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Cube Escape is a series of Surreal Horror Room Escape games created by Dutch game site Rusty Lake and available to play for free on their website. Unlike many Room Escape games, Cube Escape is noteworthy for having a complex, ongoing, non-linear storyline with surreal themes and visual styling evocative of filmmakers such as Dario Argento, David Lynch and Luis Buñuel. As a result, players can expect a great deal of nightmarish imagery and gore.
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The individual games have quite varied settings and objectives, but which are all linked by mysterious black and white cubes. As the story progresses, the nature of the cubes and their relationship to the mysterious location known as Rusty Lake are gradually revealed.

The series is currently ongoing. Games in the Cube Escape series released so far are:

There are also three pay-to-play installments, which are set in the same universe as the free-to-play games but are lengthier and more difficult; these games typically serve to fill in the backstory of the series, as well as make sense of some of the more Mind Screw-y aspects of the series.

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Not to be confused with another series of works involving cubes and escaping. Or games involving trying to escape with a cube.


This series includes examples of the following:

  • Adult Fear: Emma Vanderboom in Roots loses her son while he's still very young, and only learns of him actually being alive after she kills herself from the grief.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Duh-DOY! Even as things become clearer, there's still a lot that remains unknown, including how much of what the player sees is even real (as versus an elaborate metaphor).
    • Hotel in particular is ambiguous. How aware are the animals of their intended fates? Are they oblivious, or do they want to end up on a plate? Their hedonistic behavior and pompous attitude (in keeping with high-society guests in a luxurious resort) suggests the former, but they also each keep lethal weaponry nearby and don't react to Harvey's usage of said weaponry. Heck, Ms. Pheasant even does the deed herself (along with possibly Mrs. Pigeon and Mr. Rabbit).
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  • Anachronic Order: Seasons takes place in 1964-1981, The Lake in 1969, Arles in 1888, Harvey's Box in 1969, Case 23 in 1971-1972, The Mill most likely in 1972, Birthday in 1933, Theatre in 1971, Hotel in 1893, Roots in 1860, Cave in 1972, Paradise some time in the late 1700s or early 1800s, and Paradox in 1972 at the same time as Cave.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You play as a different character in several games, the biggest standouts being Vincent van Gogh in Arles and a bird in Harvey's Box.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Not only does the Woman rise again as a Corrupted, but it is heavily implied to be the same Corrupted who killed her in the first place.
  • Anyone Can Die: If you encounter a living being, the odds are it's living on borrowed time. However, since Time Travel is involved, it doesn't always take.
  • Arc Words: Several:
    • All that you touch, you change.
    • Balance the substance of [my/your] past lives.
    • There will be blood.
    • The past is never dead. It is not even past.
    • You know what to do.
  • Arc Symbol: Quite a few, as you can expect from a surrealist work
    • The cubes
    • Spirals, especially spiral seashells
    • Eyes
    • Things associated with water/liquids: boats, lakes, fish, shrimp, seashells, dripping pipes, sinks...
    • Birds and eggs
    • Telephones
    • Locks and keys
    • Clocks and clockwork
    • Flies, and to a lesser extent other insects (particularly butterflies/moths)
    • Gemstones
    • Matchboxes (almost always found in drawers)
    • Cigars
  • Artificial Human: Rose from Roots technically counts as this, as she was created in the family house's alchemy lab by her father Albert, who wanted to have a child with his sister-in-law Ida. Rose was created by combining Albert's sperm, Ida's preserved egg, some water, and a strange green potion.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: While ambiguous, the ending of Case 23 implies that this has happened to Detective Vandermeer. Probably confirmed in Theatre, where Mr. Owl (or his stand-in) tells him that his mind's reaching a higher state of consciousness.
  • Asshole Victim: The animal guests in Rusty Lake Hotel fall into this, since Rusty Lake Paradise ultimately reveals that Mr. Owl has a damn good reason for wanting them dead. Even without knowing that, Mr. Boar definitely falls into this trope.
