You must rise to the task at hand, you must walk the path most long.
Cassette Beasts is a Mons Series game developed by Bytten Studio, the team that made Lenna's Inception, and published by Raw Fury. A demo version of the game, showcasing the first few areas and first major boss, was made publicly available in a 2022 Steam Next Fest. The full game released on April 26, 2023. The official website of the game is located here.
You play as someone that's just washed up on the shore of New Wirral, an island that seems to exist in its own dimension, as its other inhabitants from across various eras inform them. Its Rangers Guild has at least found a way to deal with the island's native monsters: by using retro audio cassette tapes, humans are able to record the monsters' essences and transform themselves into identical creatures. While getting your bearings and adjusting to your new life, you and one of your new friends, Kayleigh, stumble across a powerful entity that promises to help them find a way to return to Earth once they put its pieces back together. Thus begins a grand quest to find your way home...
The game has a DLC Expansion, Pier of the Unknown, which was released on October 4, 2023, featuring a brand new location, Brightside Pier, a new storyline, new monsters, and new character costume options.
Tropes Present in the Game:
- Ability Required to Proceed: Soon after reaching Harbourtown, the player is asked to explore the surrounding area, and is required to record and add a Dominoth to their tape deck in order to unlock a gliding ability to cross a gap. There are five other traversal abilities that can be unlocked by recording certain monsters.
- Actually Four Mooks:
- Touching a regular monster in the overworld will lead to a fight with one, two, or three monsters.
- Some of the random Rogue Fusion fights, which appear on the overworld as one shadowy monster, can actually be a gauntlet of five regular monsters plus the fusion itself. These Fusion Swarms are at least distinguishable by the small storm cloud hanging over them.
- Alliance of Alternates: The player fights a duo called Thomas and Tommy who are counterparts from different universes. They claim their lives were identical until they were transported to New Wirral.
- Alternate History: Some of the worlds that New Wirral's inhabitants come from:
- A historian you beat claims his favourite event of the 20th century was a human-elf peace deal brokered by the United Nations in 1948.
- Hoylake asks some questions about the player's universe. After asking about realistic things like the Roman Empire and the Moon landing, he'll ask if "The Day Of The Birds" happened yet.
- Another historian complains that people on the island keep denying the 1969 Mars landing.
- Alternative Calendar:
- The heritage center shows that New Wirral numbers the years since the first settlers were washed up in Year 1.
- The Coin used to activate the Robot Girl was apparently issued in year "0x7B3"note .
- Ambidextrous Sprite: All sprites on the opponent's side of the battlefield are mirrored.
- Analog Horror: The presence of the Archangels causes the screen to get distorted and sport tracking lines, and their speech is in VHS subtitle font. The effect is disturbing and unnatural.
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- Monsters can't die while being recorded unlike this game's inspiration, Pokémon, where you have to weaken Pokémon you're trying to capture without KOing them.
- You can run away from trainer, captain, and even Archangel battles at the cost of some resources as if you've lost the battle while keeping your HP. This is very useful if things are going wrong and you don't want to waste time on an unwinnable battle. The prompt will also appear if you fail to run away from a wild battle.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Despite making multiple allies in New Wirral, your party can only consist of one partner plus your main protagonist, with a third slot on the player's side of the battlefield reserved for back-up like monsters summoned by the "Call for Help" skill.
- Astral Projection: One of the trainers you fight describes his journey to New Wirral by saying he was having an out of body experience, floating above his body in bed before getting sucked down a vortex.
- Badass Boast:
- "Same Old Story" is one for the Archangels, telling you just how screwed you are. Of course, given that the lyrics only kick in once you fuse, it could be interpreted as one for the player character, too, especially after you've taken down several Archangels before.
Coming back at you twice as greater than you had thought
And I know the feeling
That you get when you're never not quite alone
And I told you
To take no further steps than you have towards me
It's the same old story
- "Face Down" also features one while battling Ranger Captains, which could go either way:Face Down!
We’re not kidding around!
What’s that sound?
Your pride hitting the ground!
And I’ve come too far to let them down!
All in, we’re all here for the scene,
Where it seems that it’s gonna be me
Walking away with my new crown!
Leaving you here,
- Battle Couple:
- All the human party members can be romanced after maxing out their relationship level, regardless of the player's gender. Choosing to pursue a romance with a party member results in the player fighting alongside their lover.
