But I have just one little problem...
I'm already dead myself.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detectivenote is an Adventure Game from the minds behind the Ace Attorney series, developed for the Nintendo DS. It was released on June 19, 2010 in Japan, and in January 2011 in the West.
In an abandoned junkyard, a ghost wakes up to see a blue-faced assassin training a gun on a young girl. Between them is a red-clad corpse which he identifies as himself. Realizing he can still manipulate the environment even as a ghost, he stops the assassin and teams up with the girl to try and recover his memories and find out why he was killed. However, he only has until the next sunrise to solve this mystery, when he will completely cease to exist.
The game was later made available for iOS, being released in December 2010 for Japan and February 2012 internationally; the mobile version features the first two chapters as a free download, with the rest of the game locked behind purchases. An HD remaster for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam is scheduled to release on June 29, 2023; this version is slated to feature include remastered music, an art gallery, and an assortment of animated slide puzzles that were originally exclusive to the iOS version.
A word of warning: after a certain point, this game can be described as a pile of plot twists, so if you're reading this page but want to remain unspoiled, please step lightly.
Tropes used in Ghost Trick include:
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: A black cat wearing a red scarf shows up in an early chapter. He turns out to be important, as he's Sissel's true form.
- Aerith and Bob: Characters with names like Sissel, Memry, and Yomiel coexist alongside characters named Lynne, Emma, and Bailey. Jowd and Cabanela could also count, but it's possible that those are their last names instead.
- An Aesop:
- Be good to your pets, and they'll be good to you.
- If you're under suspicion from the police, running from them will only make things worse. Especially if you're innocent.
- Revenge will lead you to a ruinous end.
- The Alcatraz: The "Special Prison" for suspected ghost-possessed criminals.
- Alternate Timeline:
- In a small way, what happens whenever Sissel goes back in time and averts someone's fate.
- In the storyline at large there are three: the first one is what happens when the important characters die because Missile lacks the needed ghost tricks and Sissel refuses to assist him, too preoccupied with his own quest for identity. The second one occurs when the first timeline's Missile-Prime goes back 10 years via Yomiel's body and takes The Slow Path to the present, then, under the guise of Ray, making Sissel think he's Yomiel to trick him into saving Lynne and everyone else. The third one happens when Sissel, second-timeline Missile, Yomiel, and Detective Jowd save Yomiel from dying via Temsik shard in Temsik Park 10 years ago, preventing his Start of Darkness and the chain of events that lead to people dying.
- Always Close: Completing some puzzles long before your time runs out still has you averting fate in this way despite the cause of death not arriving for another minute or so. The earliest this happens is when you save Missile. Many other puzzles can only be solved in the final seconds "until death". It gets pretty ridiculous, considering that the way to prevent quite a few deaths is to wait until the absolute final milliseconds before a person's death, one time to swap a bullet that's hanging in midair centimetres from the victim's face. Fortunately, the player doesn't have to time these, as the game pauses automatically at the crucial moment.
- Always Murder: Subverted. Although the first few deaths are murders, there's a fair share of accidents as well, including one case where the deceased died of a panic-induced heart attack.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The "foreigners" are identifiable by their blue skin, including the blue medical examiner, though you don't get confirmation until later in the game.
- Ambidextrous Sprite:
- When Lynne's portrait is facing left, her badge is on the left side of her shirt. When she's facing right, it magically migrates to the right side. Emma also switches which hand she holds her glass in when she turns around.
- It gets especially obvious with Jowd. The blue and red paint-stains on his shirt switch places!
- Characters holding items (like the night-visions guards or the minister's wife) always have their items facing the viewer. Oddly, however, there are animations that show them changing hands whenever they turn around.
- Beauty, interestingly, is a subversion, as her hair is always in the correct place regardless of which direction she's facing.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: The game spends a lot of time setting this up, displaying the seemingly nefarious doings of pre-death Sissel and making the protagonist wonder if he was really that bad of a person. Of course, the man in red is certainly a monster... but Sissel's not the man in red.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Justified: In the ghost world animals can perfectly communicate with humans since human and animal souls are no different to each other, and since there's no language barrier in the world of the dead.note The only "barriers" between humans and animals is the latter's lack of understanding of more human concepts. For example: Missile, a small Pomeranian, is perfectly able to communicate with Sissel in the ghost world, all while maintaining his ordinary dog behavior like loudness, upbeat oblivious attitude, and fierce loyalty to his owner.
- Analogy Backfire: Sissel being instructed to possess a water nozzle and to "spray like your life depended on it!".Sissel: Uh, I'm dead, though...
Yomiel: In that case... Make it spray as though your death depended on it!
- And I Must Scream: Towards the end, Sissel, Lynne, Kamila, Missile's ghost, and Yomiel are left trapped in a submarine that's slowly sinking towards the bottom of the ocean. Kamila and Lynne will obviously die, but the other three will be left as ghosts to forever haunt the dark wreckage. Scary enough. But in Ray's timeline, where Sissel never tried to help out Lynne, it still happened... except Yomiel was down there with just Missile's ghost for company.
- And Your Reward Is Infancy: After traipsing around the ghost world frantically figuring out the cause of his death, Sissel gets to live forever as a family kitten. He's pretty happy with his fate.
- Angst Aversion: In-universe example. While the justice minister doesn't become important until halfway through the game, Sissel can visit him at any point starting with the second chapter. Doing so results in Sissel listening to the man's self-loathing rants. At least twice, Sissel immediately desires to leave.
- Animal Jingoism: Subverted in every respect. The black cat Sissel gets along incredibly well with the dog Missile and quickly makes friends with him. Also, he seems to have an aversion to hurting rodents. Might have something to do that for 99% of the game, he doesn't know that he is a cat.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Ghosts can become these by manipulating inanimate objects.
- Anime Hair: Everyone has ridiculous hair. Sissel, Lynne, Beauty, and Emma stand out in particular. This is a creation of the same guy behind the Ace Attorney series, after all, though special mention must go to Emma, whose rosebud-shaped hair blooms whenever she gets mad. Also, how the HELL does Beauty's hair even work?! Seriously, just look at it.◊
- Anti-Frustration Features: The game is rather merciful and most of times outright tells the player if they got themselves locked in an unwinnable situation.
- Anyone Can Die: Considering Sissel starts off dead and most of the gameplay involves changing fate to save lives... yeah. A few even end up dying multiple times in the same evening, and one in particular dies five times over the course of one night, to the point the characters actually make jokes about it.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Lynne doesn't believe in Beauty having a supernatural sixth sense, despite being a ghost at the time.Lynne: I don't believe in a "sixth sense". It's not scientific.
Sissel: (...says the ghost.)
- Arc Words:
- "And it's almost dawn."
- Arms and Armor Theme Naming: In Japanese, Kamila's name is Kanon, while her dog is named Missile. Ironic, since they're two of the sweetest and weakest people in the game until Missile dies and Takes a Level in Badass, at which point he's just one of the sweetest.
- Aside Glance: Those talking directly (usually Lynne) to Sissel may look toward the player in order to speak to him. This is used to full effect in the case of those who know about the Powers of the Dead that you haven't reached out to.
- Asshole Victim: The hitmen, Jeego and Tengo. Sissel feels obliged to kill them in order to save Lynne from their shotguns.
- Astral Projection: Those who are struck by the Temsik meteor gain the normal ghostly "powers of the dead" but also retain the ability to return to their original bodies.
- The Atoner: A handful of them:
- Yomiel becomes one of these after he gives up his quest for revenge.
- Cabanela is one because his recklessness gave Yomiel a gun, which he used to escape custody.
- Jowd, because he forced Yomiel into a corner, so he took Lynne hostage.
- Kamila has a few shades of this since she built a device that ultimately killed her own mother - whereas she used to be able to build complex machines like that, she's now incredibly clumsy. In this case, however, she doesn't actually have anything to atone for - Yomiel messed with the device with his ghost powers at the crucial moment to turn it from a harmless birthday gift into a weapon.
- Back for the Dead: Although it seems like Missile will simply be a minor character, he comes back... just to die. Of course, this serves an important purpose, as he now has the Ghost Swap power to aid Sissel with.
- Backup from Otherworld: The entire point of the game. Sissel and later Missile is the supernatural backup for his human allies.
- Badass Adorable:
- Missile seems to be just a really cute Pomeranian dog, but obtains powers of the dead late in the game that really help Sissel save people. And at the very end you find out that Ray is himself Missile from an older timeline, and has orchestrated a Batman Gambit to get Sissel to save Lynne and Kamila, his owners, in the early game.
- Sissel of all people is a Cute Kitten who can manipulate inanimate objects, travel through telephone lines and go back in time to save people.
- Badass Boast:Missile: I'm a top Pomeranian, you know!
- Badass Longcoat:
- Inspector Cabanela has a pure white trenchcoat that signifies his spotless record.
- There's the awesome moment late in the game when Detective Jowd re-dons his own trenchcoat, symbolizing his transition from fatalistic Death Seeker to proactively pursuing the manipulator.
- Lynne wears an awesome yellow longcoat, presumably to look like her idol, Detective Jowd.
- Bad Future: What happens if Sissel doesn't save anyone. Ray hails from this timeline.
- Batman Gambit: The ending reveals that Missile-Prime tricked Sissel into thinking he was the blond-haired man in red, as well as telling him that he would cease to exist after dawn. This misdirection causes Sissel to save Lynne and the others as leads to his identity, and eventually bond with them.
- Beat: In Chapter 15, one puzzle requires you to swap a bullet after it's been fired with a wool hat. After you perform the required action and unstop time, the game lets the scene hang there for a moment, so you can realize the implications of what you just did. If you did the puzzle wrong and swapped in a metal hard hat instead, the feeling of "that was clearly not the correct action" is very effective.
- Behind the Black: The real Sissel's body is hidden from you at the start of the game because it is behind Yomiel's corpse; this is sufficent to trick Sissel, whose location should start in his own body.
- Benevolent Architecture: The key to success is to make sure that inanimate objects come within three feet of each other. They often do. And sometimes other people help you with it, typically without knowing.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: There are two people in the story who are responsible for all the mysterious deaths; Commander Sith and Yomiel, the leader of a foreign espionage organization and the man in red seeking revenge by using his ghost powers to manipulate and kill those who he feels ruined his life, respectively. They've made a deal of mutual benefit to wipe out all the people who knew of Temsik, but each of them has a separate agenda, which doesn’t end well for Yomiel.
- Big Good: Ray aka Missile manipulates Sissel in such a way that Sissel ends up at the right place (the submarine) at the right time to avert Yomiel's death, preventing the events of the night from happening. It's a 10-year-long time travel gambit.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Commander Sith, the leader of the foreigners, aptly nicknamed "Eyebrowed Villain" by Sissel.
- Bloodless Carnage: Every death in the game, except the heart attack (which is also bloodless, but it's the one of the few deaths not hidden by a Fade to White).
- Body of the Week: Sissel deals with a dead body nearly every chapter. Of course, his job is to make sure they never become that dead body in the first place.
- Book Ends:
- Sissel trying to hurl his body around the junkyard, with no results. Yomiel tries it in the climax, and succeeds.
- The very first AND very last thing Missile is seen to do with his ghost powers is swap the park's heavy mascot with something else in mid-fall.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the demo, Lynne does this when she tells Sissel he can't recall meeting her because it's a demo. The fourth wall is further destroyed from there on.
- Break the Cutie: Defied. Sissel refuses to let a young Lynne die in the process of averting Yomiel's death, all to keep her from being traumatized.
- Bring My Red Jacket: Sissel wears a red suit, and starts off dead. However, it gets a bit complicated as in reality, Sissel mistook the corpse of his owner, Yomiel, for his own and is actually a black cat wearing a red neckerchief. Yomiel meanwhile, was 'killed' ten year prior by a fragment of the Temsik meteorite, and as a result cannot feel pain, or be killed, meaning that he can get shot and slapped around a fair bit with no actual damage.
- Broken Pedestal: Cabanela for Lynne until this is subverted, revealing that Cabanela is actually keeping his spotless record in order to save Jowd. Logically, Jowd would fit this, except that Lynne doesn't believe that he murdered his wife Alma, and rightfully so.
- Bullet Dodges You: In one chapter, Sissel and his companions have to force this trope to prevent someone from being murdered. They must exchange the bullet with another item. However, the kinetic energy is conserved, so while the bullet clatters harmlessly to the ground, Sissel must take care not to swap it with something that would be just as deadly at about 300 meters per second.
- Burger Fool: The Chicken Kitchen. The uniforms are camp, yet the restaurant seems unusually expensive.
- Butterfly of Doom: In some levels, you need to track down one of these and neutralize it to prevent MAJOR disasters. The spying bug in the chicken kitchen chapter is probably the best example.
- Butt-Monkey: Lynne, who dies a total of 5 times! Also the rat, who can't seem to catch a break.
- The Cake Is a Lie: The deal that Yomiel made with the blue people's government was that he would use his manipulator powers for their benefit and they would: A) help him with his revenge plot and B) work to create an artificial life for him, allowing him to live, grow old, and die like a normal human. Of course, Sith only wanted the Temsik fragment, so they never got past part A.
- Cassandra Truth: Bailey's worries are always right on the money, but never listened to.
- Cats Are Mean: Sissel Prime was only interested in figuring out his identity, and refused to help Missile Prime save Lynne and Kamila. The second time around, Missile Prime manipulated this self-interest by giving him an artificial deadline which led to the game's Sissel developing a genuine interest in saving the people he meets.
- Cats Have Nine Lives: Nine separate lives are saved by the player in the game. Lynne (though five times), Yomiel, Cabanela, Jowd (twice), Pigeon man, Guardian of the Park, Missile, Detective Rindge and Justice Minister. The cat in question is Sissel, who technically ends up in a state between life and death.
- Cats Are Snarkers: You don't know about the cat part until the end, but Sissel is quite the Deadpan Snarker.
- Cats Are Superior: Sissel is a lot smarter than Missile, who often strolls over into Ditz territory. Subverted when a ten-year-older Missile from an Alternate Timeline is revealed to be The Chessmaster.
- Caught on Tape: The end of Chapter 5 shows a junkyard security camera showing Lynne shooting Sissel. Quite the Wham Shot. By Chapter 15, we learn that Yomiel intentionally manipulated Lynne into shooting his body in order to frame her for murder by this method... and accidentally killed Sissel, who was in Yomiel's bag, in the process, because she was able to resist Yomiel's manipulation enough to make the first shot miss.
