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Video Game / Broken Age

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Broken Age is an Adventure Game by Double Fine released for the PC, with the first act released in January of 2014 and the second in April 2015. It is notable for raising more than $3.3 millionnote  in crowd funding via Kickstarter, starting a trend among video game developers in The New '10s to use Kickstarter to fund their own passion projects.

The game features two separate stories which are played in parallel; although there is little direct connection between them, the two stories share strong thematic elements. Both stories feature a teenager — one a boy, the other a girl — who find themselves in situations they desire to escape.

The boy, who is named Shay Volta, lives alone in outer space on the Bassinostra, an "incubator vessel" that carried him to safety when his world was dying. His entire life so far has been spent under the watchful eye of the ship's maternal AI, who has coddled, nourished, and entertained him through the years, shielding him from potential dangers that lurk beyond the pod bay doors. However; Shay is starting to become suspicious of his extremely fussy adoptive parent's true motives, and he has a growing longing to see the outside world and face some real danger.


The girl, Velouria Beastender Tartine ("Vella" for short), has just been selected for a "great honor": her participation in her village's highly esteemed festival for the Eldritch Abomination "Mog Chothra" (the latest in a long distinguished line of Mogs) as one of the maidens that will potentially be devoured by the monster in exchange for the monster leaving the town in peace for another 14 years. Faced with this dire situation, Vella finds herself coming back to a single question: "What if we actually tried to fight the monster?"

Both Shay and Vella will be required to make a fateful decision that will greatly affect their lives, and the world around them.

A PlayStation 4 version with both acts was released on April 28, 2015, and the second act was released on the same day for PC, Mac, and Linux, along with a boxed version published by Nordic Games.


SPOILERS related to the change in setting at the end of Act 1 will be UNMARKED, though tropes related to the twist itself will remain spoiled.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: During the Maiden's Feast, Vella's dress gets stuck in the sacrificial cake she was being offered in, so she cuts off the lower part of it to free herself and escape Mog Chothra.
  • Adults Are Useless: Pretty much completely. The adults are easily hoodwinked by authority, afraid of change, and quick to dismiss the legitimate concerns of the young. In fact, several puzzles involve thwarting adult control or distracting adults so the young protagonists can do what really needs to be done.
  • Aerith and Bob: Almost everyone in the game has a common English name, including all the robots and appliances on Shay's ship. Shay and Vella are slightly unusual names, but not very strange, especially for protagonists. Then there's Marek.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The hexagonal robots on Shays ship; Shay calls them Hexapals and refers to them with masculine pronouns while Vella calls them Hexagals and uses feminine pronouns for them.
  • Anachronism Stew: Vella's world seems relatively primitive (and has the type of theocratic thought common to primitive cultures), yet the inhabitants are clearly familiar with the concept of spaceships, Gus mentions playing arcade games, and Vella has a fairly easy time comprehending the tech she encounters on Shay's ship.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Mom used to tell Shay a story about a girl who was chosen to be sacrificed. The story ends with her revealing that she was that girl.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: One puzzle requires the player to untie a knot, which requires the advice of another character in a totally different location. Messing up the knot will automatically teleport you back to the latter character to get more help and then to the knot again when you finish talking, so as to save the player time if they don't solve the knot puzzle on the first try.
  • Art Shift: Alex is slightly more realistic than the rest of the cast, as he's based on Alex Rigopoulos of Harmonix. Ditto for the Train Conductor, who is based on the train conductor from the board game Ticket To Ride.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: In order to defeat Mog Chothra, you must shoot lasers into his mouth.
  • Babies Ever After: An incredibly bizarre example in the ending credits. the spoon and the fork are shown together and with a baby spork. Better not ask.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of Act 2, Shay is saved from falling to his death by Grabbin' Gary, whom he lost during Act 1.
  • Big Eater: One of the Maidens who is with Vella is snacking on a turkey leg during the ceremony and proudly says Mog Chothra prefers plump girls.
  • Bland-Name Product: One of Shay's choices of breakfast cereal is "Whole Grain Nutrient Paste"; the box art is suspiciously similar to that of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal.
  • Blood Knight:
    • The Knife that Shay recovers. When Shay drops the knife, it sails off, shouting "I'm free! Free to cleave the infinite void of space itself!"