  • Badass Grandpa: Dale's grandpa in Birthday, once you hand him the gun to stop Mr Rabbit from murdering his family all over again.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mr. Crow is often seen wearing a long black coat, complete with a white bowtie.
  • Beard of Sorrow: It is implied that Detective Vandermeer's shaggy facial hair is a byproduct of him obsessing over the Rusty Lake case for days on end. However, he is seen with it while making his phone call to Mr. Crow at the murder scene, which was when he just got introduced to the case.
  • Big Eater:
    • The old woman in The Mill must be repeatedly bribed with food to craft several useful items for you.
    • Mr Boar in Hotel, as he will keep eating sandwiches in his room.
    • Paradise has Gerard, who is noted for his big appetite.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Vanderboom family in Roots. Although most of them would probably have been fine if not for Albert.
    • The Eilander family of Paradise aren't much better, having formed a cult of sorts involving Rusty Lake.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Theatre, the writing that gradually appears on the pictures are the Sanskrit words for the six realms of existence in Buddhism: "Hell realm" on the forest picture, "hungry ghost realm" on the Corrupted's picture, "animal realm" on the fish's picture, "human realm" on the woman's picture, "demi-god realm" on Mr. Crow's picture, and "god realm" on the ? picture.
  • Bird People: Mr. Owl and Mr. Crow are commonly depicted as having human bodies and bird heads. That said, Mr Crow sometimes has Feather Fingers, and at the end of the secret level in Roots, Mr Crow sprouts a pair of wings from his back.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Dale's parents and grandfather are murdered on his birthday. At least until Dale's future self intervenes.
  • Birthday Episode: Birthday, naturally.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl. It's difficult to say what they even are, let alone why they do what they do. In The Mill it is revealed that they empower the lake somehow by crafting the cubes from human memories. Mr. Owl seems to prefer that they use good memories due to the dangerous side-effects of using bad ones. Good or bad, however, the memories still have to come from dead human bodies.
    • Hotel takes this even further with Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl expecting the player character to fulfill their guests' needs and make sure they get a nice dinner every evening... by killing one of them every day after their needs are met and serving their meat to the other guests. It's left unclear if the guests are aware of this and/or if they actually want this to happen (as at least one of them does exhibit suicidal ideations).
    • The Cave finally reveals much about their motivations. They were once humans who drank the Elixir of Life and Death. However, the elixir appears to wear off over time. Making the cubes from memories, including a new type that apparently can change the future, is implied to be part of their plan for gaining access to "the full Elixir".
    • Paradox only complicates things further by hinting that Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl may not have exactly the same agenda; Mr. Owl seems concerned with making Dale into his successor as "ruler" of Rusty Lake, while Mr. Crow seems to not be in on this plan and to have his own (currently unspecified) agenda.
  • Body Horror: Happens regularly, especially to the Woman following her death.
  • Cain and Abel: In Roots, Albert kills his brother Samuel and Samuel's wife Ida (who he secretly pined for) and also indirectly causes his sister Emma's death by trapping her son Frank in a well, which caused her to eventually hang herself out of grief. He eventually gets his comeuppance when Frank strangles him.
  • Call-Back: Lots of them in later games, especially in The Mill, Theatre, Roots, and Paradox.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The man in the police station who unexpectedly becomes one of the Corrupted in Case 23 appears to be just a one-off Jump Scare. Then comes Theatre, in which he's an important character and turns out to have had a close relationship with the murdered woman...
  • Coins for the Dead: You have to do this while searching James' corpse in Roots.
  • Continuity Nod: Several newspaper articles in Roots report on the events that happen in Hotel.
  • Creepy Cathedral: It's actually just a small shrine, but the church on the Lake is still an intensely unsettling place.
  • Dark World: In later games, the Corrupted Souls try to force you into this, the screen throbbing red with their presence and the walls beginning to pulse with demonic imagery.
