The game stars a wandering minstrel and his sentient lute Pattimo. They have been invited to the island of Pandule to perform at the coronation of its new king, Xelpherpolis. During the five-day ceremony they meet the bride to be - a melancholy girl named Roleiyu - and witness all manner of strange and tragic incidents. But nothing as strange as what happens on the last day, when Xelpherpolis freezes time itself and proclaims that he will never let you leave the island...
You wake up on the sixth day to discover that you're just arriving at the island: you've become trapped in a five-day time loop which only you, Pattimo, Roleiyu and Xelpherpolis are aware of. The only way to stop it is to defeat Xelpherpolis, but to do that you need to gain strength and gather allies. To do this, you need to break characters out of the time loop by averting the fates they have lived through over and over, thus "proving" that time is looping: for example, in a moment of weakness one character tries to poison another out of romantic jealousy; by preventing her from carrying out the plot, you can break the time loop's hold on her.
The game uses a compressed real-time system to depict the flow of time over the five day loop, and to recruit most characters, you must be in certain places at certain times. Unfortunately, figuring out the correct sequence of events can be an exercise in frustration.
Compare The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which had the same basic concept.
Ephemeral Phantasia provides examples of the following tropes:
- Aerith and Bob: The main character's "gang": Beak, Fang, and Mouse.
- Alas, Poor Villain: At the end of the game, you learn that Xelpherpolis could only live for six days- hence the time loop- and truly did love Roleiyu.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: "Tarinba"? I think you mean "tambourine".
- Boob-Based Gag: Rummy. In the first meeting, a snarky Pattimo asks what she ate to make her boobs so big, which earns him a Dope Slap from Mouse.
- Brainwashed: The time loop magic has also convinced everyone that Xelpherpolis marrying Roleiyu is a great idea.
- But Now I Must Go: Mouse will leave the island regardless of expressed affection for Rummy or Roleiyu.
- Closed Circle: Nobody can leave the island until the ferry arrives on the morning of day 6. Unfortunately, when the clock strikes midnight on day 5, time resets back to the morning of day 1.
- Fake Difficulty: If you want to recruit Grantus, you have to let him capture Rinna a second time. And that's only the beginning.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted, alcoholic drinks are mentioned by name, and Shark Killer must have an APV that's off the charts.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All:
- Subverted in there is a variation depending on if you did not get Fang by killing a certain boss too quickly, Rummy will go with you.
- There are 100 "Death Hyoko" (Chicken) eggs, each one can become a temporary party member, and if you get them all, you get a strange scene where you get to meet King Death Hiyoko and receive D.H. Manju (The Famous Dessert The Death Hiyoko Dumpling). This does nothing.
- Gratuitous German: The game's original Japanese release name was Reiselied which means "Traveller's Song". It makes sense since the main character is a travelling musician but all they really wanted it for was to sound exotic. German isn't so exotic in the West, so the name was too sensible, hence the different title.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Technically a week, as the loop is five days long. And it's implied that the loop has been going on for years before Xelpherpolis decided to mix things up and invite Mouse to play the wedding in order to add a new plot thread to his infinitely repeating wedding festivities.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The default name for the minstrel is "Mouse".
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Claire's Time Vault, which can store your money and items between loops.
- Improbable Weapon User: Almost everyone. Mouse's broadsword is normal enough, but whoever heard of fighting broadsword and lute? Kyte and his fish, Rind Rinna's tarinba (normal Rinna's mop is more like an Improvised Weapon), Plosi's brush, Ano's book...
- Instrument of Murder: The Hero has a sword hidden in a guitar.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Uses a compressed real-time system.
- It's Always Spring: Summer, instead of Spring. Initially mentioned by the boatman NPC, then true until you break the loop.
- Justified Extra Lives: Well, technically the characters still only have one, but in most cases-while the time loop is still in place-you'll be able to start again from the beginning of the next loop.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on party members. For example, there's a boss that if you take too long (and you'd done Kyte's ending and sent a message), one of Mouse's old thief partners will appear to help if you finished . Beat it quickly, and he never will. Normally Mouse will leave with his two thief friends at the end of the game, but if the second doesn't appear, Rummy will take their place.
- Nintendo Hard: if you've awakened Kyte and don't have him in your party on the 3rd day, at the start of the next loop he'll be gone, and Mouse has to fight through the dungeon Kyte got himself lost in alone.
- Non-Indicative Name: There is a drunk in your party, but it's not Rummy.
- Permanently Missable Content: If you recruit Gallhint without going to Kyte's Dungeon first, you cannot recruit Beak and Fang.
- Physical God: Several of the game's characters are already gods or KANNON as they're called in game.
- Stable Time Loop: So stable, in fact, that your changes are incorporated into the next cycle (if you don't go to an event one loop, you won't be expected there the next). Obviously, much of the game involves finding out how to completely destroy it.
- Stripperific: Rummy and Roleiyu dress in very revealing midriff-baring outfits.