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. 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.
    • The intro says he did it to prevent a worse future. Or so he believes. See Well-Intentioned Extremist below.
  • 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!
  • 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: 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.
  • 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. 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.