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Iconoclasts is a Metroidvania Platform Game developed by Joakim "konjak" Sandberg and published by Bifrost Entertainment, formerly a retraux Cave Story-influenced project called Ivory Springs. It was in development for seven years before finally releasing in January of 2018.
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Robin is a mechanic (complete with massive wrench) living in a world that's slowly withering away. Her society relies on Ivory, an energy source controlled by a powerful organization called One Concern, which is the center of a religion represented by a figure known as Mother. Robin is not permitted to do mechanical work due to their regulations, but she does it anyway. When she's found out and becomes a sinner in the eyes of the world, she embarks on an adventure with other outcasts in order to stop One Concern once and for all, and find out what's really happening to the planet.

The game's release trailer is here. Links to buy the game, as well as downloads for the 2012 alpha and the Ivory Springs alpha, can be found on Konjak's website.


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Iconoclasts contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Royal is hated by practically everybody for basically being a superpowered spoiled brat. Pretty much the only person that shows him any kindness or respect is Robin, and even then, it can be up to the player's dialogue choices. That said, being rude will come to bite Robin in the ass come the first phase of the final boss.
  • Action Girl: Robin and Mina, as well as Black being a Dark Action Girl.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • The Omega Controller, first as a Rise to the Challenge scenario on an elevator platform and then as a horizontal chase where it takes the form of a buzzsaw. In both cases, Robin has to repel the boss with bombs.
    • Fitzroy slowly crawls towards Robin for his first two phases, which only makes it harder to keep dodging attacks from the golem face made of Ivory rising out of his back, which represents his memory of Leticia as she once was, and of her after she lost her face to Transcendence, respectively..
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  • A God Am I: Being the physical representative of the Starworm, Mother is prone to this. Royal also shows signs of this, since he's supposed to be Mother's successor.
  • Affably Evil: Chrome may be a general in the the Concern, but he's a genuinely nice and devout man who prefers to avoid violence.
  • Alien Blood: Two separate examples. Transcended individuals bleed white, as they've become totally infused with Ivory. Then, the final boss may have blue feathers, but its blood is green.
  • All for Nothing: All the pain and sacrifice to get Royal to the moon to commune with the Starworm ends up not mattering —- Royal can't even get the thing to respond to him. He does end up wounding Him, which then allowed Robin to defeat Him, but he could have done that on the planet, too. In a larger sense, all the panic and strife over the Starworm's return ends up not mattering either, since Robin still kicks its ass.
  • All There in the Manual: The official names of two late-game bosses (the cat Mother rides on is named Oedipuss after her pet cat, and Black's One-Winged Angel form is the Ivory Beast) can only be found on the game's soundtrack.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage:
    • The Impact Zone consists of several rooms themed after previous locations, each containing enemies from previous areas infested with the blue eyes.
    • The Omega Controller constantly causes the terrain to cycle through the different area textures as you ascend the elevator shaft.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Barely a few hours pass between Robin, Mina and Royal getting to Isilugar, and the attack on it by the One Concern. it gets moved to prevent them from sending back-up down there, and the whole battle works out well for the Isi, but disastrous for the One Concern, since the only person to die in the battle is Agent White, earlier considered to be nigh-immortal. They also lose ten soldiers prisoner, while Isi only lose Samba, who is eventually recovered by Mina anyway.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Elro's entire missing arm switches from left to right when he turns.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Agent Grey's gender is deliberately ambiguous, with Agent Black using "them" when referring to Grey.
  • An Aesop: Take time to grieve over the deaths of your loved ones and those close to you. If you don't, you may act irrationally and lash out in ways you'll later regret. This bites both Elro and Agent Black hard. Elro makes a huge mistake that essentially kickstarts the conflict of the game because he didn't think rationally when Agent Grey was simply asking him to calm down and Agent Black slowly goes off the deep end demonizing Elro and Robin for what Elro did instead of taking Chrome's advice and taking time to come to terms with the death of Grey.
  • Ancient Astronauts: It's heavily implied that all of the humans are descendants of colonists who migrated from Earth to an alien planet. The Isi found and recovered an ancient colony ship which they revere as a sacred artifact, and their city has paintings of known human landmarks such as the Taj Mahal. The Concern similarly have a colony ship in their possession which they use for research purposes. Hidden alien text hints that the planet that the game takes place on was originally a fuel depot for birdlike starship pilots, and at least one of them has visited the planet before.
  • And I Must Scream: It's implied that being possessed by the blue eye creatures feels like this. It's further implied that if Star Worm was alive, and not just a mech, then this is what it felt for untold years as the pilot controlled it through the blue eye. If so, then pilot the dying after the Star Worm crushes its skull is not simply caused by him failing at the controls, but rather the last conscious act of a Star Worm before it expires.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • One part of Ferrier Shockwood is played entirely as Mina after she gets separated from Robin and Elro, complete with her own boss fight against a Controller. She gets another unique segment during One Concern East, which ends with the Mendeleev fight.
    • Elro gets a segment during One Concern East as well, though most of it is him limping through the hallway with only a few enemies present. He fights Lawrence at the end of it.