- Among NPCs, there is Leader Ianthe and Ranger Wilma, a married couple, who battle together as the last challenge for the player to become a Ranger Captain. There is also a pair of minor NPCs, Joseph and Janet, a married couple who can be found and battled against in the New Wirral Park.
- Bittersweet Ending: The player character ultimately succeeds in finding a way back home. But leaving New Wirral is a one-way trip, and since all of the player's companions (possibly including their lover if a romance is pursued) come from different universes and timelines, they will all be separated and most likely never meet again. Except for Barkley, who chooses to join the player character in their universe. A post-game quest also reveals that you cannot actually get rid of the dangerous fusions that are attacking New Wirral, as they are explicitly being sent by the Mer-Line to test humanity.
- Bizarro Elements: Besides the usual Fire, Ice, Lightning, Water, Earth, Air, Plant, Poison, and Metal, there's also Beast, Astral, Plastic, Glass, and Glitter as elements. The last of these is especially unusual, as Glitter-type moves will temporarily convert anything they hit to another Glitter-type, and hitting a Glitter-type monster will change its typing to match.
- Boss-Only Level: Barkley's quest is effectively this. You climb the mountain alongside him until you find the location of the quest's end boss. Upon entering, you go straight into the boss fight, without any other fights, story beats, or puzzles taking place beforehand.
- Boss Subtitles: Each boss you face, Archangel or otherwise, has its own subtitle.
- Morgante: Broken Spirit/Spirit of Rebellion
- Nowhere Monarch: King of Nothing
- Mourningstar: Serpent God
- Poppetox: Master of Puppets
- Alice: Wonderland's Exiled Queen
- Lamento Mori: Dreams of Death
- Mammon: Head Landkeeper
- Babelith: Tower of Ignorance
- Heckahedron: Neoplatonic Solid
- Robin Goodfellow: Midsummer Night's Dream
- Shining Kuneko: Unbound Creation
- Aleph: Red King of Conquest
- Helia: Process of Fusion
- Lenna: Hero of Another Story
- Gwenivar: Ringmistress of Illusion
- Ranger Captains:
- Wallace: Construction Worker
- Skip: Questionable Treasure Seeker
- Zedd: "Meditator"
- Judas: Survivalist
- Clee-0: Casino Mechanoid
- Lodestein: Electrician
- Penny Dreadful: Death Cheater
- Gladiola: Mistress of Blades
- Heather: Weather Reporter
- Buffy: Bodybuilder
- Cybil: Radio Presenter
- Codey: Tape Hacker
- Leader Ianthe: Head Ranger
- Breather Episode: Felix and Barkley's quests technically count as this. The end boss of Felix's quest, Shining Kuneko, is the only main story Archangel other than Morgante to not be absorbed by Aleph, and the only one not to unlock part of Morgante's riddle, while the end boss of Barkley's story isn't an Archangel at all, but a powerful yet ordinary monster named Averevoir, who killed Barkley's former human partner and must be defeated so Barkley can bury the body.
- But Thou Must!: Occasionally, the player character will have a dialogue choice where both options have identical outcomes, such as their possible reactions to Ianthe's Relationship Reveal being "You're married?" and "Your wife?"
- Cast Full of Gay: All the romanceable characters can be romanced regardless of gender, not to mention Ianthe and Wilma, who are a married gay couple.
- Cosmic Horror Reveal: The game starts out as a fantasy adventure at a magical island populated by both humans and monsters and located in a different dimension from Earth. Then the opening quest concludes with your encounter with Morgante, revealing the existence of the powerful and incomprehensible eldritch entities known by the local human residents as Archangels. This starts the game's main quest of finding more Archangels across the island to gather more clues for you to find a way to return home. Eventually, it is revealed that Archangels are embodiment of various concepts birthed from humanity, with the final boss being an incarnation of conquest whom you need to stop from causing destruction across reality. A post-game quest also reveals that the island's entire railway system, which you most likely have used to travel across the island, is not only an Archangel themself, but also responsible for the island's very existence, as well as you and everyone else being stranded on it.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Downplayed. The main bosses of the game, Archangels, are immune to stat debuffs. While they are still vulnerable to status ailments such as poison and berserk, they all come with the Status Resistance sticker, which reduces the damage they take from Damage Over Time effects.
