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They're gonna need a bigger boat.note 
BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm is a semi-satirical Role-Playing Game made in RPG Maker XP by SpherianGames, in collaboration with voice actress and former YouTube star Catherine Wayne. It tells the story of a girl named Catie, (both named for and voiced by Wayne), and her adventures within the internet.
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Here, the internet is a fully-immersive virtual world, where websites are portrayed as cities locked in various petty political struggles. However, when an unknown force begins wiping sites and turning users into glitched, zombie-like abominations, the internet’s leaders must attempt to settle their differences and fight back. Catie, as the queen of a small forum, is on her way to the peace conference when her ship is boarded, (and swiftly wrecked), by a mysterious girl called Arianna, who seems to exist in the shadow of a perpetual storm.

What follows is a quirky, bizarre, and sometimes deeply moving journey across virtual reality, as Catie and her friends race to stop their world from unraveling. Far from being a shallow YouTuber fangame, BoxxyQuest is a lengthy epic filled with surprises and secrets, mixed with some truly fantastic writing and worldbuilding.

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It’s also the sequel to BoxxyQuest: The Shifted Spires, the developer’s very first project from back in 2012. However, rather than seek that one out, new players are officially encouraged to start with The Gathering Storm. A summary of the first game’s plot is included in the files, to help prevent any kind of Continuity Lockout.

After several limited-release demos on Catie Wayne’s website, BoxxyQuest was released as a full game on itch.io and rpgmaker.net in September 2018, and is entirely free to play.


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BoxxyQuest has examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: This happens in the prologue, due to the villain’s grand entrance. Chapter 1 is about gathering up the survivors.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The YouTube comments section is portrayed as one of these, complete with a hidden city full of unsavory characters.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension: Alwaysland, a pastel rainbow world filled with Underground Monkeys and bizarre inside jokes from Catie Wayne’s forum. To an average player, it’ll make no sense whatsoever. (This is, of course, thoroughly lampshaded).
  • Action Girl: Over half the cast is made up of these, but Catie herself is obviously the standout. She’ll go toe-to-toe with deities and Eldritch Abominations like it’s nothing, if it means keeping her friends safe.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The first part of Chapter 8 is told from Til’s perspective, as she searches Tumblr for a way to cure Catie’s sudden, mysterious illness.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • The four orbs in Chapter 6, which each represent an aspect of video gaming: Puzzles, Platforming, Plot, and PVP.
    • During the Fight Night subquest, the arena’s announcer gives each combatant a handful of alliterative nicknames.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Hateful Reliquary, an utterly massive Chest Monster that chases Catie down a very long hallway. If it catches her, a Hopeless Boss Fight ensues.
  • Aerith and Bob: You’ve got normal names like Catie and Eddie, alongside stranger ones like Tyalie, Shift, and GmasterRED. Granted, it is the internet, where a person can have any name they choose.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Of virtual reality and internet culture. Unlike most Cyberspace stories, it doesn’t just go for the low-hanging fruit, either. No, BoxxyQuest is quite thorough when it comes to picking apart the stereotypes about certain online communities.
    • Of role-playing games in general, but especially the recent fad of “deconstructive” indie RPGs. This game takes the pieces they left behind, and has a gleeful time putting them back together in strange and unexpected new ways.
      • Tyalie is a great example of this. She seems specifically designed as a response to “angsty” meta-aware characters like Sans and Monika. Like them, she knows she’s in a game; but unlike them, she genuinely empathizes with the player and refuses to stand in the way of their choices, saying it would be “awful” of her to try.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • Cornelia is a rare heroic example. Her backstory involves making a heel-face turn by abandoning her villainous creator.
    • Each of Wolfram’s mechas is less responsive to his orders than the last. This ultimately becomes his downfall, when ALPHA zaps him apart for issuing one simple command.
    • And of course there’s Arianna, avatar of the ARPANET. As a villain, she’s acting primarily out of a desire to “correct” the unfamiliar network that replaced her.
  • All Just a Dream: The Tower of Plot dungeon. Maybe. Or something.
    • The game itself may be this, if Amelie is to be believed.
      This fragile dream of ones and zeroes... Is it a fantasy we made together?
  • All There in the Manual: The download contains a three-page synopsis of the game’s prequel, filling players in on the relevant characters their shared history. This is especially useful, since the prequel itself is rather hard to find these days.
  • The Alternet: The Firewall is incubating something like this, and your goal is to find a way to stop it from spreading.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Social Justice Warriors, of course. They’re an all-female cul… err, group of progressive rebels first met in Chapter 6. They’re causing a scene, and Catie must resolve the situation before she can move on. Til is worried that one day, they’re all her homeland of Tumblr will ever be known for.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Fully averted. Characters with asymmetrical bits, like the design on Catie’s shirt, will have them properly displayed depending on which way they’re facing.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Arguably, the setting itself is this. Is the Internet merely a simulation with invented mythology, or an actual world that existed before the human users arrived? It doesn’t help that one of the two secret endings implies one option, while the other implies the exact opposite.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The “Katy’s Diary” sidequest, which puts the player in the shoes of a young treasure-hunter, is told via flashback when Catie finds her lost journal.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a player finds them too difficult, the Picross puzzles can be easily skipped by pressing Escape.
  • Anti-Villain: None of the major antagonists are truly evil, per-se, just varying degrees of tragic and misunderstood. Even Boxxyfan, the first game’s edgy Generic Doomsday Villain, is given a more sympathetic motive this time around.
    • This all falls apart when we finally meet Legion, though. He may only get a few minutes of screentime, but he’s portrayed as nothing short of an utterly unrepentant monster.
  • Arcadian Interlude: Zig-zagged. The First Internet is a wasteland, but the party’s first night there is spent having supper at the home of a kindly old lady and her two grandkids. There’s no drama, just some warm hospitality to show that the First Internet isn’t all bad. And to make it hurt worse when it all goes to hell in the end.
  • Arc Villain: PewDiePie and RayWilliamJohnson in Chapter 4, and Pluffy the Fairy AKA One_Wing in Chapter 6.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Seems to be a central theme of the YouTube arc. The executives in Partnership Towers don’t seem to care at all if the rest of the city loses power, (and in fact, some of them are actively working to ensure it does).
  • Artifact Title: It’s still called BoxxyQuest, but this time the quest has nothing at all to do with Boxxy.
  • A Storm Is Coming: By chapter 5, the heroes all see rain as a very bad sign, as wet weather usually means that Arianna and STORM are lurking somewhere nearby.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The endgame elemental attack accessories sure are flashy, but there are ways of dealing just as much damage without spending half your RP.
    • Hollow Wave, Catie’s megahax skill. It fully heals everyone and damages all enemies, but Catie herself is knocked out in the process. And even if she’s revived, she’s still blocked from using magic for the rest of the fight. Since she’s the group’s main healer, that’s putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.
  • Back from the Brink: By the time the heroes return from their little time travel outing, Arianna has succeeded in wiping nearly all of the present-day Internet. All that’s left are a few scraps of land floating in a digital void. When they finally push beyond the Firewall, they’re not even sure if it’s possible to undo the damage that’s been done. Thankfully, it is.
  • Background Music Override: Happens several times, especially in the last few plot-related dungeons.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: There’s one in Reddit, that you have to visit early in Chapter 1. A tavern brawl breaks out almost as soon as you walk in the door.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Periwinkle and Orangered, dual bosses with selective immunity to either physical attacks or magic. About halfway through the battle, they start flipping and swapping at random every turn, making damaging them something of a Luck-Based Mission.
  • Battle in the Rain: The entire last chapter takes place during a rainstorm, which naturally includes all of the final boss battles.
  • Beach Episode: If you have a swimsuit, you can visit the beach near Intersite Town. Once you’ve regathered your party members, you can rent a private stretch of beach, where they’ll appear with swimsuits of their own. The six bonus platforming stages are also found in this area… and you have to do them while still wearing the suits.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Tyalie attempts this on virtually everyone she meets, up to and including the final boss. It never works.
    • Notably, it does work the first time she tries it – when she uses this trope to join your party.
  • Behind the Black: One puzzle in the final dungeon invokes this:
    She can see what we cannot. A bird’s eye is often blind.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: /x/, a grim little village filled with dark secrets, and surrounded by The Lost Woods. It’s the primary setting of Chapter 5, titled “2Spooky4Chan.”
