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Videogame: Spiral Knights
A casual MMO by Three Rings, the makers of Puzzle Pirates.

The members of an unidentifiable race have crash-landed on the hostile planet Cradle. This ain't your standard planet, either. Just below the surface is a huge steampunk dungeon full of monsters, traps, whirling gears and energy fields. As a Spiral Knight equipped with swords, guns, or bombs, you must join up with other players to fight off the many enemies that would see your kind wiped off the planet and make your way down to the glowing core of the planet: an energy source powerful enough to restart their space ship.

Gameplay is a semi-top-down Hack and Slash mixed with a Shoot 'em Up in the form of a Dungeon Crawler, and it's often compared to the 2D The Legend of Zelda games. Players can adventure through the clockworks on their own or join a team of up to 4 people. Despite looking very peaceful and simple at first glance, the game can be rather difficult, especially in later parts of the game. Enemies can dish out large amounts of damage if their attacks hit you and bosses require a fair amount of teamwork. The game has no Experience Points, your power level (and thus what areas the game will allow you into) is determined purely by the equipment you have. There is a heavy emphasis on Item Crafting, with the best items being synthesized from materials found in the dungeons.

The game is free to play, but energy can be purchased for real money (or from other players for in-game currency) to unlock some premium features such as carrying additional weapons. It is implemented in Java and can run in a browser window or full screen, and runs very well for a full 3D game even on low-end computers.

Available here. On June 14, 2011, it became available on Steam as one of its first free-to-play games.

Not to be confused with the other kind of Spiral Knight.

Tropes:

  • Action Bomb: Bombies are little armless zombies with bombs for heads. No points for guessing what they do. Unlike many other Action Bombs, they have a fairly high amount of health. Enough so that it's typically better to trigger the explosion and then either knock them away quickly or run off, anyways. They tend to tend to come in groups and, in the lower depths, they fire off bullets when they explode.
    • There is also a species of Jelly that counts down and explodes when its hp reaches 0.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Alchemer lines, all of them. The charged shots of the upgraded versions of the Antigua fire light/dark birds at the end.
    • Also lampshaded by Desna while describing Herex... despite the weapon they're up against actually being a living variety of biotoxin.
    Desna: This is just a fancy way of saying one of the craziest of the crazy gremlins likes to load his gun with unconventional bullets.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: A whole bunch of the level and stage names and item descriptions have this.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Devilites and Gremlins.
  • After Boss Recovery: Danger Rooms, each room of an Arena floor, and the actual bosses have this. Along with a chance to recover right before bosses.
  • Alchemy: Not true alchemy per se, but its the feature that allows you to take recipes, materials, and crafting costs, and create/upgrade equipment.
  • Alien Invasion: Strangely enough, it is actually the Spiral Knights themselves who are invading the Cradle. After the Skylark crash landed on Cradle the Spiral Knights started to occupy the various levels of the planet. The natives don't seem to mind, however, cuz the Strangers like money and the gremlins (generally) are Always Chaotic Evil
    • Played straight with Lichens, which, according to several bits of backstory, arrived on a meteorite. However, given the entire planet's backstory, it's unknown whether they arrived on Cradle via meteorite, or on a different planet, pieces of which were then used in the construction of Cradle.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted earlier in the game's history. Gremlins seemed to be this at first glance since they have a society but send armies of their troops after you at every turn and you're expected to fight them without mercy, not to mention the severe lack of OSHA compliance... Then you reach Emberlight, the town of Gremlin outcasts, which is populated by all the Gremlins who refused to follow their overly aggressive leader.
    • New Gremlin characters have even started moving up to the town of Haven such as the engineers Punch and Vise, and Nonna who runs a monster adoption agency turning this into more of an averted trope.
    • Their Chaotic habit seems a bit harder to break as shown by this announcement.
    Punch and Vise wanted me to state for the record that they did not 'blow up' Vatel's recipe shop, but rather that it 'exploded while they were inside it.'
  • An Interior Designer Is You: November 2012's update introduced the ability for guild members to customize their Guild Halls with assorted furniture, starting off with two alchemy machines, Vatel, and an auction house pre-installed, then you can later on add functional items such as beds, chairs, and a device that lets you crush Crystal Energy into Mist Energy that can be used by guildmates (prior to the Energy system overhaul). Anyone can use the design mode but only Guild Masters can actually save their work.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The Holiday Mode event tokens can be exchanged for costumes, and every now and then you'll get a bombhead mask as a reward from PVP games. Many of the rank missions will also award you with crests that you can put on your armor.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The artifacts gained from defeating the bosses.
  • Armor Is Useless: In Tier 3 and Lockdown, you take so much damage that the best course of action is to use armor that gives other bonuses or protects against annoying statuses and just try not to get hit.
  • Artifact of Doom: Implied with some of the weapon's descriptions.
  • A Taste of Power: A minor variation: Battle Sprites are introduced with their first two abilities at a point where a new knight is limited to one-star gear. Once you actually get your sprite, it comes at level zero. Thankfully, it doesn't take much levelling to reach the first evolution that grants the sprite its second ability.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Royal Jelly, Lord Vanaduke, and Warmaster Seerus.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Many charge attacks are easily placed in this category. Having to spend anywhere from five to ten seconds to charge up an attack is worth it when you're dealing ridiculous amounts of damage or inflicting a status effect on a giant group of enemies, but some of them will lock you in an attack long enough for an enemy to hit you, cause enemies to fly away unpredictably, or simply not do enough to warrant the charging time.
    • Faust and Gran Faust's charge attacks tend to be this. Though the charge move can inflict long-range Curse, one of the most useful status effects, on multiple enemies, it often inflicts the status on the player, making them essentially unable to attack for 30 or more seconds. Worse in Tier 3 dungeons, where even using the status-effect removal item may end up taking off a huge chunk of health if it ends up being cursed (which it will be much of the time). Gran Faust ups the impracticality by increasing the charge time (for a wider sword beam and stronger curse... to both parties).
    • A lot of the armors without normal defense, elemental defense, shock, or fire resistances are said to be this. Shock and Fire are simply some of the hardest statuses to deal with, Normal damage is literally everywhere, and Elemental damage is all too prevalent in elemental themed strata. This is getting better now that enemies are doing the proper damage and pierce/shadow turrets have been implemented.
      • A more specific soloing example of this is the Vitasuit Deluxe, a 4-star armor. It has the second highest health bonus of any fully leveled armor (highest is the Ancient Plate Mail but it decreases your overall speed) but it only has normal defense so that health bonus is negated since most enemies in lower strata do more non-normal damage then normal.
    • The Wild Hunting Blade embodies this. Each slash produces a phantasmal golden wolver head that bites the area in front of the knight using it. However, it's extremely rare to see any player use this weapon with any degree of seriousness, as the Vile/Dread Venom Striker series (a branching alchemy path) does the same amount of damage to 5/6 enemy types and carries a poison effect, and the extreme close-range style of the blade, and situational charge attack render both inferior to many other swords of the same level. Most players just get it because it looks cool.
    • The Volcanic Pepperbox. Identical to the Autogun, but with a chance to cause fire? Sounds great, looks cool, but terribly low damage even with the fire it causes.
      • HOWEVER, it's the ONLY gun of that entire line that's not piercing, so its not totally worthless.
    • The Winmillion. An ornate blade with a built-in motor that fires energy disks on each swing? These energy disks deal a small amount of damage, the damage is vanilla damage without any advantages against certain opponents and - worst of all - enemies who dodge or block will do so on every swing.