- Creepy Changing Painting: In the Pier of the Unknown DLC, there's a hallway full of paintings in the Witch House. When you get far enough in, the lights flicker and the faces in the paintings suddenly change into much more sinister forms. If you get into a battle while in the hallway, two of the paintings appear in the background; if the battle goes on for long enough, the lights will flicker and the paintings will change again.
- Death or Glory Attack: The Gambit status grants the user some heavy buffs at the cost of instantly killing them when it expires.
- Desperation Attack: The move Desperation, fittingly enough. It grows more powerful the lower the user's HP is.
- Developer's Foresight:
- You normally discover a way to leave New Wirral by defeating multiple Archangels to unlock more parts of Morgante's song. It is possible to solve Morgante's riddle without completing her song, but it requires a lot of luck or trial-and-errors, since the location and the action the player needs to perform to unlock the final dungeon by revealing a mirror that can transport the player there are randomized for each save file. The developer's foresight comes from the fact that if the player manages to find and reveal the mirror that leads to the final dungeon before defeating 4 Archangels, which triggers the sequence where the player visits the Amber Lodge and uses an identical mirror to return to New Wirral after being stranded on a dead world by Aleph, the player will not be able to enter the final dungeon, since at this point the player has no idea that the mirror can send them to a different location, let alone the gateway to leave New Wirral.
- During the main story, every time you defeat an Archangel to gather more clues from Morgante's song to leave New Wirral, Archangel Aleph will show up and absorb the Archangel you just fought. Eventually, Aleph transforms into Aleph Null by fusing with all Archangels he has recruited throughout the game. Since Aleph only absorbs Archangels you have defeated, Aleph Null will not have any body elements from Archangels you have not fought.
- Dissimile: Kayleigh says transforming for the first time is like learning to ride a bike, except instead of a bike there's a monster, and you're the bike.
- Diverging Evolutionary Phases: Several monsters have alternate evolution paths. Some involve having specific stickers equipped to the monster when you remaster it, others involve environmental effects like time of day, and yet others change depending on the answer to an abstract question answered by the player. For example, when you remaster the two starter monsters, Candevil and Bansheep, you are asked a mysterious question — whether you wish to pursue alchemy or metallurgy for Candevil, and whether a restless spirit should be buried or ascended for Bansheep — which determines its path.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: After the player character first fuses with Meredith, she acts awkward about the whole thing and mentions that it doesn't seem like it was the player character's "first time".
- Doing In the Wizard: This happened In-Universe: The early residents of New Wirral thought the monsters were angels, which is where the Archangels, as the most powerful and incomprehensible among them, got their name. As people learned more about the so-called angels and found ways to deal with them, they lost their eerie factor and became known simply as monsters. However, the Archangels kept their name because they're still not well understood.
- Doppelgänger: The Black Shuck, a copy of the player character painted black. Usually when you walk up to them they disappear, but there is a slim 1% chance they attack with copies of your top two tapes. Their tapes have a permanent Ghostly status effect, so one either needs to inflict damage-over-time status effects such as Poisoned or Burned, become Ghostly themselves with the Haunt ability (and beat them within 3 turns before the effect runs out and breaks your tape), or use the rare Phase Shift sticker to ignore the status. If you beat them, you get the Black Shuck's Tape, which changes any monster recorded into an Astral-type bootleg.
- Double-Edged Buff:
- The "Ghostly" status effect given by the move "Haunt" makes a monster impervious to almost all attacks while it is active (only Damage Over Time, attacks from another Ghostly monster, or attacks from a monster equipped with the Phase Shift sticker can inflict damage). However, once the status runs out, it's an instant KO on the monster that was previously benefitting from the effect.
- The "Gambit" buff, given by the move of the same name, greatly boosts all stats on the targeted monster while it's active. However, once it runs out, it's once again an instant KO.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: One of the girls you fight mentions she dreamt about New Wirral when she was little.
- Due to the Dead: Barkley buries his late human partner's body after defeating Averevoir.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Uniquely, in addition to dealing more or less damage depending on type advantages, elemental attacks can buff, debuff, or even entirely change the defender's type. For example, an Air-type hit by a Fire-type move gains an air shield buff, a Fire-type hit by an Air-type move gets a debuff which lowers their offenses, and an Ice-type hit by a Fire-type move will turn into a Water-type. To note, there are 14 typesnote , with Glitter and Beast being "neutral" types.