    • Vella to a more subtle degree. While she isn't a blood-hungry warrior, her puzzle solutions are often violent or confrontational and she seems perfectly happy with it.
    • Notably, the two characters meet in Act II after Vella gets stuck in Shay's ship. They get along great.
  • Bookends: Act 1 ends with Shay and Vella lying down in the same position as on the first screen but on the side the other started on, with Vella stuck inside the Bossa Nostra, and Shay stranded in Shellmound. The final end credit image has Shay and Vella sitting back to back again looking dreamily off to either side, but this time in a field, together, and happy.
  • Brain Uploading: Both Mom and Dad are implied to be the result of this... until Act 2 reveals that they are his real parents using special interfaces.
  • Brick Joke: In Act 2, you can find the fabric that Dead Eye Dawn and Dead Eye Courtney cut to make their robes.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Mom's reaction, almost literally, to the unwound knit critter.
  • But Not Too Gay: The Druids, Dawn and Courtney, are obviously a couple, but the most intimacy we see is them holding hands. Then again, this is about the most intimacy we see in the whole game.
  • Character Tic:
    • Marek and his occasional shifty eyes.
    • Vella shows a tendency to cross her feet when idle.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Each of the protagonists cause changes in the course of solving puzzles that are beneficial to the other later on.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Shay finds that being really good at hugging has a surprising number of uses. However, he's not actually any good at fencing.
  • Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: The cereals Mom offers to Shay.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Broken Age is basically about two teens learning how to lead a life separate from the one their parents chose for them.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • Vella's hometown doesn't seem to see anything wrong with sacrificing maidens to the resident monster. Most people treat it as a great honor, with the maidens believing they'll be remembered as heroes. The only people taking issue with the arrangement is Grandpa Beastender and Vella, and even they seem little more than irritated with the whole thing... until the actual sacrificing begins.
    • Turns out every village Mog Chothra visits has become like this, with at least one girl seen lamenting over the fact that she wasn't eaten alive like the rest of the girls.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Sugar Bunting, Vella's hometown, looks beautifully pastoral and has an economy based entirely around baking. It also sacrifices girls to a hideous monster every 14 years. Shay's story, meanwhile, involves him trying to break out of his "perfect" world to have some real adventures, evoking this idea.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Ch't the little boy is played by Hynden Walch, best known for playing Starfire and Princess Bubblegum.
  • Cult: Brother Lightbeard's followers are a rare fictional example of a cult that actually works very much like your average real-life one, rather than simply being a bunch of hood-wearing, knife-wielding, Great Old One worshipping nutcases. Most of the members are people in the middle of a mid-life crisis or some other state of emotional vulnerability who were recruited via promises of a healthier, more enlightened way of life and pulled the rest of their families with them while cutting all ties to their former lives. They donate their money to the cult leader (who routinely breaks all of his own sacred commandments, a fact which is accepted by the cult-members since he's believed to be beyond human flaws), use aggressive psychological warfare tactics in order to break hesitant subjects into conforming to the rules (using an implied "spiritual scoring system" with "demerits" for such things as bad hygiene resulting in punishment), and eventually even get to the point of physically preventing anyone from leaving their community (claiming that it's so perfect that if anybody wishes to leave it, it must be a problem with them).
  • Cute Machines: Every robot in Shay's ship. Even after he makes his way into the ship's underbelly, the Space Weaver he encounters is still cute.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Vella does this at one point with her grandfather's ceremonial knife after flying away from Mog Chothra.
  • Death Ray: Used by Vella to fight Mog Chothra.
    Alex: Well, heck. Let's just call a death ray a death ray.
  • Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life:
    • The Dead-Eye God spent his youth sheltered on a spaceship, and his young adulthood trying to communicate with the primitive ancestors of Shellmound, who automatically attributed all of his actions to divinity. With only a slim chance of completing Operation Dandelion, he's perfectly happy to help Vella fight Mog Chothra, although he prefers not to damage his ship in the process.
    • The Dead-Eye Druids don't really believe the religion they preach, and will jump at the chance to worship something more meaningful. Eventually they realize they can achieve greater fulfillment by living their own lives.
  • Developers' Foresight: There are quite a few humorous lines which can only be found by trying out somewhat obscure combinations of items and characters.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The basic premise of Vella's story is that she's trying to do this. She succeeds, but it's technically subverted since Mog Chothra is actually Shay's ship. Plus, she fails when she literally tries to punch Shay.