      • The Winmillion is also the only 4 star sword to lack a 5 star upgrade, so those who use this weapon without knowing it get a nasty surprise when they learn that they need to craft another sword, possibly starting from 2 star, to replace it.
    • The Mecha Knight Kit pickup. Mecha Knights are the Construct's Elite Mook so you'd expect just as much from summoning one, right? You do get a fairly durable distraction, but the mech's damage scales terribly to the point of barely fazing anything in a hurry.
      • The same goes for the Ranger Flares. Which is a shame, since they have ranged attacks and seem to have better AI than mecha kits...
    • The Rocket Hammers you get for clearing each tier of Operation Crimson Hammer are each pretty powerful, and allow you to perform the same "smash, dash and slash" combo Gremlin Thwackers can use, but this can be quite difficult to control if you're not used to it and doesn't offer much of a benefit over the other powerful elemental weapons.
  • Badass Adorable: Pretty much every single living thing you can find in the Clockworks, including the Spiral Knights themselves.
  • Badass Beard: The Drakon will sport one if you go with its first ultimate.
  • Bag of Spilling: You lose all usable items and your vitapod upon returning to town. Perhaps the Spiral Knights contribute them to the higher authority?
  • Baleful Polymorph: Gorgos are former devilites that didn't put any effort into their jobs and were transformed into fat flying blobs.
  • Beating A Dead Player: Enemies don't intentionally do this, but all of the big-hitting mobs can launch corpses across the room if they hit them, and Greaver status clouds can cause effects on dead players.
  • BFS: The Troika line. So big that the first two swords, both of them filled with cracks, are said to rely less on cutting and more on crushing your enemies (and seeing them driven before you, according to the Kamarin). The third sword, though repaired, still mentions blunt force in its description.
    • Most if not all of the 5-star swords are absolutely huge.
    • The Hatchet and its upgraded variety, the Heavy Hatchet could also count, despite the fact that they're extremely low-level.
  • Big Bad: King Tinkinzar, leader of the enemy Gremlins and (alledgedly) the original creator and master of Cradle and the Clockworks.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The main hub for Tier 2 is a haunted hotel with a ghost concierge. That and the Candlestick Keep levels.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Scarlet Fortress and the Royal Jelly Palace.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: An optimization update was credited with Sega sharing the mysteries of Blast Processing with the development team.
  • Bonus Boss: The Kataclysmic Confrontation event offers a very slim window for players to obtain a Book of Dark Rituals. When given to an NPC in Moorcroft Manor, this allows the user to fight a massive Black Kat named Margrel.
  • Bonus Level Of Hell: The Danger Missions. Completely optional, but provide huge rewards at the end. The bad news is that they're notorious for having the most nightmarish combinations of enemy and status infliction you could think of, as well as having their own specially designed Demonic Spiders for you to weep at the very thought of by the time you're done.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Calibur, Blaster, and Blast Bomb lines. They do normal damage with no extra effects (outside of Valiance's minor knockback ability at 5-Star). However, they do good damage without having to worry about resists or triggering any Demonic Spider abilities from the elemental slimes, have semi-unique abilities (Calibur's charge attack, Valiance's knockback, Blast Bomb's DPS), and you don't even need to bother with buying recipes because Missions will give you the recipes for free.
    • However, don't be fooled. The Cobalt line of armor (and Defender shield) that you get free recipes for are generally considered the worst 5* gear in the game, given they're completely outclassed by all other piercing defense.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Double Subverted; Guns do require reloads (Some guns can only fire one or two shots before needing one). However, if you use a gun with a six bullet clip, fire five shots, and wait a split second, you can fire another six shots without your character reloading.
    • Not to mention you never actually run out of ammo "reserves".
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The Snarbolax's boss room contains one of those bells you've seen throughout the dungeon. Obviously, hitting him with the bell's stun effect is the only way to knock his invincibility effect out. Bonus points for the fact that Snarby does a couple of hit-and-runs during the previous levels, including one in an Inescapable Ambush room with no bell. Also a Tactical Suicide Boss, because he's only vulnerable to bell-stun whilst using his bite combo (unless you use a vortex to drag him to the bell), and the fight would be much harder if he just spammed ground thorns and spikes from the corners.
    • Justified- it turns out the recon teams that first explored the place set up the bells to help you.
    • A less justified instance is the Roarmulus Twins. The gremlins have designed two massive missile-bomb-laser-firing war machines, and put them in a room together, pointing at each other.
      • To be fair, there's walls blocking their shots. If the knights didn't hit switches with careful timing, they WOULD be invincible.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Giant Lichen Colonies. For a while, they were the only users of piercing damage and thus no-one was properly defended against them. In addition to a bigger version of the spine-shooting spin the normal Lichen Colony uses, they can summon large thorns from the ground in a large area around them. To make it worse, they love using a Flash Step to ground thorn combo. Their appearance is usually preventable, but some rooms seem engineered to force one (Lichen Colony + 4 normal lichens behind two rows of stone blocks, anyone?), or, in tier 3, start with them.
  • Breath Weapon: Zombies have literal versions. Gun Puppies and Kats also fire bullets from their mouths, although the Gun Puppy at least has the excuse of being a construct.
    • Retrodes could also count, but instead of breathing, they shoot out laser beams. It looks like breathing, though, because Retrodes and Zombies share the same animations. Just look at the way a Zombie wipes its face after breathing, then look at a Retrode's animation after it shoots its laser.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Energy is the secondary currency of the game, usable for buying gear without having to gather any materials, opening energy gates, and buying keys to Shadow Lairs. Energy can be traded in blocks of 100 for crowns, or bought with real world money in certain amounts.
  • Bullet Hell: Branching spawn triggers in Arenas mean that you can sometimes have up to sixteen Gun Puppies at the same time. In T3 they fire 5 bullets every time they attack.
    • In two of Lord Vanaduke's phases, the camera pivots to be directly overhead and the game turns into this.
  • Cap: These are put in place in the earlier stratas for your gear (i.e. a 5* sword will do only slightly more damage over a 1* sword in the first strata, but keep gaining power in strata 2 and beyond). They Hand Wave it by saying that the Core powers everything including your gear, so the closer to the Core you get the more your gear powers up.
    • Bonuses from U Vs or equipment usually caps out at Maximum, though defense on armors isn't capped. For example, if your Skolver set also has Freeze Resist High UV, you can break the cap, and be basically immune from most sources of Freeze.
  • Camera Screw: See Fake Difficulty. This is especially evident during the fight with Lord Vanaduke- both his strongest minions and many of his attacks have high damage but long start up times before they attack, and if you can't see them then the attack will probably hit you without you having any time to do anything about it.
    • This mainly becomes a problem when enemies approach from the south (bottom) of the screen.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Pit Bosses just walk around the brawls while saying stuff like "Looks like someone's getting a promotion." and "We can use a guy like you in management." to power-up their allies.
  • Cats Are Mean: Spookats either lull you in with their adorable looks, or do NOT like the living getting close. Mewkats, however, love the company of just about anyone.
  • Character Level: Characters don't level up, but their equipment does, and the level of your gear is the standard by which Broken Bridges are repaired.
  • Charged Attack: Every single weapon has one of these and can be charged up by holding down the attack button. Though, each weapon has differing charge times and can have different effects.
    • Bombs can only be placed down after charging them. If you fail to charge them all the way, you'll simply put the bomb back down without placing it.
    • All enemies have specific animations they go through whilst preparing to attack, accompanied by a distinctive three-pronged aura underneath them indicating where they will attack to. As the tiers get higher, the amount of time they play these charging animations gets shorter...
