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 send yourself back in time to 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. A very nice 20-minute speedrun of the game, played by Nifflas himself, can be watched 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Excuse Plot: You're a ball. You're going to Save The World.
  • Gameplay 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!
  • 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.
  • 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: Relatively subtle, but the Moon is known as the "Lunar Cheese Extraction Factory" 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 damn 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.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: You're the prototype bomb, but you ended up as a failure.
  • 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 - required to proceed. 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, and unlocking a part of the combination lock to the time bomb.
  • Time Travel
  • Tutorial Level: Harara Mountains. It's entered in a completely separate area to the main game.
  • Underground Level: There's quite a few. The Moon has an underground bit, the Crystal Path and a similar level are underground, and there's also the minecart area and even the Shadowlands.
  • 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.
  • 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.