- Celestial Deadline: The Powers of the Dead only last until sunrise. Makes more sense when you're told that ghosts cease to exist at that time. This turns to to be a lie told by Ray in order to motivate you and ensure you meet a much more mundane deadline.
- Cessation of Existence: Played with. Beings that die in special conditions (within the range of the Temsik meteorite or its fragments), like Sissel, get to stick around and are able to perform Ghost Tricks (which vary depending on the individual) until sunrise, the moment when they cease to exist. Those who don't die in these conditions, however, don't get powers, and it's unclear what happens to them. They can be revived up to 24 hours after their death by empowered ghosts, but other than that, their soul just seems to remain in their corpse without doing anything.
It is important to note as well that Ray lies when he says that empowered ghosts cease to exist at sunrise — he says so just to motivate Sissel into being at the right place at the right time.
- The implication is that regardless of Ray/Prime Missile's lie, souls without Ghost Trickery will sooner or later disappear (and where that leads to being unknown). Hence only being able to communicate with (and rescue) souls that have been dead for less than 24 hours.
- Chair Reveal: When Jowd makes it to the submarine control room towards the end, the masked muscleman answers his question about Yomiel by spinning Sith's chair and displaying Yomiel's abandoned shell. This sets up the fact that Yomiel's spirit is elsewhere and about to be trapped in the sinking sub without his body.
- Checkpoint: Whenever you alter the situation to give yourself more time, you get a new place to fall back to if you screw up (which you inevitably will).
- Chekhov's Gag: At least half the comedic dialogue exchanges, whether it's meeting the hyper-friendly Pomeranian, Missile, or discovering how ridiculously severe your Laser-Guided Amnesia is.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The music box is the most obvious example. However, several "minor" things you see and run into near the beginning take on much more significant meaning as more is revealed. Particularly the Robinson-Goldberg device, Sissel's bag, and "the rock of the gods".
- Two innocuous-seeming examples: Cabanela's pocket watch, and Sith's grape-peeling machine.
- The van in the park has shades of this, given that it's possible to see it very early and not recognize its significance. For that matter, the mural/graffiti on Jowd's cell wall probably counts too.
- Two really subtle examples: the rat (Sissel's general dislike of it, since he's a cat) and the chalkboard in Jowd's cell (cats can't read).
- Chekhov's Gunman: Nearly everyone. If a person is given any focus, you can bet they will have plot impact.
- Ray seems to be just the obligatory tutorial advisor of the game, and doesn't say or do much after Chapter 1. Cue the ending, however, and he turns out to be Missile from another timeline. Yes, the ditzy puppy you saved in Chapter 2 that has been helping around with his own ghost tricks in the last quarter of the game. He admits to having lied to Sissel when he said that ghosts disappear at sunrise, all to guide him to the submarine and go back in time 10 years to avert the whole night from happening... just to make sure his owners, Lynne and Kamila, aren't killed. He outsmarted everyone, even the foreign organization.
- A black cat appears and meows in Chapter 1, but no one comments on him. He's then mentioned much later when Cabanela and his boss watch the video of Sissel's murder, but that's it. The cat gains a major signficance in the final chapter, as he's revealed to be Sissel, AKA the player. Well, the cat in the junkyard was just his body being controlled by Yomiel, the character you thought was Sissel.
- Yomiel reveals that armed government agents constantly patrol Temsik Park. Sissel flashes back to the "Guardian of the Park".Sissel: Don't tell me that odd leaflet guy is one of them...?
- Pigeon Man. He originally shows up as the superintendent of the junkyard with an odd blue pigeon on his head, but he's a former police coroner and Cabanela's associate in figuring out the Manipulator's crimes and the Temsik meteorite.
- The Chessmaster: "Ray"/Missile-prime. The ending reveals that the course of the entire game is orchestrated by Ray, who is actually Missile from an Alternate Timeline where he did not have the necessary ghost tricks to save anyone, so he goes back in time and waits for ten years for the right moment to come around again, so he could manipulate Sissel's self-interest into saving Lynne and everyone else that could be a lead in Sissel's Quest for Identity.
- City with No Name: The city the story takes place in isn't named, and the two countries that play into it are simply referred to as "this country" and "that country". See Where the Hell Is Springfield? below.
- Cloudcuckooland: In some aspects, the country the blue people are from. In any case, they have rather odd applications of technology, like robot arms for feeding one Grapes of Luxury, flipping tables that have phones and fruit on different sides, and robotic manservants. Even lampshaded by Yomiel, Jowd, and even Sith himself very early in the game.Servant: I am a remote-controlled robot, detective.
Jowd: Your country's use of technology... is just plain "off"!
Servant: We get that a lot, detective.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Bailey, especially when doing the "Panic Dance", which he performs during emergencies but refuses to stop doing after the crisis has passed. Also, the "Guardian of the Park". Oddly, Bailey's outlandish fears almost always turn out right.
- Collateral Damage: A stray shot missing it's intended target and hitting another target is a major plot point. it's what killed Sissel the cat.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
- When Sissel uses the powers of the dead, the world of the dead is red; when Missile uses them, it's green; and when Yomiel uses them, it's blue.
- In-game example: Cabanela asks if the detective he's talking to over the phone is "the green one or the blue one", based on the suits they were wearing.
- All the foreigners have blue skin.
- Colour-Coded Timestop: The above mentioned powers of the dead stop time when active, with the world being tinted in their respective colours. Plus, if you fail to save someone, time stops and a grayscale variation comes up.
- Comically Missing the Point: After watching a death row officer throw the switch to test a faulty electric chair, causing it to explode before the condemned is even in it.Sissel: So this is an execution, huh? It seems to me there's gotta be a safer way to do it...
- Complete Immortality: The Manipulator, Yomiel, due to being a ghost inhabiting his original body, which is kept from aging, dying, or being wounded by a meteor fragment lodged within it. In the ending, the past is changed so that Sissel ends up in this state instead.
- Contrived Coincidence: Anything involving the Temsik Meteorite... and Sissel's true death. The best example is when Missile dies the second time because he dies literally in just the right place for the plot to continue. Basically if that hadn't happened exactly where it did, everything would have hit a standstill and everyone would have been screwed.
- Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Ghosts don't have voices and communicate directly through thought. The once-dead whose deaths have been averted via Time Travel can also communicate this way, and hear the thoughts of ghosts. This trope is usually played straight (justifiably for the ghosts; not so much for the living), with a few exceptions:
- 1) Although most thought takes place in English, the in-conversation "flashbacks" are implied (and all but outright stated) to be visual thought transferred in the same way as the rest of the conversation. The other member in the conversation sometimes comments on things they could not have possibly known if they didn't get to see the flashback. Even then, they're incredibly well-organized.
- 2) At one point, Sissel has to keep a secret from Kamila, and kind of fails utterly by thinking about the secret he's trying to keep.
- Early in the game, Ray interrupts Sissel's Internal Monologue and finishes it for him. It's still incredibly coherent, but there is no barrier between any form of thought and anyone else, making this an odd combination of Conveniently Coherent Thoughts and Power Incontinence that is played with in a way that can't quite be defined.
- Ray manages to keep quite a few secrets for quite a long time, including his appearance (he appears as a desk lamp for the entire game), because he has been a ghost for over ten years, and has a lot of experience. This even extends to (MASSIVE SPOILERS) outright lies; he convinces Sissel that he is the man in red, and tells him that he will cease to exist by morning.
- Cool Shades: Sissel, of course. And also Yomiel, whose appearance Sissel accidentally stole.
- Copy Protection: The game made all the text blank if you use a flashcart.
- Covers Always Lie: You'd know after the ending that that's not Sissel on the boxart. Though if you pay attention to what's actually written, it never claims that the figure on the front of the box is Sissel. Nevertheless, the fact that the bag containing Sissel's body is not behind the body is misleading. In the game itself, it's there (even if hard to see) and this is an important part.
- Create Your Own Hero: Yomiel causes Sissel's death, triggering the events of the night and eventually leading to his plans foiled. Also, One Step Ahead Tengo in turn causes Missile's death, which turns the latter into the Big Good of the story.
- Create Your Own Villain: Yomiel strictly speaking got his powers from a freak accident... but he was only in the place where it happened, and unable to notice or react to the meteorite that killed him, because of a standoff with police over a crime he was later exonerated of. He isn't the only one to consider it at least partially the cops' fault; both Cabanela and Jowd consider it My Greatest Failure.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Missile. It's just an adorable Pomeranian who doesn't understand certain human concepts and barks excitedly at everything. At the end, it is revealed that Ray, the desk lamp who guided Sissel at the start of the game was actually the time-travelling Missile. It failed its first try at saving Lynne and Kamila on its own, and thus chose to go back 10 years and wait the long span of time (especially long in dog years) for Sissel to appear so it can convince, or rather mislead Sissel into saving the two girls.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Inspector Cabanela can die this way if the player Ghost Swaps the bullet that was supposed to hit him with a nearby helmet mid-flight. The Pigeon Man says it best: "That didn't go well."
- Cruelty Is the Only Option:
- Sissel is forced to do some pretty unfair things to a rat in Chapter 13. In fact, barring one case, you are pretty mean to rats in general. Then again, Sissel is a cat...
- You're also forced to kill the two hitmen to stop them from killing Lynne early on. Of course, it's in defense of an innocent, and hitmen are Acceptable Targets.
- Cutscene Incompetence: In the apartment, Sissel helps Kamila find a music box she must bring to Lynne by possessing a musical Christmas ornament nearby. She leaves the apartment with it, and Sissel needs to follow her but remains stuck in the apartment. He could have possessed the box... but because of his Laser-Guided Amnesia, he didn't know what it was. You could easily see this coming by noticing the lack of a core to move to on the item.
- Da Chief: Cabanela's boss, The Chief.
- Dancing Is Serious Business: Inspector Cabanela, full stop. Done to comic effect with Bailey's conga-drum "Panic Dance."
- Darkest Hour: All the principal characters get trapped in the sinking submarine near the end of the game.
- Deadfoot Leadfoot: Detective Rindge was driving to Chicken Kitchen while spying on the blue kindappers when he suddenly received an extreme feedback on his headphones, rendering him unconscious. The van he was driving kept accelerating, and crashed into the restaurant. The crash made the giant chicken decoration in the restaurant lose balance, and it fell on top of Lynne, killing her. It's ironic, because the one who put the bug on the kidnappers' food was an undercover policewoman from Lynne's precinct.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sissel, Jowd, and the Pigeon Man. Also Bailey's partner.
- Dead Person Conversation: After Sissel meets with a person's spirit and saves them from death, he can continue to interact with them after they return to life. The same goes for poor Missile, and while Yomiel is more frozen in an endless cycle of life and death, he still was presumed dead and held a conversation with several clearly-living people.
- Dead to Begin With: The game starts with Sissel, the player character, stating that he died recently. He doesn't go to the afterlife, though: he can and will stick around the world of the living to investigate the circumstances of his death. Ray, the first character Sissel meets, is dead too, and is currently possessing a desk lamp. He will be the one who teaches Sissel the powers of the dead that will help him uncover the truth about himself.
- Death-Activated Superpower: The ghost tricks of course, as it would be rather hard to have powers of the dead without dying. Except Yomiel, where the unique circumstances of his death let him have powers of the dead while still technically being alive.
- Death as Comedy: People die so many times that even they can find their own deaths amusing if they're ludicrous enough. It helps that we know the deaths won't stick. The record holder in that game is Lynne, who dies a grand total of five times (not counting preventable deaths or repeats), and in increasingly absurd ways each time. At one point Sissel suspects that she's doing it on purpose.Lynne: Haha! I died again!
- Death by Irony: Lynne asks a waitress to hurry it up with her chicken dinner, and is crushed by a giant chicken wing.Sissel: Well, it seems you've escaped your fate of being hammered by a horrible hen!
- Death Faked for You: Chapter 14 consists in saving Inspector Cabanela from a man aware of Sissel's ghost tricks. The Plan is to have Cabanela survive without his killer noticing.
- Death from Above:
- Wrecking balls, crates, chickens, statues, vaults, meteors, footballs...
- Zig Zagged with Yomiel. He was struck by a fragment of the Temsik meteor, "killing" him, but then putting his body in a state between life and death. The subversion is in that to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, Yomiel has to be saved from the meteor shard, and when it's deflected towards Detective Jowd, it shoots through his leg. Then it's Double Subverted when Sissel is shown to have been hit by the fragment, making him a literal Schrodinger's cat.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you run out of time while averting someone's fate, you can just restart from the beginning of that segment or a checkpoint. Amusingly, in-game the characters close to Sissel start to feel this way because they know he can just save them. This also applies in the few cases where you're trying to stop someone from dying in the first place (eg. you're still in the present) since if they do die, Sissel just jumps back four minutes anyways. In fact, there's no such thing as a "permanent" game over you'll need to reload from.
- However, this is noticeably averted near the end of the game. When young Lynne is about to be crushed by the Mino statue, Yomiel suggests to his companions that they shouldn't worry; if they fail, they could just possess her corpse and rewind time. Sissel immediately shoots the idea down, however, and points out that that course of action would leave the young Lynne with the memory of her averted death, potentially traumatizing her for life.
- Death Is Cheap: Pretty much the entire point of the game. The main character is a ghost, and one of his tricks is to go back a few minutes before a person's death and prevent it. They keep their memory of the event, and if their ghost is conscious they can watch the main character work his magic. One character in particular gets quite used to it, dying five times within the game!Lynne: [upon dying for the third time] Ha ha, I died again!
- Death's Hourglass: A spinning hourglass forestalls death — by 4 minutes, anyhow.
- Demonic Possession: Sissel can possess dead bodies, but only so he can contact their souls. Yomiel, on the other hand, can manipulate both the living and the dead.
- Destruction Equals Off-Switch: A power failure caused when the electric chair that was being set up to execute Detective Jowd malfunctioned and exploded opened the doors of all the cells in the prison, setting the prisoners free. This is explained as a security measure to ensure the safety of the prisoners. One might be inclined to wonder why a prison would risk its prisoners getting free so easily, but this prison is specifically for those who the police suspected were controlled by the Manipulator.