  • Double Entendre: Curtis' stool remarks. Though he is actually talking about chairs, the way he says them can be interpreted differently. The whole thing is even noticed by Vella.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Vella, and possiblynote  every female character in her world, except the ones in Meriloft who have to wear cloudshoes.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    Shay: "Hey, Marek, wanna take a hit off this air tank?"
  • Easy Evangelism: Vella's family immediately swing around to her view on Mog Chothra after she manages to get it to leave without eating all the maidens or destroying the town. Other NPCs take the same view after the Mog gets shot down.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Mog Chothra is a near-textbook example of an inscrutable, invincible, monster who seems to play by its own rules of physics, has a biological form that makes no natural sense (including eyes all over its body and Combat Tentacles,) and is subject to awe and reverence by the population around it. Ultimately subverted by the Twist Ending of Act I, where it's revealed to be Shay's ship.
  • Episodic Game: The game is divided in two parts. The first half was released in early 2014, and the second half in Spring of 2015.
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: Mom certainly thinks so; everything on the ship is a cute doll, or a cute living doll. Shay disagrees.
  • Everything Is Racist: The Talking Tree tends to get offended to much of what Vella says and does because it's anti-plant. Shay, not quite as much. In fact, one puzzle requires Shay making Tree laugh at a joke. Justified in that Curtis is...well, a wood worker, and Vella's first interaction with the Dialogue Tree is her driving an ax into it to give it a mouth.
  • Everything Talks: It seems that pretty much every component on Shay's ship is sentient, although many of them just make cutesy, unintelligible noises. Even the fusion core starts talking when it's about to go critical.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Vella's grandfather, Grandpa Beastender. He apparently got it from fighting Mog Chothra.
  • The Faceless: Dead Eye Dawn and Dead Eye Courtney, even when they get naked in their last pre-credits appearance (though we finally see their hair).
  • The Face of the Sun: Shay's "Mom" is depicted as a sun with a face.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death:
    • Instead of treating the fact that they are sending their young women to be devoured by a monster in exchange for some years of mercy like the tragedy it is, Vella's village treats it like a festive, colorful and joyous occasion.
    • After leaving her Village, Vella finds that all the other villages have the same attitude. She even meets one girl that was disappointed to not have been eaten.
  • Fish Eyes: The Bland-Name Product mascot for the Quaker Oats-esque cereal has these.
  • Foil: Vella and Shay serve as foils to each other.
    • Vella is a girl, Shay is a boy.
    • Vella is black, Shay is white.
    • Vella is dressed in pink, Shay is dressed in blue.
    • Vella's head is an oval, Shay's is rectangular.
    • Vella wants to live a normal life, Shay craves adventure.
    • Vella's parents are willing to sacrifice her to a monster, Shay's parents want to keep him safe to the point of boredom.
    • Vella travels through several towns in Act 1, Shay wanders around his home.
    • Vella is the only one who recognizes the insanity of her world, Shay is unwittingly oblivious to his.
    • Vella is constantly derided for attempting to fight the horrific Mog, Shay is constantly praised for completing childish adventures or saving aliens with a "claw game".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the first two "save the creature" sequences of Shay's story, the names of the nebulae reference the villages in Vella's story: Talon Nebula referencing birds and Danger System 5 referencing Sugar Bunting's old reputation of being so dangerous that all the villages were terrified of it.
    • During the two latter "save the creature" sequences of Shay's story, both of the remaining creatures that Shay tries to desperately "save" despite Marek's oppositions have Vella's feather headdress.
    • Mog Chothra has red hexagon shaped eyes that look like the windows on Shay's ship.
    • Alex is a space explorer who's treated like a god, he's not the only one.
    • Shay's helmet comes off when he passes out in space. It's not a stylistic choice to avoid showing what would actually happen - the "exterior" of the ship is actually another simulation room. Shay's not in space.
    • During the introduction of Mog Chothra, mechanical whirs and the moaning of steel can be heard. It could be interpreted as the bending of the nearby docks, but it's really coming from Shay's Ship/Mog Chothra.