- Emergency Weapon:
- Monsters that have been put to sleep or petrified have their moves largely replaced with set movesets. Sleeping monsters have access to the powerful yet ''incredibly'' inaccurate Sleep Walk, Sleep Talk, and Summon Tulpa, while petrified monsters can only use the defense-increasing Defend and Raise Shields moves.
- If a monster can't choose any of its moves on its turn (this mostly happens if you're running a set of high-cost moves and don't have enough AP for any of them, or if an entirely support-focused monster gets all of its moves disabled by the Berserk status or the like), then it will be granted the ability to use the basic, low-powered Smack move for that turn.
- Empathic Environment: Rogue Fusions tend to alter the weather around them just through their very presence, often creating rainstorms and the like. Some of them also cause flooding (whether of water, poison, or even lava) in certain areas.
- Exact Words: In the Pier of the Unknown DLC, after beating the first Infernal Engine, you point out to Gwen that it resembled an Archangel. Gwen testily replies that she doesn't know what that word means. Later, it's revealed that Gwen is an Archangel, and the Infernal Engines were deliberate attempts at creating artificial Archangels. As Gwen reminds you, she never said she didn't know what an Archangel is, only that she didn't know what the word meant — she, like Aleph, calls them "egregores".
- Fictional Province: The Coin used to activate the Robot Girl was issued in "The State of Nevad-0".
- When the Harbourtown train station is first revealed, sharp-eyed viewers may see a dark silhouette within the vortex that erupts from the ground. It's the Big Bad of the game, leaving after critically wounding Morgante.
- When the player character first encounters Kuneko during Felix's quest, one of your dialogue options is: "Was that an Archangel?" Fast forward to the end of the quest, and sure enough, Kuneko transforms into the Archangel Shining Kuneko, the end boss of the quest.
- In Pier of the Unknown:
- Gwen's name turns out to be this, coming from Gwenivar, which sounds similar to Guinevere, another figure from the Arthurian mythos, like Archangels Morgante and Aleph who are based on Morgan le Fay and King Arthur respectively. It is eventually revealed that Gwen is not only an Archangel, but also one who used to be part of Aleph's troupe.
- The three engines you fight are all named — Raven, Rose, and Pearl. With the reveal that the engines used to be human, those were likely their names before that happened.
- If you ask Gwen about Archangels, she'll mention she doesn't know what those are. Morgante mentions that 'Archangel' was the name given to them by the humans of New Wirral, with previous groups of people calling them different things, so Gwen likely didn't know the name applied to her as well.
- Forest of Perpetual Autumn: The aptly-named Autumn Hill is filled with orange-leaved trees and piles of said leaves on the ground, and never ceases to be no matter how much time passes.
- Fountain of Youth: A seeker you beat claims that a legend says the island has the Font Of Youth. He wonders if it's Comic Sans or Times New Roman.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: After defeating Archangel Mammon, a disoriented Landkeeper wanders into the Café. The cast give her a makeover, the name "Sunny", and a place in town.
- Fusion Dance:
- A known, although rare, phenomenon in New Wirral where two transformed individuals can cause their 'hearts to be as one' and meld together into a stronger form. Fusions look different depending on their component monsters, but are always stronger than one monster on its own. Fusing appears to generally require a strong relationship; once the player has built a relationship with a companion by completing their quest, they can fuse with that companion after filling the Fusion meter, which builds slowly and persists between battles.
- Occasionally wild monsters will fuse, resulting in a 'Rogue Fusion' encounter on the map that drops additional rewards and may even change the environment around itself. They are the only regular enemies to drop 'Fused Material'. Postgame quests introduce even stronger monster fusions: 'Unstable Fusions' that include the chimeric and powerful Anathema monster, and 'Orb Fusions' that start the battle with a barrier that gives them Archangel-esque abilities until it's broken.
- Gay Option: All five human partners — Kayleigh, Eugene, Meredith, Felix, and Viola — can be romanced regardless of the player character's gender.
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Hitting Glass-type monsters with Air moves inflicts the Resonance status. Get three stacks of Resonance and the monster is instantly defeated.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Archangel Encounter is a discordant piece with a heavy bass heartbeat rhythm — fitting for an encounter with one of the local Eldritch Abominations.
- Hero of Another Story: This is the name of the achievement you unlock if you find and defeat Lenna, the main character of Lenna's Inception.
