Knytt Underground, the answer is yes.)
  • With This Herring: Again, you're a ball. Who's going to stop a bomb from going off by bouncing around.