  • Chiptune: Some tracks mix chiptune and conventional instruments.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: Players start with two weapon slots note , and can use whatever weapons they wish to in both slots. The starting loadout is The Musketeer, with a bomb available from the first mission.
  • Circling Stars: This combined with a gong means that someone just got Stunned.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Lord Vanaduke's attacks usually cause flaming rubble to fall from the ceiling.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: You can select this at character creation and buy a different color later on for crowns. This color will show up here and there on your armor, and it will be the color of your dot on the minimap and your name, as well as a few other small things in the UI.
    • When playing team-based PVP games, your character's color is changed to match the rest of your team.
  • Combos: Very useful as with swords, if all hits connect, then the last hit will knock down or flinch the enemy.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The more knights there are in a squad, the more damage enemies can deal and take, so it can sometimes be easier to solo an area than bring three other players to help. Sometimes.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Continuing (without your emergency revive) costs Sparks of Life. If you don't have any, it costs 50 energy or all of your heat gains if you don't revive before the end of the level. Needless to say, you're not supposed to waste energy.
  • The Corruption: The Swarm.
  • Cosmetic Award: Prestige symbols, which appear just to the left of your name. Getting the highest one especially requires you to be pretty dedicated to completing the daily prestige missions for quite an extended period of time, since it requires 45 thousand prestige and a Vanguard gets 390 prestige from prestige missions on a good day (since the third prestige mission varies and sometimes requires absurd payments to complete, such as 5-star weapons). Not counting the prestige from ranked missions, it takes around 4 months worth of daily play to get that much. They do nothing but look cool and show off how long you've been playing seriously.
  • Cute Kitten: The Seraphynx and Mewkats.
  • Cute Machines: Love Puppies. Especially when you read the description for the True Love Locket they drop.
  • Cycle of Hurting: One of the biggest threats in Tier 3, due to perfect status infliction rates. Get hit by enemy with the Shock attribute, get paralyzed by Shock, get hit by another enemy with Shock, get paralyzed by Shock being reapplied, repeat until dead. Or: Step on freeze floor, watch health drain off as the trap reapplies Freeze to keep you there.
    • Winter Wisps are particularly notorious for doing this thanks to their inability to directly damage knights and being known to stop mid-patrol route. Unless you're playing with a group or have a good-enough shield, you may as well just leave.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Royal Jelly, not really because of a massive health pool, but because it regenerates its HP by absorbing its minions.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Sword: The Faust and Gran Faust swords have some of the highest stats of any weapon in the game, but conversely have a chance to Curse the user when using the charge attack, which damages them if they use certain weapons. Similarly the Fang of Vog has a chance of setting the player on Fire.
  • Darkness Equals Death: If you wander into the dark areas of Candlestick Keep, a Grimalkin will form and start hunting you until you reach a lit area.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: A couple of weapon lines work like this.
    • The Cutter line of swords does lots of little hits.
    • The Autogun line LIVES by this trope. Each bullet is pitifully weak, but when you charge it, each of the 15 bullets quickly adds up to absurd amounts of DPS, especially on Blitz Needle.
    • The Dark Reprisal series is a bomb version of this, instead of exploding normally the series releases a vortex of spheres that do relatively little damage when they hit an enemy, but they hit a lot and fast.
  • Die Bush Die: Bushes (and similar decoration objects) may drop money or hearts. Obstacle boxes drop nothing, but they may be hiding buttons for unlocking doors. To top it off, the solid blocks that take three hits to break will sometimes actually be rock jellies, only revealing themselves after being hit..
  • Difficult but Awesome:
    • The Blitz Needle, Callahan, Sudaruska, Dread Venom Striker, and Rocket Hammer. All of them are difficult to aim/control, or leave you open for a fair bit (or both), but have very worthwhile effects and damage if you can control them effectively.
    • Alchemer guns all fire bouncing bullets- by aiming at the edge (or sometimes middle) of an enemy hitbox, the bullets will bounce off the same enemy multiple times, doing a lot of damage in the process.
    • The Catalyzer lines- the charge attack allows you to plant rotating orbs on an enemy that explode when shot normally. The tricky part is that catalyzer shots travel incredibly slowly, and the position of the orbs when they explode can change which direction an enemy is knocked.
    • Although not that difficult, using bombs. Anyone can just run in, place a bomb, then get out. The difficult part is knowing where and when to place a bomb to hit most enemies while evading their attacks and not hindering teammates. (Common case of high-knockback Blast Bomb line or any bombs that hold enemies in place.) Bad bombers will get mauled at some point if they aren't careful with their bomb charge/fuse time. Good bombers will do most of the job for you, applying status effect en masse (Something swords and guns in this game can't do effectively), and blowing up anything that moves.
      • Try going full bomber. Most people would have a sword as backup for emergencies.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game becomes much more difficult every tier.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Certain enemies start jumping around all over the place the moment a projectile gets anywhere near them, and most projectiles are slow enough to miss. It's also almost always possible for the player to do this consistently, assuming they haven't stumbled into Bullet Hell.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Your character walks a lot slower when firing/charging most guns, and comes to a complete halt to unleash a charge attack and to fire certain guns (i.e. the Autogun and Magnus lines)
  • Downloadable Content: March 2012 introduced Expansion Missions, which are gauntlets the player can purchase in the real world for a small fee to obtain exotic gear. The first of them is "Operation: Crimson Hammer", which pits players against the gremlin commander Warmaster Seerus.
  • Drop the Hammer: Gremlins tend to try to smash you with hammers made out of their wrenches. Warmaster Seerus wields a rocket hammer that can be obtained by the player.
  • Dual Boss: The Roarmulus Twins (both their normal and Shadow Lair variants) and the Rabid Snarbolaxes. Only in the latter case do they have separate health.
  • Dummied Out: Played straight with Sleep: It's not a possible Stratum theme, no weapons can cause it, and the only monsters that could inflict it have been since removed from the game. Players can still use it through Sleep vials, however.
    • Same with using minerals to set enemy type and/or environmental theme of the gates. Achievements and some NPC dialogs are still there, but the ability is gone.
    • Hilariously enough, you can still buy Sleep resist trinkets with rare Tokens, even though it's completely impossible to get affected by it.
  • Dungeon Shop: Perhaps the most important feature of the midpoint levels is the recipe merchant.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A Devilite and Soul Jelly first appeared in a browser-based game called Underwhirled Drift, designed for Three Rings' "Whirled" project.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Possibly the Snarbolax.
    • The Swarm. So far the only members of the swarm that have been seen are all located in the shadow lair and are unkillable, and send wave after wave of corrupted monsters after you that drop nothing and continuously respawn. The echo logs at the end of each boss in the shadow lair describe it as "endless hunger", "a darkness", and "neither beast nor god, it is a creation unlike all."
    • The Apocrean Harvester BREATHES this trope. As does Margrel.
  • Eldritch Location: The Shadow Lairs and the floor that comes after the boss. As well as the Shadows of the Apocrea mission.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There are 3 damage types; Shadow, Piercing, and Elemental (plus normal which is average against everything). Each of the 6 enemy types is resistant to one, neutral to one, and weak to one, and deal different types to the players depending on their family type. Fire deals normal and Shock deals elemental.
  • Empty Room Psych: The maps have plenty of dead ends, some at the end of long detours from the main route. However, all will, at the very least, have enemies, treasure boxes, or minerals.
  • Energy Economy
  • Equipment-Based Progression: The players don't gain experience themselves, instead, you can craft different pieces of armor and weapons, each one with it's own elemental bonuses and weaknesses, and each item requires Experience points (or "Heat") separately, and usually has an additional bonus when they reach its level cap. They (and the levels' difficulty) are also divided on tiers. In order to be allowed to go deeper on the clockworks, you also need to craft better equipment(usually using a level capped item of a lower tier).