  • Decoy Protagonist: If you play the games in the recommended chronological order starting with Seasons, you'll likely think that the woman who's the primary focus and POV character of Seasons is the series' central character. It isn't until the fifth installment, Case 23, that Dale Vandermeer is introduced and the majority of future games focus on his importance to the larger plot.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Sort of. Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl used to be humans who successfully drank an elixir of immortality that transformed them into Bird People with the power to extract others' memories and Theatre uses a picture of Mr Crow to represent the Sanskrit phrase for "demi-god realm".
  • Driven to Suicide: Several characters, although the majority of them are not conventional suicides.
    • Seasons: One interpretation of the game's events is that the woman, after becoming Corrupted, goes back in time to kill her former self in a very twisted form of suicide.
    • Case 23: The police officer who may or may not have hanged himself.
    • Theatre: The man at the bar who shoots himself in the head. Might be an aversion since he doesn't die/is already dead.
    • Hotel: Implied with Ms Pheasant, as the player hands her the gun she uses to kill herself.
    • Roots: Emma Vanderboom who hangs herself after her son disappears/is presumed dead.
    • The Cave: Here, it is revealed that the blond woman, or Laura Vanderboom, slit her own throat with a knife after suffering from mental illness for what is implied to be years.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The man at the bar in Theatre only cares about getting drink after drink. This is heavily implied to be because of his guilt over the murdered woman, who he used to be in a relationship with. Some of his comments hint at the fact that he was there at time of her death, as he claims to not remember what happened, and that it's all his fault.
  • Ear Ache: In Paradise, Gerard loses an ear after a haircut from his blind niece Elizabeth.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Lake was the first created game in the series, and it's much more simplistic and (relatively) less surreal than the others. In addition, it doesn't specify a year or viewpoint character like later games almost always do (although Word of God and evidence in later games suggest that you play as Laura, the same woman from Seasons, and the game takes place in 1969 at the same time as Harvey's Box).
    • Also, Harvey's appearance in Seasons is different from the ones in all later games.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Inputting the secret code you receive by getting 100% Completion in Hotel into the snowglobe in Birthday shows a bonus scene of the corrupted animal souls escaping their prisons inside the hotel and attacking Harvey. Harvey also shows up perched at the top of the tree in the ending scene.
    • Giving the man a gin tonic in Theatre unlocks a secret message after his restroom scene.
    • Putting the phrase CUBEESCAPE onto Rose's Ouija board in Roots will make her say that her daughter will return to Rusty Lake.
    • Closing the window in the attic after Harvey has delivered Emma's letter to Frank will make writing show up on it. The message reveals Dale's birthdate, which is December 18, 1930.
    • There are various secrets hidden in the second chapter of The Cave, in which the player explores Rusty Lake in a submarine, and the player can travel to several optional locations in that chapter.
    • A plot-relevant version in Paradox: the film of the same name released along with the game features various small details which help you solve various hidden puzzles within the game, ultimately unlocking the Green Vial and Golden Cube endings.
  • Eldritch Location: Rusty Lake is referred to throughout the games as some kind of mental health facility. It will affect your mental health, alright. The recurring settings of the small apartment and the cabin by Rusty Lake are almost certainly such locations as well.
  • Electric Torture: You take control of the switch that electrocutes the poor little bird in Mrs Pigeon's room in Hotel.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Mrs Pigeon dies this way in Hotel.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: In The Mill, even if it's not addressed just how it got up there.
  • Eye Scream: One puzzle is solved by repeatedly stabbing a giant, disembodied eyeball. Then there are the fates of the old woman in Mill and Samuel and Ida in Roots...
  • Face–Monster Turn: Mr Rabbit uses this trope to justify his actions in Birthday. He explains that he was forced into murdering Dale's family as it is his only chance of "escaping this state". Of course, Paradise reveals that he was plenty monstrous even before becoming Mr. Rabbit...