- Historical Domain Character: You can occasionally fight people with the names of philosophers or famous scientists, such as Darwin or Socrates. Given how everyone on the island is taken from many different times/realities, it's likely the actual people from history (or at least from some timeline). This includes Viola, who is from the play Twelfth Night, and Robin Goodfellow, an Archangel from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Hot Potato: The "bomb" status effect causes the victim to explode at the end of their turn unless it's passed along by a melee attack. Fittingly, the primary move that inflicts this status is named "Hot Potato".
- Magic Feather: At the end of the main story, Aleph Null destroys the player's cassette tape player, disabling their fusions. Morgante then speaks inside their mind, stating that humans are prone to acting without full information and that the tapes are merely talismans used to channel innate power, leading to the player and their allies realizing that they can still do Fusion without it. Kayleigh gifts them a spare player after Aleph is dealt with, though, because it's still easier that way.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Implied to be something that happens occasionally, though it's not something you or your companions ever deal with. A few human opponents exhibit some monster-like behaviors. (Barking like a Pombomb, being attracted to a lamppost like the Dominoth line, wanting to remove peoples' bones like a Jellyton...)
- Mini-Boss: Rogue Fusions will randomly appear at predetermined locations in the world. After you beat them, Glaistain, Miss Mimic, and Kuneko will also sometimes appear in the same places. The 1.2 update adds Picksie to the list, and the Pier of the Unknown DLC adds Umbrahella.
- Mons: Despite looking like such, the player and their companions are not "catching" the mons; they copy the data in their cassettes and gain their form and abilities.
- Monster Compendium: A Bestiary with entries on monsters you've seen or recorded can be accessed from the pause menu. One NPC in Harbourtown, Hoylake, is working on compiling information on monsters and gives you quests related to filling out the Bestiary.
- Musical Theme Naming: Many important quests are named after lyrics from famous songs:
- The main quests to explore New Wirral and then, upon finding Morgante, fight Archangels to escape from it are named, respectively, "This Is The World We Live In" and "Land of Confusion".
- The quest to challenge and defeat the Ranger Captains and its Leader in order to become one of its top members is named "Take Me On".
- The quest to find a coin and use it to power Robot Girl Ranger Captain Clee-0 back up is named "Coin Operated".
- The quest to fight five Bulletinos in order to challenge Ranger Captain Zedd is named "Scattershot".
- The quest that involves talking to NPCs to learn how to more easily find sidequests is named "Rumor Has It".
- The quest to save the Sticker Merchant from the New Wirral Caves, which leads to fighting your first enemy Fusion Dance and unlocking the Sticker store, is named "A Little Inspiration".
- The quest to help an Exhausted Ranger help liven up Harbourtown by designing and building a sign is named "Working Overtime".
- The quest to help Hoylake research New Wirral's monsters by capturing them is named "On The Hunt".
- Kayleigh's personal quest to deal with Mourningtown after having ran away from the cult is named "I Ran So Far Away".
- Eugene's personal quest to stop the Landkeepers from ruling the world is named "Acting On Your Best Behavior".
- The quest to rehabilitate Sunny and help them reconnect with their emotions is named "How Does It Feel".
- Felix's personal quest to deal with something he once abandoned is named "Don't You Want Me".
- Meredith's personal quest to find a music album from her world to help her cope is named "All I've Ever Needed".
- Viola's personal quest to find her purpose is named "Everybody's Looking For Something".
- Barkley's personal quest to find and avenge his owner is named "Come Back And Stay".
- The Post-End Game Content quest to fight Helia is named "Here Comes The Sun".
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules:
- When the player fuses and the fusion is destroyed, so are both of the tapes that made it up. When rogue fusions are defeated, they split into their components at full health. Interestingly, this appears to be a humans-vs-monsters difference rather than player-vs-NPC, as when the Ranger Captains de-fuse, the tapes they were using are also defeated.
- When humans fight using tapes, any damage left over from breaking a tape applies to the human, making it possible to defeat human opponents outright (or be defeated yourself) by dealing enough overkill damage. Unless, that is, you're up against one of several human teams (including rematches with the aforementioned Ranger Captains) that are scripted to fuse when they're down to their last two tapes. It's still possible to prevent them from fusing by knocking out their third-last and second-last tapes in the same turn (and they'll comment on it if you do), but there's no way to end the fight early like in other human battles. (It can be especially jarring if you or your partner ends up getting knocked out by overkill damage during the same fight.) Rematches with Frankie and Vin (two NPCs that you encounter singly in the post-game several times each before they choose to team up) take this a step further. Not only are they immune to being knocked out in human form, but they use a combined total of seven tapes in their battles (when the most your team can carry is six).
