Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Aground

Go To
Aground is a resource collection- and crafting-based RPG created by Fancy Fish.

Your spacecraft crashes on an unknown planet. Soon you meet other survivors of the crash, and you team up to build a society and help each other survive, thrive, and eventually travel beyond your island. However, there's more to the world you have arrived on than an island paradise: magic-wielding aliens, mad scientists, and an odyssey through space await.

Aground is currently available for PC on Steam,, Kartridge, Crytivo and Discord with planned console ports being released by Whitethorn Games.
An online demo is available on Kongregate, Newgrounds and Armor Games

Note: The page has some unmarked spoilers and with part of the fun of Aground coming from the element of discovery, it is recommended to at least play through the Science Path and Magic Path in the demo before reading further.

Aground provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: The planet you originally crash-land on is surprisingly Earth-like... aside from the magic, of course.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Yetis that drop giant snowballs are the main enemies in ice-themed areas.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Ancient Axe. You can get it before even leaving the starting island, it is fairly powerful for a melee weapon, guaranteed to land a critical hit and will likely remain in your inventory for the ability to chop down any tree in the game with 4 hits tops. It can be 'repaired' with a spell book and has 1000 uses before degrading into the standard rusty axe.
  • Body Horror:
    • In a room in the Colony Ship, there are several artificial womb tanks. Most of them are broken, but misshapen creatures can be seen growing in the intact ones.
    • When you first confront the Mirrows in their lab, the background shows a human figure with glowing eyes suspended from the ceiling by chains.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth:
    • You have the option of fighting the Adult Dragon found on the Starting Island or summoning the Alchemist to talk to it.
    • You can win the Mirrows over by showing them something they can't explain (Dragon Armor) or beating them in combat.
  • Combat Tentacles: Mrs. Mirrow's cybernetic weapon of choice.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: If you are carrying more than your backpack will allow, you will move more slowly, lose stamina faster, and no longer pick up resources automatically.
  • Cyborg:
    • The Mirrows, the human and canine cyborgs (Diode Wolves) that guard the ship, and the Steel Wyrm mooks in the ground around it.
    • In the Mirrows' lab, you can turn yourself into one.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Winning the Mirrows' boss fight wins them over to your side.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The boss fight on the Eastern Island against the Old One.
  • Dragon Rider: You can ride a fire-breathing dragon. Eventually this dragon can be converted into a spaceship!
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: On the first night after you meet the Miner, she tells you she had been eating dirt before you arrived.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Some magical equipment along with magical enemies are linked to five elements: Fire, Water, Ice, Earth and Plant. Elemental armor and magical enemies are strong against their own element and two others while vulnerable to the remaining two elements.
    • Fire is weak against Water and Earth.
    • Water is weak against Ice and Plant.
    • Ice is weak against Earth and Fire.
    • Earth is weak against Plant and Water.
    • Plant is weak against Fire and Ice.
  • Elite Mook: The Steel Wyrms found near the crashed spaceship are upgraded versions of the Wyrms found on the Starting Island, and the Eastern Island has Leeches that move wicked fast and steal health from you when they attack.
  • Evil Former Friend: The Hunter used to work in the same lab with the Mirrows, but left after they began experimenting on humans.
  • Forced Transformation: The werewolf form at first, being that Splicer is the one who forcibly transformed both the player character and Ranger into werewolves.
  • Foreshadowing: When you kill a Wyrm, it has a chance of dropping Dragonblood. The game even asks why this is. It turns out Wyrms are the larval form of dragons and can be raised into dragons in the Alchemist's Wyrm Pen.
  • Full-Boar Action: Boars are the first enemies found on the Starting Island. A fire-elemental version can be found in one of the caves on the Starting Island and on the Eastern Island.
  • Golem: The primary enemies found deep underground on the Starting Island. A larger one can be found behind a secret door underground that is only unlockable with an Earth Gem. Defeating it allows you to craft a special high-powered melee weapon and set of armor.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Most of the character sprites are about as wide as they are tall.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The vast majority of healing and stamina items in the early game are conventional foods.
  • Item Crafting: Integral to the game. Most buildings offer some sort of crafting capability.
  • Jet Pack: Available through the Science Path by buying one from the Black Market Dealer or getting modified in the Mirrows' lab, or through the Magic Path by turning an Adult Dragon into Dragon Armor.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Levelling up fully restores your Health and Stamina. This is a reliable source of healing early game where you level fast but quickly becomes a much less reliable way to recover later on where it is noticeably slower to level up.
  • Living Weapon: The Alter Gems found on the Eastern Island can be used to transform Wyrms and dragons into highly effective tools, armor and weapons. They stop working when the creatures they were made from run out of health points.
  • Mad Scientist: The Mirrows have turned into this by the time the player reaches Sunset Haven. This mindset is provoked by paranoia about being attacked by aliens again.
  • Magic Versus Science: Played with in interesting ways.
    • The game offers two distinct paths to victory: the Magic Path and the Science Path, each with representative early-game teammates (the Mirrows and the Alchemist, respectively).