    • Shay and Alex are strongly implied, before the twist ending of Act 1 that ties the two storylines together, to both be sole survivors of Loruna. They are also part of Project Dandelion. 'Incubator ship' is equivalent to 'seed ship,' and we all know how dandelions spread. Clever way to give away the multiple survivor twist at the end.
    • The Red Herring involving Shay and Alex, who initially seem to be the same person in different times, also reveals something about their background: what sort of society could produce two unrelated people, separated by three hundred years, who look exactly the same?
    • Even the title of the "Dead-eye god" is one. It isn't a title for some bizarre new religion we don't know much of, it is the natural result of misunderstandings. Namely that is isn't "a god with dead eyes" as in being a blind god, it is a dead eye-god as in a fallen Mog.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Vella's little sister calls her full name (Velouria Beastender Tartine) to get her attention in the beginning.
  • The Ghost: Becky Yorn. Mentioned as both the creator of the riddle of Yorn, and the Woodcutter's girlfriend.
  • Go for the Eye: Averted. Even Mog Chothra's eyes are armor-plated, as Vella notes when she thinks of fighting it.
  • Going Commando: Dead Eye Dawn and Dead Eye Courtney aren't wearing anything under their robes. This makes things a little awkward in Act 2 when Shay needs those robes for their radiation-resistant material to make a protective suit.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: After Vella flies through a cloud and loses her bird she doesn't begin to fall until she can comically look below her; she then instantly drops.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One of the puzzles requires some Fourth Wall thinking, and using a method that you never needed before. To figure out Shay's favorite toy for his Mom's quiz in Vella's half of act 2, you need to notice the picture of him with a stuffed snake, switch to his story, and progress enough for him to find the snake from Vella's story, get constricted by it, and hear him call it Mr. Huggy.
    • On another note, getting the snake as an item counts, considering you need to have Shay stand still until it tires itself out. It does make more sense when you factor in his Death Seeker tendencies though... plus, you might just let the snake choke him just to listen to all his lines.
    • Good luck with the Hexapal. You have to map out what wire+node combinations make what symbols, and then wire it up accordingly with the only hint of the first set of symbols being in the background of an innocuous picture that can easily be missed or overlooked. Even worse, the layout of the wiring is different each playthrough, so even if you know what to do you have to figure out the layout all over again.
  • The Heavy:
    • Shay's computer for his story (technically), Mog Chothra for Vella's (which technically makes Shay The Heavy for her, since Mog Chothra is actually his ship).
    • Marek for everyone, since while he isn't the one who came up with the people harvesting plan, or the one who controls the plan, he is the one who tried to kidnap Vella and got Shay to do it.
  • Hermit Guru: Harm'ny Lightbeard certainly acts like one, complete with meditating and dispensing Ice Cream Koans, but he's really more of a Snake Oil Salesman.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the game, Grabbin' Gary, who had acted only when prompted by Shay until then, acts autonomously to maneuver the large mechanical arms and save Shay from falling. He then "smiles" at Shay while being buried in the melting ship.
  • Hero of Another Story: Both protagonists have very different adventures, to the point where their initial settings are complete opposites.
  • Hidden Depths: Both Shay and Marek know how to crochet.
    Marek: This wolf costume doesn't make itself, you know.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: "OHHH MOG CHOOOTHRAAAAAAAAAA..."
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Shay and Alex evacuated their home planet after it became no longer inhabitable. Act 2 reveals it was all a lie, they never even left their home planet.
  • Hourglass Plot: Act Two is this, with the end of the first act leaving the protagonists in the setting of their counterpart: Vella inside the Bossa Nostra and Shay in Shellmound.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • Alex was frozen for 300 years.
    • In Act 2, the yarn buddies in the ice cream mission room are planning to freeze themselves to sleep through whatever is damaging the ship. In the credits, they are shown intact in the middle of the slag that the ship and the other ship melted into.
  • Human Sacrifice: The village offers up a selection of young maidens for Mog Chothra to choose a sacrifice from, Vella among them, but she is planning to reject that tradition.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The talking trees see humans as murderous psychopaths.
  • Human Subspecies: The Thrush, Loruna's ruling elite, are the product of untold centuries of genetic tampering, making them practically unrecognizable as "human." However, some of the "imperfections" they bred out of themselves turned out to be necessary for their survival, and so they've been harvesting "primitives" from the world outside the Plague Dam in the hopes of "truing the Formation" - filling the holes they've torn in their own genetic and cultural makeup.