  • Big Good: Jimmy Wales and Lady Janitor form a sort of Big Good Duumvirate. They’re the ones who convened the Great Summit, and continue to provide the heroes with guidance throughout most of the game.
  • Big Storm Episode: The final chapter, “The Perfect Storm.” The internet is in shambles, and locked in the grip of an endless downpour, heralding the story’s Darkest Hour.
  • Bleak Level: We finally get to see a small part of the First Internet, and it sure isn’t pretty. The area we visit is little more than a series of dead, crumbling islands suspended in the void; a far cry from the vibrant scenery of the present day.
  • Bonus Boss: No less than eighteen of them, with varying levels of difficulty and obscurity:
    • Pale Luna, the Phisher King, the Fetish Dolls, Trahald Prime, and the Hateful Reliquary - all related to the Deep Web Bonus Dungeon, and led by the Soul of TORment.
    • ORDERHEAD, Goddess-Slayer Forby, the Hydra, and The Spirit of CTH’RISTMAS - appear at the end of various sidequests.
    • Lady Ny’agai and the Funky Infoshade - just kind of standing around at the end of side paths, waiting for you to find them.
    • not_intended/Nihilerror and Esoteraphim - deeply hidden with Guide Dang It! requirements, and two of the most challenging fights in the game.
    • The three creatures labelled “?,” all related to /x/ in some way.
    • Lastly, there’s the Overtaken Dragon. It’s encountered along the main path in the final dungeon, but can be skipped by simply not interacting with a certain save point.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Two major ones – the Deep Web and the Sky Abyss, plus a handful of smaller “Bonus Mini-Dungeons” like the Buzzfeed Bay Temple and Alwaysland.
  • Bonus Level of Heaven: The aforementioned Sky Abyss, the game’s final challenge during the Playable Epilogue. It’s an epic climb through several strata of Bubbly Clouds, culminating in a fight against a self-proclaimed angel.
  • Book-Ends: The main story begins and ends with Catie and Anon preparing for a long journey by carriage, and with Catie left to wander a village while Anon waits for her by the south gate. This is lampshaded by the two of them during the ending.
  • Bouncer: There’s no getting into Club RedTube unless you know the password.
  • Boss Bonanza:
    • The Deep Web. The latter half is arranged like a wheel with six spokes, and each one has a different Bonus Boss waiting at the end.
    • The Sky Abyss, en route to the Golden Ending. The climb involves no less than four boss fights, with three more waiting at the top.
  • Boss Subtitles: ONE_WING: KING OF TROLLS gets one of these - an extension of his rampant Large Ham tendencies.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Chapter 7, Anonymous accidentally drops the Google Gem off the side of the flying ship. Much later, in the epilogue, he finally “finds” it again. No, he totally didn’t just buy a new one, shut up.
    • After the Gatekeeper’s house is ransacked by Social Justice Warriors, he sends you on a quest to replace a broken table. In the ending, you run across an SJW who loves smashing tables, “the most privileged kind of furniture.”
    • When you first reach Wikipedia, many citizens have been displaced by foreign visitors. One man’s apartment is overrun by Anons from 4chan. If you return there in the epilogue, all the Anons have left… except one.
      4chan Anon: I told you, Wikipedia is ours!
      Owner: Should I call an exterminator?
    • In the Chapter 6 fake-out credits, the cast list includes a random bear the developers saw. Much later, in the “special thanks” section of the real credits, that same bear is listed again.
  • Broken Bridge: Several of them, mostly to make the internet seem larger than the playable area. A few of them open up during the Playable Epilogue, but some of them never do.
    • There’s also a literal broken bridge north of YouTube, caused by the Chapter 4 boss crashing through it. It gets repaired by the end of Chapter 5.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: In the final Tower of Plot scenario, the sick little sister fades into a butterfly as she dies. (Except, the symbolism may run a bit deeper than that).note 
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Here, HP stands for “Heart Points.” Mana is likewise referred to as RP, or “Rawr Points.”
  • The Cameo:
  • Changeling Tale: In one scene, the party is kidnapped by shapeshifters called Phishers, led by the Phisher King. Apparently, they want to take the group’s place in the ‘real’ world. To defeat them, Catie must pick out her true friends from among the imposters.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Email Bag, which is mainly just used for simple gags and sale alerts, has an important purpose when it alerts you to the final epilogue quest, leading to the True Ending.
      • The lantern in The Woods and the altar on Mt. Dramatica are both finally used in that same quest.
    • If you beat Nihilerror, then you’ll have obtained the Wayward Spark long, long before you figure out what it’s good for.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The Fine Bros. first appear in Chapter 4, giving airship tours as part of a lengthy joke sequence. They become significant later, when the heroes need help to reach an airborne dungeon.
    • Also in Chapter 4, we briefly cross paths with the Pale Wraith, a shady figure who becomes crucial to the plot during the endgame.
    • Remember the Sky Queen followers? That team of random minibosses? They end up alerting the Sky Queen herself to Catie’s presence, kicking off the events of the postgame.
  • Chest Monster: Karma Chameleons, which hide amongst piles of karma (gold) in an effort to ambush greedy travelers. Defeating one of them will earn you quite a tidy profit.
    • And then there’s the Hateful Reliquary, the granddaddy of all Chest Monsters, lurking down in the Deep Web.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: After a long and brutally difficult battle, The Soul of TORment finally unleashes its true form… a smiling onion with one single hit point. If you had any remaining attacks queued up, the poor thing will likely go down before you can react.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Dr. Wolfram’s final Engine mecha, Wolfram ALPHA, has these. You’ll have to fight separately against its legs, arms, head, and pauldrons.
  • Collection Sidequest: There’s a whole lot to collect in this game. 33 Bitcoins (for buying accessories), 6 Rare NES Games (can be traded for new skills), 7 Strange Keys (unlock the Bonus Dungeon), and 4 Sacred Seeds (unlock a different Bonus Dungeon). A fortune teller in YouTube can help you find the first two types, but not the latter two.
  • Combat Tentacles: The “Obligatory Kraken Boss” has them obligatorily, of course.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: In the overworld, the Shift key is used to sprint, (with a certain item equipped), but during the platformer segments, it’s also the jump button.
    Early NPC: Hey, did you hear? You can press "Shift" to jump! ...What do you mean, it doesn't work? Just wait. We'll see who has the last laugh, Catie.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: These show up twice: once in Mt. Dramatica with boulders, and then on the Wayback Machine with fireballs.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Catie can purchase a swimsuit during the Playable Epilogue, and can change into it at any time. The suit doesn’t affect gameplay, but wearing it in the right place is what triggers the Beach Episode.
    • The Champ’s Belt, which is awarded for clearing the Fight Night gauntlet. It does absolutely nothing except look nice and shiny in your inventory.
  • Crapsaccharine World: For the most part, the Internet is a lovely and vibrant place… but it’s also a horrifically unstable one, prone to reformatting and deletion at the drop of a hat. Over the course of the two games and their backstory, the virtual world is nearly annihilated no less than six times.
  • Creepy Child: Pale Luna, an eerie little girl you first see as an Eldritch Abomination haunting a forest. She isn’t evil, though. It’s implied that her transformation was by choice, to help the kids trapped in her village. After you save them, she even thanks you.
  • Cyberspace: The primary setting, although not in the usual way. Rather than the typical mess of Tron Lines and Matrix Raining Code, the internet is portrayed as a Magitek-fueled world pulled straight from a Final Fantasy verse. Funnily enough, the only area that resembles “traditional” Cyberspace, Arianna’s world beyond the Firewall, is treated as a frightening aberration.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: The two main protagonists form one – Catie is the idealist, and Anonymous is the cynic.
  • Dance Battler: The Funky Infoshade, a quirky hidden miniboss in Chapter 7. It has several dance-related attacks, and the ability to Summon Backup Dancers.
  • Death Mountain: Mt. Dramatica, the dungeon of Chapter 3, is a non-volcanic example. To get the True Ending, you have to scale it twice.
  • Developer's Room: An entire developer’s town is available during the epilogue. It’s got plenty to see, including a Sound Test and a fairly huge behind-the-scenes museum.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Wolfram ALPHA keeps right on fighting as you destroy parts of its body. You have to take out all four limbs to reach its head, and even destroying the head may not kill it right away.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Spire is noticeably more challenging than anything that came before it, and the difficulty never really lets up from that point on, either.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Absolutely everything about The Spire just screams Very Definitely Final Dungeon, from the atmosphere to the sheer size and difficulty of the place. However, the player remains unconvinced: after all, the whole reason you’re there to begin with is to find a way through the gigantic barrier surrounding the actual final dungeon.
