"The frog told me that the cat is bad."
"The cat told me, no, the rabbit is the worst of them all."
"So I "
You play as a young boy named Allen who has been sent to a special facility after losing his memories. While there, he forms a bond with the other children there, as well as their kindly caregiver Teacher. While investigating some strange things happening at night, he finds himself in another world where he ends up exploring the "hearts" of the other four children in the facility. Aided by a mysterious creature calling himself the White Rabbit, Allen and his friends must find their way out of the dream; but the mischievous Cheshire Cat is trying to obstruct their progress...
Alice Mare has examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion: The light novel adds extra details the game didn't go into, such as Allen and Teacher's first meeting. There's also a couple months gap between Allen arriving at the facility and the Dreams happening, enough for Allen to befriend the other kids.
- Alice Allusion: The Dreams are known as 'Alice Worlds', and the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit call anyone within them 'Alice'.
- Big Bad: The Cheshire Cat is the one who trapped Allen and his friends in the Dream and stole the World Keyes. Although he hints he is working under someone else, Teacher is ultimately just a pawn of him and his partner, the White Rabbit.
- Bittersweet Ending: Most of the endings entail somebody dying in order to save the others from the Dream, leaving their soul to be devoured by the Cheshire Cat.
- The light novel, which happens after the events of the game. Teacher is still alive, but he is trapped in the Dream World. In the end, Allen successfully saves him and wakes him up from his coma...exchanging his life to the Chesire Cat so that it could happen.
- Body Horror:
- In the novel, the strange humanoid entity in Joshuas world is described as having a body turned inside-out and stitched together, with visible blood vessels running along the body.
- In the Cheshire Cat's ending, we see him without his hood and he reveals that he uses parts of the bodies of the children he ate to replace the parts he lost.
- Near the climax of each of your friends' Alice Worlds, their body changes in some way to reflect their mental state.
- Character Portrait: Full-body pixel portraits stand next to dialogue boxes. Their facial expressions can change to reflect whatever they're saying.
- Continuity Nod: It was implied that Alice Mare and the LiEat series takes place in the same universe. Hinted during the first Li Eat game by Rosalie herself as she mentioned the Nightmare syndrome.
- Downer Ending: In the Cheshire Cat ending, Allen's attempt to make a Deal with the Devil to save the others becomes a Senseless Sacrifice as the Cat gloats about how eating the others will make what remains of Allen fall into despair sooner.
- Dysfunction Junction: Every one of the kids adopted by Teacher has a Dark and Troubled Past which shows up in their nightmare worlds, and Teacher himself is no exception.
- Everything's Better with Plushies: Chelsy fills her room with teddy bears.
- Fairy Tale Motifs: Each of the children's worlds are based on fairy tales; Letty's is Hansel and Gretel, Chelsy's is Little Red Riding Hood, Joshua's is The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and Stella's is Snow White. And of course, the story as a whole references Alice in Wonderland.
- Guide Dang It!: You need to find the Shards of XXXX to get the "Recipient Of Love" ending, but they can be easily overlooked, and if you miss one of the shards, you have to start over to get them.
- Golden Ending: The "Recipient Of Love" End. It's the best ending that one can get despite the bittersweet undertones, as Allen and the other kids make it and live happy lives. Word of God confirms that this had been the happiest end for the game itself.
- Intangible Theft: The Cheshire Cat's a thief capable of stealing away things like emotions.
- It's All My Fault: A running theme is playing the blame game.
- Letty got blamed for her family's problems by her abusive stepmother, and created Rick as a coping mechanism.
- Chelsy blames herself for trusting a 'nice man' who wanted to visit her grandmother, leading to her witnessing him murdering her.
- Joshua gets accused by the Cheshire Cat of causing his mother's suicide.
- Stella feels Survivor's Guilt over watching everyone else in her hometown die from a mysterious illness, wondering why she's still alive.
- The Cheshire Cat likes to encourage this sort of attitude, and several of the endings hinge on Allen deciding which of his peers is the most guilty and deserves to die.
- Teacher had to watch his sister sacrifice herself in order to save him from the Dream before. He also let his obsession with finding a way to end Nightmare Syndrome endanger the children he'd taken under his care.
- It's Up to You: Some of the kids will blatantly tell Allen to handle all the work of solving puzzles and whatnot. Justified when Teacher explains that it has to be somebody interfering with the heart who solves the puzzles.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Stella's world is the last of the children's worlds you go into to retrieve a World Key, and unlike the others, her world doesn't have any notebook scraps except the one you get at the end. There's also Teacher's world, which seems to be based off of his old school rather than a fairy tale.
- Mind Screw: Stella's backstory is the most difficult to figure out, due to her tendency to speak mostly in metaphors and the fact that her world, unlike the other worlds, doesn't have any notebook scraps, except for one at the very end.
- Mind Screwdriver: Version 1.05 contains an extra sequence which gives the player access to, among other things, special storybooks that detail everyone's backstories.
- Multiple Endings: Seven altogether in the game, and a unique ending for the novel.
- Two of Us: Letty is sacrificed to save the others. Her journal is filled with innocent musings about candy and sweets, until she mentions accidentally using Rick's diary, and stating that she knows why she burned their house to the ground.
- The Color Red: Chelsy is sacrificed to save the others. Her journal talks about her fears and nightmares, comparing one of her Teddies falling apart to the horror she witnessed before.
- Crying Wolf: Joshua is sacrificed to save the others. His journal talks about some of the pranks he's pulled and his desire to be noticed, as well as how difficult it's become to keep all his stories straight.
- Poison Apple: Stella is sacrificed to save the others. Her journal is filled with drawings and doodles. The last entry wonders why Teacher's eyes are the same as the ones she remembers people having back home.
- Cheshire Cat: Allen agrees to let the Cheshire Cat take his soul in exchange for saving everybody else. However, after merging with him, the Cat decides he's going to 'clean up loose ends' by eating all of the others, and gloats about how this will send Allen into despair.
- Good Night: Teacher takes the key from Allen and stabs himself with it, sacrificing himself to save his charges. Allen looks at his face and sadly bids him goodnight.
- Recipient of Love: After Teacher's Heroic Sacrifice, Allen manages to figure out his name by looking at his notes. Teacher's journal reveals how he struggled to cope with losing Fiona, his friendship with Cliff, and how he still felt like he lacked XXXX (love) in his life. Afterwards, Allen and the others continue to live under Mr. Cliff's care, continuing Teacher's research and sending him the love he thought he never had.
- The novel ending follows Recipient of Love, only to add in the Cheshire Cat ending.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Stellas drawings in her dream world contain images of a "sad-looking girl, a green cat, a blue-skinned person and a big circle, a person holding something and looking this way", all drawn crudely and eerily.
- The Power of Love: Turns out what the Cheshire Cat stole from each of the children except Stella in order to trap them in the Dream so he could eat their souls was their love.
- Rule of Three: Messing up an important question three times in an Alice World earns Allen a Game Over.
- Sadistic Choice: After getting all the World Keys back, Allen learns that there are only two ways to escape from the "Dream". Either stab someone with the last key, trapping their soul in the "Dream" to be eaten by the Cheshire Cat, or make a pact with the Cat.
- Scrapbook Story: The Story Breadcrumbs detailing the various backstories are presented as pages from a storybook.
- Wham Line: In Letty's world, when an illusion of her Wicked Stepmother shows up, Letty calls for her brother Rick to help. In response, the stepmother says this:That name again. Rick, Rick... Who is that you keep talking to? There's no one here but me, my husband, and you.