  • Hyperlink Story: Vella's and Shay's stories come together when, in the Act 1 finale, Shay's spaceship is revealed to be Mog Chothra - the Eldritch Abomination that has been feeding on the maidens from Vella's world.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Marek's missions involve going to places such as "Danger System 5", and "Prima Doom".
  • Implied Love Interest: Judging by the post-credits scene, Shay and Vella at least become friends after the game ends. There's no evidence of anything more — aside from Marekai's comments, and he could be projecting his own obsessions — either way, however.
  • Interface Spoiler: Doing Shay's story before Vella's makes it obvious that Mog Chothra is Shay's ship. Doing Vella's story first makes Mog Chothra more of a mystery.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Both leads do this, but Shay probably has the best reason of the two.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The offerings to "Mog Chothra" in the beginning wear extremely Pimped Out Dresses.
  • Jet Pack: Shay improvises one out of a whipped cream sprayer.
  • Just Between You and Me: The ultimate villain is perfectly happy to explain the fine details of what's been going on, on the assumption that the one he's talking to will never survive to do anything about it.
  • Knife Nut: The knife.
    Vella: (When using the knife on most objects) I don't want to stab that.
    Knife: I do.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall/Visual Pun: The talking tree Vella meets is named "Dialogue Tree".
  • Level Ate: Shay's "Ice Cream Avalanche" mission.
  • Level in the Clouds: Meriloft, which has multiple people lampshade how strange having this as a village is by saying it's only possible through keeping things as light as possible while also giving them a large surface area.
  • Love Triangle: Between the knife, fork and spoon. Seriously.
  • The Man in the Moon: Shay's "Dad" is depicted as a moon with a face.
  • Master Computer: Shay's story begins with him living under the care of a computer system that has decided much of his life.
  • Master Race: The Thrush believe themselves to be this. Their only regard for the people who live beyond the Plague Dam is as potential raw materials for fixing the damage they did to their own genetic and cultural makeup in their pursuit of "perfection."
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • M'ggie comments that "Short things can surprise you" when she gives Vella her ladder. Vella echoes her words when she uses the ladder to pry open Mog Chothra's mouth, rendering it vulnerable to Alex's death ray.
    • Vella really knows how to turn a mundane line of dialogue into a badass one-liner. Besides the above point, when she escapes from Mog Chothra the first time she says a variant of the phrase she used to trick her grandfather into revealing where he hid the ceremonial knife not long before:
    "Hey, Mog Chothra! Why don't we split this cupcake? You can have the bottom half!"
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Vella's people were once proud warriors who'd fight the Mogs, but now they're mostly known for their baking. So, it makes sense that her full name is "Velouria Beastender Tartine".
    • Mom's name is Hope. A Fitting name considering the goal of their assigned mission, Project Dandelion.
    • Act 2 reveals that the kindly old lady from Sugar Bunting, Lavina, is actually a Lorunan agent named Celavina whose mission was to dissuade the Badlanders from rising up against their masters by convincing them their current way of existence, however horrible, is the best possible. This is a play on the French expression "C'est la vie" ("This is life"), indicating an acceptance of things as they are.
  • The Mole: The old lady who's been organizing the sacrifices in Sugar Bunting for many years is revealed to be from the same "superior" caste in Loruna as Marek and his superior. It's implied that figures like her have worked to condition the people to accept the sacrifices for a long time.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: This is Carrol's theory on how the mogs reproduce.
  • My Beloved Smother: The aforementioned computer system that takes care of Shay is highly overprotective and controlling. Though he seems to believe she does it from a place of love, she refuses to let him be placed in any sort of danger at all. Even the spikes he falls into are made of rubber.
    • Act 2 reveals she doesn't even have the excuse of being a computer program. She really is Shay's mom, and simply continues to treat him like a little child.
  • Mystery Meat: In Act 2, Vella does not know what is in the ice cream but does not want to eat it. The fork knows what is in the ice cream and agrees she should not eat it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Both protagonists take actions that seem like good ideas at the time, which come back to haunt them later.
  • Nuke 'em: In Act 2, Vella, hearing that the Mog factory is entirely automated and thus devoid of civilians, leaves behind an overloading fusion core as a farewell present.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The Dead-Eye Druids are not actually blind, they each faked it to impress the other.