    • Said “actual” final dungeon, Arianna’s world, ends up being this trope as well, if you’ve completed all the sidequests needed to unlock the Sky Abyss during the post-game.
  • Dowsing Device: The Seeker’s Compass, which makes hidden items sparkle if equipped. This can be the only reliable way to find some of the more… creatively hidden treasures.
  • Drop the Hammer: In this universe, the Banhammer is a literal weapon.
  • Duel Boss: Catie versus Tyalie in Chapter 6, and Catie versus Boxxyfan in the epilogue.
  • Dummied Out:
    • There’s an item called Expansion Gel, which would’ve given Catie temporary Gag Boobs in exchange for a stat boost. The Developer's Room mentions that it didn’t really fit with the game’s tone, so both the gel and its related quest were left inaccessible, (although both are still fully functional if hacked back in).
    • A number of unused rooms exist that can only be viewed in the editor, including an unfinished costume shop, and, for some reason, a full recreation of the Uboa event from Yume Nikki.
    • There’s also an alternate, unused version of the scene with Tyalie on top of the train, which seems to have been meant for some kind of New Game+. In it, she states that a reset can’t change the way she feels, and laments having to follow the game’s script so closely.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Lake of Fanfiction dungeon requires you to find three of fifteen hidden books, and then use codes written in their margins to unlock a door. Which three books you need are randomly chosen each playthrough, but the codes themselves are not. So if you have a list of all fifteen codes, you can just input the ones you need right away and skip the whole mess.
  • Dungeon Shop: Among its many oddities, the Deep Web contains a small, tucked away supermarket run by onions. The village of lost children also has a weapon/armor shop.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Tyalie first appears at the Great Summit in Wikipedia, three chapters before she’s formally introduced.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The worst ending requires even more effort to get than the best ending. In fact, you have to get right up to the best ending, but then turn around and backtrack halfway across the map. After that, you still have to fight the most stupidly, unfairly difficult enemy in the game.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The true ending is no walk in the park, either. First, you have to do every one of the Inbox missions, some of which can be quite time-consuming. Then, you have to follow a trail of clues around the map until you find the entrance to a new dungeon with seven formidable boss fights.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The story starts off very gently, with Catie wandering around her peaceful hometown. The plot hits its first big squall (pun intended) when she gets on the ship and takes a nap.
  • Easter Egg:
    • There’s a very strange subplot involving two children who knew each other before being born, and whose souls are subconsciously trying to reunite. One of them, a girl named Amelie, inhabits the game as a sort of W.D. Gaster-like ghost, while the other may or may not be the player themselves.
    • If you keep speaking to Pinkie Pie during her cameo at the party, then she’ll eventually decide to follow you for the rest of the quest. This was added because the real Catie Wayne used to be a very outspoken My Little Pony fan.
    • The first area of the Tower of Plot is a village, where you’re expected to help the local farmers with their troubles. Instead, you can go south and find a frog sitting between two fence posts. If you talk to it once and then back off, it’ll hop aside and let you slip through. There are several hidden field areas, and even other towns, with NPCs who say some strange and vaguely ominous things.
      Villager: Your objective is miles away.
      Tourist: These pretty lights can't trick me. There's no stars in the sky tonight!
    • Totaka’s Song, of all things, appears in this game. Go to the cottage in The Woods and wait inside for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If you opt to wear the Overpowered Crown, the protective status it gives you is labelled “CHEATING.”
  • Eldritch Location: The Deep Web has heavy shades of this. It’s a sealed underground temple, but the deeper floors consist of areas that shouldn’t possibly be able to exist there. Vast, snow-covered forests? Entire towns with shops and inns? A self-contained overworld map?! The final key sibling mentions that sometimes the sealed spirits will “lash out” and “take things back” with them.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Shrimp and Cornelia, who finally give up on the idea of a relaxing vacation just in time to join you for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: Catie’s EXP level maxes out just before her final duel with Boxxyfan, and her “Hollow Wave” skill gets upgraded to “Hallow Wave.”
  • Emoticon: This being the internet, many of the characters use these while speaking.
  • Empty Room Psych:
    • This game loves to put conspicuous empty rooms along the player’s path, only to make them relevant much later on. The Bell Cave and lantern glade are prime examples of this.
    • There’s one room that plays it straight, though: the LoversLab building in GameFAQs. It was meant to be involved in a sidequest, but the quest itself was Dummied Out (see above), leaving the lab functionally useless.
    • Many of the secret areas in the Tower of Plot, such as the tiny village with the shamrock people, don’t seem to have much purpose beyond weirding the player out.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: All three of the main villains want to cause it, in different ways and for different reasons.
    • Arianna wants to use STORM’s power to wipe the Internet clean, then replace it with a cold and clinical world of pure data where she feels safe. (The Overtaken plague seems to be an unintended side effect).
    • Boxxyfan puts emphasis on the “as we know it.” He aims to revert the Internet back to a chaotic and primordial state, most likely killing off the entire current population.
    • Legion wants to purge all human users from cyberspace… and then break free and carry out this trope in reality, too.
  • Enemy Scan: Eddie has the skill “Wiki It!” It lists enemies’ HP and a bit of flavor text, which may or may not tell you how to beat them.
  • Eternal Engine: Her World is a downplayed example. The parts you visit are just sterile white walkways, but huge, incomprehensible machines are visible in the background.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Spire certainly looks the part, but its true purpose is far from evil. It’s a beacon, broadcasting the power that keeps Legion from reforming. So it’s a… Good Tower of Ominousness?
  • Exposition Fairy: Pluffy claims to be one of these by name, and at first he seems like a parody of this trope… until he gets his missing wing back, and all hell breaks loose.
  • Fairy Battle: In one area, you’ll occasionally run into piles of free gold in place of normal enemy encounters. Later, beating a specific pile of “enemy” gold get you a Bitcoin.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: GmasterRED, who has taken credit for most of Catie’s heroic deeds in the prequel. Judging by the Playable Epilogue, he seems poised to do the same thing again… despite not even being there this time.
  • Fantastic Racism: Anons from 4chan aren’t well-liked by anyone, seen as unwelcome pranksters at best and Always Chaotic Evil at worst. Y’know, just like the stereotypes regarding users of the real-life website.
    • Of course, these people do have a point, given that Anons are humanoid fragments of a broken Destroyer Deity, and all that. Not that any of them are aware of it, though.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: This trope gets an interesting twist – instead of real-world cultures, we’re given fantasy counterparts of popular websites and online communities. Reddit is a bustling Port Town with a seedy underbelly, Wikipedia is a city of towers built around a massive library, etc. The stereotypical aspects of each “culture” are often parodied or examined in-depth.
  • The Ferry Man: The Fine Bros. use their airship to ferry the main cast up to the flying Wayback Machine. They make it clear it’s a one-way trip, though: once you’re up there, you’re on your own.
  • First Town: The Sphere. After the intro, you can only reach it by Google Gem, but you’ll be warping there a lot since it’s where most of the sidequests start, and where most of the best accessories can be bought.
  • Fishing Minigame: There’s a small pond near 4chan where you can go to catch fish. It’s very calming, and an easy way to make money. (While you’re there, be sure the check behind the waterfall).
  • Fission Mailed: During the secret battle with not_intended/Nihilerror, she throws up several fake error messages as if the game had just crashed.
  • Flunky Boss: PewDiePie in Chapter 4, and Anita in Chapter 6. In both cases, their minions respawn endlessly until you kill the bosses themselves. One_Wing also summons “Underwings” to distract you partway through his fight.
  • Flying Books: A type of enemy found in the Lake of Fanfiction.
  • Forest of Perpetual Autumn: One of the hidden areas in the Tower of Plot is an autumnal forest in the middle of a spring-green countryside.
  • Frictionless Ice: It’s not ice, but some kind of frictionless surface appears for a couple of puzzles, first on the Wayback Machine and then in the Sky Abyss. It makes you slide around incredibly fast, and sometimes not in the direction you wanted to go.