- Developer's Foresight: You're rewarded for experimenting in the game, especially when it comes to transporting yourself over phone lines. Usually, this comes in the form of additional plot not attainable on a "perfect playthrough".
- Diabolus ex Nihilo: While it's nowhere near sentient, the Temsik Meteor is the cause of Yomiel's revenge scheme.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: The spirits of the dead communicate by beaming thoughts to each other, meaning other characters frequently overhear and react to Sissel's internal musings. Downplayed, though, as Sissel never reacts to being overheard, probably because there's no actual difference between speaking and musing on his end, either.
- Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Christmas decorations can be seen in Lynne's apartment, but the holiday never really comes up.
- Disaster Dominoes: The climax of the game turns into one of these. The heroes attempt to save Yomiel's past self from being killed by the Temsik fragment by putting a giant Mino statue in the path in order to divert its course. It works, but the new trajectory makes the fragment pierce through Jowd's ankle instead, which causes him to accidentally fire his gun at Yomiel. Missile swaps the bullet out at the last minute, but the momentum pushes Yomiel into the pole that's barely holding up the Mino statue, impaling him. He somehow still lives, but the force causes the Mino statue to begin falling on Lynne. Since can't get there in time due to his ankle, and the ghosts are unwilling to let Lynne live with the memory that she died, it takes future Yomiel possessing his unconscious body in order to rescue Lynne (at the cost of being crushed under the giant statue himself, albeit somehow still alive).
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- While the assassins may deserve what they get, it may seem excessive that the hard-nosed (if Affably Evil) kidnappers are blown up.
- Yomiel tries to get Lynne convicted of murder simply because she was in his path at the park 10 years ago, which gave him the idea to take her hostage. Cabanela even calls him out on it.
- Being mean to little girls is punished most severely in this universe!
- Distant Finale: An unorthodox version: At the end of the game you go back 10 years into the past and save Yomiel from the meteorite. The epilogue shows what happened 10 years after that (though it's the same day as when the rest of the game was set) and how everyone's lives have changed as a result of the new timeline.
- Diving Save:
- Lynne shoves a waitress out of the path of a speeding van.
- Cabanela tries to stop Lynne's second death this way, but he notices the sniper too late. Later, he does this again in an attempt to save Pigeon Man from getting blown up by TNT.
- Lynne's last death comes as the result of pushing Kamila out of the path of falling rubble.
- Yomiel possesses his own unconscious body to uproot itself from a spike, scoop up Lynne, and pitch her out of the path of the tumbling Mino statue right before being crushed himelf.
- Does Not Like Shoes:
- The Police Chief, of all people. Apparently he has itchy toes.
- The park's guardian, which is more believable since he's a hippie and all...
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Well, more like the dog was the Trickster Mentor, but close enough. Also, there's the black cat in the first chapter, which is later shown to have moved the protagonist's body. It turns out the black cat was the protagonist's actual body, and was possessed by the Big Bad at the time.
- Downer Beginning: The game opens with Sissel realizing that he's dead and that a woman is going to be killed in front of him. He then tries to use his ghost powers to save her, only for it to be in vain and her to get shot anyway (though he does find another way to save her). Then he finds out that he's lost all of his memories, and then he learns that he'll vanish when morning comes.
- Down in the Dumps: Where Sissel's story begins, literally and figuratively.
- Dramatic Spotlight: The game loves this. Complete with animations and sound effects to really make it feel like a theater production.
- Driving Question: Sissel has two driving questions throughout the story: "Who am I?" and "Why was I killed?".
- Dude Magnet: Lynne is considered to be very pretty by many characters in this game. Ray and many policemen directly comment on this. In fact, one of the latter falls in Love at First Sight with her, and greatly laments one of her deaths. Seems like Lynne is aware of her beauty, as proved by her speech after the guardian of the park stares at her after being revived. It also might have been a joke, though, considering her less than serious nature:Lynne: He's mesmerized by my beauty.
- Sissel, though, seems to be unattracted to her. It makes sense when you complete the game, actually, as Sissel is a cat.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It required massive effort from Sissel, Missile, Jowd and Yomiel, but the ending couldn't be more perfect. Jowd's entire family is alive, Lynne didn't go through the trauma of dying, Yomiel atoned for his crime by serving an appropriate jail sentence, but he is a normal human and his fiancee is alive and loves him — the only thing he really ever wanted. Sissel is not only alive, but immortal.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: You gain the ability to swap objects with the same shape (and travel between cores that are farther apart) 3/4 of the way through the game.
- Empty Cop Threat: In the backstory, a suspect in an espionage case was put on the spot in this way by a rookie detective during interrogation. This pushed him to, in a fit of desperation, grab a gun, flee the premises and take a hostage. The outcome of the altercation and the suspect's hopeless mindset drives the game's plot and the many deaths that occur during it. And for the record, the suspect was innocent of the allegation and genuinely knew nothing about it.
- The Ending Changes Everything: The ending reveals that Sissel is actually Yomiel's pet cat, thus explaining Sissel's lack of knowledge on certain human things and inability to read. It's also revealed that Ray is Missile from another timeline, and he manipulated Sissel into thinking certain things (namely that his soul would vanish at daybreak) to trick him into saving Lynne and Kamila.
- Enemy Mine: Yomiel joins up with Sissel after he's betrayed by Commander Sith. This eventually turns into a genuine Heel–Face Turn on Yomiel's part.
- Escort Mission: Chapters 9 (rescuing Jowd from jail) and 16 (helping Lynne and Kamila escape the submarine).
- "Eureka!" Moment: On the sinking Yonoa, Kamila wishes her father was there to save them. Lynne is inspired to strap Sissel into a torpedo and send him to find Jowd.
- Everybody Lives: What Sissel is trying to make happen—besides himself. In the end, thanks to the Timey-Wimey Ball, everyone does. Even Sissel, in a sense. Except Dandy and Beauty. They get blown up in the credits. Though it isn't explicitly confirmed if they really did die from the explosion, considering they were mere feet from 20 kilograms of TNT, it's a pretty safe assumption. Overall, this game has a negative death count, due to Yomiel's fiancée and Jowd's wife not dying in the altered timeline.
- Everyone Is Related: Jowd believes that he, Lynne, and Sissel all met 10 years ago when the meteor landed in the park. He's more right than he knows: the man he thinks is Sissel was actually Yomiel, but Sissel was indeed present — as a stray kitten. As the game progresses, it's eventually shown that almost everyone is connected - a fact that the game points out.
- Evil Phone: Subverted; Sissel can possess phones and use the phone lines for transportation, but cannot talk to people through them, even if they're holding the receiver or calling the phone he's possessing.
- Extremely Short Timespan: One night, just barely over ten hours, but a ridiculous number of shocking twists occur during them. Except technically, you take actions in a span of ten years.
- Face–Heel Turn: Yomiel was accused of espionage, of which he was innocent, but a young Inspector Cabanela pressured him into escaping, with the handgun Cabanela accidentally left behind. Jowd chased him down into Temsik Park, where, after being threatened with a warning shot, he took Lynne hostage and was suddenly struck in the back by a fragment of the Temsik meteor. Then he remembers his identity and tries to meet his fiancée Sissel, who had unfortunately committed suicide just before Yomiel could get to her, and he lacked the power to rewind time and save her life. This made him Go Mad from the Isolation and make him want to take revenge on everyone involved in the Temsik Park incident, save for a certain black cat...
- Failsafe Failure:
- The cell doors inside the Special Prison automatically open during a power outage. Given that this prison's inmates are all believed to have been manipulated by a ghost, this might not be so much of a "failure" after all...
- The torpedo that sinks the Yonoa. A rat somehow got inside the torpedo, and was happily perched right in the middle of the failsafe system, stopping it from activating.
- Faking the Dead: A few puzzles in the game require you to save your victims from being murdered, one by explosion and the other by gunshot, but in such a way that the murderer, who is right there in the room, doesn't realize what happened, tricking them into thinking that their victim did die.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the game, Sissel can turn a switch that drops a chandelier inside the Elegant Lady's room. He has to do this when the Elegant Lady herself is underneath it so she'll be trapped and her daughter can call the justice minister, though unless you get the timing just right, she dodges it like a pro.
- Fall of the House of Cards: A prison security guard is building a house of cards, but just as he finishes, he thumps the table with outrage at the prospect of escorting a great police detective, who was convicted of murdering his wife with little evidence other than his (slightly dubious) confession, to be executed. This naturally causes his house of cards to collapse.
- Fate Worse than Death: How do you dispose of a ghost who has outlived his usefulness? Leave him stranded alone at the bottom of the ocean forever.
- A Fête Worse than Death: A birthday party that resulted in the death of Alma, who is Kamila's mother and Jowd's wife.
- Fighting from the Inside: You can see this happen with Lynne and the justice minister when they are controlled by Yomiel. In fact, the former example directly results in Sissel dying and receiving his powers, as Lynne manages to resist Yomiel's control and fires a bullet that seemingly misses Yomiel but actually hits his bag, which holds Sissel the cat.
- First-Person Smartass: Hilariously subverted, where ghost communicate through telepathy, so Sissel keeps forgetting that everyone can hear his private thoughts.
- Foil: Sissel and Missile. They both have "similar occupations", both being pets and both having Ghost Tricks. At the start of the game, Sissel is more intelligent and realistic, while Missile is more naive and optimistic. Sissel is more concerned about finding out his own mystery, while even in death, Missile is only concerned with Kamila and Lynne. Sissel immediately informs Ray that he wants to use his Ghost Tricks on his own body, while Missile is willing to stay dead so that he can use his Ghost Swap to help Kamila and Lynne. Also reversed with Ray and Sissel. Sissel is impulsive and is constantly trying to do things, while Ray is more level-headed and intelligent and explains to Sissel that these things are impossible. Later on, it is revealed that Ray was far more intelligent than Sissel, reversing the Oni roles of Missile and Sissel, as Ray planned everything and Sissel was an unknowing puppet.
- Food End: The epilogue has a birthday dinner at Jowd's house. With giant roast chickens, of course.
- The Foreign Subtitle: International versions appended "Phantom Detective" to the game's title.
- Foreshadowing: Too many examples for the main page. You can go here instead.
- For Want of a Nail: The villains' plot would have gone off without a hitch, but for "One Step Ahead" Tengo's pointless cruelty: When he and Yomiel kick open the door to Lynne's apartment, Tengo shoots both Kamila and Missile-Prime. The crooks take what they came for and leave, unaware of the latent radiation emanating from Yomiel's body, which causes Missile to spring back to life as a ghost. He embarks on a murder investigation of his own, chasing after "the man in red", but finds himself at an impasse and travels back in time to enlist help.
- Four Is Death:
- Sissel can rewind time to four minutes before a death he's trying to prevent. As can Missile, but not Yomiel. The latter admits that he would prevent Sissel from dying if he could — and by "Sissel", he means both the cat and his fiancée.
- All the GameCenter achievements in the iOS version are worth 4, 44, or 444 points, and all the "do X a certain number of times" achievements follow the same pattern.
- There is also the fact that, when preventing a death, the game will start counting down during the last four 'seconds'note before a character dies.
- Fourth Wall Psych: Played for scares. When someone tries to talk to a ghost and they aren't using the ghost world, their sprite will turn and directly face the viewer as if talking to the player themselves. And when Yomiel does it, catching you in the act of trying to save Cabanela, it's fucking terrifying.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: If you're ever caught by Yomiel, he freezes time, looks straight at you, the player, and basically says that you can't stop him, before he causes a Game Over. Beauty does the same, though she can't do much besides taunt the player.
- Frame-Up: Lynne is framed for the murder of Yomiel by Yomiel. He controls her to shoot his immortal shell, makes sure it's caught on tape, then leaves his body to be found by the police. Since few people see the corpse before Cabanela steals it, no one else notices that it's a person who supposedly died ten years earlier.
- Freeze Sneeze: After Sissel saves Lynne from the assassin, it starts to rain, and she huddles into herself and sneezes in response. It occurs later inside the sinking submarine, if the water level gets too high.
- Funny Spoon: Detective Jowd's cryptic clue: "Head for the spoon."
- Future Self Reveal: It is revealed that "Ray", the helpful lamp from the first level, is Missile from a timeline where everyone died. After failing to recruit Sissel in his timeline, he traveled back in time to try again. This is only revealed after he successfully Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Gambit Pileup: The entire reason for the plot:
- Yomiel and Sith both want to kill everyone who knows about the Temsik meteorite.
- Yomiel wants to get revenge on everyone who was involved in his arrest (and therefore his fiancée's death).
- Sith wants to betray Yomiel to get the Temsik fragment and get rid of Yomiel and his body in case anyone goes to change the past.
- Ray wants Sissel to save everyone, because he comes from a Bad Future where Sissel didn't save anyone.
- Cabanela wants to protect Lynne and clear Jowd's name while saving Jowd from being executed. He also wants to stop the Manipulator.
- Gambit Roulette: Missile-prime planned the plot, but nothing would have worked out if current-timeline Missile hadn't died on the meteorite's exact crash site.
- Gas Leak Cover-Up: The new housing development in Temsik Park is a cover-up by the government to excavate the Temsik meteorite.
- Ghost Amnesia: Upon death, people become "unconscious" floating balls of flame and will assume their true appearance once their memory is jogged. However, a ghost can take on someone else's form if they mistakenly believe they're that person. Ray's Batman Gambit hinges on this.
- Ghostly Animals: It is revealed later on that Sissel, the ghost being followed for the game, was actually a cat. Additionally, it is also revealed that the lamp that interacts with Sissel at the start is the ghost of a Pomerarian dog named Missile.
- Ghostly Goals:
- You play as Sissel, who has recently died; his goal is to find out how he died and why. The form he takes is actually Yomiel's body, and Yomiel himself has a goal of getting revenge on the people who he blames for his death. Sissel turns out to be a cat who was Yomiel's only friend during the ten years following Yomiel's death; Sissel couldn't remember who he was or how he died because he had taken Yomiel's form instead of his own.
- Missile just wants to protect his owners.