  • Only Sane Girl:
    • Vella appears to be the only one in the entire world who doesn't believe getting devoured alive by a gigantic Cthulhu-esque monster is something to look forward to.
    • M'ggie is this for Meriloft. Walt'r and the other men are too deep in Harm'ny Lightbeard's cult to be of help, Car'l is distracted by her work, one girl's time is completely overtaken by mourning not being eaten by Mog Chothra, and everyone else is a bird. M'ggie, on the other hand, has been actively searching for a way off Meriloft and is the only helpful person Vella encounters there.
    • In Act 2, most of them get better. Vella's family realize she and the grandfather were right, and upon looking for Vella in Meriloft they also befriend and help the people there. Shay also involuntarily reveals Harm'ny as the fraud he is, so F'ther and Walt'r snap out of it, although the latter confesses having been already dubious for a while. Even better that, however, his wife Carol was fed up: Shay finds her fishing in Shellmound.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Subverted. Vella must solve a riddle in order to enter the Dead Eye God's temple. Turns out, the riddle had nothing to do with the temple. It was just something that's been bothering the guards.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast:
    • Vella's story is more heavily dominated by orange and yellow, while Shay sees more blue and grey.
    • Both Shay and Vella see this to varying degrees. Shay's ship uses this as a basis of the color scheme along with primary colors. Velouria has her town in the beginning and Shellmound, although they're more subtle. Even the Spaceweaver changes colour.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Grabbin' Gary is a robot that likes to grab things. Except for things that don't have handles, things that are slippery, things of a personal nature, trash... Actually, there's only one thing in the game that Grabbin' Gary wants to grab.
    • Curtis the lumberjack spends all his time in his cabin, too afraid to cut down any trees.
  • Port Town: Shellmound, which is how the village got its name.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Shay is anything but "forsaken," even if his parental relationships are somewhat strained, but he was still raised from birth to be a glorified piece of equipment, a detector for the qualities the Thrush are looking for in order to fix the damage they did to themselves in the pursuit of "perfection."
  • Proud Warrior Race: Grandpa Beastender implies the people of Sugar Bunting used to be this in his day. Alex confirms it, saying the Sugar Bunting was once called Steel Bunting, and was feared by all the other villages.
  • Railroading: Shay's "missions" in the first part of his story are incredibly simple, have obvious solutions, and there's no alternative way to approach them. This demonstrates how absolutely controlled his life is. Lampshaded with the one that is actually on a train, and the only way to progress the plot is to make it go Off the Rails.
  • Red Herring:
    • When Mom tells about how she once was a girl chosen for a sacrifice, she tells it like it happened a long time ago, implying that Shay's story takes place in the far future, and that Mom is possibly an older Vella. But she isn't.
    • The player doesn't learn Alex's name straight away, so when he talks about how he crashed in his space vessel, after rebelling against the ship's computer, he could easily be mistaken for an older Shay. But he isn't. Act 2 even plays with this. Upon meeting for the first time, Alex and Shay are excited thinking they may be the same person at different ages, but upon telling each other's name, they realize they are not. And when he meets Shay's father, Alex cuts it short telling that no, he isn't a younger him.
    • The riddle of Yorn towards the end of the first act: You always take us down - When we are in our prime. - Devour your sweet rewards - Yet I'll return in time. - A child of mine will rise - Out of his rotten bed. - Up from a hidden pit - Long after I am dead. The answer is Fruit, but the phrasing implies that it's talking about Mogs kidnapping maidens, and that Shay, who would be a descendant of the dead-eye god, would be the one to start the battle of Vulgentoll.
    • Shay is given a horn that will scare the snake away when it strangles him. It's actually Schmuck Bait, as you have to let it try to strangle you.
  • Retired Badass: Vella's grandfather is seen wearing many medals and still complains about how the family has chosen to give up their Beastender ways in favor of becoming bakers.
  • Retraux: Retro Mode. note 
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The robots and plushies on Shay's ship, as well as the birds in Meriloft.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Though not human in appearance, all of the robots and appliances on Shay's ship are fully sentient, except possibly the hexapals who can't talk. This includes the teleporter bays and cutlery. They all have names, too.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The ending credits imply that the "inferior" normal humans smack around the frail, inbred Lorunans with their bare fists until they agree to play nice. It probably helped that Vella and Hope blew up their fleet of ships, and the final confrontation resulted in a bridge forming a path right into Loruna.