  • Gainax Ending: The secret third ending, sometimes called the “PC Ending” or even the “False Ending.” To summarize: A secret passageway leads to a pixelated, headless statue. It quizzes you, then tells a short story about two kids who lived happily in a field of buttercups, until one of them prayed for rebirth. Suddenly, the party is transported to a weird, grayscale version of earth. This gigantic… thing shows up and starts waxing philosophical about the futility of artistic expression. Then it fights you. When you beat it – IF you beat it – you get a brief End of Evangelion shout-out, before the scene switches to a butterfly exiting an elevator and flying down a hallway. There are some notes scattered around with factoids about a group of unknown people. At the end of the hall is a small room with a computer. You turn it off, and the butterfly leaves the room. A minute later, the screen fades to an image of buttercups while sad music plays. Excuse me, what the hell?
  • Game Maker: Created in RPG Maker XP, and a good example of what can be done in the software with enough time and effort.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Early on, it’s mentioned that only real users can touch the PasSWORD. Much later, Cornelia joins the party… and sure enough, she’s the only one who can’t equip it.
  • Gender-Restricted Gear: The True Heroine’s Garb, a powerful set of endgame armor that can only be equipped by female party members.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Arianna to Catie at the end, when she’s about to succumb to Legion’s Mind Rape.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Unusually, the final boss itself is an example. It keeps flying deeper into the heart of the storm, resulting in various minigame stages as you race to catch back up with it. This happens twice – the third time you engage it, there’s nowhere left for it to go.
  • Get on the Boat: Happens three times – once right at the start, then again between Chapters 3 and 4, and finally between Chapters 6 and 7. Getting on the last boat marks the Point of No Return.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The game does a pretty good job of keeping its bosses related to the plot, and the ones that aren’t at least make sense given where they’re fought. However, nothing even tries to explain the surreal, Christmas-themed Eldritch Abomination that shows up to menace the party in one post-game sidequest.
    • There’s also the Wendigrief, a mini-boss in Chapter 5. It gets about one screen of buildup before you fight it, and then it’s never mentioned again until the Developer's Room.
  • The Ghost: You can easily play through the entire game without ever hearing the name Amelie, but her presence is felt throughout much of the hidden content.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: The Flavor Text for the Steampunk Fedora item:
    A needlessly expensive novelty hat with glued-on goggles, which do nothing.
  • Golden Ending: The Sky Episode, or the “True Ending,” which is achieved by completing all of the Inbox quests throughout the game, and then following a series of riddles given to you. What starts as just another seemingly irrelevant sidequest spirals totally off the rails and ends up dragging in basically every unresolved plot point in the game, if not the series. Let’s just say that it’s a sight to behold.
  • Go Through Me: When Cracky tries to reset Catie to her “true” self at the expense of her human memories, the party stands up to her in this way.
    Tyalie: If you want her, then you'll have to get past us. Again, and again, and again!
  • Guest-Star Party Member: A warrior from the First Internet joins up with the party when they travel back in time. He turns out to be Boxxyfan, the first game’s Big Bad, prior to his fall into darkness.
  • Guide Dang It!: BoxxyQuest hearkens back to old-school RPGs… and that means plenty of secrets so obscure that no sane person could ever figure them out on their own.
    • You can upgrade the Goddess Statue to the Everlasting Goddess Statue by wagering it at the arena. You wouldn’t think to try it because most other Key Items don’t even show up in the betting menu.
    • If you don’t talk to two specific NPCs in order at the Vocaloid concert, (the souvenir vendor to get a glowstick, and Rin Kagamine to get it signed), then you won’t have an item later when a kid asks to trade you for it. That trade is one of the sidequests needed to unlock the True Ending.
    • It’s a minor example, but figuring out how to access the Katy’s Diary sidequest. You have to throw at least three karma into the fountain at the eBuy Superstore, which makes the diary appear in a totally different location.
    • Getting the PC Ending without a guide would take nothing short of a miracle. First, you have to clear Stratum 4 of the Sky Abyss, then backtrack all the way to Bell Cave - even though everything is urging you to keep going, and Bell Cave is a tiny area that you’d never even think to revisit. Then, in a new area, you have to answer a series of questions about things no player could be expected to remember. (For example: what is the maximum number of Overtaken you can fight?)[[noteThe answer is 29.]]
  • Healer Signs On Early: In this case, the healer signs on first. Catie learns quite a few attacks, but her real utility is her powerful healing magic. As a White Mage, she easily outclasses everyone else in the party.
  • Healing Hands: Most of Catie’s curative spells involve making hand-hearts at her allies.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Defied, of all things. During his battle tutorial, Anonymous mentions how you and the enemy each take turns attacking each other, “nice and simple, with none of those lame quicktime events.”
  • Hell Is That Noise: STORM’s various shrieks seem designed to invoke this, having been spliced together from a number of infamous examples, including the Lavos roar and Reaper horns.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Played straight with Til, Eddie, and Shift, but subverted with Tyalie. You’re given the option to name her too, but she politely turns down whatever name you pick.
  • Hero of Another Story: In GameFAQs, our party collides with another group of adventurers. They’re searching for the PasSWORD shards too, under orders from someone called the Sky Queen. A miniboss fight ensues, after which the gang vows to never speak of it again. The Sky Queen later takes a personal interest in Catie, making you the hero of their story as well.
  • Hero, Rival, Baddie Team-Up: The grand finale involves Catie teaming up with Boxxyfan and Arianna, the Big Bads of the first and second games, respectively, to combat a much greater source of evil. In Arianna’s case it’s a solid Heel–Face Turn, while in Boxxyfan’s it’s merely an Enemy Mine situation.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Instagram tries to become this, shutting its gates and turning travelers away until the STORM crisis is dealt with. As one villager points out during the Playable Epilogue, their safety measures didn’t do them any good in the end, as they were briefly erased along with everything else.
  • Hidden Track: Several songs just don’t appear in the in-game sound test. These mostly have to do with the Golden Ending and True Final Boss, but a few of them are related to Amelie.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: At first, it seems like this game has a totally new story, unrelated to the prequel except for a few small references. Then comes The Stinger, and we learn that everything was set up by Boxxyfan as a gambit to get his true form back. He then goes on to reclaim his role as Big Bad for the True Ending route.
  • Hold the Line: When it comes time to fight STORM, Catie and the others quickly realize they have no hope of actually beating it. All they can do is survive and keep it busy while the Pale Wraith tries to seal it away.
  • Holiday Mode: The eBuy Superstore holds a special holiday sale during the epilogue. The surrounding area gets a snowy makeover, and the shops sell unique Christmas-themed items and gear. The sale is attacked by a Christmassy Cthulhu expy, which you have to fend off.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: Played for laughs at first, but then very darkly subverted. When Catie arrives in the First Internet via time travel, small plants start sprouting up wherever she goes, to the confusion of everyone present. Unbeknownst to her, this directly leads to the cataclysm that alters the world’s atmosphere, dooming millions to a Fate Worse than Death and heralding a certain character’s Start of Darkness.
  • Hub City: YouTube, in a sense. You don’t get there until halfway through the game, but it’s certainly huge, and you’ll be passing through it at least once for the next several chapters. Meanwhile, Chapter 4 is set there in its entirety.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • Wolfram ALPHA, the ultimate autonomous Decision Engine. It’s so humongous that it takes three screens of sequential battling to reach the head and bring it down.
    • STORM is even bigger, to the point of filling up the screen even while it’s in the background. With its Reality Warper powers, it easily qualifies as a Mechanical Abomination.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Spez to Jimmy Wales, during the Summit:
    Spez: Damn it, Jim! I'm a CEO, not a hacker!
  • Impersonation Gambit: At the concert, Catie tries dressing up as Miku Hatsune to get info out of a fan. It might’ve worked, if the real Miku hadn’t walked in right behind her.
  • Inevitable Tournament: Subverted. There is a tournament arc in the game, but not only is it fully optional, the player can easily miss it altogether if they Follow the Plotted Line away from the place it’s being held.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Blade of Fallen Memes, a sword for sale in the very first town. It’s prohibitively expensive, but it’s the best weapon you can get your mitts on before the final act.
    • The PasSWORD itself ends up here, despite initially seeming like the setting’s Infinity +1 Sword. No, that honor goes to…
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The 404 PasSWORD, the fully upgraded version of The PasSWORD. You’ll go through hell and back to get that upgrade, but it makes the sword far stronger than any other weapon in the game. Even the post-story bonus gear can’t compete with it.