- New Game Plus: Beating the game unlocks custom game modes that can be set at the start of a new file, such as Permadeath for the player and/or their tapes, and randomizing which default elemental types all of the monsters are.
- New Neo City:
- The island is called New Wirral and was settled by the crew of the HMS Birkenhead, so it's presumably named after the Wirral Peninsula in the UK where the town of Birkenhead is situated. This is supported by the appearance of the monster Averevoir, which closely resembles the Liverbird, which is the symbol of the nearby city of Liverpool.
- There is an abandoned town on the island called New London.
- Clee-0 was a waitress in a 24th-century casino in New Vegas.
- No Full Name Given: Nearly all human characters, including those with the names of historical figures, in the game are only given one name or a nickname. Even the few ones who are given two names, such as Meredith Chen and Levi Lodestein, only reveal their full name in dialogue, while their dialogue box never refers to them by their full name.
- Noodle Incident: Professor Hoylake mentions an event called "The Day Of The Birds". When he realizes the player has never heard of it, he just tells us we're better off not knowing.
- Our Vampires Are Different: "Landkeepers" are extremely pale individuals working for the Archangel Mammon. They don't eat blood nor are they weak to sunlight, but they make a lot of sketchy comments about business deals and owning land in control of tenants with the implication that this is how they feed. One of the fights comments on how souls are valuable as they're "rare where they come from."
- Palette Swap: Rarely, a monster will have different coloration; these are called "bootlegs". A bootleg monster has a different typing (related to its coloration), and its learnset will change to match its new typing. Bootlegs also have a higher chance of yielding rare stickers when levelled up. If you specifically acquire an Astral-type bootleg Traffikrab, when remastered, it will turn into a Magikrab rather than a Weevilite or Lobstacle.
- Place Beyond Time: New Wirral has a population of humans from multiple worlds with different time periods.
- Portal Network: The Mer-Line is an interdimensional train service. Sadly, their outgoing trains from New Wirral are cancelled for the next few centuries, but at least you can freely travel from station to station within New Wirral.
- Post-End Game Content: Certain features, such as higher levels of the Ranger Guild Quest Board only accessible after defeating all of its captains, are locked until the main quest is completed and the player and their friends defeat Aleph.
- Posthumous Character: Mordread is mentioned by name but never seen nor battled, as they have passed away. You find their casket in Night's Bridge Station.
- Practical Currency: Aside from the coin slot in Clee-0 and the money-grubbing Landkeepers, nobody in New Wirral has a use for money. Instead, raw resources like wood, plastic, and metal that are dropped from defeated monsters are bartered for products that can be made from them.
- Prematurely Marked Grave: Aldgrave Tomb Station's first room has a pair of tombstones marked with the names of the player and whatever companion is currently with them as part of the resident Archangel's constant taunting people about death.Kayleigh: I'm gonna try really hard to ignore that our names are on these gravestones, OK?
- Production Throwback: There are quite a few references to Bytten Studio's previous game Lenna's Inception, such as a shirtless Travelling Merchant that implies he's the same as the one from its trading sidequest, the official artbook stating that some monsters were based on bosses and enemies from it, and Lenna, the protagonist, being a post-story superboss.
- Punny Name: Almost all of the Mons have this. For instance, the starting duo are Candevil (a devil made out of candy) and Bansheep (a ghostly sheep noted to moan during the night). Some, but not all, of the Archangels avert this.
- Random Encounter: Averted; monsters are fully visible in the overworld, are battled by touching them, and can be avoided by dodging around them. Some monsters (Undyin and Trapwurm) are intentionally difficult to see and will ambush you in certain areas (which prevents you from using any abilities to give yourself an edge at the start of the battle), but even those can still be seen and avoided if you look closely and move carefully.
- Relationship Values: Your bonds with characters are denoted by a heart level, which starts at 1 once you complete that character's quest (except for Kayleigh, who hits bond level 1 when you first fuse with her during the battle against Morgante, and level 2 when you complete her quest), and can be increased afterwards by repeatedly battling alongside that character, capping at 5. This isn't just cosmetic, either: as your bond level with characters increases, your fusions with that character get progressively higher stats (and starting at Level 2, you also gain access to a powerful Fusion Power skill whenever you fuse with that character).