    • Literally diametrically opposed in the early game: the island with most of the magical items found in the early game is to the east and accessible only by flying there on a dragon, while the island with a more technologically advanced group of survivors is to the west and accessible by boat.
    • If you decide not to fight the Mirrows, the Mechanic will tell you that the only way to win them over is by showing them something they can't explain. Dragon Armor will do the trick and make them friendly to you.
    • The power plant on Sunset Haven can be powered by conventional fuels (coal, refined oil) or an Adult Dragon's fire-breath.
  • Magitek: Some of the most reliable vehicles in the game are this. The Mecha Dragon is a powerful flying mount that runs of batteries, which are much easier to maintain than steak, and the Mecha Dragon Ship can be outfitted with either a piercing or homing main weapon, and late game a sub weapon that breaks shields. Some equipment in each side is just plain better per tier when they combine elements of these. The greatest weapon of them all? The Battery-Powered Staff, which uses batteries at a fast rate, but can bind spell books of the highest level to it, effectively allowing quick screen clearing attacks in an instant.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Take a Chainsaw, enchant it with the Ice element, Trees will fall instantly. Take a torpedo, give it Ice properties, and anything underwater is not likely to survive. Take a missile, give it water properties, and all of a sudden Dragon Mechs are not as dangerous as before.
  • Non-Combat EXP: The main source of experience points for the player is not combat but mining, which gives experience based on how tough the tile the player has mined. Other sources for experience include crafting, modifying and smelting items, building, harvesting, farming, chopping trees, fishing, pumping water and finishing quests.
  • Opaque Lenses: The Mirrows' goggles show only the vaguest outlines of crescent-shaped eyes. Worse, up close, those eyes appear to be glowing.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They can be found on the Unnature Sanctuary planet. Both you and the Ranger get turned into werewolves by Splicer. It is never revealed what Dice's origins are though.
  • Oxygen Meter: Yours runs down if you are in water at all, even at the surface. By default the meter is the small value of 10, meaning it runs out quickly, though the meter's max value can be increased through equipment or upgrading the Oxygen skill.
  • Patchwork Map: The Sunset Haven island is divided between a conifer forest and a barren, windswept desert by a single mountain.
  • Point Build System: The only thing level ups give (other than a Level-Up Fill-Up) are more skill points, with what areas your character gets stronger in linked purely to where you invested your skill points.
  • Portal Pool: Played with. In the middle of the ocean to the west of the Starting Island is a whirlpool. If you stay on it long enough, it sucks your boat down and transports you to a magical alternate ocean with an ice island on its eastern shore.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Mirrows' red-lensed goggles imitate this when the player first encounters them.
  • Retraux: The game has a pixellated art style but the original version was released in 2017.
  • Ribcage Stomach: The Wyrm Hive on the Eastern Island looks like one. Fitting because its entrance looks like a giant Wyrm mouth.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The Old One on the Eastern Island can be beaten with a shotgun and a chainsaw.
  • Schizo Tech: The highest technological level your starting island can reach on its own is early medieval, while the survivors on Sunset Haven have a hotel, a power plant, firearms, chainsaws, and batteries. Justified because the main Colony ship crashed on that island.
  • See-Thru Specs: Spirit Goggles are an early-game Magic item that allow you to see and interact with elemental spirits and spirit structures.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • The Colony Planet was originally a desert planet, although an installed Terraformer has allowed one island to be more lush.
    • The Depths is an ocean planet. The lack of landmass on the planet is one reason humans rejected colonization for it. The ocean floor background and monoliths show The Depths used to have more land...
  • Skippable Boss: Most of the storyline bosses can be skipped. While this is sometimes linked to quests, other methods involve letting NPCs deal with the problem instead. When the latter method pops up, the result of skipping the boss is those NPCs getting Killed Off for Real.
  • Spirit World: You eventually end up in one on the Magic Path. You enter through a portal on Mars created by a friendly Old One.
  • Story Branching: Downplayed. There are clear two paths in the game, the Science Path and the Magic Path; however, nothing is stopping you progressing down the two paths on the same save file.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Averted. Equipment that hides the wearer allow non-Spirits to completely ignore them unless they attack or get hurt. This is balanced by such equipment taking the back slot and crippling the player's carrying limit or being only accessible late game.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Mirrows have been conducting grisly experiments on humans, including kidnapping other survivors for test subjects, because they consider it the only chance humanity has against the aliens who attacked the Colony Ship.
  • World War III: The Farmer mentions it off-hand during one of the cutscene events. It was fueled by disagreements on planetary colonisation and the small amount of Exotic Matter that allows faster than light travel. Soon after the war ended, aliens invaded Earth.
  • Wrench Wench: The Mechanic in Sunset Haven is a girl named Cass. Justified by her being the daughter of the Mirrows, who, villainy notwithstanding, are brilliant engineers.
  • You Owe Me: You and the other human NPCs only survived the crash of the Colony Ship because the Mirrows reinforced one sector of the ship at the last minute. This is also the only reason why the residents of Sunset Haven put up with the Mirrows' extorting dues from them and kidnapping their citizens for experimentation.