  • In-Game Novel: YouTube features a bookstore where you can buy these. Examples range from a tourist manual with information about the game world, to a hilariously awful retelling of the last game’s plot. One book even contains heavy foreshadowing in the form of fairy tales.
  • Interface Spoiler: A non-menu example. At each of the inns you visit, your room will contain exactly eight beds. No points for guessing how many people end up joining your party. (Partially subverted, as this doesn’t spoil the Guest-Star Party Member in Chapter 7).
  • I Shall Taunt You: Anon gets a skill that lets him taunt enemies, focusing the majority of their fire on him, and away from the others, for a few turns.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here:
    • The Partnership Towers skyscraper in YouTube. You have the option of scaling it ten floors at a time by elevator, fighting guards along the way. Or you can bypass the guards by taking the stairs… all seventy flights of them.
    • The Spire, the imposing Marathon Level dungeon of Chapter 7. You’ll mostly be climbing it with warps and teleports, but there are some very long staircases involved, too.
  • Kill Sat: Low Orbit Ion Cannons get mentioned a couple times in passing. A certain item lets you call one down on enemies during battle.
  • Large Ham: One_Wing gets exactly one scene to chew the scenery, and by god, he DEVOURS it.
    • When he finally turns up, Legion proves to be one of these. Throughout his monologue, he never uses a single lowercase letter. Fitting, since his counterpart never uses capitals.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Life+ status has this effect. If you die, it automatically brings you back at 1HP.
  • Last Disc Magic:
    • Starting in Chapter 6, characters can learn “Megahax” by trading Rare NES Games to a collector living in GameFAQs. They can be incredibly useful, (for instance, Til’s Megahax promises to put all enemies to sleep, and Tyalie’s gives everyone in the party an extra life), but using them lock’s the caster’s magic for the rest of the fight.
    • A set of elemental orbs start showing up around Chapter 7 or so. When equipped, the user learns a tremendously powerful magic attack, like “Meteor Shower” or “Eternal Snowstorm.” Unlike the party’s Megahax skills, they can be used multiple times per battle.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • So you’ve scoured the game world for hours, and come up with exactly 32 Bitcoins, just one short of buying all the accessories. Where could the last one be? Turns out it was only available way back in Chapter 2, when Cornelia walked off and left the door to her hotel room open.
    • There are six Rare NES Games: four of them are easy to collect, but the last two will have you pulling your hair out. One is a reward for clearing a series of Platform Hell bonus levels, and the other is tucked away in a hidden room that’s never hinted to even exist. Hint: look for mushrooms that suddenly sprout up around train stations.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The goddesses are pieces split from Catie’s soul. The Internet has been erased and remade multiple times. Catie becomes queen of the Boxxysphere. These are all major revelations in the first game, but here they’re tossed around like it’s nothing.
  • Leaked Experience: At the end of battle, the party members present right then get full experience. Everyone else gets half, even if they helped out earlier in the fight.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: All over the place, especially when Tyalie is involved. She loves to make playful jabs at the fourth wall as a coping mechanism for her existential fears.
  • Legend Of Chekhov: On the way to 4chan, a hermit will tell you the story of Legion long before it becomes relevant. Similarly, a book of fairy tales you can buy contains legends about Virtua and Cracky, although neither are mentioned by name.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Shroomy, from Katy’s sidequest, is an ineffectual little fungus whose only equippable weapon is “Being A Mushroom.” However, if you happened to pick up the “Mushdoom” accessory in town, it turns Shroomy into an absolute nuke. He can take down ORDERHEAD in just a few hits, provided you’re able to keep his RP replenished.
  • Levels Take Flight: The Wayback Machine mixes this with Eternal Engine. It’s a vast, moving airship filled with pipes and catwalks dangling precariously over the abyss, and is the most overtly sci-fi looking area in the game.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: At two points in the story, you’ll be asked to choose a partner for a support conversation. Whoever you pick will gain multiple experience levels, (three for the first time, two for the second), alongside some character development.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: Oh my, yes. The Inbox, the game’s main quest-giving location, has thirteen missions, which must all be complete to unlock the best ending. But aside from that, there are plenty of objects to collect, citizens to help, minigames to play, Bonus Dungeons to explore, and a Tournament Arc to compete in. It’s safe to say that about a third of the game’s content is made up of sidequests.
  • Locomotive Level: The middle part of Chapter 6 takes place on the Hype Train, a luxury train traveling from TV Tropes to GameFAQs. The boss battle even takes place on top of it!
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • The Vocaloid concert sequence features actual Vocaloid songs playing in the background. The track actually plays through six full songs before looping, but you’ll likely be in and out of there before the first one has even finished.
    • The song that plays while the party is chasing down the Wayback Machine lasts about twice as long as the cutscene itself. Thankfully, this one at least appears in the sound test afterwards.
  • The Lost Woods: The forest near /x/, simply called The Woods. It has ghosts, paths that twist back on themselves, paths that lead back to the entrance… Oh, and it’s very, very dark.
  • Mana Burn: Several enemies can use “Heartbleed,” an attack that sucks away your RP.
  • Mana Shield: The Aura Pearl accessory gives you the “RP Aura” status. Attacks will damage your RP until you have none left, effectively giving you a second health bar.
  • Marathon Boss: The final fight with Arianna. Her four forms together have a whopping total of 750,000 HP. To put things in perspective, most of the other endgame bosses barely exceed 100,000. The only enemy with more health is Esoteraphim, a nigh-impossible Easter Egg boss that wasn’t even put in the game until several months after release.
  • Marathon Level: The Spire, full stop. When your guide warns you that the climb may take all day, he isn’t joking. It was even worse before an update added shortcut warps, since you had to backtrack through at least half the dungeon every time you wanted to leave and resupply. Even with the shortcuts, it’s still a long and grueling trek up to the aerie.
  • Marshmallow Hell: A relieved Cornelia puts Anon through this when he finally turns up safe after the shipwreck.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Tends to be the reaction whenever STORM shows up, and for good reason.
  • Mechanical Abomination: STORM is a textbook example. Massive and metallic? Check. Unexplained origins and alien motives? Check. Impossible to defeat via typical means? Double check. Technology capable of altering or fully erasing the very fabric of its universe? That’s a big ol’ triple check. During the finale, Legion even implies that its reality warping powers might be enough to let him break free from the internet and invade reality itself.
  • Mind Screw:
    • There’s a house in /x/ with a doll in the basement. Picking up the doll sends you on a trip that has to be seen to be believed.
    • This happens when you read the signpost halfway up the Tower of Plot. What do you mean we’ve been going through empty rooms this whole time?!
  • Minigame Zone: YouTube has the Let’s Play Speedway, an obstacle-dodging cart minigame with five tracks based on various other games. (There’s a Pokémon map, a Minecraft map, etc). If you win, you can either move on to the next track, or bail out and claim a prize. If you lose, you get nothing and have to start all over. You get a unique prize the first time you complete each track, but it’s very easy to keep going past that.
  • Minus World: The Astral Error, a secret area within the 4chan code room, is based on one of these. It contains no enemies (save one), but the strange music and visual glitches are enough to make it very unsettling. Even Catie’s sprite begins to bug out as you progress deeper, until she’s literally just a mess of random pixels.
  • The Missingno.: not_intended, a Bonus Boss trapped within the aforementioned Minus World. Her true nature is never explained, although the True Ending does provide a hint.note 
  • Missing Secret:
    • If you equip the Seeker’s Compass near the Tumblrwood Tree, you can see something sparkling in a patch of distant flowers, but there isn’t any way to get over there.
    • The Iris and the Egg, two unique items that can be found by interacting with the scenery on Artistry Highway. The Egg can at least be used to heal 200 HP, but the Iris doesn’t seem to have any use at all, aside from being sold for a high price at one specific shop.
    • There’s a llama grazing in a field between YouTube and 4chan. Talking to it yields the message, “this llama knows a secret.” Well, whatever it is, we never get to be let in on it.
  • Mistaken for Thief: Catie gets arrested after picking up a strange crystal in the street, setting off the plot of Chapter 4, to figure out who really stole the crystal and why.
  • Money Multiplier: The Altcoin, which doubles the amount of karma gained after battle, but only if the party member holding it is on-screen at the battle’s end.