- Going Through the Motions: The game combines the Phoenix Wright method with the movements of the characters' less-detailed 3D models. Minor characters like the prison guards may only have one or two faces, but can have their models move more dramatically and uniquely. Surprisingly, this is lampshaded by the guards in the prison. One of them, without warning, goes into their "shocked" animation by flailing and spinning around in his chair, an animation he has done several times before. He states that he did it to keep the other guard on his toes, who didn't react to his flailing at all. The other guard claims that he used to be shocked, but got over it due to the fact that he shocks him with the exact same motion every time, referencing their limited animations.
- Good All Along:
- Inspector Cabanela is initially presented as a ladder-climbing jerk, but he only rose in the ranks so that he could monitor the Manipulator case. He also spends much of the game trying to keep Lynne safe and Jowd from being executed.
- Emma is a lesser example. Initially she's portrayed negatively, keeping her daughter away from her husband despite their protests, but then you learn why she moved away from her husband: He was forced to sign an execution order for a prisoner, and didn't tell the cops about it. Emma left in order to pressure him into doing the right thing.
- Yomiel plays with this. When he was still human, he was thought to be a spy, but was innocent the entire time. Later, he reveals that he could've snuffed Sissel out a number of times, but wanted him to keep going. And then, he finally makes up for everything.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Or in Lynne's case, be brought back from the dead.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The prison guards' reaction whenever you open a trapdoor beneath them.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The country of the blue men. That government hired the services of the criminal organization to gain possession over the Green Rocks.
- Great Escape: Sissel aids in one for Detective Jowd, which quickly proves pointless as Inspector Cabanela recaptures him moments after his escape.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: In the end, nobody except Jowd, Missile and one of the Big Bads knows the hardships and feats of Sissel through the game, AKA one night. He foiled the plans of a dangerous criminal organization and saved nine lives, but this Great Story is lost when Sissel creates a new timeline where Sissel never needs to save anyone from the Big Bads.
- Green Rocks: Sissel's ghost tricks are a by-product of the Temsik Meteor. The same goes for any living being that dies in its radius. Yomiel was directly struck by it in the game's backstory, turning him into a walking generator of Temsik radiation.
- Group Picture Ending: The ending has a portrait of a lone Sissel at top of a group picture of the other main characters. Sissel jumps down the portrait into the picure, symbolizing him joining his new family.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards in the special prison are pretty lax about their duties, with one not even being bothered to turn the alarm off when it comes on accidentally, and allowing their prisoners incredible luxuries. This can be explained in that the prisoners are all suspected of being manipulated by supernatural forces, so they are viewed as fairly harmless otherwise.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Yomiel for one very special mission and one single trick. Missile joins you a few occasions as well.
- Hair Color Spoiler: The color of the police doctor's skin. He's blue, like the other evil foreigners, but you don't find out he was an impostor intent on stealing Yomiel's corpse until far later in the game.
- Handwave: When Sissel asks Ray how ghosts can go back in time and comments that it doesn't even make any sense, Ray just replies: "We're talking about the powers of the dead, here. It doesn't have to make sense." Though, given how conversations between ghosts and the ghost world itself are out of time, it's not that much of a stretch to think they could go back to a previous moment. Later, it's explained that the Magic Meteor that gives ghosts their powers also has time-related effects as well.
- Happy Birthday to You!: The Rube Goldberg device plays the first five notes of the song using a ball that knocks five glass figures together.
- Haunted Fetter:
- One character, Ray, possessed a lamp. Ray turns out to be an older version of Missile from ten years ago. Missile possessed the lamp so he could be there when Sissel died and thus coerce Sissel into saving not only the city but also everyone involved with Yomiel's case.
- In the original timeline, it was Sissel who was possessing the lamp.
- Headphones Equal Isolation:
- Kamila is wearing headphones in Chapter 2 when Missile gets shot. When Sissel rewinds time to save him, he is effectively told that, once Kamila puts the headphones on, the level will be unwinnable, as the goal is to make sure she and Missile are hidden before Tengo enters.
- Lynne wore some headphones when she was a kid. This is why she didn't notice the two men in the middle of a pursuit that popped up in the park until one of them grabbed her and took her hostage.
- Healing Factor: Yomiel and later Sissel wind up with this, due to being frozen between life and death and constantly restored to the moment before they died.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Various ghosts get various powers, but the one who takes the cake for this trope is Missile. He used "swap the location of two objects" to stop someone from being shot after the gun has fired.
- As Missile-Prime also points out at the end of the game: the ability to travel through phone-lines doesn't seem like much among the ghost-tricks... but it's dead-useful. Especially if you're trying to keep up with someone. It's a power he lacks and you use extensively throughout the game.
- He Knows Too Much: Sith and Yomiel have conspired to kill everyone who knows about the Temsik meteor. Unfortunately for Yomiel, he and Sith have different ideas about the definition of “everyone”.
- Hellistics: Shows up a lot. To name one example: an undercover cop working as a waitress at a restaurant spies a couple of suspicious foreigners, and plants a bug in their food to be monitored by her colleague. One of them spots the bug, and burns it, causing the one listening to receive extreme feedback. This knocks him out, causing the van he was driving to crash into the same restaurant, killing him and one of the patrons.
- Heroic BSoD: Lynne has one after you rescue her the first time when she is just sitting in the rain, getting a little cold. Of course, it only takes a small jab to snap her out of it.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Two of Lynne's deaths occured because she tried to get someone else out of the way of an imminent danger, namely a speeding van and debris falling from the ceiling.
- In the final chapter, Yomiel controls the body of his past self to throw Young Lynne out of the way of the Mino statue. Luckily for him, he doesn't die, but after being crushed, one wonders how he is able to ever walk again. Still, after 10 years in prison (which may account for the recovery time), he is able to stand and walk out on his own power.
- Heroic Willpower: Lynne doesn't have enough willpower to completely fight off Yomiel's control, but she does make his first shot miss — which is what winds up killing Sissel, who was inside the box Yomiel was carrying.
- Hitodama Light: The default form for a ghost is a little blue wisp of flame. After the spirit remembers what they look like (or what they think they look like), they can take on the shape of their original body. When Sissel realizes that he can't hold on to the image of himself as the blond-haired man anymore, he reverts to a blue flame with sunglasses.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Of a sorts with Sissel. Yomiel's mind control of Lynne is what caused Sissel to be accidentally killed. Since Sissel unknowingly antagonizes his former friend for the majority of the game, Yomiel's revenge plan probably would've at least succeeded up to the submarine just fine if Sissel didn't die. This is somewhat subverted by the fact that Sissel's interference ultimately leads to a happier ending for everyone, including Yomiel, so the accidental death worked out in his favor eventually.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: It isn't specifically named as a heart attack, but the thrashing chest-clutch the Justice Minister performs seems to match the stereotype. His life is saved by stabilizing him with a drink of water and then getting him his pill bottle, which he proceeds to practically empty like a bag of Skittles.
- I Am Who?: Inverted. The information Sissel gathered on himself is being contradicted and discredited bit by bit, until he (and the player) thinks he knows nothing. Turns out he's wrong. He does know something about himself that's so basic that it's not worth noting (namely, that he's the dead guy in the red suit)... then that gets overturned in an amazingly decisive way! It's that kind of game.
- I Have Your Wife: The Minister of Defense is blackmailed into not rescinding Jowd's execution that evening by a phone call saying that kidnappers have his daughter Amelie. In reality, they don't have the right girl, but use a recording of Amelie's voice to trick him, and the Minister won't hear anyone out until Amelie calls him.
- Idiot Ball: Lynne's third death. Not on her part, mind you, but on the Pigeon Guy's part. While reconstructing that Rube Goldberg Device was understandable in trying to figure out how it all went wrong, leaving a loaded, working gun that would kill whoever turns on the light was really dumb.
- Identity Amnesia: The main character "wakes up" as a ghost, having forgotten his entire past. He learns his name (Sissel) pretty quickly but learns by the game's end that the image he had of himself was totally wrong. The "corpse" he saw when he woke up wasn't his own, and he was, in fact, the recently-shot pet cat of that man. In fact, the only reason Sissel even learns his name is because Yomiel uses it as an alias to his foreign partners and Sissel hears it in reference to what he assumes is his own picture.
- If Only You Knew: At the end of the game, Lynne grabs Sissel the cat and says "I bet you're just like me. Your destiny led you here somehow too". In this timeline, she doesn't know the whole lot of things Sissel did for her, and that she only exists like that because of his efforts. She thinks he's just the stray kitten from ten years ago, while Sissel and Jowd remember everything.
- I Let You Win: Kind of. One of the villains admits that he knew about Sissel's interference in his plan, but he couldn't keep up with his ghost tricks, so he let Sissel protect Lynne et. al. throughout the game.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: GREATLY inverted with the first assassin who uses a shotgun. He is ONLY able to shoot anything as long as the target is in point-blank range.
- Informed Ability: Yomiel is apparently the best computer expert in the country, which is why the secret service hired him for their top secret project, but we never see him touch a keyboard at all.
- Insane Troll Logic: Sissel discovers that the ghost of the recently deceased dog Missile has tagged along with him into the past to prevent his death. Missile doesn't bat an eye at such a feat, reasoning that if his master can walk on two feet and he can't, he shouldn't find it weird that Sissel can walk through time and he can't. Although animals and humans are capable of communicating with each other in the ghost world, their knowledge about the world is vastly different, resulting in Missile expressing thought patterns that seem like this to us but are actually standard or even at times clever thinking by the standards of an animal.
- In Spite of a Nail: In the end, despite everything Sissel and Missile have accomplished, Lynne, Jowd, and Kamila would have all died if not for the Timey-Wimey Ball.
- Instant Death Bullet: Anyone shot in the game dies instantly. Necessary for gameplay reasons, since Sissel's ability to go back to four minutes before their death would be useless if they died an hour later in the hospital or something.
- Institutional Apparel: Detective Jowd and the other inmates of the special prison wear the traditional striped uniforms.
- It Has Been an Honor: Lynne and Sissel share a moment together before he possesses a torpedo about to launch.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Most of the Game Overs are just running out of time before your subject dies, meaning you have to go back four minutes before their death and start again. However, in one case, you also have to avoid being detected by Yomiel. Since he knows about ghost tricks, any suspiciously moving inanimate items will alert him to your existence and he'll directly address you, telling you that there's nothing you can do to stop him.
- It's Probably Nothing: Dandy's reactions to Sissel's ghost tricks? "Just my imagination." Sissel lampshades this.
- I Will Wait for You:
- In the timeline you create at the end of the game, when Yomiel isn't killed by the Temsik meteorite, Sissel (the fiancée, not the cat) waits ten years for him to get out of jail.
- Missile/Ray waits ten years just for a second chance at convincing Sissel (the cat, not the fiancée) to rescue his mistress, while dead. If that's not a Crowning Moment of Undying Loyalty, what is?
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Justified, as ghosts can't remember who they are or what they look like at first, so they'll tend to pick the shape of the first corpse they see... or, in Lynne's case once, the first detective she sees.
- Jerkass Gods: While the "guardian of the park" doesn't seem to hate his gods, he's the one who calls them mischievous when the park's mascot statue miraculously zooms away from crushing Kamila, crushing him instead.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The entire plot is pretty complex, and there are some wicked twists the first time you play through. But don't worry, the NPCs will fill you in on everything and connect different loose ends just in case you can't figure it out first.
- Justified Tutorial: Sissel learns about his "powers of the dead" from another spirit. One who was secretly manipulating him into saving Lynne and Kamila, in order to avert the events of his own timeline.
- Kick the Dog: Incidentally, it actually doesn't show up until the end of the game — and in the alternate timeline you successfully erased, no less. Commander Sith's assassins show how cold-blooded they really can be by gunning down Kamila in Missile-Prime's timeline during their search for the music box. Mind you, they killed the only person she could have run to for help back at the junkyard, so killing her was just unnecessary (if they left her tied up, they'd be out of the country on their sub by the time anyone found her the next morning). A literal dog also gets "kicked" as well in this same scene.
- Kick the Morality Pet: The real circumstances of Sissel's death, albeit unintentional; Yomiel had trouble manipulating Lynne into shooting him, and the first shot missed and killed Sissel in the bag. Yomiel admits that he would have saved Sissel if he had had the power to rewind time and avert deaths.
- Lampshade Hanging:
- When Sissel possesses his first object, he actually expresses his disbelief that he's essentially that object now.Sissel: So... what? Now I'm a crossing gate?...
- A lot of characters start thinking that Death Is a Slap on the Wrist since Sissel can just go back in time and prevent their deaths.Lynne: Ha ha! I died again!Sissel: ...
- When Sissel possesses his first object, he actually expresses his disbelief that he's essentially that object now.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Sissel lost some memories about basic concepts via Ghost Amnesia, such as science, what a kidnapping is, and reading. In the end, it turns out that he didn't remember his life because he was living as someone else the entire time. When he finally did realize who he was, he remembered everything, revealing that he didn't remember so many basic concepts because he was a cat.
- Late to the Tragedy: The game plays with this trope. Your character is regularly late to any party, leaving someone dead, but his abilities include traveling back to 4 minutes before the person's death, making you catch the party after all.
- Leave No Witnesses: The murderous motive of the blue foreigners is to kill everyone connected to Temsik, so they are the only one who know about the meteorite's powers. Even the ghost with a grudge who's enlisting their help in the first place.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: This is Sissel's take on his fate at the end of the game; he gets to watch life happen all around him. It seems he adapts better to this life than Yomiel did. Though unlike Yomiel, Sissel does have plenty of people around to watch and interact with and seems to be content to do so.
- Locked in a Room: One of the Big Bads gets trapped in the submarine with the heroes, and their animosity goes away as they come up with a plan to escape. Basically, the Big Bad has a Heel–Face Turn here after realizing how nonsensical his actions were.
- Locked Room Mystery: Subverted. Immediately after one appears (and declared as such by an excited character), you go back in time and see exactly how it happened. Turns out to be a domino effect that the victim triggered.
- Loophole Abuse: Sissel is informed very clearly that you can only revive someone who's been dead for less than one day. They're able to revive Yomiel, who died ten years ago, because technically his body is frozen at the exact second before his death by the Temsik shard, until Commander Sith removes it.
- The Lost Lenore: The suicide of Yomiel's fiancee Sissel is part of what drove him mad with isolation. He even named his cat after her.
- Loyal Animal Companion: Missile, Sissel, and the blue pigeon. Literally undyingly loyal, at that.