  • Eternal Engine: The entire planet can be considered one.
  • Everything Fades: Robots explode, beasts and fiends vanish in a puff of smoke, and zombies disintegrate. Item drops stay until picked up, but uncollected hearts blink out of existence after a time. The only enemies that don't disappear are Gremlins and Zombies, if there is something around that might revive them (Grim Totems or Gremlin Healers in Tier 3).
    • In Lockdown, it's justified with a combination of non-lethal blows and cloaking technology.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Charge Attack of the Calibur, its upgrades and the Fang of Vog is a 360 spin that can hit multiple times. The Spur and its upgrades are mechanized swords with built-in motors that are constantly spinning.
    • The Dark Retribution line bombs from the Crimson Hammer mission cause damaging orbs to spin around the bomb. They still appear, though much smaller, when the bomb is merely being held.
  • Evolving Weapon: Not just with weapons, almost all pieces of equipment (except Vitapods and Trinkets) evolve by gaining heat and being forged, which is gained primarily through killing the Clockworks enemies. All pieces of equipment start from level 1, and can reach a max of level 10. With each level, stats for each piece of equipment grow, and when some milestones (of levels) are attained, some bonus effects are added (e.g., decreased Charge Attack time for weapons, more health bonus for armor).
    • Most higher tier items need their lower tier equivalent as part of the crafting recipe, and at a certain level for 4 and 5 star items to boot.
  • Exploding Cubes
  • Expy: The PvP mode Blast Network is Bomberman in all but name.
  • The Faceless: The knights' faces are always either hidden in shadow or obscured by their helmet if it covers their face (i.e., the Wolver line helmets). At first glance they look like robots but the description of several items and the existence of the Mecha Knights confirms that they're organic.
    • The Jelly Armor line of equipment's helmets are wraparound and see-through. They seem to suggest the Knights' heads are actually balls of shadow, with their eyes set in, so they might literally be faceless.
  • Fake Difficulty: The heavy delays and lag spikes that accompany almost every Clockwork run make the game even harder than it would normally be, causing a lot of unforseen damage. This is especially apparant with T3 Devilites: They attack very fast but can easily be interrupted by damage, which basically is the key in fighting them, next to shielding of course. One will need clairvoyance to actually do that with the delay though. Their sheer number and jumping around will also often screw up the auto-targetting, causing knights to flail after a different enemy than the one they want.
    • The camera is fixed at such a perspective that much more space above the Knight is visible than below. This makes it extremely difficult fighting ranged enemies from above, since the projectiles will be much closer to you by the time you can see them, and you have to get close to dangerous distances to even target them. Additionally, enemies with heavy hitting long-reach attacks (such as Lumbers and Grimalkins) can wind up on you without seeing them if you're at just the wrong distance. Maps tend not to lead you top-down too often, but it does happen, and it also affects arena strategy.
      • This is a lesson learned very quickly by many newcomers at Blast Network. Bombs placed at the bottom of maps are completely offscreen to those at the top, so if you control the bottom of the map with long-reaching bombs you can cause a lot of trouble for anyone above you.
    • It can be difficult to judge a horizontally-traveling projectile's exact location, since Knights and monsters are more than 1 tile high. This is particularly true when they're flying over non-uniform terrain or empty space. And worst when the projectile is fired from a different elevation, in which case a projectile that looks 3 tiles above a space could actually just be drawn very high, and hit the Knight there.
    • The Roarmulus Twin levels are especially infamous for how laggy and stuttery they are. Considering the lag is caused by high-explosive rockets flying in all directions that you have to dodge, often while fighting things, the end results are often unpleasant for many people.
    • Retrodes were a big cause for this before the Jan 4, 2012 patch being infamous for taking decent sized chunks off of anyone near them almost immediately after they spawned, though the nerf they and other enemies got in that patch might have been overkill depending on who you ask.
    • The difficulty of the Shroud of the Apocrea event is based entirely on the fact that the Harvester stalking you has high health and the ability to root you in place as they sap your health through your shield. In addition, the graves containing Freed Souls also frequently release Bombies and Pale Scarabs (which are arguably the single most frustrating mini monster) and attacking them is futile because there can be dozens of them onscreen. It's even worse for sword users because the Pale Scarabs can somehow damage you while still in their attack animation and colliding with a wall, where you'd expect them to be vulnerable. Throw in the game's trademark lag and you've got a mission that will eat your Sparks of Life.
      • Tortodrones are far worse. Many of their attacks take up the majority of the screen and linger for some time, homing in wherever you are standing. Tortodrones make the harvester look helpless by comparison.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: Devilite Overtimers have them.
  • Flavor Text: Every equip has this. Many of them invoke Lemony Narrator. Some of them are downright scary. Many are Shout Outs
    Triglav: No stories have been told about this almighty blade, but that's only because people are rarely in the mood to talk after having been crushed by a mountain.
    Stagger Storm: Though it was originally developed by the Spiral Order to harmlessly subdue dangerous species, how you deal with foes unfortunate enough to be caught in the storm is entirely up to you.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Spookats are already adorable, yet vicious. Some backstory events reveal them to be the spirits of the long-dead Kat tribe, a race of feline creatures known for their savagery.
    • Gun Puppies never stop being cute, even when they're riddling your corpse with showers of projectiles.
    • Dust Bunnies are a more literal example. They're cute and fluffy, but a dozen or two at once can quickly ruin your day.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The signature attack of Retrodes, which does a lot of damage and inflicts status if the Retrode is elemental. Also possessed by the Roarmulus Twins after they reach their third phase. Also the basic attack of the Seraphynx.
  • Friendly Fireproof:
    • Averted for some enemies: Trojans, Rocket Puppies, Toxoils, and shocked Quicksilvers will all happily kill other mobs if you line it up just right. The Ice Cube and Blast Cube monsters effectively turn into bombs upon death. Played straight for the players (however, they can still hurt each other by shooting an explosive cube next to someone, or by pushing mobs into allies). Lumbers can also stun mobs, but won't deal any damage.
    • Partially averted for summoned Mecha Knights. While their normal attacks can't hurt players, they occasionally suffer from Shock and it can damage nearby players.
  • Game Face: Spookats normally appear to be Ridiculously Cute Critters. If you get too close to most of them, though, they start grimacing and attacking anyone nearby.
    • You can also invoke this with a helmet accessory by the same name.
  • Girlish Pigtails: The Spiral Tailed Helm and its derivatives have these attached to it.
  • Glass Cannon: The Mad Bomber set causes this. You become weaker to the four main status effects, but each piece gives two levels (out of six) of charge time reduction and damage bonus for bombs. The Chaos set also qualifies (CTR+Damage bonus low for all weapons instead of just bomb bonuses but with curse weakness as well).
    • The Wolver set and Bristling Buckler is a mild example, having slightly lower defense than other sets in exchange for increased sword damage.
    • The Swiftstrike Buckler is a shield that gives you 3 levels of attack speed increase, but since it's a 3 star equip and there are no higher versions of it, you trade in a lot of defense potential.
    • The Striker in Lockdown is this combined with a Fragile Speedster: Boosted sword damage and speed, a dash ability, base health in T3 (compared to Recon +10 and Guardian +12).
    • The Black Kat Cowl leaves you with increased vulnerability to pretty much everything but frost, especially curse status, and doesn't really defend against Shadow and Normal damage as well as other helms. In return, you gain increased movement speed and an all-around High damage bonus.
  • Global Currency Exception: Brinks takes the tokens you get from treasure boxes and bosses. His shop also holds many unique equips and trinkets.