  • Monster Arena: The Subscription Stadium in YouTube contains a battle arena side area. You can bet items, then send in one party member to fight alone against groups of monsters, with the goal of winning better items. Several unique weapons and armors can only be obtained this way. Also, if you visit the arena at night, you get to compete in a Tournament Arc instead.
  • Monster Misogyny: Inverted with Lady Anita’s signature attack, “Art of Misandry.” If she uses it on a female party member, nothing happens… but if she uses in on a male, they get K.O.ed instantly.
  • Multiple Endings: Three of them. The normal ending is acquired by simply playing through the game, with the other two available during the Playable Epilogue. One of them is a satisfying Grand Finale to the series that wraps up all the remaining plot threads… while the other is a truly surreal Gainax Sudden Downer Ending, and a Guide Dang It! to even find.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: Played with in chapter 2, where an NPC gives Catie a choice between three sets of elemental claws. Aside from their differing animations, all three are largely identical. (Although picking the lightning claws does give a slight advantage in the upcoming boss battle).
  • Mysterious Waif: Catie and Arianna are heroic and villainous examples of this trope, respectively. Although Catie’s mystique has died down a bit in-universe since the first game.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Catie suffers from periodic visions of three mysterious, hostile women. They turn out to be the goddesses, pieces of Catie’s soul, in anguish because of what STORM is doing to the internet.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: The ritzy inn in Wikipedia offers two guest packages: an expensive “Deluxe Pack” and a much cheaper “Discount Pack.” If you take the cheaper option, they’ll shoo you out back into a rat-infested alleyway.
  • Noob Cave: Digg, an archaeological site found while searching for shipwreck survivors in Chapter 1. Tutorials are offered via safety reminders written to the workers.
  • Nominal Importance: A unique visual variant: you can easily tell if a character is going to be important by whether or not their eyes blink.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • If you lose to a few specific enemies, they won’t just kill you immediately. Instead you’ll watch a scene showing what happened next. These enemies are usually based on Creepypastas, and involve a Fate Worse than Death.
    • An absolutely brutal one occurs if you attempt to “spare” Boxxyfan’s breath mask by fleeing instead of attacking it. Let’s just say that Boxxyfan really doesn’t care for mercy.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Sadly, the Summit ultimately devolves into this. Turns out that putting a bunch of bitter rivals in a room and then asking for an alliance isn’t just going to magically give you one.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Reddit is sunny and perfectly safe for those with karma… but those without it are forced to live in the dirty, cutthroat alleys of Downvote Lane. When you visit, the first thing you see is an execution, and you’re accosted by a trio of thugs shortly afterwards.
  • Old School Building: One of the buildings in /x/ is a creepy old schoolhouse. At first, you can’t enter because a little girl is blocking the doorway, but once she vanishes, you can go inside. After winding through some empty classrooms, you’ll eventually stumble right into an SCP-087 homage, with a Bonus Boss waiting at the bottom.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted – at least phonetically. The main protagonist is named Catie, while a certain sidequest puts you in control of a girl named Katy.
  • Optional Character Scene: The first support conversation is mandatory, but the second is dependent on reaching a certain optional side area. In both cases, you get to choose which characters play a part.
  • Optional Party Member: You get one for completing the Deep Web – a player avatar with the same name you entered for yourself at the beginning.
  • Our Angels Are Different: While traditional, feather-winged angels do appear as NPCs, the only character specifically referred to as an angel, Cracky the Sky Queen, looks more like a bizarre conglomeration of broken dolls.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They’re fragments of an Asteroids Monster Eldritch Abomination, and are trying to put themselves back together.
  • Overly Long Gag: The cleaning lady sidequest at the Battle Arena, which involves waiting for six minutes in real time while a load of laundry finishes its cycle. Let’s hope you brought something to read… or some actual laundry to do.
  • Party in My Pocket: Of the “everyone walks out of the hero when it’s time for a cutscene” variety. This is played with once or twice, such as when Catie gets tired of walking and someone else takes over.
  • Party Scattering: The team is briefly separated at one point in the Deep Web. After spending the night at a cozy cabin, Catie wakes up to find herself all alone. It turns out the others have all been kidnapped by a group of shapeshifters living in the basement. You get them back one-by-one… if you can identify the fakes.
  • Peace Conference: For the first time in history, the communities of the Internet are called together to put aside their differences in the face of a greater threat. It doesn’t even slightly work.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Oh, yes. Lots and lots of it. Some notable examples include:
    • Several Bitcoins are only available within very small windows. For instance, one can only be reached when Cornelia leaves her bedroom door open during a cutscene. Another requires you to have rum in your inventory when talking to someone at a party.
    • A few Inbox missions actually go away if you don’t finish them before beating the main story. This is never mentioned anywhere. Even worse, the “Epic Souvenir” quest disappears after the very next chapter. Note that clearing every Inbox mission is required to get the best ending.
    • Speaking of the “Epic Souvenir” quest, let’s hope you picked up a glowstick at the Vocaloid concert and remembered to get it signed. If not, say goodbye to the Sky Abyss for that playthrough.
    • If you enter the 4chan code room before visiting Twitch, you’ll miss out on getting to fight not_intended, since the key to her door is found in Twitch and you only get to visit each area once.
  • Perpetual Storm: STORM itself generates one of these wherever it goes. By the endgame, it’s grown to encompass all that remains of the virtual world.
  • Planet of Steves: 4chan. All of its inhabitants are named Anonymous, and all of the Anons are identical. (Except for the lone Femanon, who is pink instead of green).
  • Plant Person: Mint Leaf in the Sphere, and the four Plant Girls who hold the Sacred Seeds. They’re all involved in the same sidequest.
  • Platform Hell: All of the platforming stages are somewhat tricky, but the six bonus trials during the epilogue take it to a level of pure absurdity. New mechanics are thrown at you left and right, and sometimes the physics don’t even make sense. You can’t stand on moving platforms, for instance. They can only be used as stepping stones. Even players dedicated to 100% completion have admitted to giving up in frustration… on the first level.
  • Playable Epilogue: The story isn’t over when the credits roll. You can keep exploring the Web, and do any quests you haven’t finished up yet, plus a bunch of new ones too!
  • Play Every Day: Parodied. A certain NPC gives you an item, then says she’ll give you another if you come back tomorrow… before realizing the game lacks a system clock, so she can’t possibly tell when tomorrow comes.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: You spend much of the game running around searching for the PasSWORD, and when you finally get it, you do actually get to use it as a weapon in battles. It even has a unique ability that dispels enemy buffs!
  • Point of No Return: Once you board the REACT at the start of Chapter 7, there’s no going back until after the credits roll. Thankfully, this is made very clear to you at the time.
  • Pop Quiz: In the second dungeon, one of the rooms is a quiz that tests your memory about the other rooms and their puzzles. The secret PC ending also starts off with a quiz about some truly obscure aspects of the game.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: The breath masks invented by Janitor. The party uses them when they venture back to the First Internet. One of them gets left behind, enabling Boxxyfan to survive until the present day.
  • Post-Final Boss: After the storm has passed and everything has settled down, Catie still has to go through one more Nightmare Sequence with the goddesses. But this time, she’s learned a way to turn the tables on them…
  • Powers as Programs:
    • There’s a wide array of accessories to find, each with a different effect. Some teach the holder new attacks, while others give status immunity, double maximum HP, health regeneration, temporary invisibility, free money… And that’s just scratching the surface. Each party member can only equip one at a time, though, so pick carefully.
    • If you visit the A.I. Labs with Cornelia, she’ll get a series of four “Drives” that can change her stats. Want to make her a tank? A Fragile Speedster? A magical powerhouse? Just apply one of the Drives, and then switch it out when you change your mind.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Most of the prequel’s cast turns up in some way, even if they’re only extras. Notably, the only ones who are completely absent are Mason and Crissa, the first game’s two Optional Party Members.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: At first glance, our heroes sure don’t seem to have much in common. We’ve got a teenage(?) queen, a faceless trickster from the Planet of Steves, a Tsundere Hikkikomori, a Fish out of Water Badass Bookworm, a sewer-dwelling thief, a Genki Girl gamer with Medium Awareness, a reluctant Author Avatar, and a Stepford Smiler artificial intelligence. Yet somehow, they all manage to get along just fine, (for the most part).
  • Rainbow Speak: Pops up here and there. Actions in the text (like *sigh* and *gasp*) are always written in green, and terms related to the First Internet are often written in red. One_Wing, for his part, speaks in solid gold.
