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Video Game / Depict1

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"You're not listening to me. Don't you trust me?"

Depict1 is a somewhat bizarre Flash platformer about trust and deception, as well as themes of safety and confinement versus risk and freedom.

You play as a Heroic Mime who escapes from some sort of prison with the help of a mysterious benefactor who talks to him/her via a radio. However, the advisor does not seem to be entirely trustworthy, and their "advice" gets stranger and stranger as time goes on. Can the main character really trust their "friend", or will following their advice lead to ruin?

Another notable feature of the game is that it creatively subverts many standard mechanics of platformers in ways that are best experienced for yourself. It is worth giving a try, especially if you are a fan of "philosophical" puzzle platformers such as The Company of Myself.

It was Newgrounds Game of the Year for 2010.

For a similar experience from the same creators, play Verge.

Note: Many of the tropes below may spoil the game for you. Even figuring out the basic gameplay mechanics is an essential part of the experience.

Decide for yourself whether or not to trust these tropes:

  • Arc Words: "Trust" and variations thereof.
  • Big Bad: The benefactor/shadow actively works against the protagonist, lying to them about how to escape, to keep them trapped. The true end reveals them to be the protagonist's Living Shadow who wants to 'protect' them by ensuring they never leave.
  • Bottomless Pits: Subverted. The room in which they first appear is called Bottomless Pits, but they Wrap Around instead.
  • Call-Back: In the second level, your "benefactor" lies to you: "This is not the right way. The beams of light will reset you. There must be another way out." In the final level, this is exactly what happens- The beam of light DOES reset you. The "benefactor" says, once again, "There must be another way out," and this time, they are actually telling the truth.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: The tutorial character actively lies to you about everything, even the basic controls. The game also inverts many typical platform tropes- for example, gems kill you but spikes are collectibles.
  • Easter Egg: In the room that introduces both the green buttons and the spikes. If you use them to wall climb to the leftmost ledge of the stage after collecting them (i.e. before you're supposed to be taught how to do so), the benefactor will make snide comment.
  • Guide Dang It!: The method for beating the Final Boss. You need to jump over the gem pit, then fire a spike in midair. Your vertical motion will pause, but your shadow's won't, and they will fall to their death while you don't, allowing you to proceed to freedom. It also seems like the spike cripples the shadow's ability to jump. It won't die instantly when you throw a spike, but next time you jump over the pit, it will try to imitate you, jump too low and fall into the pit. You can also fire a spike while walking. That breaks the symmetry and allows you to send the shadow down the pit.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Both types of enemies can only be killed by dropping blocks on them.
  • Light Is Not Good: In the final level, if you jump in the beam of light, unlike the others which act like goals, that one gives you a Bad Ending. You are supposed to wait for it to disappear to get the Good Ending.
  • Mind Screw: The actual backstory is incredibly vague, and it does not help that the only source of info for what is going on is the incredibly unreliable benefactor.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only characters besides the two enemy types are the protagonist and the benefactor, who are technically the same person.
  • Multiple Endings: As the description notes, there are 2 real endings and a fake ending. The fake one happens sometime in- you need to keep going through a seemingly empty room. At the Deception room, if you enter the goal light, the game ends right there- if you wait, you will enter a secret area leading to the confrontation with the benefactor, after which you escape.
  • Nameless Narrative: Neither the protagonist nor the benefactor have names.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: You only have one life, and will die from one hit of anything. Fortunately, so does the Final Boss, your shadow.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Final Boss, the shadow, is not fought like a traditional boss. Rather, they copy all your movements, and you must find a way to get them inside the gem pit, which will kill them.
  • Reverse Psychology: You're supposed to do exactly the opposite of what the narrator says.
  • Riddle Me This: Late in the game, the benefactor drops what sounds, in the context of the mind screwy game, like just one cryptic philosophical reflection among many others: "What you seek is beyond the light." In the final level, "Deception", you actually have to wait for the goal light to disappear to find the secret passage and get the true ending.
  • Significant Anagram: "Depict One" -> "Deception", as befitting the theme of the deception the benefactor pulls on you. When you kill the benefactor, the level title changes repeatedly: "Depict One" -> "Pic Denote" -> "Edict Nope" -> "Cede Tin Op" -> "Dice Net Op" -> "Cope End It" -> "Epic Toned" -> "Poetic End".
  • Spikes of Doom: They appear starting in the room Impossible. Inverted- touching them is actually beneficial, because you collect them and can then throw them as projectiles. You can't (directly) hurt stuff with them, but they will stick to walls and allow you to get to places that you otherwise wouldn't be able to reach. They are also the only way to defeat the final boss.
  • Timed Mission: One of the levels has a time limit of 30 seconds. Subverted; the timer does nothing, and if it gets to zero, it starts counting negative numbers.
  • Trickster Game: From the get-go, your trust in what the game tells you is played with.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The mysterious benefactor gets more and more agitated as time goes on and you ignore their advice. It gets to the point where they leave halfway through the game, though returns for the finale.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Final Boss is weak to the throwing spikes. They're not able to duplicate your ability to throw them, and if timed correctly, throwing one cripples their ability to jump, forcing them to fall into the pit. This would not normally be considered all that weaksauce of a weakness, but nothing else in the entire game is the slightest bit vulnerable to it.
  • Waiting Puzzle: If you enter the final goal right away, you get the Bad Ending. You need to wait for the goal light to disappear and then proceed through a secret passageway to get the Golden Ending.

"See? You can t-r-u-s-t me..."