  • Fauxshadow: Occurs in Paradise. With the island suffering from the ten plagues of Egypt, and the various black cube flashbacks to first-born son Jakob's family being willing to sacrifice him, one would assume that the game would end with his death. Instead, the circumstances leading up to certain demise end up transforming him into Mr. Owl.
  • Fishing for Sole: While fishing in The Lake, you do catch a fish, but you also catch keys, safes, a shrimp, a seashell (?!), and a live human...oid creature.
  • Gainax Ending: Most of the games end with no explanation of what happened. Subsequent games sometimes clear them up. Or not.
  • Genius Loci: Rusty Lake, which is becoming a literal sea of human memories, may be one of these.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Corrupted Souls are entirely black, with two glowing orbs of white where their eyes should be.
  • Golden Ending: The Golden Cube Ending of Paradox.
  • Helping Hands: When disembodied hands and fingers start emerging out of things they shouldn't possibly be able to, it usually means you're on the right track.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Mad Artist extraordinaire Vincent van Gogh is the star of the third episode, Arles, which also features a cameo by Van Gogh's real-life friend Paul Gaugin. The game's setting is also based on his real-life bedroom in Arles.
  • Human Pincushion: Mr. Rabbit in Hotel dies as this when a magic trick involving three swords goes wrong, and he is fatally stabbed.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Corrupted Souls (the shadowy figures stalking and occasionally killing characters) certainly qualifies; Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl aren't much better.
  • Human Sacrifice: Practiced by the Eilander family in Paradise.
  • I'm an Animalitarian: In Hotel, you're expected to provide a delicious dinner for the hotel's Civilized Animal guests every evening... by killing one of said guests and serving their meat to the others.
  • Immortality Seeker: James in Roots tries to create the elixir of immortality in his later years. He successfully creates it, but the elixir has a chance of causing instant death instead of immortality. His dog takes it without any ill effects, but James himself is not so fortunate.
    • This is also a case of his family history repeating itself, as his uncle William also died this way. However, William's brother Aldous was luckier, becoming Mr. Crow instead.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Seasons heavily implies that you're playing as a mentally disturbed person who tried to undergo treatment but eventually snapped and killed someone. Possibly yourself.
    • Arguably Subverted. Most of the evidence suggests that the player character—The Woman—committed suicide, shortly before the Fall memory. And then Double Subverted since her Corrupted Soul stabs Harvey while visiting the Fall memory.
  • Ironic Name: A few members of the Vanderboom family have these. For example, Frank's name means "free", but he is trapped and tortured in a well for most of his life.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: In spite of the copious amounts of Mind Screw and Surreal Horror elements clearly just there to be surreal horror, the series does seem to be gradually piecing together some of its biggest mysteries. The Mill in particular drops some heavy suggestions/reveals about the true nature of Rusty Lake, its Humanoid Abominations, and the black and white cubes that keep recurring. Also, The Cave, which tells us the name of the blond woman (Laura Vanderboom), and shows us more about the nature of Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl's state, and what is under the Lake.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: You do this in Theatre with the drunk man.
  • Jump Scare: The discovery of horrible things, like corpses or mirrors, is often accompanied by a sudden increase in volume and a Scare Chord.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In Roots, Samuel and Emma make a beehive drop on their brother Albert's head and then laugh at him. This is implied to be one of the reasons for Albert harboring a very deep grudge against them, even when they're adults.
  • Knights and Knaves: One puzzle in Roots requires you to figure out which one of four characters are the High Priestess (always tells the truth), the Devil (always lies), the Chariot (lies only once), and the Empress (tells the truth only once) from their written statements.
  • Literal Change of Heart: Saving Gerard in The Sixth Plague of Paradise involves replacing his heart with clockwork.
