Depict1 is a somewhat bizarre platformer about trust and deception, as well as themes of safety and confinement versus risk and freedom.
You play as a nameless 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 his/her "advice" gets stranger and stranger as time goes on. Can the main character really trust his/her "friend", or will following his/her 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.
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:
- Ambiguous Gender: The main character.
- Arc Words: "Trust" and variations thereof.
- Blatant Lies: Everything the shadowy "benefactor" says... Except when he's actually telling the truth, that is...
- Bottomless Pits: Subverted. They Wrap Around instead.
- Call-Back: Remember how, on 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." Well, on 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, he's actually telling the truth.
- Cheshire Cat Grin / Broken Smile: The mysterious benefactor's smile lands deep in the Uncanny Valley.
- Collision Damage
- Cyclops: The mysterious benefactor turns out to be one, late in the game.
- Death by Irony: The "benefactor", despite claiming to be a perfect mirror of the main character, dies by the one thing he/she can't copy: firing a spike.
- 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.
- Enemy Without: The "benefactor". Maybe.
- Face Framed in Shadow: The benefactor. This is, however, subverted, as he/she reveals more and more of his/her face as time goes on. And it's not pretty.
- Goomba Stomp: Averted.
- Guide Dang It!: The method for getting the best ending. 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 he/she will fall to his/her 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.
- Heroic Mime
- 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 whole. Damn. Game.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Natch.
- Missing Mission Control: The mysterious benefactor stops communicating with you after the first few levels. He/she comes back for the endgame, though.
- Multiple Endings: Kind of.
- Mysterious Informant: Guess.
- No Name Given: None of the characters have names.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- Playing the Player
- Puzzle Boss / Mirror Boss
- Reverse Psychology: You're supposed to the 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." Well, it's not worthless. 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"
- Which makes the name of the final level something of a Title Drop.
- When you kill the boss, 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: 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.
- The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: a central and deliberate part of the game.
- Timed Mission: Subverted; the timer does nothing.
- Villainous Breakdown: The mysterious benefactor gets more and more agitated as time goes on and you ignore his/her advice. It gets to the point where he/she leaves 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 his/her ability to jump, forcing him/her to fall into the pit. Now, sharp spikes would not have been considered a weaksauce weakness, but every other minor mook in the game is immune to them.
- 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.
- Whole Plot Reference: Possibly to Portal.