  • Runaway Train: One of the missions Mom gives to Shay. All Shay has to do is tell the bridgeman to wake up. Telling it to go back to sleep before he crosses it is what kickstarts his interactions with Marek.
  • Sapient Ship: Shay's ship as shown through the various A.I.s that take care of him. Later the A.I.s are revealed to be his actual parents.
  • Scenery Gorn: In Act 2, Shay's ship still functions but is in very bad shape, so Vella visit the same rooms but heavily damaged - except one that just there isn't anymore. Shay meanwhile travels to Shellmound, which is covered in debris from Vella interfering with their Maiden's Feast, and Meriloft which is somewhat covered in debris from Vella's escape there.
  • Schizo Tech: Present in Vella's side, which seems rather low-tech with a few odd exceptions. Marshal Dune doesn't even know what "electronics" is, but the cloud village of Meriloft has a video game arcade.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Solid Clouds: Meriloft is a colony located in the clouds, though some parts of the clouds aren't solid at all.
  • Sugar Bowl: Shay's spaceship is one, much to his annoyance.
  • Surprise Party: Vella's family holds a surprise party celebrating her sacrifice to Mog Chothra. Rocky accidentally spoils it for her though.
  • Staying Alive: Marek survives being nuked and comes back to cause trouble in the finale.
  • Sweet Tooth: Vella's little sister Rocky loves cupcakes. She ate like, six. But only the red ones. The white ones are gross.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: Shay's spoon and knife. A third one, a fork, is introduced in Act 2.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe, Shay regards the various missions that Mom prepares for him this way.
  • Teleporter Accident: The teleporters in Shay's ship will shrink your head due to quantum physics. Well, faulty wiring, anyway. In Act 2, they do the opposite.
  • Theme Song Reveal: The Battle Theme Music that plays during Vella's climactic battle in Shellmound is the same one that plays during the attack on Shay's ship in Prima Doom. That's because they're the same battle.
  • Twist Ending: The end of Act 1 has a few.
  • Unrobotic Reveal: Shay's mom and dad are actually his parents; apparently referring to the former as "computer" was a result of his not having seen them in the flesh since he was a child, plus perhaps a tinge of teenage rebellion.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • How Shay deals with the constrictor in Act 2. Ignore Shay's constant comments that he's suffocating, and wait for the snake to tire out. Apparently all those "hug attacks" left Shay very resistant to constriction. There's a clue to this in Vella's side, as she finds an old photo of Shay wrapped up in a plush snake toy.
    • In universe, there is a sign warning people about the snake... but it's on only one side of his tree and the trail on that side is almost immediately dead-ended by a cliff.
      Shay : Oh, great sign placement, guys. Where's the warning about the cliff ? At the bottom ?
    • The solution to the final puzzle involves deliberately causing the two ships to go into meltdown while they're connected to each other and the progatonists and their families are onboard. There's no indication of why this is a good idea, and Hope and Alex naturally try to prevent it.
  • Waiting Puzzle: See Violation of Common Sense.
  • Wall of Text: Not in-game, per se, but the credits are several minutes longer than usual because they listed every backer who contributed over $100 to the project. The whole list takes roughly eight whole minutes to get through. You can search for a specific name by typing it in and it will jump to that location. You can skip the massive list by typing a name from the end of it such as Zach or you can even repeat it with a name from the beginning such as Adam. You can also speed up the crawl rate (to a vertigo-inducing speed) or slow or even reverse it with the up or down cursor keys.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There were two maidens taken from Meriloft, though we never learn their names. And they are not shown among the people rescued from the ships in the end sequence. Moreover, the actual fate of the ultimate villains is never explained, although circumstances imply they were dealt with somehow.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Curtis the woodworker has developed a phobia of trees, which makes getting raw materials rather difficult. To be fair, they ended up being sapient, and were calling him a murderer.
    • Completely inverted with Shay, who had a plush snake toy called "Mister Huggy" as a child and is perfectly happy to meet and be constricted by a real snake.
  • Worth It: Shay will quote this if you manage to get his tether in space cut without getting the air tank attached first and cause him to pass out.