- Luxury Prison Suite: The Special Prison houses people who committed crimes under mysterious circumstances; so mysterious, in fact, that it's believed they may have done it under Mind Control or some other influence, so as a concession, they're granted a lot of liberties, like having their own rock band equipment or personal art studio.
- Made of Iron: The game has several characters who stretch the limits of survivability, even without the player character's death-reversing powers. The best answer is probably Yomiel in the final timeline. Even after getting impaled on a stone spike and his entire lower body crushed under a stone monument, he still manages to walk out of jail 10 years later under his own power.
- Magic Meteor: It grants Ghost Tricks to people and animals who die next to it. It also has further effects on those killed by it, so long as the meteor piece remains in the body.
- Meaningful Name: Nearly everyone.
- A prison guard named "Bailey".
- Lynne's name is spelled in katakana as Rinne, a word that can refer to the Buddhist cycle of death and rebirth — fairly appropriate for a girl who keeps dying and coming back to life.
- Temsik is a Sdrawkcab Name of "kismet", the Turkish and Urdu word for "fate". Fitting for a game all about fate reversal.
- The submarine's name, "Yonoa," reverses the syllables of the Japanese term "ano-yo": "the other world," or, specifically, the world of the dead. Theme Naming? Perhaps. But then you remember that from the very beginning, Commander Sith had intended to scuttle it and have it become Yomiel's coffin for all eternity.
- Yomiel comes from the Japanese word "yomigaeru", which means "to be revived." Fitting for a character whose body is constantly being revived by Applied Phlebotinum.
- Jeego's name comes from 'jigoku', and Tengo's name from 'tengoku', Japanese words meaning 'hell' and 'heaven', respectively.
- "Sissel" is a variation of the name "Cecil", which means "without sight". Now take a look at those shades... Also, his desire to be "looked at" and noticed in his backstory, where effectively everyone is "without sight" regarding him. On top of that, "Sissel" is is similar to "Sisal", which is a type of rope commonly used in cat scratchers. "Shiseru" also means "can die" in Japanese.
- Jowd's name derives from Jōdo (Pure Land), a division of Buddhism.
- Kamila's Japanese name is "Kanon". Now think, "Missile and Cannon". Also, Kannon is the Japanese form of "Guanyin", bodhisattva of mercy, who according to some legends, wished to help all beings escape the Wheel of reincarnation. There might be a connection.
- Alma is Kamila's mother. In a Stealth Pun, this makes Alma "mater". Alma is also the Spanish and Portuguese word for Soul or Spirit.
- Mino, the park's mascot, is a bagworm ("minomushi").
- Sith's name in Japanese is Shisu, which means "die".
- Detective Rindge's name derives from the term rinjū, meaning "deathbed".
- Mexican Standoff: 10 years ago, Yomiel escaped police custody by grabbing an officer's gun, and a certain detective pursued him all the way to Temsik Park. The detective made a warning shot, and then Yomiel took a kid hostage. Both men pointed at one another for some time until the Temsik meteorite landed on the park and took Yomiel's life, ending the struggle.
- Mid-Season Twist: Chapter 6 of 18 offers a major one: Lynne shot and killed Sissel at 7 PM at the junkyard.
- Mind over Matter: Sissel uses the titular tricks to move inanimate objects. Yomiel can control living beings like puppets with a similar technique.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Kinda downplayed with Pigeon Man. His head is at Lynne's chest level, which would make him around 5 feet tall. Maybe a little shorter.
- Mister Big: Commander Sith is very short (possibly even more than Dandy), but still the leader of the criminal organization. He has a large manservant to contrast.
- Mister Muffykins: The game has you save one named Missile. A small Pomeranian, who he himself admits, is only really good a yapping loudly and not much else. However with the help of the protagonist's supernatural ghost tricks, he is able to save himself and his mistress from a hitman. He later gains his own ghost tricks and becomes an important ally later on in the game.
- Morality Pet: Quite literally Sissel for Yomiel, although it doesn't do much good until the end of the game when Yomiel does his Heel–Face Turn, Sissel most likely being a major reason for this.
- Morphic Resonance:
- Yomiel constructs a mishmash body out of scrap metal. The 'head', however, is still pointy and wearing sunglasses.
- After turning back into a cat, Sissel's feline eyes somewhat resemble Yomiel's glasses.
- Motif: Theater. The levels are set up like they're being viewed from the Fourth Wall, the props, character designs, and animation are all supposed to be clearly "readable" from a distance (or on the DS's screen), the characters act campy and theatrical, spotlights appear during cutscenes when the game wants to draw attention to things, and the ability to rewind time is equivalent to rehearsals, which you keep doing until you get it "right". The art and speech bubbles add elements of the comic book to this.
- Flashbacks and the previews before 4 minutes before death puzzles look like film strips relating to the fact that it's been "recorded" into the past.
- Motivational Lie: Ray telling Sissel that he'll cease to exist at dawn turns out to be this, so Sissel would go to the right place at the right time.
- Murder by Inaction: When Sissel speaks to Lynne after she dies and tells her that he saw a video feed of her shooting him, Lynne comments that he could easily get back at her for it by simply leaving her dead. Sissel has no intention of doing that, however.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: What kick-starts the plot.
- Musical Nod:
- Compare the "Four Minutes Before Death" music with the "Logic ~ The Way To The Truth" track from Ace Attorney: Investigations.
- There are several other themes in the game which are strongly reminiscent of Ace Attorney tracks as well. For example: "TRAUMA" and Search ~ Core 2001 from the first game; "CHASE" and "The Fire Carves Scars" from Justice For All. Also,"REINCARNATION", which in places, sounds suspiciously like Maya's Theme.
- My Greatest Failure: Yomiel's death is this for both Jowd, who was about to shoot him, and Cabanela, who gave him the desire and means to flee questioning. Also Sissel not helping Missile in the original timeline.
- Near-Villain Victory: Let's put it like this: Sissel is only able to "win" by undoing the events of the entire game and stopping Yomiel from dying in Temsik Park in the first place. The situation he leaves behind is a complete failure. Even if Sissel was able to save Jowd without going into Yomiel's body near the end, it wouldn't really matter as they likely couldn't get back to the submarine where Lynne and Kamila were. Sith also already had the meteorite fragment with him and it seemed even more unlikely for the protagonists to get to wherever he ended up.
- Never Say "Die": Averted, obviously. However, when Sissel crushes each of the blue-skinned assassins under massive objects, he uses euphemisms rather than acknowledge their deaths. There may be room for doubt with the second one, but the first one is cartoonishly flattened; there's no way he could have survived. So he's either sidestepping a delicate issue, or else our hero truly doesn't kill them, despite "Mino" killing the "Guardian of the Park" in much the same way later on.
- An optional conversation suggests it's the former. If Sissel admitted they were dead, he points out, he'd feel obliged to avert their deaths.
- Sissel is a cat. He understands that people can die, but his only experience with it when this happens is when the person is already dead and he's seen the cause of death. The two assassins that you crush both die in a fashion that Sissel has never seen before, and they don't leave cores for him to Trick with. Ergo, he doesn't understand that he's actually killed them.
- Never Trust a Trailer: One of the trailers claims that "time marches on in real time" as you play the game. This is a lie; in-game time only advances as you advance the plot, allowing you to Take Your Time while you're in the present.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: The guardian of the park.
- New World Tease: You gain access to many areas before there's much to do there. Notably, the second location the plot makes you visit is the villain's headquarters.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By removing the Temsik fragment from Yomiel's body and making it a regular corpse — and able to have its fate rewound — Commander Sith undoes his own victory. To his credit, the possibility did occur to him, and he did take steps to prevent this outcome — but everything he could think of to keep Yomiel's body out of reach of any ghosts turned out not to be enough.
- No Full Name Given: Nobody is given two names, leaving it unclear in many cases whether people are being referred to by their first name or last name.
- No Name Given: All minor characters are just given descriptive nicknames. To name a couple, there's the Guardian of the park and the Minister of Justice. The only exceptions to the rule are three men: Near Sighted Jeego, One Step Ahead Tengo (two minor hitmen who try to kill one of the main characters) and their boss, Commander Sith.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: Played with. Three people are in a room which blows up. One dies instantly. One gets several broken bones and possibly some other injuries. One just stands there, completely unfazed. Because he's already dead.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Sissel may view Missile as this until Sissel finds out that he is a cat. So actually Sissel was this to Lynne.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Normal game overs are caused by being unable to save your subject's life before time runs out. However, there are two instances where you can actively cause the subject's death.
- If you recline the seat while the van-driver is driving, he will lose control of the vehicle and crash anyway.
- If you replace the bullet with the hard-hat, rather than the soft knit hat, it will still crash into Cabanela's face and crush his skull (even more brutally than the bullet would have). His ghost isn't very pleased, but it's hilarious to watch.
- If you try to manipulate objects in front of The Manipulator, he will notice you and kill Cabanela.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Commander Sith is short, unimposing, and has goofy eyebrows, but he manages to betray Yomiel in the end and almost sends the cast to their deaths at the bottom of the sea.
- Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Inverted. Missile is supposed to be alive, but when he turns up dead it means he can use ghost tricks and save Kamila's life.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping: The default animation for the bartender at the Chicken Kitchen.
- Occult Detective: Despite the subtitle of 'Phantom Detective', Sissel originally subverts this. It's only in pursuit of his own identity and murderer that he solves the multitude of mysteries around him. And all of them turn out to be related to his identity anyway.
- Offscreen Inertia: The game is usually very good at averting this, but one case of this stands out: after averting Yomiel's original death, Jowd ends up taking the Temsik fragment through his leg before firing on Yomiel, who is offscreen at this point of the scene. Even taking into account the usual applications of Talking Is a Free Action, the bullet ends up hanging in mid-air a foot or so ahead of Yomiel's face for at least two seconds before Missile actually goes into the Ghost World to stop and swap it.
- Oh, My Gods!: Cabanela's "Ye gods!". Others can be heard saying "Gods in heaven!" or variants of it.
- Once More, with Clarity!: You see a Wham Shot (or Wham Video, rather) of Lynne shooting the man in red in the junkyard at 7 PM in Cabanela's boss's office. Later on, that same scene is played again, only this time the player is told that Lynne was being mentally manipulated by Yomiel, meaning she didn't mean to shoot. And then, the scene gets its final, full meaning at the very end of the game when it's revealed that Sissel was the cat in Yomiel's bag, and that he was accidentally shot by Lynne; then she shot Yomiel's corpse like he wanted.
- One Degree of Separation: Nearly everyone that Sissel encounters during the night are in some way related to the mystery of his death, even if they seem minor at first. Lynne's next door neighbors are the Justice Minister's wife and daughter, who are living apart from him because of his refusal to revoke Jowd's execution. The "Guardian of the Park" was witness to the Temsik Meteorite. The junkyard superintendent used to be a police coroner who discovered that Yomiel's "shell" had regenerative properties, which led him to investigate the Temsik Meteorite. The other prisoners of Yomiel's prison were possessed by Yomiel to prove his Ghost Tricks. The doctor who looked at Yomiel's body was a double agent who was hired to bring back Yomiel's "shell." And finally, the cat in Yomiel's bag was actually Sissel all along and Ray turns out to be Missile from an Alternate Timeline where Sissel didn't help and everyone died.
- One-Steve Limit: Inverted. There are actually three individuals who go by Sissel in the game. Yomiel takes "Sissel" up as an alias when planning his meeting with Beauty and Dandy at the Chicken Kitchen. As it turns out, it was the name of his fiancé (who is never seen) and the name he gave to his cat.
- Only Friend: Sissel was Yomiel's only friend in the original version of the previous 10 years. This eventually changes.
- Opposites Theme Naming: The two blue-skinned assassins are named Jeego and Tengo. Jeego's name comes from 'jigoku', and Tengo's name from 'tengoku', Japanese words meaning 'hell' and 'heaven', respectively.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: All spirits seem to linger near their bodies after death, but only certain ghosts have special ''ghost tricks' which allow them to move around and affect the world through possessing inanimate objects or living bodies, or swapping similarly shaped items, as well as go back in time four minutes before a recently-deceased person's death. Only people who die near the Temsik meteorite receive ghost trick powers, indicating even in that world it's a very unusual thing.
- Parasol Parachute: Subverted. A couple times in the junkyard, you possess an umbrella and open it to drift down to a lower level—but as a ghost, of course, you're weightless and it really doesn't matter. Of course, both times the umbrella lands exactly where you need it to.
- Parental Abandonment: The game goes all out in taking away poor Kamila's parents in the cruelest ways imaginable. However, thanks to the timeline-altering efforts of the two most loyal pets ever, she ends up living happily ever after with both of them alive. Fans of Ace Attorney collectively cried tears of joy upon witnessing this unexpected outcome.
- Parrot Exposition: Especially in the early parts of the game when the controls are still being explained, but Sissel does it to some degree throughout the rest of it as well.
- Peggy Sue: Pretty much the entire point of the game. Sissel uses his powers to manipulate objects and turn back time to rescue people before they die, thus changing the present as the characters know it. This all eventually leads up to the final puzzle where the heroes go back in time ten years to prevent the game's Big Bad from dying and ending up in the state that led to his Face–Heel Turn.
- People Puppets: The Manipulator's (Yomiel) modus operandi, achieved by Sharing a Body with their victim (though said victim never feels their presence.)
- Percussive Maintenance: Sith's masked henchman and his console.
- Perp Sweating: The backstory of the primary antagonist results from one of these going very badly wrong. An innocent man at the time, he'd been brought in as the main suspect for a crime, and the rookie detective went too far in implying what would happen to him if he didn't co-operate. Scared out of his mind and beyond rational thought, he took the detective's gun and fled the police station, forcing the cops to pursue him to a certain park...
- Perspective Magic: Missile the Pomeranian eventually gains the powers of the dead, but unlike Sissel's, his are based on switching objects with the same shape according to the game's static camera angle. Even if it isn't actually the same shape, it can be swapped at long as it looks the same shape from the player's viewpoint.
- Pet the Dog:
- Yomiel possesses people to force them to commit crimes, cuts a deal with a foreign nation who will almost certainly use what he offers them to attack other countries, and manipulates poor Kamila into killing her own mother, albeit indirectly. Towards the end of the game, he saves Lynne and Kamila from drowning by breaking open the submarine door that's stuck and manipulating junk to make an arm to pull them out.