    • The same goes for things bought with Krogmo coins. This is at least justified by the Mini Game Zone nature of where you get them, and the rich king who runs it.
  • Green Hill Zone: Aurora Isles, Jigsaw Valley, and Treasure Vault levels. May or may not have the simplicity that a Green Hill Zone implies.
  • Gun Twirling: How you reload most of the guns.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted. They don't dispatch enemies nearly as fast as swords do, but range advantage is often worth it (especially when fighting Vanaduke). They are also a good means of hitting switches or explosive cubes at a safe distance, and may be used to lure enemies into areas more suitable for players to fight in.
    • Played straight however with the gear meant for gunslingers with lower defenses and weaker secondary benefits then their bomber and swordsman counterparts.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Playing on higher tiers gives you more crowns so you can purchase more recipes, more heat so you can upgrade your weapons faster, and higher-level materials and rarities. The second half of any tier is much more profitable than the first half, too.
    • Danger Missions are incredibly difficult compared to the rest of the game, but if you survive them without having to use any energy revives then the payout is very much worth it.
    • The July 29, 2013 patch added an actual difficulty setting, with scaling rewards to boot.
  • Heart Container: Zig-Zagged.
    • Most armors/helmets also give you health bonuses, as well as certain trinkets. However, as with other gear, these bonuses scale past a certain depth of dungeon.
    • There are also "Vitapods," which increase the owner's health bar by the number specified on the pod. However, they're immediately dropped once you leave the Clockworks—meaning you need a new one for every single dungeon crawl. (This is not as irritating as it sounds, as they drop fairly frequently and, if you start from Moorcroft Manor or Emberlight, can be purchased from in-town vendors.)
  • Helpful Mook: The rare version of the Gun Puppy family, the Love Puppy, heals you. And then you kill them for the health trinkets they can drop.
  • Herd Hitting Attack: Bombs. The Shock status effect also hits anything around the afflicted when it triggers. And yes, there is a bomb capable of inflicting shock.
    • There's also a line of bombs that pull nearby enemies into a tight cluster for easy combos. One of said bombs ALSO inflicts shock.
  • Holiday Mode: Three of them. Two of them change the look of the main town, Haven, and all of them have ways for you to find tokens that you can exchange for costumes.
    • Around Halloween, Haven gets darker and pumpkins are scattered around as the characters celebrate the Dark Harvest (which sounds much more evil than it actually is). You get to hunt for the Punkin King, who gives you three types of candy. Each of these candies is exchanged for a different type of mask with the most expensive versions lasting permanently. Each candy can also be traded for boxes which give you orange versions of lower-tier armor.
    • Around the Holiday season, Haven is covered with snow and festive decorations and the characters celebrate Winterfest. You get to help out Impostoclaus (a giant jelly with a moustache, glasses, a pipe, and a santa hat) by running presents across a fiend-filled-field and protecting him from "Grinchlins." Doing so gives you tokens that you can trade in for Santy hats, the more expensive versions of which cause snow to fall around you. The tokens can also be traded in for scarves and for boxes which give you white versions of lower-tier armor, and you can randomly find "Humbug Hats" by killing the Grinchlin Stalkers in the hardest version of the event-specific mission.
    • Lastly, to celebrate the birthday of the game, there is a Caketastrophe event. You get to help out Biscotti, a chef whose cakes turned into monsters after he tried using dark matter to mass-produce cakes for the celebration. Haven doesn't actually change much for this event, but you can trade in the tokens from the creep-cakes for cupcake-esque hats, the most expensive version of which matches your player's color and lasts permanently.
  • Hub Level: Haven (the Arcade, specifically) contains all the gates that lead to the various dungeons of the Clockworks. There are also various checkpoints along the way to let players heal up and prepare for the next stratum.
  • Invisibility: The main power of Recons in Lockdown. The second ability that Maskeraith possesses is this. Ghostmane Stalkers are the only enemy with this ability, though it works much like recons.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The player can equip shovels and wrenches to attack enemies with.
    • As well as booby trapped gifts, cups of cocoa, snowmen...
  • Infernal Retaliation: Oilers, the flame variety of jelly, become more powerful when lit on fire. For starters, they get healed when they are lit on fire. They also become resistant to elemental damage, meaning only shadow or normal damage weapons are effective against them. Since they're on fire, their Flash Step attacks become a much bigger threat. To top it off, the oil that they spew everywhere gets lit on fire too, making them leave a wall of fire wherever they go.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Most apparent in the Deconstruction Zone and the second part of the Royal Jelly's palace, as well as Silver Keys for players' lockboxes and Shadow Keys for Shadow Lairs.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: A few. Attacks just bounce right off Grimalkins (or through them), gold-colored Shankles and Wisps never expose their weak spots, and Phantoms just get back up later whenever you knock them down.
  • It's The Only Way To Be Sure: Herex commands the lab that Compound 42 is being produced in be burned down after the substance becomes too dangerous. This goes poorly.
  • Jack of All Stats: The items you get from Missions (which seem to be standard-issue from their flavor text) pretend to be this. The defense items all provide standard health bonuses but none of the items have any battle or status modifiers (good or bad), meaning equipping only them gives you good health and defense against a common damage type, but vanilla attack damage and no defense against status effects or specialized damage that isn't piercing.
    • Master of None: Most of this gear is either mediocre or greatly outclassed by tier 3. For example, the Barbarous Thorn Shield not ONLY gives piercing/normal defense like Aegis (albeit marginally less), but also gives Sword Damage Bonus on top of that.
    • The weapons are a subversion; they lack elemental or status damage, but when fully upgraded their specialty is knockback, and they do it very well.
  • Kaizo Trap: Has since been fixed, but Ironclaw Munitions Factory had a nasty one for a couple of hours after being added: The lasers that covered the hallway to the boss elevator were invisible, and since you have to lower the fences blocking the lasers to get to the elevator... For a lesser version, the Royal Jelly's minions don't die until after his somewhat long death animation finishes playing so they can kill you before No Ontological Inertia kicks in.
  • Kill It with Fire: A line of gremlin monsters does this. And dear god, they used to do it far too well. The Danger Mission "Compound 49" is this in spades.
  • King Mook: The Royal Jelly is simply an enlarged version of the standard pink Jellies wearing a crown.
    • In fact all major bosses act like this. The Twins are basically giant Rocket Puppies, Snarbolax is like a huge Wolver, and even Lord Vanaduke basically has the same AI as Trojans.
  • Lag Cancel: Shield Canceling: Using your shield before the end of a standard combo or right after a charge attack cancels the rest of the animation. Like all other shield techniques, very important to survival.
  • Lethal Lava Land: One of the various areas in the Clockworks.
    • Firestorm Citadel is arguably the most difficult of Lethal Lava Land levels if not the most difficult levels in the game as it is.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Trojans. They can unleash a burst of energy that damages and shocks anything nearby, their sword attack does tremendous damage, knockback, and stun, and they can even execute a damaging dash (sometimes followed up by their sword attack). Add on the fact that only attacks to the crystal sticking out of the back of them can damage them and it's easy to see why they are commonly cheesed out by super-effective Blitz Needle charges.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The Game. Skillful use of your shield is vital to surviving: it not only allows you to absorb a certain amount of damage without harm, but the shield-bubble applies a knockback to all nearby foes, allowing you to push them towards something (a Wolver bell) or just away from you. There's also the Shield Bash technique to stun enemies. Trojans, Mecha Knights, and Darkfang Thwackers also carry shields to block attacks with.
    • Regenerating Health: The shield-bubble can only take so much pounding before it caves in. It will come back after 8 seconds, and slowly regenerates up to its full defense value over time.