  • Random Effect Spell: The Present? item, which can do any number of things once opened. Some of the effects are helpful, (like turning enemies into kittens or free gold), while others can backfire, (like restoring enemies to full health and doubling their attack power).
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Katy has an attack that deals a random amount of damage to each enemy. At the end of her quest, Catie is given a reusable item that does the same thing.
  • Rat Stomp: R.A.T.s are the first enemy type you’ll encounter in the wild. They’re easy to kill, but their bite can be poisonous. (Because a R.A.T. is a type of virus, get it)?
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The strength of STORM is so great that it has functionally infinite health, much to our heroes’ dismay.
    Eddie: STORM is unlike any enemy we've ever seen before. The "HP" scale simply does not apply to it.
  • Recurring Traveller: Shrimp and Cornelia’s tour group, which shows up in various towns throughout the game. They all become Overtaken during the endgame, forcing your party to fight them.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: A few accessories can lower the RP cost of skills. However, you still need to have the normal amount in order to use those skills in the first place. (For example, if you had a skill that normally cost 100 RP, it would only consume 50 with the accessory, but you would still need at least 100 to cast it).
  • The Reveal:
    • Catie is the one who ended the First Internet in a time travel accident, causing Boxxyfan to turn evil and seek revenge.
    • Anons are all tiny fragments of Legion, an ancient dragon who will reform if The Spire’s energy is ever totally gone.
    • Arianna is actually ARPANET, a prototype information sharing network. She’s acting up because the chaotic modern Internet makes her feel like her sacrifice was wasted.
    • And from the True Ending… Catie and the goddesses are all pieces of Virtua; and Virtua and Legion are both halves of the same cyber deity.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • The Hype Train is staffed entirely by talking frogs and kittens. They speak childishly and seem largely oblivious to the murder mystery happening on the train.
    • The Turnips in Chapter 6 are adorable, with their derpy little eyes and smiles. The baby turnip/crab hybrid manages to be super cute despite being only a few pixels tall.
  • Rim Shot: A bad joke in Chapter 4 gets one of these. The characters immediately wonder where the hell it came from.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The third and final platforming section in Chapter 6 a frantic climb up an autoscrolling tower, with Spikes of Doom at the top and bottom of the screen. This happens yet again during the Gameplay Roulette final boss battle.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Fury status, a mechanic unique to Shrimp and Cornelia. If one goes down in battle, the other’s stats will get a massive boost.
    • On a plot-related note, Boxxyfan is back, and he still hasn’t given up his mad thirst for Catie’s blood. This time, we actually get to witness what happened to make him this way: the destruction of his home and family due to an accident Catie causes while time traveling.
  • Running Gag:
    • Til’s lack of patience with Anon, and her turning his avatar into a frog.
    • Tyalie’s constant attempts to make friends with the bad guys.
    • GmasterRED stealing credit for everything in outlandish ways.
  • Satire and Switch: The game starts as a lighthearted parody of Internet culture. Somewhere in the middle, it starts building up a mythos and sneaking in more dramatic themes. By the end, it’s mainly turned into a straight sci-fantasy RPG that just happens to be set in the internet.
  • Save Point: Unlike the prequel, saving can only be done at specific “Goddess Statues” found throughout the world. This is Handwaved at the start as being an effect of the Spires running out of energy.
  • Save Token: One sidequest, however, nets you a portable statue that can be used anywhere, but it breaks after one use. Too Awesome to Use, indeed. (There’s a Guide Dang It! way of upgrading it to a version that never breaks, though).
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • At one point in the tutorial dungeon, there’s a large pile of gold surrounded by many bloodstains. This is your introduction to the local flavor of Chest Monster.
    • In the “battle” with Boxxyfan’s breath mask, you might notice that you have the option of running away, tempting you into thinking there may be a pacifist solution. Nope, you just end up getting brutally backstabbed for your efforts.
  • Sealed Evil in a Six Pack: In the past, Legion was defeated by having its soul split into thousands of tiny pieces. None of the pieces are actually sealed, but The Spire’s magic keeps them from re-fusing.
  • Secret Diary: Subverted. The player can find a diary left behind by a girl named Katy, but the opening page encourages the finder to read it, because Katy wants to share her adventures with others.
  • Secret Underground Passage: 4chan has quite a lot of them, several of which are necessary to enter the site for the first time. When questioned about this, Anonymous replies that secret entrances are awesome.
  • Sequel Escalation: In the first game, no enemy ever had more than five digits of health. This time, the True Final Boss has 540,000 HP, and the most difficult Bonus Boss has a whopping 790,000.
    • And that’s not even getting into the scope of the narrative. The prequel’s plot involved saving one website from a moody guy and his robot henchmen. Here, we’re facing off against screen-filling Eldritch Abominations bent on consuming all reality, (and in one case, it’s not just the virtual kind either).
  • Sequel Hook: The Social Justice Warrior plotline is never fully resolved, and the identity of “Mother” is never revealed. The last SJW we see cryptically says that “Everything is going as planned.”
  • Sequential Boss: Several of the endgame bosses are like this, such as Wolfram ALPHA (three phases), the final fight with Arianna (four phases), and STORM (three again). The latter two are smashed very close together, with only a small breather in between.
    • The secret boss not_intended has a second phase when she transforms into Nihilerror.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Boxxyfan dedicates his life to avenging his family’s Fate Worse than Death, causing untold mayhem all across the virtual world… only to find out the curse had worn off on its own, twelve minutes after he left.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Obligatory Kraken Boss, of the “kill its tentacles to make the body surface” variety.
  • Ship Tease: Catie/Tyalie gets a bit of it near the end, as does Anonymous/Til.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In the final act, the quirky supporting cast gets taken out just in time for Legion to show up.
  • Shout-Out: Has its very own page.
  • Sinister Subway: There’s a ghostly subway platform hidden beneath the DeviantART train station, filled with shades waiting for a train that never comes. A valuable item is found down there, but the location itself is never explained.
  • Skippable Boss: “Last Security – Overtaken Dragon” can be skipped by ignoring a suspicious save point during the final chapter. (If you pay close attention, its sprite is flipped compared to the regular save points, and it gives a slightly different message when activated).
  • Snake People: Users from Instagram resemble Lamias.
  • SNK Boss: Esoteraphim. The bastard may be tough, but he wouldn’t be nearly so hard to beat if he didn’t automatically K.O. one of your characters every other turn, in addition to getting his regular attack. You’ll be frantically healing so much that you’ll barely have time to damage him… and you’ll need to damage him a lot.
  • Something We Forgot: In The Stinger, Anon and Catie can’t help but feel like they’ve missed an important detail… Cut to Boxxyfan revealing that he Out-Gambitted everyone and now controls STORM. Oops.
  • Sound Test: The Sound Test Siblings, natch. Their house becomes available in the postgame.
  • Sprint Shoes: The aptly-named Speedy Shoes, which allow you to run twice as fast by holding down the Shift key.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Breaking out of the YouTube jail means sneaking past several patrolling guards. Subverted in the following dungeon, though – if you want the elevator keycards, you have to get spotted by the guards.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Amusingly, users of TV Tropes like to speak in Troper terms… as one of them points out, while citing this very trope by name.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: So you find a tunnel called “The Passage of the Hateful Reliquary.” As soon as you step inside, disembodied voices implore you to turn back, saying things like “It is hungry,” and “You will be consumed.” At the end of the passage, you see a bunch of statues huddled around a massive treasure chest. They attack you, saying “It must not awaken.” When they’re defeated, you’re free to open the chest, but does that really sound like a good idea? Doesn’t matter, because you have to do it anyway.
  • Stylistic Suck: The “Shifted Spires” series of in-game novels, oh so very much. Pretty much all of the “bad fanfic” clichés turn up at some point, from Rouge Angles of Satin to the gradual hijacking of the plot by a God-Mode Sue. Also doubles as a case of creator Self-Deprecation.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The Funky Infoshade has an attack with this exact name. It summons four regular Infoshades to fight by his side.
  • Surreal Horror: Has shades of this in certain areas, such as Amelie’s churchyard and especially the Deep Web.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: If you see a save statue and an RP chest in the same place, it means a boss battle is just up ahead. If there’s also a nearby cache of healing items, well… that tells you what kind of boss it’ll be.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The PasSWORD. Reforging it is the party’s main goal at first, and finally obtaining it marks a major turning point in the story.