- We get one from Dandy, who is very polite and kind to Kamila, even when he kidnaps her, giving her a book and juice, finding it disturbing that he and his associate were asked to hold Kamila captive in the remains of her former home, and crying over Kamila's fate in the timeline when she was crushed to death.
- Phrase Catcher:
- Whenever the waitress of the Chicken Kitchen leaves, a character says "Odd girl", given her wacky personality. Another character always replies with "I agree", followed by "Me too" by yet another person (or the first one).
- If the blue doctor is around, a character will say "You never know who might be listening". Sissel replies "Like me", as well as the doctor himself.
- Regarding the blue people's country, the characters usually utter that their use of technology is just plain "off". Lampshaded by Sith's servant near the end of the game with "We get that a lot".
- Plot Armor: With the twist that you're the one providing it.
- Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: At one point, Lynne tells you about that one time when she was saved 10 years ago by Detective Jowd from a criminal who had taken her hostage. While she's remembering, we see an illustration of the event with young Lynne and the two men. We can see every face clearly... except the stranger's. His head is completely obfuscated by shadows. As it turns out later on, showing his face earlier than that would've been a major plot twist: the criminal was Yomiel, a man who looks exactly like Sissel. Or more accurately, Sissel just took Yomiel's appearance when he woke up at 7 PM thinking that was his own. Obscuring the kidnapper's face in Lynne's flashbacks is actually Justified, in that he grabbed her from behind, and she was then prevented from seeing him (either by coincidence or Jowd purposely diverting her attention) after the Temsik Meteor landed and "killed" him, knocking her free of his grasp. This would explain why she doesn't recognize his...distinctive appearance years later.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Kind of expected when the very protagonist starts off dead. In the long run, the entire chain of events that lead to Sissel's current situation also starts with Yomiel's death ten years ago.
- Police Are Useless: The police mean well and do their best to figure out what's going on, but most still are pretty incompetent. Granted a lot of their confusion stems from the fact that there's ghostly activities going on, but the detective Lynne is still quick to point out particularly bad performances (for example, the one cop failing to notice a very suspicious notebook right in front of him, or realize that if the suspect tries to phone for someone, it's best to notify a higher-up).
- Lynne herself is the only cop to take on a difficult case to save a fellow officer from death row or so we think, but she still manages to die five times (to be fair, she does put herself in danger mainly to protect others) and Sissel comments that her job as a detective doesn't look long, when she says she has trouble remembering names and faces.
- Inspector Cabanela, meanwhile, seems to be very laid-back and has a tendency to randomly do Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves, but still has a "natural genius" for investigating and is secretly putting vast amounts of time and research into clearing his friend's name.
- Inspector Jowd, meanwhile, is pretty badass, but spends most of the first part of the game in prison. There's also the matter of his greatest failure... which set the entire plot of the game into motion.
- One notable instance involves an undercover cop working at a restaurant. Not only does she peg Lynne as "suspicious" purely based on her drinking a lot of water, while she does also correctly suspect Beauty and Dandy of criminal activities, her attempt to bug their meal and listen in on their conversation causes Detective Rindge and Lynne to both die, Rindge's van to crash through the side of the restaurant, and Memry herself to nearly get killed (she survives only because Lynne pushes her out of the way of a giant plastic chicken falling towards her). Sissel even lampshades how badly she screws things up.
- Possessing a Dead Body: Yomiel is a ghost who is able to animate his own corpse. This is thanks to a radioactive meteor, a fragment of which is lodged in his body and keeps his corpse perpetually on the edge between life and death, making him virtually indestructible (much like The Crow). By the end of the story, the main character is like this.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: A minor case, involving the title of the game and what it means in the gameplay. The term trick is used to refer to different aspects of Sissel's power in English and Japanese. In Japanese, toritsuku—literally, "cling to" and written almost the same as "trick"—is used for his ability to stop time and possess static objects' cores. Obviously, since this play on words doesn't work in English, the translators renamed the latter ability to "ghost" in English, and "trick" has been repurposed for the power to manipulate those objects, simply ayatsuru (manipulate, control) in Japanese.
- Purple Prose: In-Universe, Emma's story-within-a-story.
- Psycho for Hire: The hitmen. They have no problem with killing unarmed women, little girls, and puppies.
- Quest for Identity: Sissel's primary motivation. So much that, were it not for Ray guiding him toward the identity of the man in red, he would not have attempted to save Lynne and the others.
- Race Against the Clock: The time limit imposed on Sissel by Ray to find his killer by sunrise the following day (about twelve hours after he was shot) before his soul disappears. Subverted by the fact that the time limit was a trick to drive Sissel's actions forward before a certain event in the endgame occured that would permanently screw up the timeline.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Sissel comments on this after being partnered with the ghosts of Cabanela, Pigeon Man, and Missile.Sissel: What a dangerous bunch...
- Rainbow Speak: Important words are highlighted in red, while Sissel's thoughts are in blue. Bizarrely, certain letters in seemingly random places are consistently colored red as well. For example, the "Trick" button has a red letter C in the DS version —though not in the iOS version— and the "Trick Time!" prompt is always colored as such (in both versions). Even the cover art for the Original Sound Track follows suit. Is CAPCOM sending hidden messages? Seems the cover one was false, but the DS button's Tri(C)k, the Sound Tr(A)ck, and the Trick (T)ime link up to the supposed message.
- Reaching Between the Lines: Sissel has this power. He could even use to transport to any phone number he knows without requiring them to be in the middle of a conversation.
- Reality Subtext: In-Universe again—the novel Emma is working on is between a (seemingly) ordinary woman who is half of a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers with a Prime Minister. Emma's husband is the Minister of Justice.
- Reckless Gun Usage: When someone hands a gun to the Justice Minister to examine, he immediately proceeds to stare straight down the barrel. For most of the rest of the scene.
- Yomiel. He broke rule N°2 of gun safety: "Do not fire if there is anyone or anything next to or behind your target that you are not willing to hit/destroy." This shot set the entire plot into motion.
- Inspector Cabanella. Engaging in Gun Twirling and forgetting his gun in the room with a suspect.
- Detective Jowd. Warning shots are a terrible idea. while it didn't lead to any Collateral Damage, it did push a suspect already operating under blind panic into an even more panicked and irrational state.
- Redemption Equals Death: Zig Zagged to hell and back with Yomiel. When he, Sissel, Missile, and Jowd travel back in time to the Temsik incident (Yomiel holding Lynne hostage and at a standoff with Detective Jowd) to alter his fate, Yomiel decides he prefers Taking the Bullet to "living" like he did before. Missile, however, refuses to let Jowd become a murderer, and swaps the bullet with Lynne's sweet potato. All right, a subversion. But then the sweet potato knocks Yomiel into a sharp part of the fountain, which stabs him in the back. Okay, double-subversion. But he survives! No, wait a second, the Mino statue is about to fall on Lynne! Yomiel possesses his own body to grab Lynne and toss her into Jowd's arms. The statue falls on him instead, crushing his lower back. He survives, and completely recovers.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni:
- Reset Button: Most of the game, you spend your time undoing deaths in that happened in the near-past and moving the story along with the character now not-dead. However at the end, Sissel notices that Yomiel's corpse now has a core due to Commander Sith removing the Temisk fragment from his body and putting his shell into "full death". With this, Sissel now has the power to completely avert everything that led to the events of that evening by undoing the death that started it all ten years in the past.
- Reset-Button Suicide Mission: After being stuck on a submarine Sissel and Missile say their farewells to Lynne to hitch a ride on a torpedo towards a separated room that contains Yomiel's body so that they can rewind time one last time and undo the death that started it all.
- Residual Self-Image: Ghosts appear as they think they appear. This leads to the gag where Lynne's ghost momentarily believes she looks like Cabanela, but also to the the surprise of Sissel's true identity.
- Retirony: Subverted. Memry, the waitress at the Chicken Kitchen, mentions that it's her last day working there. She is almost killed by a speeding truck crashing into the restaurant, but is saved at the last minute by Lynne pushing her out of the way. The trope is further Played With when you discover that she's only been working there for two days. As an undercover cop, so she wasn't really going to work there long to begin with.
- Retro Universe:
- Although most technology seems to be modern (wireless headphones and plasma TVs) and a young woman (who must be around 18-years-old) is allowed on the detective force (suggesting modern social mores), everyone uses rotary telephones that still use the old station-extension phone number style. Wireless rotary phones, in some cases. Which makes for some major Schizo Tech with the blue people, who have robotic arms, pimped-out information consoles, and remote-controlled robot manservants.
- Inspector Cabanela is a regular Disco Dan.
- The Chicken Kitchen is a glitzy, black-tie restaurant... which also happens to be a 50s nostalgia place, with a jukebox and roller-skating waitresses.
- The Reveal: The game is basically a PILE of these, many of them actually subverting other reveals!. By the time the endgame rolls around, it becomes incredibly difficult to remember exactly who is who and where everybody stands. Just to name a few...
- The Sissel you're seeing for around 80-90% of the game? That's not him. The man in red with blonde spiky hair and sunglasses you see for most of the game is actually Yomiel, and the Sissel you're actually playing as is actually Yomiel's cat that had taken Yomiel's form, mistakingly thinking it was their own.
- The painter man you see in the prison is 1. Kamila's dad, 2. A former detective, 3. completely innocent.
- Cabanela is revealed to be just a ladder-climbing apathetic perfectionist, until you find reveal that he is in fact the exact opposite of that: A man who used his high-up connections to put massive amounts of resources into the manipulator case, and that he purposefully captured Jowd and brought him to the justice minster just to stall for time. Turns out, he really does care about Jowd after all.
- Lynne killed Sissel. Then it turns out she was controlled by the Manipulator. Then it turns out the "Sissel" she was made to kill was actually the Manipulator himself...and he was immortal anyway. And then it turns out that Lynne killed the real Sissel when she was controlled by the Manipulator. (This was an accident on the Manipulator's part though).
- Ray is Missile in an alternate timeline. This, combined with the fact that he can reach THREE times farther than Sissel in the Ghost World, seals his place as Badass Adorable.
- Revenge: Yomiel's stated goal.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Bailey the prison guard blunders over his own rhetorical question when he replies to a co-worker implying he's stupid with "What's that supposed to mean?", then explains apropos of nothing that it was just an expression of indignation.
- Ride the Lightning: Ghosts can travel through phone lines.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Missile, the Bad Ass Adorable Pomeranian. Missile was previously featured in Ace Attorney, where he looked more like a Shiba Inu, but with the same amount of adorableness.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons:
- The protagonist first figures out his name is Sissel when the foreigners refer to him as such while looking at an image of him. Despite the fact that Sissel was just a pseudonym Yomiel used when dealing with the foreigners, and the protagonist turns out to not be the man at all, Sissel really is the protagonist's name (because the man in red knew him while he was alive).
- In Chapter 6, the protagonist sees a video where Lynne shoots him, causing him to believe he was murdered by Lynne. As the game progresses, we learn that there's a guy who was controlling Lynne's actions, that Sissel wasn't actually the guy Lynne shot in the video, and the guy who got shot didn't even die anyway! Then at the very end we learn that Sissel was indeed shot in that same incident shown on the tape. Though it was an accident.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Every ghost, as well as anyone whose death has been directly (as in they are part of the trick) averted by ghosts, remembers everything. They even remain connected to the World of the Dead enough to communicate with said ghosts.
- This brings up something mentioned at the ending: it's clearly stated that, because their ghosts went back to 10 years ago, only Sissel, Yomiel, Jowd, and Missile will remember all the details of what happened in the game in the new present. This is proven when Jowd knows what to name the kitten he adopts, and Yomiel expresses his thanks to his cat for changing his fate. However, everybody else who was brought back through a Ghost Trick previously doesn't remember what has happened, as proven when Lynne is shown to no longer possess the core she received after being saved for the second time (because she never died in this timeline).
- This is also what inspires the final puzzle: the gang could have rewound time if Lynne had been crushed by the statue to try and find some other way of stopping things, but that would leave a little girl with the memory of being crushed to death for the rest of her life, and Sissel absolutely refuses to let that happen.
- Rising Water, Rising Tension: A late level is set in a sinking submarine. You have to make a path for your companions to flee from the rising water.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Big Bad spends years carrying out a meticulously crafted plan to punish everyone involved with his death, including the then-young girl he took hostage.
- Robotic Reveal: The Masked Muscleman.
- Rube Goldberg Device: The game may as well be called Rube Ghostberg Contraption: The Game, though a literal example is seen as well. And central to the plot itself, as you later find out.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: How Yomiel offed Detective Jowd's wife, Alma, five years before the game's events. A replica of it is also responsible for Lynne's third death.
- Running Gag: Lynne dying. Even in the altered "final" timeline, she comes very close to it.
- Rule of Cool: Every character has needlessly stylish movements and mannerisms.
- Samaritan Syndrome: Sissel has this in spades. He constantly says that he's only interested in finding the answers to his own identity, but it doesn't really match up with what he does. When he sees a young woman shot to death, he states that he's not the kind of guy who'll leave a woman dead like trash in a junkyard, and revives her. He then goes around saving the lives of pretty much every dead person he comes across (and there's a bunch) whether they're of great use to him or not because, damn it, he might only have until dawn before he disappears forever, but no one's dying on his watch. Subverted in the original timeline, where the young woman died and he... left her dead body like trash in a junkyard. This is easily explainable by a key word: he doesn't THINK he's the type of guy who'd leave a dead woman lying around. As it turns out, his Samaritan Syndrome is merely caused by who he perceived himself to be when he was told.
- San Dimas Time: Every time Sissel rewinds time, when he returns to the present, it's always later than when he left (e.g. 7:02, 7:21). This doesn't make any sense because Sissel doesn't travel X amount of time to the past, but specifically to the point 4 minutes before someone's death, so there's nothing stopping him from returning to the exact moment he left the present. Or even stay in the past following someone else's fate aversion, for that matter.
- Save the Villain: After his Heel–Face Turn, anyway. The villain in question even helps save himself.
- Sawed-Off Shotgun: The Near-Sighted Assassin uses one. Lynne even comments on how he's probably just trying to enforce the Rule of Cool by doing so, given that it's also a blinged-out, lever-action weapon that really has no excuse for being used for an assassination.