  • Magikarp Power: The items you can trade for Jelly Gems for are this. The Sealed Sword, a heavy sword with a rather unreliable charged attack, can be eventually upgraded into the Divine Avenger note  or the Gran Faust note . The Antigua can become an Argent Peacemaker note  or a Sentenza note 
  • Magitek: It's firmly established that magic exists, and that technology has managed to catch up to the point where the two are barely distinguishable aside from inherent asthetics. (And magic items possibly being haunted or sapient.)
  • Meaningful Name: The Faust and Gran Faust both refer to, well, Faust- they deal shadow damage and have a chance to curse you for a long time if you use their charge attack, referencing the archetypal Deal with the Devil.
  • Mighty Glacier: Guardians in Lockdown: The Guardian Shield ability not only makes them about twice as hard to kill as anyone else, they can shield allies and even heal on the field. They possess the highest health of the three classes, and slight boosts to Sword and Bomb use. They are also the slowest movers on the field.
  • Mirror Boss: Arkus is comparable to a boss version of a playable Knight. He even uses Sparks of Life to reboot his armor twice when downed.
  • Mon: July 29, 2013 introduced Battle Sprites, small constructs that hover by and assist the player. You are given an opportunity to try out all three before being allowed to keep one, then you can buy the other two from the Supply Depot.
  • Monster Suit: A player variant; the Skelly Suits and Chromalisk armors, on top of their ability to resist damage types belonging to more hazardous creatures, tend to make the player look like a demon and a lizard man respectively due to the isometric view coupled with their general design.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Arena levels, any of the Danger Rooms. The amount of enemies spawned can be daunting... and at least one wave will contain foes that are difficult to stagger.
    • Royal Jelly Palace is mostly about dealing with large amounts of jello cubes trying to kill you.
  • Mundane Utility: The descriptions for some items state they can be used for non-combat purposes, such as the Volcanic Salamander Mask being used as a coffee pot, the Volcanic Salamander Suit being used as a stove, the Heater Shield being used as a stove top, and the Chroma Tear being used as a contact lense.
    • Some descriptions invert this such as the Punch Gun intended to be used in emergencies to blast open damaged drop pods and the Venom Veiler being used for destroying insects on crops (and can also apparently destroy the crops themselves).
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Snarbolax is one thing, but then there's "Herex, the Whispering Venom."
  • Nerf: The Chaos set (damage bonus but stat weaknesses) and the Royal Jelly boss, among other things.
    • The Argent Peacemaker, which used to deal both Elemental and Piercing damage, allowing handgun users to destroy both Fiends and Undead, before it was changed to only deal Elemental. In comparison the Sentenza also now only dealt Shadow damage, which is arguably a buff since its Piercing damage only made it useful for Beasts and Gremlins, which are programmed to dodge gunfire.
    • Alpha Wolvers have one of the strongest attacks in the game wherein they jump forward and bite three times in a row. It's capable of caving in even the strongest piercing-resistant shield if all three strikes connect, but the attack goes in a straight line and has a long warning ever since a nerf, making it incredibly easy to dodge. Before then, they would re-target between the three bites, meaning the attack was highly powerful, had a long reach, and was extremely difficult to avoid. Before the nerf the only reliable way to avoid the attack was simply to stay far away from them, which was problematic due to their history of jumping and warping around in the lower tiers.
    • Depending on who you ask, you might hear that the change to the way that crystal-type bombs work was one of these. The official story, however, is that the bomb was simply too much unlike how bombs were supposed to be. They were long-range snipers and powerful single-enemy hitters rather than area effect bombs. They're definitely a lot less common in Lockdown now, however.
  • Never Found the Body: The ultimate fate of the Alpha Team, supposedly one of the best knights the Spiral Knights had to offer. It's said that they found a way into the core and never came out. It's also said that their souls inhabit the bodies of Trojan Knights.
    • With the dawning of missions and an extra recon module, it was revealed that they did make it into the core.
    • Also the fate of Warmaster Seerus in Operation: Crimson Hammer.
  • Ninja Looting: As of the July 29, 2013 update, completely axed as all loot became instanced. Before then, vials, pills, and vitapods went to the first person to collect them.
  • No Conservation Of Mass: The Royal Jelly spits out mini-jellies periodically in battle, at no cost to itself. It then absorbs these jellies now and then for health.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: The Knights themselves only get knocked down no matter what hits them. Any nearby Knight can help them up. They even continue to blink while downed.
  • Noodle Implements: An in-universe example: A memo on a devilite workstation in the danger mission "Heart of Ice" asks the employee to explain why he needs "999 'Open minded' devilites, 50 barrels of 'whatever frostifurs eat,' and a 'towering pillar of everfrost' and 'all the frozen souls it brings forth.'" For the players, however, this just helps clarify what they already knew was happening.
  • No One Sees the Boss: King Tinkinzar. He is never seen by the common Gremlins, his orders (supposedly) being carried out by the Crimson Order.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The Royal Jelly's death also causes every other enemy in the room to splat.
    • Though you need to beat them both down, destroying one of the Roarmulus Twins automatically destroys the other.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Ironclaw Munitions Factory has electric floors and rocket launchers set up along its corridors. Worker safety is not top priority for gremlins.
  • Not Completely Useless: Poison in general is a very underwhelming status effect, lowering enemy attack power (when the best defense is to not get hit in the first place) and preventing them from being healed (when there are usually more attractive options for neutralizing healers). It is all but necessary, however, for dealing with the Royal Jelly, who heals rapidly and is easily capable of outhealing an unprepared party.
    • Also goes for when it's applied to players. Just avoid getting hit until it wears off and don't attempt to use healing items in that period. Unlike poison in most other games, it causes no damage by itself.
    • Poisoned enemies also take more and deal less damage, making it only semi-useless.
      • Most useful aspect of poison is that on enemies it causes them to take damage when healed by other enemies. Keep a group inflicted with poison and their medic becomes one of your greatest allies.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The May 17 update had a couple. While the Basil change note  was quickly accepted, the binding rule change note  causes uproars due to coming out of nowhere and leaving a bunch of people with equips they were planning to sell but no longer could.
    • In addition, the more appreciated AFK kicker for the Blast Network.
  • One-Winged Angel: Lord Vanaduke does a variation of this. Although he starts out already big and monstrous, he takes the trope Up to Eleven in his final form. Upon significant damage, he will lose his mask and reveal his shadowed face, commencing the transformation. Fire and lava burst from cracks in his armor, he begins to glow as if possessed, and orbs of cursed flame spin around him, forming a halo as if he has become a god. In addition, he is surrounded by corrupted Slag Guards.
    • The Jelly King/Royal Jelly does this as well, except he loses his crown to become more powerful, rather than gaining it.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Kats are ghosts. Phantoms also apply.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Arena levels have three stages, and you can proceed to the next depth after finishing any stage, but most players do all three stages for the mass of crowns earned in the process, whether they're prepared or not. Many players will also wait for arena levels before going down an elevator for this reason.
    • Danger Rooms are optional areas (with energy locks) that are basically a long, difficult arena stage, including the massive crown payoff afterward.
    • Despite being a random draw, this is why some people prefer Graveyards over Treasure Vaults. Once you can deal with Phantoms, all that is left are element-neutral zombies with predictable spawns. And a lot of them.
  • Personal Space Invader: Zombies have a leaping attack that cause this if (and that is a huge if) they connect directly. This used to be the only way the attack damaged you. Now the attack simply causes instant damage if they come anywhere close to you, changing it from a powerful but easy to dodge attack to an annoying (relatively) low-damage far-range attack.