  • Literal Metaphor: The drinks you give to the depressed man in Theatre; for example, the screwdriver cocktail causes a screwdriver tool to emerge from his mouth.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Paradox heavily implies that the machine Dale was strapped into during The Cave is one of these, and the secret ending of Chapter 2 has him be released from it with the Golden Cube.
  • Machine Monotone: If you pick up the phone, expect to hear this. Revealed in The Mill to be the voice of Mr. Crow himself...or at least one of them, since he's later revealed to be able to speak normally when he wants to.
  • Magic Skirt: At certain points in Case 23 and The Mill, the woman's dead body is held up in the air by the ankles. Her hair falls down, but strangely, her one-piece dress ignores gravity and stays at her knees. This is despite the fact that it has no support, and was actually seen gently blowing in the breeze in an earlier scene in Seasons.
  • Meaningful Name: The fictional painter Lacus Fleo is probably named after Lacus Flevo, a lake which once existed in the Netherlands. The series' publisher, Rusty Lake, are based in the Netherlands.
    • Also, nearly all members of the Vanderboom family also have these. Some are ironic, though.
  • Mind Screw: It's difficult to find a moment where the series isn't chest-deep in this trope.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: A number of puzzles operate on the bizarrest stretches of dream/nightmare logic. For example, good luck figuring out in Case 23 just what you're supposed to do with the fishbowl and flies without extensive Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
    • The bonus achievements that can be obtained in the elixir puzzle in Roots give no clear indication on how to reach them, and the materials that have to be mixed together for them are very out there.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: Mr. Crow's disguise as an old man. Given that cutting the stitches immediately causes him to shed the disguise altogether, it is possible that this was a means of securing him inside the suit against his will.
  • Multiple Endings: In The Lake, you can get a different ending if you played Seasons and remember a certain code from it.
    • Paradox features three endings, as well as a kind of pseudo-ending which serves as the climax of Chapter 1 (as well as the film):
      • Red Vial "Ending": Dale drinks the red vial, coughs up a key, and uses it to unlock the door to the room, escaping into the woods at the bottom of Rusty Lake; he then finds his way to the surface of the lake, where he witnesses the corrupted soul slit Laura's throat. He then finds a black cube containing a memory of what just happened; in the film this seems to lead into a "Groundhog Day" Loop, while in the game it marks the transition to Chapter 2.
      • Blue Vial Ending: Dale drinks the blue vial and transforms into a corrupted soul; he then escapes from the room and kills Laura himself, leading to the creation of a black cube containing the memory of Chapter 1.
      • Green Vial Ending: Dale drinks the green vial and dies, sacrificing himself to save Laura; this leads to Laura being shown holding a white cube instead of a black one.
      • Golden Cube Ending: Dale finds the golden cube given to him in The Cave, allowing him to continue his journey towards a higher state of consciousness.
  • Mystical Plague: Paradise involves an island being hit with all ten of the biblical Egyptian plagues.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Emma Vanderboom in Roots becomes pregnant through the seeds of a magical flower, causing her to give birth to her son Frank.
    • Also possibly Rose, depending on the circumstances of her daughter's birth.
  • No Name Given: Cave finally names the blonde woman, who has been in nearly every game since Seasons, as Laura.
  • Off with His Head!: Decapitation happens a lot in these games. Not that some of the victims notice...
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The Mill replays a phone conversation you had as the detective of Case 23. It doesn't entirely clarify things, but it does show you who was on the other end and the plot events the conversation set into motion.
    • In Roots, there's Emma's letter to Frank. When we first read it as she's sending it, the instruction for him to look for her in the stars doesn't make much sense. When we see it again (when Frank finally receives the letter), Emma's already dead, and Frank is stargazing. Sure enough, a constellation of Emma appears.