- Schizo Tech: Outright lampshaded. The majority of areas seem to have near-contemporary levels of technology (besides the dependency on landlines for communication, which is a good thing since Sissel uses the phone lines to travel). However, the blue-skinned people from the unnamed foreign country have gigantic projector screens and grape-feeding robotic arms in their huge submarine, as well as amazingly human-like robots to run them. More than one person comments that they use technology 'oddly', which is apparently a common complaint leveled at their country.
- Schmuck Bait:
- In Chapter 15, you have to swap a bullet already in motion with something of the same shape that wouldn't be lethal. If you don't do any other tricks before that point, there's a hard hat on the wall nearby that you can use. Ask yourself this: How would this object impact someone's skull if it were traveling at bullet velocity? Ask Cabanela — it ain't pretty.Pigeon-Headed Man: That didn't go well.
- It gets inverted when Missile attempts to save Yomiel by swapping out another bullet for a sweet potato. The potato hits him with such force, he careens backward and gets impaled on a lamppost. Oops. This particular Bait-and-Switch, however, is scripted.
- In Chapter 15, you have to swap a bullet already in motion with something of the same shape that wouldn't be lethal. If you don't do any other tricks before that point, there's a hard hat on the wall nearby that you can use. Ask yourself this: How would this object impact someone's skull if it were traveling at bullet velocity? Ask Cabanela — it ain't pretty.
- Screw Destiny: Sissel can go back four minutes in time to stop someone from being murdered. This is called "Avert Fate" in-game. Naturally, it's the whole point of the game.
- Sdrawkcab Name:
- Temsik Park (and, by extension, the Temsik meteor) - "Temsik" is "kismet" backwards, an Urdu word meaning "fate".
- "Yonoa" is a backwards version of the Japanese syllables of "ano-yo," a term referring to the world of the dead.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The idea behind the Big Bad's ultimate plan to dispose of Sissel and all those involved with him in the Temsik Incident, as his ghost powers can't reverse the horrible slow death they are submitted to. Too bad it didn't work.
- Sequel Hook: It's a foundation for a sequel, anyway. The ending reveals that in the new timeline, Sissel is a ghost inhabiting his own now-immortal body, as Yomiel was in the original timeline...so he still has his ghost powers in case he needs them in a sequel. Additionally, Commander Sith is still out there, and mentions a new "deal" in the epilogue. Also the end of the game shows that Ghost Trick powers can change over time, which provides a neat way to explain any new features that a sequel could have.
- Serial Escalation: Just how many more insane plot twists can be fit into the game before it ends? How many times will Lynne manage to die and still get revived? What new ridiculously convoluted Rube Goldberg Device will Sissel use to save someone's life next? The plot twists are so crazy that finding out that a crazy painter prisoner is randomly painting a picture of you when not a single person has a clue who you are, and that your lovable sidekick is the one who shot you are the first things you find out as you play the game. Later on you stage a prison break, discover that a supposed hostage situation is bungled by the mistaken kidnapping of a seemingly innocuous girl living with Lynne, a manipulator has ghost powers that call the actions of every character into question as he has the power to manipulate people, the little seemingly minor dog character now also has ghost powers, which everyone gets from a meteor. The painter reveals he saw you die ten years ago despite you also dying tonight, in an event where Lynne nearly died and basically ties together the backstories of every character in the game, the manipulator looks just like you, the seemingly corrupt inspector was actually a hatching a Batman Gambit to prove the painter's innocence, the mysterious bad guys have actually been on a submarine the entire time. The wacky pigeon man was helping the inspector all along. Then you go back in time ten years to stop the game from happening. There you find out you've actually been playing as the antagonist's pet cat the entire time, who accidentally shot you in an attempt to frame Lynne. Oh, and to top it all off, that cute little puppy dog? He masterminded the entire game and outwitted everyone. But he's from an alternate timeline where Sissel was such a Jerkass he refused to help anyone.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The purpose of most chapters, when you attempt to avert fates. The Final Chapter is an attempt to do this 10 years in the past, creating an Alternate Timeline.
- Shoot the Dog: Sissel uses a crane to crush not one, but two would-be assassins. While these "deaths" are somewhat humorous, it seems Sissel never goes out of his way to save the blue-skinned foreigners.
- Shooting Superman: Poor Cabanela learns this the hard way after capping Yomiel in the head. Though, as it turns out, Cabanela knew damn well that it wouldn't kill him; the bullet had a tracker placed in it!
- Cabanela does a variety of Michael Jackson moves.
- We've got a Commander Sith.
- The helmet hanging on the bookshelf in the Super's office belongs to a mettaur, this being a Capcom game.
- The Minister says something similar to Dracula's speech in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- Ray has to be a reference to Pixar's very first short film.
- Bailey's dance HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN IN HIS FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS!!
- Quite a few to Ace Attorney:
- Kamila's dog is named Missile. This is the same name as the police dog in Turnabout Goodbyes, and also a reference to Shu Takumi's own Pomeranian, also named Missile after the Ace Attorney dog.
- When seen from a distance, the bespectacled 'green detective' vaguely resembles Winston Payne, and the black-haired 'blue detective' resembles Phoenix Wright. Fittingly, they don't get along.
- Blue Detective even briefly has an animation that looks like it might be similar to Phoenix's courtroom standard animation of his shoulders-slumped, sweaty and glum-faced.
- In the sequence where Lynne flashes back to Cabanela and Jowd's friendly competition, Jowd makes his point by striking an "OBJECTION!" pose. He isn't the only character to pull one of these...
- Jowd's green trenchcoat and red tie are reminiscent of Detective Gumshoe. His pink painting smock also resembles Larry's "artist" attire from the third Ace Attorney game. And while the prison uniform he wears has the standard stripes, the colors match the one worn by Cody in his Street Fighter appearances. The same blue-and-white stripes are used in Investigations 2.
- The Chicken Kitchen uniforms resemble the uniforms Maya and Mia wear in 3-2.
- The phrase "dancingly descended" pops up in Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, but Phoenix notes that the person neither danced nor descended from anywhere. Now we have Inspector Cabanela, who dances everywhere, and the Blue Detective (who resembles Phoenix) dancing down a flight of stairs in an attempt to copy Cabanela.
- The words "Hold it!" and "contradiction" are thrown about heavily.
- Lynne asks Kamila, a little sister figure, to get a music box that no longer works which contains important evidence for a cast, mirroring Mia asking Maya to go get the Thinker for her.
- (Spoilers for Ghost Trick and Case 5 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) Jowd going to prison to protect Kamila mirrors Lana pleading guilty to protect Ema in "Rise From the Ashes".
- Sissel repetitively says that he has to find something to "turn around" the situation, similarly to the whole theme of the Ace Attorney games.
- (Spoilers for Ghost Trick and Case 4 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) Yomiel's story resembles Yanni Yogi, in a way. Both had their lives ruined by being wrongly arrested by the police (including having their fiancées Driven to Suicide because of it), and later dedicated themselves to Revenge against the officers involved. The icing on the cake is that they both had pets named after their deceased fiancées.
- Silly Walk: Just about everyone. Cabanela is the prime example, but even the guards get in on this with their absurdly formal marches.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Jowd appears in no promotional art created for the game. He's treated much the same way as a Walking Spoiler, despite not qualifying as one.
- The Slow Path: Missile was forced to take this after going back to ten years ago and then realizing that he couldn't do anything to avert Yomiel's death or any of the things resulting from it in the first timeline. Not especially long by the standards of the trope... but it's the best part of a lifetime to a dog.
- Sneeze Cut: In the demo, Lynne sneezes when Sissel talks about her after averting her death. In the full game, averted — she sneezes because it's raining.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: It's a little jarring to hear, in the ending montage, peppy music playing as the foreign couple gets blown to Kingdom Come, even if they were villains. They only had themselves to blame for that, though.
- Spiritual Successor: To the Ace Attorney series. No pun intended.
- Split-Screen Phone Call: Used when overhearing phone conversations. It's implied in-game that the protagonist, who has the ability to travel through phone lines, actually can see both ends of the conversation at once.
- Spoiled by the Manual: You start off not knowing your own name. The back of the box says your name is Sissel.
- Stealth-Based Mission:
- Chapter 9 has you trying to escape from a pitch-black prison with guards who wear night vision goggles. Even though ghosts can see through darkness in the "ghost world", it's harder than it sounds since you have to help a condemned criminal escape without making him enter the guards' field of vision.
- In chapter 15, you have to avoid gaining Yomiel's attention with your ghost tricks. Subverted, since despite what happens if you fail, he actually knew you were there all along, but didn't really want to stop you.
- The Story That Never Was: The game ends with going back to When It All Began and undoing the initial death, rewriting the entire timeline from that point forwards.
- Sunglasses at Night:
- Sissel always wears sunglasses, even though the game takes place entirely during the night. Justified because he saw the body he thought was his wearing sunglasses, and, being a cat, he likely didn't know what those black things on the face were.
- Yomiel, the one who deliberately sports these glasses, probably does so because he's a ghost, and they don't hinder his vision. Or maybe because Rule of Cool.
- Superpower Lottery: Spirits who have obtained Ghost Tricks can acquire a combination of some, but not all, of the following powers: manipulating inanimate objects; time travelling to four minutes before a recently deceased person's death; travelling long distances via telephone lines; swapping similarly-shaped objects; and manipulating living beings. Which abilities a spirit acquires upon death is seemingly random. Sissel is considered by several other characters to have won the superpower lottery, because he received the specific combination of powers* that allow him to solve most the game's crises.
- Squashed Flat: "Near-Sighted" Jeego gets squashed under a wrecking ball while trying to kill Lynne, and his flattened body is still plastered to it when it rolls away.
- Take Your Time: The game always shows the precise time, but outside of four-minutes-in-the-past timed puzzles, it will never advance unless you trigger an event that forces it to. The exception is Chapter 16, where although the time itself doesn't advance, if you wait too long to give Lynne a path up to the door, the water will rise up and drown her, though presumably Sissel revives her, since it lets you try again from an unheralded checkpoint if you got to one.
- Taking the Heat: Played silly, where both Missile and Sissel treat Missile's taking the blame for breaking Lynne's headphones (to protect Kamila) as the noble act of a warrior. One might consider it foreshadowing for the way Jowd confesses to his wife's murder to protect Kamila, who accidentally killed her with a birthday contraption.
- Talking Animal: Ghosts of animals can "talk" with people, as Missile demonstrates. As does Sissel.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Used whenever Sissel chats up the dead. Justified in that it appears to be some form of telepathy and the ghost world is explicitly stated as being outside of time. Or whenever you decide to talk to the spirit you're trying to save, no matter how pressed for time you are in-game.
- Tap on the Head:
- The driver of the surveillance van is knocked out by a high-pitched whine from his headphones. Unbeknownst to him, Beauty just torched the bug he was listening to with a cigarette lighter.
- The Guardian of the Park receives one from a falling football. This is a particularly egregio— er, extreme example, as going by the time said tap occurs, he was left unconscious for five hours.
- Telephone Teleport: The game has this as a game mechanic. The main character and other ghosts travel to different locales via telephone. In order to learn new locations to visit, Sissel first has to listen to a conversation while the phone is in use. In general, telephones can be used anytime to teleport to any known location... except in the past, which has special rules: 4 minutes before someone's death, Sissel can only use the phone when it has established communication with another phone, and can only travel to said other phone's location. This limits a lot his moves and generates potential Unwinnable by Design scenarios where you'll be stuck in a place with no way to return because no other call will be made in those 4 minutes. Ray, aka Missile, does not have this power, which is part of the reason he had to Chessmaster Sissel into saving Lynne instead of doing it himself.
- Tempting Fate:
- Early on, Sissel tells himself that it can't be that hard to save Lynne, since how many times can she die in a single night? He later finds out... Five times, to be exact.
- In Chapter 16:Sissel: So now all we have to do is...Lynne: ... get to that door, and we're safe!(submarine turns sideways)
- They Killed Kenny Again: Lynne. Played for laughs, as Lynne doesn't really seem to mind that much that she died. Come to think of it, none of the ghosts freak out over their death.Sissel: Lynne wasn't dead when I got there. For once.
- Those Two Guys: The Green Detective and Blue Detective. They even contrast each other, the blue detective talking big but immediately conforming to authority, while the green detective is a Deadpan Snarker.
- Timed Mission:
- Each time you go back into the past, you only have four (in-game) minutes to save the victim's life.
- If Sissel ever wants to know the full truth, he has to do it before dawn, when he'll truly cease to exist. Though that deadline turns out to be a lie told by Ray to make sure Sissel gets to the submarine in time.
- Chapter 16's puzzles are unique in the fact Sissel doesn't travel back in time to save people. However time flows "normally" when he's not in the ghost world and taking too long to solve the puzzles will end up fatally for those Sissel has to save.
- Time Stands Still: Time stands still when you're in the ghost world, allowing a ghost time to move from objects to object without losing precious seconds during the four minutes before death. It's represented in shades of red, with 'cores' outlined in blue, though it's green for Missile and blue for Yomiel. Time can be paused at any point but tricks can't be used unless time is flowing again.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The Ghost Trick to return four minutes into the past (for those who have the Tricks or anyone who follows said ghosts) to prevent a death. If the spirit is awake to see this occur, they will follow along the path to try to prevent said death. When the death is prevented, the event is erased and replaced with a new present, but the memory remains for those who were along with said Trick. At the end of the game, the Ghost Trick to 10 years ago results in a mild reboot: Sissel the kitten is killed by the Temsik fragment, thus taking Yomiel's place as the ghost possessing his own corpse, and is adopted by Jowd; Yomiel is alive and has recovered in the 10 years he's been imprisoned, thanking Sissel for what he did, and Missile-Prime has been erased in the reboot. However, all the events in the game still technically happened in that it's how the current present exists. And of everyone who'd died and remembered, it's implied that only Sissel, Jowd, Yomiel, and Missile remember the whole story, since they were amongst the final Ghost Trick.
- Timmy in a Well: Played with. Missile is fiercely loyal to and protective of his owner, but doesn't come off as terribly bright: he's easily distracted by flashing lights, loud noises, and spinning doodads, all of which will incite him to bark incessantly. On the other hand, in a previous timeline, he tracked down the people responsible for his owner's death without any outside help, and after time traveling into the past and taking The Slow Path to the present day, he skillfully manipulated Sissel into setting things right.