  • Player Headquarters: The Ready Room, the small computer room that the player goes into every time they log in, as well as the player's Guild Hall that they can go into after joining a guild.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire is an element that both the player and enemies can use.
  • Point of No Return: Party buttons act like this per level, as they cause a gate to appear behind you when you step on them to open the gate in front of you.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Weapons paths that deal lesser damage for an improved bonus vs a certain enemy type (i.e. Cautery Sword, Cold Iron series, Heavy Deconstructor) tend to be this as the lesser damage vs everything else is too great to ignore (although there can be other potential benefits, such as Cold Iron's charge attack being able to reliably score more hits)
  • Press X to Die: The effect of the Curse status effect. As a bonus, the most common way for a player to be afflicted with Curse is using the Faust or Gran Faust's charge attack.
  • Pun: A few of the level names are this, like Everybody's Fired and Hiring Freezenote .
    • It only got worse after the introduction of missions. The most notable being a mission where you have to stop a gremlin logging operation. The name? Axes of Evil.
      • Also, when Biotech Hahn decides to lecture you on piercing, elemental and shadow damage. The name of the missions? Pierce of Cake, Elemental my Dear, and The Shadow Knows, respectively.
  • Punched Across the Room: Lumbers do this to anything they hit. The player can do this to lighter enemies with heavy swords and the Calibur's charged combo.
  • Purple Is The New Black: Shadow-based weaponry and attacks are usually purple (one notable exception being the Faust and Gran Faust, which are burgundy). Shadow damage and defense is also depicted by a purple meter. Dark Matter is a purple mineral.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The levels within each depth are randomly generated when the gates activate. Each depth also has up to five possible levels that cycle every few minutes. Players can influence the themes of each strata with mineral deposits while the gate is still inactive (except for boss strata, which are fixed).
  • Reverse Shrapnel: The Dark Reprisal bomb causes a bunch of dark projectiles to spin around the bomb's detonation point, constantly damaging enemies that run into it.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In classic Zelda style. Some of the destroyable objects even strongly resemble similar objects from Zelda.
  • Recursive Ammo: The Alchemer series of handguns uses elemental bullets that also split up at higher weapon levels.
    • Lord Vanaduke's mask, in his second and fourth stages, shoot large bullets that whirl around and shoot streams of smaller bullets.
  • Retirony: Mentioned in the description of the Blackhawk gun. "...It's said to contain the soul of a knight who was only two days from retirement."
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Snipes. Please don't step on them. Also mewkats, which are tiny, higher-pitched, non-aggressive versions of the spookats.
  • Royal Rapier: The Flourish series. It even replaces normal damage with piercing damage.
  • Rule 34: Yes, it exists. For some reason, gremlins are the biggest victims in this case. And of course, wolvers and the Snarbolax.
  • Salaryman: The Devilites. They throw office supplies at you.
  • Schizo Tech
  • Shield Bash: Shielding for a half second causes all enemies surrounding the player to be knocked back. This trick is just as important as actually blocking attacks to surviving.
  • Signature Style: Ian McConville, who draws the webcomics Mac Hall and Three Panel Soul, works for Three Rings Design and was the lead artist for this game. It shows.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Silkwings and Gremlin Menders are capable of healing their allies, which are probably beating on you at the same time. Both are very dangerous if left alone; The Silkwing heals enemies by touch, meaning it can heal enemies fast, and Menders get area heals and even a Revive in higher tiers.
  • Shout-Out: Lots.
    • The "Sentenza" gun is said to have been wielded by one who possessed "angel eyes".
    • One of the "Wolver Den" levels is "Raving Rabids.
    • Also The "Nameless Poncho" is a shout-out to the Dollars Trilogy. The creators seem to love those movies.
    • The Achievement for defeating the Snarbolax is "O Frabjous Day!". Pretty much everything mentioning the Snarbolax is a reference to a Lewis Carroll story. In particular, Jabberwocky.
    • One of the old, removed monsters in the Jelly line was called the Jelly Green Giant, after the Jolly Green Giant of canned and frozen veggie fame.
    • They even pulled it off in an advertisement. Take a look at this and don't even dare to say you didn't get such a blatant reference.
    • The Magnus's 5 star form is called the Callahan. The descriptions also reference this.
    • The Radiant Silvermail sounds very similar to Radiant Silvergun.
    • There's a technologically-inclined NPC Knight named Bosco in the western part of Haven.
    • The description for the Heavy Demo Helm notes it "...might be handy if you, the master of exploding, take it with you."
    • The Voltedge's charge attack delivers a 1.21 gigawatt shock.
    • A subtle holiday-themed one with the Nightblade's upgrade, Silent Nightblade.
    • The Spiral Pith Helm, instead of looking like a proper archaeologist's pith helm, instead resembles the much larger one worn in the desert by another figure fond of wearing dark, oversized helmets.
    • The achievement for hitting an opponent with a snowball is "Son of a Nutcracker!".
    • A set of armor was available for buying Sonic the Hedgehog CD on Steam or an energy pack that netted you a suit of armor resembling a certain metallic doppleganger. Buying an energy pack at half that cost gave you an accessory that let your knight sport a familiar pair of fox tails.
      • Wolvers spawn in a rolled-up appearance not unlike Tails.
    • The description for the Ash of Agni reads "Once this bomb has left the battlefield in ashes, then, and only then, will your enemies have your permission to die."
    • We can't forget the mission that introduces you to the Snarbolax, Shadow of the Beast.
    • Owlites and the Kat family of enemies are a reference to Edward Lear's poem The Owl And The Pussycat.
    • The Apocrea of 2013's Dark Harvest appear as extremely tall, near-faceless, shadowy figures, who stalk you endlessly, attacking with a combination of Interface Screw and tendrils. Bonus points in that the knights look like children compared to the Apocrea.
    • The appropriately-named Grinchlins of the 2012 Christmas event. They show up in the 2013 event with a base on Mount Krampus, a combination of Krampus and the Grinch's home of Mount Crumpit.
  • Shovel Strike: The Slime Slasher weapon, a beginner's... uh... "sword".
  • Shows Damage: The Roarmulus Twins start breaking down when they take enough damage, signaling a phase change. Vanaduke's mask also does this, completely shattering after the second bullet phase. The Royal Jelly's crown starts breaking after a certain point before completely shattering. The Royal Jelly then gets royally pissed.
  • Situational Sword: The Cautery Sword, which is useless not only because of Crippling Overspecialization, but because you can turn a Brandish (the base for Cautery Sword) into a Nightblade, which does the job better.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Except replace "Slippy Slidey" with "Freezy still...y"; Ice-themed layers mean enemies inflicting Freeze status, which roots you in place. All you can do is use a status remedy or hope your shield can keep you alive until the ice thaws.
  • Smash Mook: Lumbers are huge constructs that can club you with their tree trunk of an arm. Has pretty good range and can stun you, so get out of the way or block. While the attack does speed up as you go deeper, they suffer from a cooldown that is long enough to allow two melee combos if you evade.
  • Spikes Of Doom: Spikes, brambles, poisoned brambles... All of those are annoying obstacles that do more damage in later levels and that enemies often use as cover, since they aren't harmed by them.
    • For extra fun, spikes can be hidden under certain blocks. Not only can you easily step on them right as you destroy the blocks they were hidden under, you just removed an obstacle for the monsters nearby.
    • Jelly cubes were eventually updated to be covered in spikes (in order to justify a gelatinous cube dealing piercing damage, presumably), and can summon spikes from the ground.