  • Plague Doctor: The Sixth Plague of Paradise, "Boils", has one of the Eilanders dress as one when Gerard becomes sick from eating diseased meat in the previous segment.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The cubes that you need to collect to advance the plot in every game seem to just be random items at first, but later games reveal that there's a deeper significance to them. They're actually the memories of various deceased characters. The black cubes are negative ones, the white cubes are positive, and the blue cubes can change time. The Cave introduces golden cubes, which apparently have the power to change the future.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Seasons, Case 23, and The Mill all center around the mysterious death of a blond woman.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Both black and white cubes are created from the brains of deceased individuals. Unlike their white counterparts, however, the creation of black cubes reanimates their donors as violent shadow monsters, known in-universe as Corrupted Souls.
    • One locked object requires you to use a human fetus in a jar as a key after you finish transforming it into a disembodied heart by pouring a bottle of ink into it.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Used in Theatre, after you give the man a Bloody Mary to drink. You then go inside the wound as part of a literal Journey to the Center of the Mind.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Happens in Theatre. The mirror might actually have broken on its own, but the character who looks into it is clearly disturbed by what he sees there.
  • Razor Apples: In Birthday, the slice of cake Dale's father eats turns out to contain a needle.
  • Recursive Reality: At some point in both Arles and Harvey's Box, you enter a small object that you should not be able to physically enter and emerge into the exact same room you started out in, only with a few more surreal touches.
  • Reincarnation: Cave reveals that William Vanderboom was reborn as a woman named Laura.
  • Samus Is a Girl: It is revealed very quickly that Harvey the parrot is a female bird, since she lays eggs.
  • Screw Destiny: Seasons has you attempting to do this, and The Lake lets you "change your fate" by using a code from Seasons.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Almost all of the games use this, although in Case 23 Chapter 1, it's not exactly sealed but you can't leave until you find all the evidence.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The ultimate goal of Seasons, although it's not fully clear just how much your actions were able to change the past.
    • In Birthday, Dale's parents are murdered and assembling his birthday present allows him to turn back time far enough to save them. The game further implies that it is possible to turn the bad black cubes into good white cubes, if the memory- or indeed the event- gets adjusted, hinting that Rusty Lake might have a chance to become uncorrupted one day.
    • The Green Vial Ending of Paradox also features a black cube being changed into a white cube, this one in response to Dale sacrificing himself and (apparently) preventing Laura from dying. Of course, given that the entirety of Paradox appears to have been a simulation inside the White Cube building at the bottom of Rusty Lake, it's not clear whether this actually could have happened or whether it was just part of the simulation.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The wallpaper in the Woman's home will be instantly recognizable to fans of a certain film. Similarly, Mr. Rabbit breaking down the door of Dale's house in Birthday bears a striking resemblance to the famous "Heeeere's Johnny!" scene.
    • In Seasons, Ron Burgundy can be spotted reporting the Woman's death on TV.
    • In Case 23, a detective named Dale appreciates a damn fine cup of coffee. The influence of Twin Peaks on the series becomes even more obvious with the murdered blond woman's name turning out to be Laura and Paradise showing the statement "THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM" on a wall.
    • Harvey's Box features an appearance by the title character of René Magritte's infamous mermaid painting.
    • Ms. Pheasant fromHotel has a miniature puppet theatre in her room, featuring Punch and Judy.
    • One of the series' major catchphrases — "The past is never dead. It is not even past." — is a direct quote from William Faulkner.
    • In Paradise, a character turns into an insect similar to Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis.
  • Sibling Triangle: In Roots, Albert has a romantic obsession with his sister-in-law Ida, who is married to his brother Samuel. Since she doesn't respond to him, Albert eventually kills both of them.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Samsara Room, an earlier game made by the same dev team- one could even mistake Samsara Room as being part of this series as the play style, surreal setting, certain themes and even various art assets originated with that game, though it seems so far that it's not officially considered part of the series.
  • Stage Magician: Mr. Rabbit's occupation in Hotel and, as revealed by Paradox, in Birthday.
  • Stealth Prequel: The end of Rusty Lake Paradise reveals that it takes place before Rusty Lake Hotel, with the titular building built on the site of Paradise.