- Tinman Typist: The Masked Muscleman operates the submarine's machinery by hand, despite being a robot.
- Title Drop: Throughout the whole game, but especially early on. Sissel's powers are explicitly called "ghost tricks" in the prologue, and your main way of interacting with the game world is through the "Ghost" and "Trick" buttons.
- Together in Death: Yomiel's fiancee tries to invoke this trope by killing herself after Yomiel dies. This is one of the largest causes for Yomiel's Start of Darkness.I'm coming for you, Yomiel...
- Tomato in the Mirror: The game pulls a pretty major one in the end. Sissel spends the entire evening hunting down clues to who he was before his demise. At first, he assumes himself to be the blond man in the red suit seen on the game's cover. He spends the majority of the game using this persona until he discovers that the man in red is alive (kind of) and reverts back to a wisp. He all but gives up hope on finding his identity until the person whose face he was borrowing eventually reveals that Sissel was his cat. Major clues for this revelation include Sissel's limited understanding of human technology and complete inability to read.
- Tomato Surprise: See Sissel up above? The guy in the red suit with the blonde hair? See how he's all over the game's advertising, he's the player character's image in-game, the first thing the player sees in-game, and even the picture of the Player Character in the manual? That's not him. That's the Big Bad. But you do play as someone taking his appearence for almost all of the game.
- Tracking Device: The bullet Cabanela fired at Yomiel was a tracking device, which was honed in on by a special pocket watch which Cabanela gave to Jowd, who then gave it to Lynne.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Everyone's extremely into giant roast chicken. Extremely into it. Except for Cabanela, who eats a giant plate of spaghetti in the ending. Then there's the curry-loving prisoner.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
- Figuring out which phone calls to go through during the death aversions comes really close to this at times, as many times it's really hard to tell whether you'll be able to do something useful in the new location or you'll just get stuck (requiring starting the segment over).
- Chapter 10 is more or less this. For starters, the guy whose life you're trying to save receives a call from a kidnapper, knocks his heart attack medicine across the room, and spills a pitcher of water before dying of a heart attack. If your first reaction was to follow the phone call, you find out they don't have a hostage at the moment, and only have a tape recording of the Justice Minister's Daughter. If you jump to the medicine and get flung across the room, you find yourself without enough time to figure out what to do, much less actually perform the exact sequence of actions required to get the medicine back to the guy. The solution? You have to use the flag to prevent the water jar from dropping, so the minister can take the water. That creates a Checkpoint. However, if you do that and do not possess the ceiling fan while the minister is drinking the water, you get stuck and will need to start all over again.
- It could be said that this is really one of the game's main mechanics, as you'll rarely know what to do right from the start. The only way to know what most of the objects will do once manipulated is to try, and a lot of them can only be used once, so trial and error is really your only option. Fortunately, the game is designed with this in mind.
- Triangle Shades: Sissel has a pair of these. Yomiel, the person whose body Sissel mistakenly thought was his, has these too. These carry on even after Sissel loses Yomiel's image and reverts to the blueish blob shape all ghosts start out as and Yomiel seems to have drawn a pair of triangle shades onto his "face" after pulling a body together out of random items he found in the submarine.
- Trick Bullet: Cabanela fires a special bullet into Yomiel's body, which can be tracked by a modified pocket watch.
- Trickster Mentor: Ray puts Sissel through quite an ordeal. Despite knowing the truth all along, he does not tell Sissel who he is, he tricks him into thinking he's going to cease to exist in the morning, thus causing a great deal of stress, fools Sissel into thinking he's Yomiel, and then vanishes halfway through the game, making Sissel think that he has ceased to exist. However, this causes Sissel to avert Yomiel's fate and learn the value of helping other people besides himself.
- Undignified Death: There are a couple of these, but the prize has to go to Lynne being crushed to death by a giant roast chicken. And that's not even going in to the ways you can make some deaths into this, such as reclining a driver's seat, leaving him flailing helplessly on his back while his truck plows into a building and Cabanela dying from a hard hat launched at his face at bullet speed. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Undying Loyalty: Missile, quite literally. This is very apparent when after his second death, where he gained ghost tricks, he decides to stay dead specifically to better help Lynne and Kamila with his new powers. If that's not enough, the ending reveals that Ray is actually Missile from a Bad Future that couldn't save anyone, so he goes back in time and waits ten long years to become the Trickster Mentor for the black cat Sissel, thus he will be able to convince Sissel to save Lynne and Kamila.
- Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Making a hard hat hit a guy in the face with the force of a moving bullet leads to exactly what you think will happen happening. Also, if you trick an item in front of Yomiel, he will notice and respond.
- Unfinished Business: Sissel and Ray and Yomiel have reasons for sticking around after death; Sissel, for example, wants to find out how and why he died because he can't remember either of those details. Any more said, and the game's multiple plot twists will be ruined.
- Unit Confusion: In the ending, Beauty and Dandy are breaking into a safe above Chicken Kitchen with gunpowder. Dandy's confusion of metric units ultimately leads him and Beauty to their explosive demise. Dandy reads the instructions for twenty kilograms of gunpowder instead of twenty grams.
- Unreliable Expositor: The first character you meet, Ray, admits to having lied to you about a very important fact about ghosts: that they disappear at sunrise. They actually don't, and Ray himself has in fact stayed around for 10 years after his own murder.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Characters frequently fail to notice things moving in the background, or consider them coincidences. Which leads to a bit of a shock when Beauty's "sixth sense" means she can figure out what's going on, and when the player tries a Trick in front of the guy manipulating Sissel's body and then the Manipulator immediately figures out what's going on, addresses the player, and causes a game over.
- Unwinnable by Design: While you're trying to save somebody in the past, you can only use a telephone when it's in use, and can only travel to the other phone's location. This creates many scenarios where you'll get stuck in a place that doesn't have anything useful to prevent the token person from being killed, forcing you to start the segment over and not take the bait again. Played with even further when you discover that sometimes the same phone will ring twice, with the former call being the misleading trap and the latter being the key to prevent the killing.
- Saving the Justice Minister has several particularly nasty examples. Following the phone call he gets from his daughter's kidnappers leads you to a place where you can't do anything. Possessing the heart medication before he knocks it away and trying to get it back to him seems like a good idea, but you don't have enough time to get it back to him. The correct thing is to stop him from spilling the pitcher of water so that he can get a drink and delay the heart attack, but if you don't use the moment he raises the pitcher to move to the ceiling fan, then you'll be stuck at the Minister's desk with no way to get to the medication.
- Verbal Tic: As expected of a Shu Takumi game, many characters have their own verbal tics, while others seemingly transmit from character to character.
- Cabaneeela tends to draw out his vooowels, baby.
- A handful of characters tend to say "Odd girl" when Memry the waitress is done talking with them. Sissel and Lynne in particular like to reply with "I agree" and "Me too" to one another after the odd girl remark.
- Missile the Pomeranian loves to bark at everything, which translated it becomes "WELCOME!".
- The blue-skinned doctor tends to murmur "...like me" when someone close says "You don't know who may be listening". He's an impostor and foreign spy.
- Sith has a very wide range of vocabulary, his favourite being "Confound it!".
- Ray tends to say "Now, then" a lot.
- Sissel says "eh?" at the end of sentences quite frequently.
- In one of the final scenes, Sith's servant talks to Jowd and always finishes his sentences by addressing Jowd as "detective", detective.
- Videogame Caring Potential: Lynne and Kamila are in the game to invoke this. You must save these innocent girls from being killed by all sorts of things through the night.
- Videogame Cruelty Potential: There are at least two separate instances where you can alter a victim's fate so they die in an even less dignified manner than the original.
- Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: From the very beginning, the game makes a large deal out of the fact that various parties are trying to kill the female protagonist Lynne. At one point, the Big Bad tries to frame her for murder. Why? Back when she was a child, he was fleeing the police when he came across her playing in the park, so he took her as a hostage. If she hadn't been there, he would have never gone that far. Therefore she was partially responsible for ruining his life, even though it was his choice to take her hostage from the cops that were already chasing him.
- Waking Up at the Morgue: While it's not immediately after his assumed death, Yomiel uses Sissel's body to infiltrate the police morgue and possess his own seemingly-dead body. Yomiel then gets off the table and walks out the door. The medical examiner promptly quit his job in order to devote his life to finding out what the fuck just happened.
- Weak, but Skilled: The main character is much weaker than a living person and can only move by jumping between objects no more than two or three feet away, but he uses what he can do to great effect.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": Both versions of the trope are used. Yomiel names his cat Sissel after his fiancé, and he later uses the name as an alias.
- We Only Have One Chance: Used in the finale, but in an unusual way. When a character is about to die because saving one character's life didn't avert the overall disaster, Sissel says they only have one chance to do it. The other cast members remind him that they don't, and that they instead have infinite tries because of how their ability as ghosts work. Sissel then says he knows that and reveals the real reason: anyone who dies keeps their memory of dying, and the person about to die is a young child that's already in a traumatic situation.
- Wham Episode: Everything that happens after Chapter 14 can fit this trope, as well as Chapters 6 (it's shown how Lynne shoots Sissel), 11 (it's revealed that Kamila was kidnapped, she died and was brought back to life, and she's Jowd's daughter) and the later part of 13 (the Justice Minister was manipulated into signing Jowd's execution order).
- Wham Line: The ending offers up a whammy, right after the very last puzzle in the game: the Big Bad casually says that Sissel is none other than the black cat, who you saw in Chapter 1 very briefly.
- Wham Shot:
- Two in chapter 6. Jowd's revealing that he was painting Sissel and the video footage of Lynne shooting Sissel.
- Two in Chapter 11, both right after each other and related. The briefcase opening revealing the hostage to be Kamila, and going into the ghost world, revealing that she has a core, meaning that she died and was brought back to life.
- Yomiel turning to face the player and saying that he saw them acting, making it clear that he's aware of ghost tricks and can recognize what Sissel is doing.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The epilogue shows what happens to everyone in the new timeline, even the most minor of characters... except Jeego and Tengo. The fake medical examiner is also unaccounted for.
- Not so much a person as a plot device, but what's the deal with Beauty's sixth sense? It tries to be significant, but after finding out they've kidnapped Kamila, Sissel never sees the pair again and we never get an explanation for it.
- The culprit in the hacking/leaking information case that Yomiel was falsely accused of was never explicitly revealed.
- Literally in Chapter 16. There was a rat happily perched inside a torpedo that, thanks to you, didn't explode. Where did it go?
- What happened to Sissel in the first timeline? It ultimately has no bearing on the plot because that timeline was overwritten, but it's a major character's adventures being untold.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Commented on. One of Sissel's powers is saving the lives of others by changing their fates. However, he defeats hitmen Jeego and Tengo by dropping heavy objects on them, crushing them apparently to death (we even see Jeego's body comically flattened against a rolling wrecking ball). Sissel muses whether, if he killed Tengo, he'd then have to go back and save his life. He doesn't. In fact they're not mentioned again, even in the epilogue.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sissel has this reaction to himself, upon finding out that in his world's original timeline, he essentially left all the people he's grown to care about over the course of the game to be murdered horribly in favour of his own interests.
- When It All Began: The incident in Temsik Park ten years ago where Yomiel was killed by a meteorite kickstarted the plot. And it isn't resolved until Sissel goes back in time and saves him, which makes Yomiel not want to collaborate with the foreign organization and therefore Sissel doesn't end up shot.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Interspersed with the credits.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The setting is intentionally made ambiguous by including elements from several different cultures.
- The ministries are vaguely Japanese, as are the references to gods (possibly Shinto kami).
- There are European suits of armor in the Justice Minister's office, but the hats the guards wear don't seem to relate to those in any known country.
- All of the characters have names from continental Europe, with the exception of the foreigners. Beauty, Dandy, and Sith are English, English, and Scottish; Jeego and Tengo are Japanese.
- The prison still uses the electric chair, an execution device that has only ever been used by America. In addition, the country is mentioned as having not used the death penalty for a long time, although it can still be given.
- The rival country has futuristic technology where no-one else does.
- Whodunnit to Me?: Sissel's original motivation is not only to find his killer, but to find out who he is in the first place. In the end, the killer turns out to be Lynne, because when Yomiel controlled her to shoot him, she resisted enough to miss the first shot, accidentally hitting the bag that contained Sissel.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Yomiel certainly doesn't because he has to deal with crushing loneliness after the death of his fiancée. Sissel inverts it and doesn't appear to mind that he's immortal in the ending timeline.
- Wine Is Classy: Which is presumably why Emma drinks while she brainstorms her novel. It seems to be completely an act, given that she never takes a sip, though. It's also very unlikely that it's actual alcohol, since dousing a match in an ethanol-filled fluid would most likely result in it catching fire.
- World of Ham
- Would Hurt a Child: In the Bad Future that Missile-Prime is from, when Yomiel and One-Step-Ahead Tengo break into Lynne's apartment, they shoot Kamila dead instead of just tie her up like Tengo did in Sissel's timeline.
- Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Subverted by Yomiel, who was genuinely innocent but got chased and killed when he fled interrogation. Cabanela references the subversion of this trope as his reason for preventing Jowd's escape when he points out that escaping from prison is still a crime. And even in the "fixed" timeline in the ending, Yomiel is sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to escape from custody and taking a hostage.
- Yet Another Stupid Death:
- In one level, you must save Cabanela from being shot by swapping the bullet with something of the same shape right after it's fired. The right object is a soft knit hat, but you can also swap it with a metal hard hat... which, since it's still traveling at bullet speeds, will kill Cabanela even more brutally than the bullet would.
- In an earlier level, you have to save a truck driver from being incapacitated by a loud noise he hears from his headphones and crashing into a restaurant. If you end up in the truck while he's driving it, at which point it's already too late to save him, you might end up trying to manipulate his recliner seat. This winds up with him flat on his back while the truck is still driving, you can't put it back up due to his weight, and to top it all off, he falls backwards hard enough to actually tear off the steering wheel. He ends up crashing in the same way, just in a more ludicrous position.
- You ALL Share My Story: At the end of the night, Sissel learns that everyone, in some small way, is connected. This is because even the most insignificant side characters are connected with the case of the night.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Commander Sith strands Yomiel in a sinking submarine after getting the Temsik shard from him. Tellingly, Sith was so afraid of him that it was the only way to be sure.