  • Take That!:
    • Reddit’s voting system gets dragged through the mud. So does GameFAQs’ heavy-handed moderation, 4chan’s lack of moderation… Basically, every site we visit gets satirized for something.
    • Chapter 4 is basically one big Take That at career YouTubers who exploit their fans, Ray William Johnson and PewDiePie chief among them.
    • In GameFAQs, the player is sent to collect four orbs, each related to an aspect of video games: plot, puzzles, platforming, and player-versus-player combat. The first three are at the end of a long and complex system of dungeons. The last one is sitting in a random field outside of town being guarded by a literal baby.
    • The whole gatehouse sequence is spent mocking people who use “social justice” as an excuse to be bullies.
    • In one town, there’s an entire building dedicated to poking fun at erotic Game Mods and the people who make them.
    • Even Catie Wayne herself isn’t immune. At one point, a stab is made at her time with Animalist, an animal-themed web show network run by Discovery Channel.
  • Take Your Time: The game’s lengthiest Bonus Dungeon becomes available as the Internet is literally ending. The world may be falling apart at the seams, but sure, Catie, go ahead and explore that random ancient temple for a few hours. What’s the worst that could happen?
  • Thriller on the Express: The Hype Train turns into yet another homage to Murder on the Orient Express, much to Anon’s chagrin.
    Anonymous: I know how this works, huh? I've seen the movies. That guy got killed, and one of the people on the train did it. It'll be up to us to solve the case before the train reaches GameFAQs in two days. That's stress I don't need right now.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Wolfram BETA has a five-minute time limit before it self-destructs, taking the Wayback Machine (and the party) out with it.
  • To Be Continued ... Right Now: The Stinger midway through the credits is presented as a cliffhanger, presumably setting up the events of another sequel. Then you learn there’s a whole epilogue chapter dedicated to resolving that storyline.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The Goddess Statue, a portable save point that breaks after one use. (There’s a way to trade it for an unbreaking version, but you’re not told this anywhere).
    • The Purity Crystal, a Megalixer-type curative given to you just before the final dungeon. The Developer's Room implies it was added at the last minute, specifically to invoke this trope.
  • Tournament Arc: If you head straight to the arena after it becomes night in Chapter 4, you can participate in an underground fighting tournament. Several of the battles have gimmicks not seen anywhere else in the game.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: /x/ is more like a pile of Dark Secrets with a town hastily thrown on top. Seriously, every single building in that Goddesses-forsaken village is hiding some kind of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Traintop Battle: The Duel Boss against Tyalie in Chapter 6 takes place atop a moving train.
  • Transflormation: This is the fate that befalls anyone caught in the wrong Internet without a breath mask. It happens to Boxxyfan’s family, leading to his Start of Darkness. Later on, during the finale, he flips the script on Catie and her allies.
    • Subverted, since the effect only lasts for twelve minutes.
  • Treacherous Checkpoint: A pair of treacherous save statues. The first one shows up during your stealthy escape from the YouTube jail, and using it alerts the nearby guards to your presence. (Subverted, in that doing this is actually necessary to progress). The second one appears in the final dungeon, and triggers a draconic security system to come and kick your ass. This time, the trap is entirely skippable if you know it’s there.
  • True Final Boss: The Legion Singularity, an apocalyptic amalgamation of Legion and STORM. You fight it by clearing all the Inbox quests and unlocking the Sky Abyss.
  • 20 Bear Asses: One sidequest involves helping a farmer regain his crops’ missing texture files, which were stolen by a local enemy type. It takes thirteen files to save the farm, and they’re randomly dropped about 30% of the time, so get ready for around forty battles on average.
  • Twinkle In The Sky: RayWilliamJohnson becomes one when he’s defeated in Chapter 4.
  • Underground Monkey: The enemies in Alwaysland are just palette-swaps with more health and the word “Alwaysland” in front of their names. It gets a bit egregious when you start running into “Alwaysland” versions of specific characters like PewDiePie.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Ninety percent of the game plays out like a normal RPG, but occasionally you’ll be thrown into a platformer level or some other type of minigame. These tend to happen more often toward the climax.
  • Unique Enemy: The Vigil Keeper, encountered in a random, unremarkable hallway within the Deep Web. The lantern-tipped staff he randomly drops is implied to be some kind of Artifact of Doom responsible for keeping him alive, but that just raises further questions.
  • Universal Poison: Subverted. There are actually two poison status effects - Virus and Awful Virus. The inexpensive antidote for the former has no effect at all on the latter.
  • Verbal Tic: Anonymous has one of these, huh?
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: For the main story, it’s Her World, Arianna’s twisted creation beyond the Firewall. For the game as a whole, it’s the Sky Abyss.
  • Villain Override: Just when Arianna seems ready to back down, Boxxyfan’s code takes over and forces her to keep fighting, with tragic results.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: The Phisher tribe, who each mimic one of the playable characters; and their king, who cycles through all of them during his fight.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Tower of Plot includes a run-in with two of these. A tribe of talking crabs and a tribe of talking turnips, locked in a forever feud with each other. Catie is the “tall goddess” prophesied to end the war in favor of one side or the other.
  • Waiting Puzzle: One of the puzzles in Her World involves waiting in a small, empty space for nearly a minute.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Any scene can become this once you buy the swimsuit – it lets you toggle between normal and beach clothes at will, and the effect sticks even in cutscenes.
  • Warmup Boss: The gang of Tavern Ruffians in Reddit. They’re pushovers, but they can poison you, (the first use of status effects), and they outnumber you three to one.
  • Warp Whistle: The Google Gem, which provides fast travel back to any site you’ve visited before, by way of a fancy Mode7 world map.
  • Wham Episode:
    • All of Chapter 7, “The Story of Us.” Not only do we finally learn the origin of Boxxyfan’s madness, but we learn that it was Catie’s fault, as her mere presence in the First Internet is what caused the calamity that ended it. We also get our first real hints at Catie’s origin, and see the three goddesses fuse into her. Finally we learn that Anonymous – all of them – are fragments of a shattered Apocalypse Beast, who is still aware of himself and determined to recombine. Yikes.
    • The Sky Abyss ending. Just… just all of it. We finally learn the truth about Catie: that she and the goddesses are all pieces of Virtua - a deity that existed in cyberspace long before humans arrived, and Legion’s counterpart. Boxxyfan attacks with STORM in tow, taking out most of the party. Some Anons below get caught in the crossfire, which ends up AWAKENING LEGION, who hijacks STORM and ends up FUSING WITH IT, birthing an Eldritch Abomination called the Legion Singularity. When all seems lost, Arianna shows back up, having survived her Disney Death, and performs a Heel–Face Turn. And then… and then, as if that somehow wasn’t enough, it’s revealed that LEGION AND VIRTUA WERE ONCE THE SAME ENTITY, and that Catie’s power is all Legion needs to invade the real world. Only Catie, Arianna, and Boxxyfan, three mortal enemies turned sudden allies, stand in his way. Say it with me, Holy Shit.
  • Wham Line:
    • After battling an Asteroids Monster down to its smallest form:
      Tyalie: So this means... Anonymous is Legion?
    • Arianna revealing the truth about herself:
      Arianna: My name... My TRUE name... It's ARPANET.
    • The Pale Wraith giving a vital clue to his true identity:
      Pale Wraith: It's been a long time, hasn't it... Cate?
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The True Ending gives us one of these, showing what each member of the party did with their vacation.
  • Windmill Scenery: The entrance to /x/ is marked by an old, lonely windmill. Naturally, the chapter’s climax involves going inside.
  • Winged Humanoid: The seven key siblings are easy to identify because they all have wings. One of the tourists in Shrimp’s group also has them.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Irci, Til’s little sister, is very stoic for such a small girl. It’s heavily implied that she had to mature quickly for Til’s sake – her crippling anxiety meant she needed a guardian more than Irci herself did.
  • Wishing Well: The eBuy department store has one. The narrator gets increasingly sardonic the more coins you throw into it.
  • World-Healing Wave: After securing the backups and banishing STORM, Til and Anonymous rig up a system to undo the damage caused by the terrible machine. The others are suitably impressed by their hacking skills.
    Anonymous: That wasn't hacking. It was scripting, with style.
  • World of Snark: It’s the Internet; there’s no way it wasn’t going to be this.


"STORM! Fire the reversion pulse!"
There you are...
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