- Reward for Removal: Whenever you destroy a tape, you'll get a few resources and stickers. In the late game, you can also use the Ritual Candle to hunt for bootlegs by sacrificing a tape of the type or species you want to hunt for.
- Roaming Enemy: Several powerful unique monstersnote appear as Mini-Boss encounters instead of randomly appearing within a particular area. Most require encountering them first as part of a quest before they start wandering New Wirral.
- Romance Sidequest: You can choose to pursue a romance with one of the human party members after completing their personal quest and maxing out their relationship levels.
- Secret Character: You can get your own Magikrab by remastering an Astral bootleg Traffikrab. Magikrab appears in the bestiary as monster #000.
- Sequential Boss: Towards the end of the main quest, you fight Aleph three times in a row: first in a standard Archangel fight, then with all your recruited companions backing you up against Aleph Null, and finally, as Morgante Gestalt.
- Schizo Tech: As New Wirral gets things that slip through the cracks from The Multiverse; a lot of what's available is not compatible. For example, once you join the Rangers you can buy "Optical Laser Casette Tapes."
- Shape Dies, Shifter Survives: A variant with human combatants. Reducing a tape to 0 HP forces its user to revert to their natural form, but they can switch to a new tape after the current turn, and broken tapes can later be fixed. However, any excess damage that wasn't absorbed by the tape carries over — it's possible to defeat human opponents outright (or be knocked out yourself) by dealing enough overkill damage.
- In the Gameplay Settings, the highest option for AI Smartness is "Literally Skynet".
- A couple from 2160 complain that nobody knows about the three seashells.
- Binvader is deliberately designed to look like a Dalek, as it's a green tentacled alien in a contraption resembling an upturned garbage can with two specialized arms for "emitting deadly beam attacks" and "aggressively prodding."
- Binvader remasters into Binterloper, which now resembles a modern plastic wheelie-bin. This calls to mind the Autons from Doctor Who. Specifically, the scene from the episode Rose, in which an Auton taking the form of a wheelie bin eats and copies a human.
- Djinn Entonic is based on a phenomenon in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the majority of sentient aliens have independently invented drinks with names homophonous to "gin and tonics".
- Space Whale Aesop: Felix's personal quest teaches that creatives shouldn't be embarrassed of their old work; even if it's not up to your current standards, it still laid the grounds for your current skills. If you reject your old work, though, when she comes to life and hears you talking smack about her, she'll be driven to do dangerous things to try and impress you before she eventually tries to kill you.
- Sprint Meter: Your character has a stamina meter that recharges while not in use (though running completely out of stamina disables any abilities that use it and makes it take longer to recharge). You start with only a rather anemic dash, but the unlockable abilities used for getting around or through obstacles (such as gliding or swimming) will also use stamina. As you defeat Archangels, you'll gradually upgrade your stamina, going from being able to briefly jog for about a second or so to being able to cross significant amounts of the map without having to stop to rest.
- Sudden Soundtrack Stop: This occasionally happens to punctuate some of the more significant moments, such as when the player is informed that New Wirral is in another dimension.
- Superboss: There are many bosses that can only be fought as Post-End Game Content, and are at a much higher level than the final boss. These include rematches with the Ranger Captains and Archangels, the latter unlocked by defeating a fully-powered Morgante, as well as the new Archangels Lenna and Helia.
- Super Drowning Skills: Played straight at first — falling into any body of water that goes more than waist-deep will pop you back to where you left the ground, same as falling into a Bottomless Pit. Recording a Diveal tape will allow you to swim, though you're still limited by your Stamina Meter.
- Super-Sargasso Sea: New Wirral is a dumping ground for a lot of things from other dimensions, including people and even entire buildings that "slipped through the cracks".
- Temporary Online Content: There is a mailbox in the house you're given in Harbourtown that can be interacted with to enter special codes distributed by the developers and redeem them for bootleg cassettes. However, these codes must be entered within a specific time frame or they will expire. This is downplayed by the fact that, while it relies on random chance, any potential bootleg can still be found in the wild.
- Theme Naming: Many parts of New Wirral are based on Arthurian Legend.