  • Stealth Pun: The best ending of Paradox (or rather, the ending which leads into later games) is the one which involves finding the Golden Cube hidden in Chapter 2. In other words, it's the Golden Ending.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Between Case 23 and The Mill, the developers asked for a volunteer voice actor on Facebook. This eventually led to Dale Vandermeer having a voice in the latter game.
  • Surprise Creepy: With the exception of Case 23, which opens on the detective investigating a murder scene, all of the games in the series start off as cheerfully illustrated, well-made but standard Room Escape Games. And then things start to get increasingly weird and dark as you piece the puzzles together.
  • Surreal Symbolic Heads: Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl are exactly what they say on the tin.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the statements Albert makes in Roots in the chapter "The Lying Game" is "I don't love Ida". He also has a picture of her in his shirt pocket.
  • Take Me Instead: In Paradise, Caroline prevented her son Jakob from being sacrificed by the rest of the family as a child by begging them to take her instead.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The climax of The Mill sees the protagonist, Mr. Crow, imploring a newly created corrupted soul to back down and leave the premises. Eventually, it does.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In Hotel, Mr Deer is killed after drinking a poisoned Bloody Mary.
  • Tarot Motifs: In Roots, six tarot cards show up as part of Ida's fortune telling and each card represents a character or major event in the game: the Devil for Albert, the perpetrator of the other Vanderbooms' misery; Death for Samuel's gory death at the hands of Albert; the Hanged Man for Emma who hangs herself after her son Frank "disappears" due to Albert; the Hermit for Frank who is trapped alone in a well by Albert for many years; the Star for Emma's letter to Frank to find her in the constellations; and the Empress for Rose who helps resurrect her granduncle and is shown holding him as a baby on the ending screen.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Mrs. Crow's puzzle involves ramming her teeth into her gums, then pulling out her one gold tooth.
  • Timed Mission: The ending of Case 23 is timed, unlike the rest of the game. Better get that elevator working fast...
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In case you can't figure out from the get-go that something is seriously wrong, once you open the clock in Seasons you are left with no doubt.
    • In The Mill you are Mr. Crow, engaging in putting the woman's memories into the lake and talking with Dale about Fate.
    • In The Cave you are once again Mr. Crow.
    • In Rusty Lake Paradise, the game ends with the protagonist becoming Mr. Owl, and Paradise island becoming the site of Rusty Lake Hotel.
  • Visual Gag: Following a surreal journey inside his own severed ear, Van Gogh encounters a puzzle involving a hammer, a drum, an anvil, a stirrup, and cochlea: all structures found inside the ear.
  • War Is Hell: Leonard learns this in Roots after he returns from World War I as a one-legged Shell-Shocked Veteran.
  • Weakened by the Light: In The Lake and Harvey's Box, the shadowy Humanoid Abominations attacking you can be foiled by blasting them with a light source.
  • Wham Episode: The episode The Mill probably reveals more about what is going on than any other episode so far. This does nothing to make things less bizarre or frightening.
  • What Have We Ear?: Mr Rabbit makes a playing card appear from behind his own ear.
  • Was Once a Man: Seasons hints at this, and The Mill confirms that the shadowy Humanoid Abominations are dead people who were corrupted by Mr. Crow's memory-extracting machine, or by some other method of removing their memories, as shown in Theatre.
    • The Cave reveals this is also true for Mr. Crow and Mr. Owl themselves. They were once humans who were transformed into their current forms as a side-effect of the Elixir of Life and Death.
    • Paradise extends this to the guests from Hotel, who were originally a bunch of human cultists living on the island that would eventually become Rusty Lake Hotel.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Frank finds himself clinging on over a well, Albert hands him over his teddy bear, then turns the crank to let the poor child fall in.
  • Xenofiction: In Harvey's Box and Rusty Lake Hotel you play as Harvey, the pet parrot who recurs throughout the games.

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