  • Spin Attack: The Calibur series of swords has this as their charged attack. The Royal Jelly also goes invulnerable, Turns Red, and spins around the area when it has been weakened enough.
    • The Fang of Vog adds an Incendiary Exponent to the Calibur charge, allowing it to set both user and enemy on fire.
  • Standard Status Effects: Curse (take damage if you use marked weapons), Fire (drains HP), Freeze (can't move or turn), Poison (decreased attack and defense, can't heal), Shock (damage and induces flinching), Sleep (can't do anything, but you regenerate), and Stun (decreased move and attack speed) are available. The player actually gets stronger variations of some effects, like Freeze inflicting damage if the enemy "thaws out".
  • Stun Guns: You have the actual Stun Guns which are low tier weapons that can stun, and then you have the Magnus, which are essentially more powerful two-shot punch guns with a chance of stun.
  • Suicide Attack: Howlitzers. Once the base is destroyed, the skull attempts to charge someone before exploding. Also the Bombies, but those are more like Action Bombs.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: In case that skull on the elevator monitor didn't tip you off, the health pads right before a party button (that spawns the boss) should.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The Graviton Bomb and its more powerful upgrade, the Graviton Vortex.
    • And now the Electron Charge and its upgrades.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Whilst a lot of the Ironclaw Munitions Factory has... moderately decent 'security' (in that it's as dangerous to any intruders as it is to any potential employees...), other parts are significantly more questionable. The elevator to the final level of the three is protected by six giant energy beams... that can be blocked by hitting a switch on your side of the beams.
  • Sword Beam: The Avenger series of swords has these included in the charge attack. They're shaped like giant glowing swords and explode after flying a short distance.
    • The Faust also the same, except the 5-star version instead of shooting 3 beams like the Divine Avenger, shoots one huge sword beam. The Faust's charge can also curse you unlike the Avenger.
    • Winmillion, a 4-Star sword that cannot be upgraded, shoots a beam with every slash. Arguably a Lethal Joke Weapon that provides bombers with consistent damage in melee and the utility of a ranged weapon in a single weapon slot. Not to mention a good substitute for a gun if you're going for a pure swordsman set.
    • On a full charge, swords in the Brandish line send out a line of explosions themed around their damage and status type.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: There are 6 monster families, each dealing a certain type of damage, weak to a certain type, and resistant to another type. Part of making through the later parts of the game involves knowing weaknesses and being ready to exploit them.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Some keys are set so monsters appear the moment a party member gets within grabbing distance.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: By selecting the helmet with molded steel Girlish Pigtails.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Bombs are one of the three weapon types. They specialize in AoE damage or status infliction.
    • Gremlin bombthrowers specialize in this. They can be a huge pain for melee-oriented Knights, as they dodge a lot and leave bombs everywhere.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Ironclaw and Darkfang Thwackers will occasionally throw their wrenches at you.
  • Trojan Horse: A Trojan Knight is a living knight statue with a horse head. It's a type of enemy that can only be defeated by attacking its back. It may rarely drop a kind of material called the Trojan Horseshoe. Normally doesn't count for this trope, but in some missions they're disguised as statues until you attack them.
  • Turns Red: When its HP gets low, the Royal Jelly loses its crown and starts spinning all over the arena, doing much more damage than before, and only stops for a few seconds at a time for you to attack it.
    • If a Devilite Pit Boss walks up to a normal Devilite and tells it that it has to work overtime, they start glowing and throw pitchforks instead of office supplies, as well as gaining a close-range melee attack.
      • Alternatively, the Pit Bosses can turn other Devilites into Yes Men, who stand around the pit bosses and defend them. If a Pit Boss dies near a Yes Man, the Yes Man Turns Red and starts attacking you.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Though the boss fights often mix things up, this is otherwise averted; the game tries to subtly introduce elements you'll need during the levels leading up to the boss. This is most apparent in the Gloaming Wildwoods (strike the bells to stun enemies) and the Ironclaw Munitions Factory (timing gate switching to allow rockets to pass).
  • Unorthodox Reload: Most guns do this via Gun Twirling, the remainder just eject spent shells without loading in new ones.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: A few enemies use the same equips that the players use, but will never actually drop them. This was especially prevalent with the Blackened Crest being used by Vanaduke's guards, as some players believed the item was impossible to get despite being the prerequisite to the Crest of Almire. note 
    • Interestingly averted with three Gremlin items: The Wrench Wand, Thwack Hammer, and the ultra rare Darkfang Shield, which is ONLY from random drops. The Deconstructor bomb line may also count; it looks similar to the Gremlin bombs, and shows a Darkfang emblem in the explosion but isn't quite as identical as the other equips.
    • In addition, the Mask of Seerus, Dark Reprisal bomb and Rocket Hammer are rewards for the OCH mission.
    • While not TECHNICALLY used by the boss itself, there's a whole set of gear designed to look like the Snarbolax. The 5* weapons even release a phantasmal Snarby on charge attack.
  • Unwinnable: Sometimes, ghost blocksnote  appear with respawning unbreakable blocks. A careless knight (or party of knights) can get trapped once the blocks respawn.. Thankfully this setup was fixed some time ago.
    • Wolvers in tier three used to be able to warp outside of the bounds of the game and end up floating in midair. Sometimes they would end up running off, never to be seen again. If that happened during an arena where all enemies need to be killed to advance, the only way to get through was to call in a GM or hope it came close enough to shoot.
    • Wisps tend to hover in place randomly without actually exposing their weak point. Winter Wisps can freeze you in place, a status that can only be broken with remedy capsules or another player striking the ice with a sword. If don't have any such options? You better hope your shield can hold up against freeze long enough to inch away from it.
  • Unsound Effect: These accompany the onset of any of the Standard Status Effects, along with the zombie revival mechanic.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Firestorm Citadel, a five-floor gauntlet that serves as Tier 3's only boss dungeon, is the closest thing there is to this trope. Presumably, the Core will be one, if it opens.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Literally with Razwog, the Gremlin Schemer and the first boss new players will face.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Heat Amplifiers. While some items (4 and 5 stars in particular) do take a lot of heat (item XP) to level, the amount of Fire Crystals you need to level the item up usually means that by the time you've found them all, you've hit the maximum heat for that level anyway. Given that they also cost 800 Energy for just 48 hours of use, the Energy would last longer buying 2 Weapon and 2 Trinket Slot upgrades which last a month instead of 48 hours.
  • Yes-Man: They are small and green guys who defend the Pit Bosses, only spawned in the first place when a Pit Boss compliments a Devilite. Normally they won't attack the players, but if a nearby boss is killed they will turn into an Overtimer.
  • Your Head Asplode: Mecha Knights' heads explode upon death.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Normally, boss fights come right at the end of a particular tier, so once you've defeated a boss, you're home free. However, once you beat a boss from the Shadow Lairs after a line of grueling dungeons and intense battles, and are ready to head back up and celebrate... Welcome to the Unknown Passage.
  • Zerg Rush: There are a few enemies which are incredibly weak but tend to come in significantly sized groups. Representing the gremlins are knockers, constructs have scuttlebots, undead have bombies (which double as Action Bombs), in the Royal Jelly Palace you'll find a few hordes of Royal Minis, and for the beast family you have wolver packs. Fortunately they rarely ever get quite up to true Zerg Rush levels. Devilites can apply given the fact that at several points in their levels where you'll come across arenas full of them, but even on their own they tend to be Goddamn Bats.
    • Living up to this trope in full are the Minis, a special type of weak monster that spawns nearly infinitely and in large numbers. Especially tricky is that most of them tend to attack from offscreen, or just plain encircle you. They have very low hp of course.

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alternative title(s): Spiral Knights
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