- As mentioned by the beginning quote, Wirral was the land that Gawain travelled in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
- The first Archangel you encounter is named Morgante, after Morgan le Fay, and she talks about Mordread, who was slain by Aleph (who is in turn based on King Arthur).
- The island's subway system is known as the "Mer-Line", named after the wizard Merlin.
- Too Dumb to Live: Near the end of Kayleigh's companion quest, Dorian approaches Archangel Mourningstar to bargain for its power. He is immediately disintegrated for his trouble.
- Transformation Trinket: Characters use tape recorders that are capable of playing back the recorded cassette of a monster, allowing the listener to take on its form, most commonly for the purpose of battling other monsters on an even playing field.
- Trapped in Another World: New Wirral is inhabited by stranded people from different alternate Earths. Soon after the player arrives, a broken Archangel offers to reveal the way off of New Wirral once their pieces are put back together.
- Trauma Inn: Resting at a table in the Gramophone Cafe is the closest thing in Harbourtown. Played straight in the wild, where you can rest at campfires. Either way, resting fully restores all of your tapes as well as your human form's HP.
- Variable Mix: "Wherever We Are Now", the Harbourtown theme, has lyrics when the player is indoors, but is instrumental outdoors. The battle themes (except for the DLC ones) all gain lyrics when the player fuses.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Night's Bridge Station, a huge train station with a far more ethereal aesthetic than the stations that previous bosses have been fought in. It's meant to be unlocked after defeating at least 8 Archangels, and happens to be where the game's finale and climactic Final Boss fight takes place.
- Weather Manipulation: Certain moves will alter the ambient weather during battle (Thunder Blast creates a rainstorm, Blizzard creates snow, etc). Some moves even actively harness weather (such as Fog, which negates the accuracy of any move that isn't Ice, Wind, or Water, or the Butterfly Effect move, which gains different effects/typing depending on the current weather).
- Wham Episode: The interlude after the player defeats four Archangels to advance the main quest "Land of Confusion". The mysterious triangle man, who has appeared every time the player defeats an Archangel, shows up in the middle of Harbourtown to introduce himself to the player as Aleph, and is revealed to be an Archangel himself. When Aleph learns that the player intends to find a way to leave New Wirral, he teleports the player to a dead world to get rid of them. By luck, the player gets rescued by Ms. Amber, who reveals that she, Morgante, and Aleph used to be a team before splitting up. This event establishes Aleph as the main antagonist of the game and the primary threat to the player's quest to return home.
- Wham Line: Pier of the Unknown has one when you talk to Gwen after defeating all three Infernal Engines, revealing that Gwen is not only an Archangel, but also knows Morgante, complete with a Sudden Soundtrack Stop and a surprised reaction from your partner:Gwen: Morgante always said that our lot can't really make things - that's for you humans.
- Wide-Open Sandbox: After completing the game's opening segment and encountering its first boss, the player is given the freedom to explore and do whatever they wish in New Wirral, from fighting all the Ranger Guild Captains to become a proper member, to helping Hoylake research the monsters, to finding and completing every potential party member's personal quest, with exploration only limited by what traversal abilities they have.
- Notably, the main goal of repairing Archangel Morgante and completing her song in order to find a way home only requires defeating eight of the nine Archangels; the ninth one is so that Kayleigh can locate the mirror to the way home for you, and defeating four Archangels along with meeting with Aleph face-to-face is sufficient to be able to access the final area in the first place.
- With Lyrics: "Your Inception" is a lyrical arrangement of the title screen theme from Lenna's Inception by the same developer.
- A Wizard Did It:
- An NPC near the player's new home in Harbourtown states that nobody knows why cassette tapes can capture monster essences, but as long as it works, the reason doesn't really matter. At the end of the quest to join the Ranger's Guild, Leader Ianthe's own theory is that the art of music is intangible, but humans can seal that intangibility in cassettes, so it's a conduit for similarly fantastical things such as New Wirral's monsters. And at the end of the main story, Archangel Morgante reveals that the tapes are merely conduits for innate power.
- Captain Lodestein, the electricity-themed captain in the Rangers Guild, expresses a similar sentiment about how the island is actually powered when being challenged; he assumes that some of the material in New Wirral is naturally electromagnetic, but doesn't actually know how or why.
- You Wake Up on a Beach: The game begins with the player being transported to New Wirral and washing up on Harbourtown Beach. According to Kayleigh, most new arrivals appear there.