  • Anime Hair:
    • Rather than tie her hair into a ponytail, Robin turns her hair into a big "U" stuck to the back of her head, most likely to resemble the head of a wrench. Just look at it!
    • Agent Grey has what can only be described as a big, fluffy mohawk.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Robin's Ground Pound has a mild homing effect on enemies, making it easier to land hits even if your aim is slightly off.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The Isi’s seeds have extremely volatile reactions when exposed to Ivory, making them grow instantaneously; this makes them an excellent tool for wrecking Concern technology, which is reliant on Ivory. Royal also notes that even though his powers allow him to control plants enough to sprout them in the middle of the desert at will, he is completely unable to affect the plants grown from these seeds because Royal's powers work by manipulating the Ivory in an object, but the Isi plants don't have any Ivory in them because they're from Earth. They also work disturbingly well on humans who have been injected with Ivory, being used to take out Agent White and Mother (Agent Black resists their effects until the blue eyes mutate her). When Robin jams a seed into the Starworm, the resulting explosion causes a wave of nature to overtake the whole planet.
    • Detritus is a pinkish-purple powder that is produced whenever an object is drained of its Ivory. It is very much anti-Ivory, negating the Healing Factor of ivory-infused individuals and, in the case of Royal, completely shutting down his powers. Black kills Royal in a pit of Detritus at the end of One Concern West (she planned to kill Chrome there, but he had other plans), though he revives himself shortly after his body leaves the room. Elro's work with the ChemiCo Contra led to him inventing a serum that instantly removes Ivory from matter and turns it into Detritus, which is one of the few things that can kill Transcended humans.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ivory is used to power all technology and the Concern's stranglehold on it is the basis for their control of all society besides the pirates/Isi, who get it from underwater Ivory pustules. It can function as a battery for a home, a component to be used in Item Crafting, a source of immortality and superpowers for those with the necessary constitution, and ultimately gasoline for some alien bird's space truck.
  • Arc Words: "This is bigger than you."
  • Artificial Limbs: At first, they appear as simply a necessary attribute of an agent. Agent White has cybernetic eyes that allow him to shoot Eye Beams, and Agent Black is revealed to have cybernetic arms. Eventually, Royal reveals that any individual who survives Transcendence but doesn't perfectly merge with the Ivory like Mother and Royal did will end up with a certain body part consumed by the Ivory. Said body part is then replaced by an implant that gives said individual their powers, while itself functioning only due to the Ivory in the rest of the person's body. As such, General Chrome has cybernetic legs and Agent Grey had cybernetic neck or ears. Ash, who complained about gut pains, might have lost an internal organ to gain invisibility.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Chrome is fond of quoting the One Concern scriptures, even in the middle of boss battles.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The majority of the bosses possess weak points of some kind that need to be hit in order to defeat them. Only the comparatively rare human bosses are the exception.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Many of the tweaks end up being this, mainly because a tweak "breaks" when Robin takes damage from anything, so players who take a lot of damage aren't able to reap their benefits. Outside of that, Robin only has three tweak slots for the entire game, so powerful combat Tweaks (such as faster charged shot renewal, a wall-piercing Usurper Shot, and massive Roller Bomb explosions) are going to be set aside for the ones that let you move faster, solve puzzles in less time, and prevent health bar damage.
    • The Roller Bomb's charge shot is a powerful, fast missile with the highest range of any attacks Robin can use. Unfortunately, in addition to the long charge and cooldown time it has, it can only fire straight forward and needs a split second to ready itself before it blasts off; if the missile hits anything in the short range it flies before igniting, the attack is wasted.
  • Badass Boast: Several human antagonists get to say them:
    Agent Black: When you know no-one has got your back, you learn to prepare to fight in any situation. Let us grieve existence, together.
    Mother: I am the mother of this earth. You are challenging the very ground you walk on.
    • Mina gives Mother's boast an Ironic Echo the first time Mother is knocked down during the battle, allowing Mina to apply her seeds:
      Mina: Come down here, coward Mother! Have a fistful of MY earth!
    • Amusingly, the first such boast is said by Benley, a minor character at Settlement 17 pub who could obviously never live up to it:
      Barten: That moon has been coming apart for decades now. The more it crumbles, the more Penance seems to happen.
      Turkosa: It's because of sin, isn't it? Do you think pieces of the moon could fall on us too?
      Barten: Benley wouldn't allow it.
      Benley: I would punch it back into orbit with my own fist, girl!
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Community Center (more or less a pub, even though alcohol is in short supply) in Settlement 17 is used as a hangout place for the One Concern while they're keeping tabs on the town, much to Black's annoyance.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Ash mentions that his daughter volunteered for Transcendence in order to become like him. The player will most likely assume he is referring to Black, the only female agent encountered up to this point, but the credits imply that he was actually referring to Nobel. This was foreshadowed by Nobel's superpower being invisibility, like Ash.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A popular fashion choice among the Isi, including Samba, the pink-haired girl who likes sitting on couches, and all of the men who don't forgo a shirt entirely (except Gustavo and the scientists). Agent Black also does this under her coat, which she discards before your first fight against her and never puts back on for the rest of the game.
  • Battle in the Centre of the Mind: We finally find out what the One Concern "prototype" does when Starworm uses the real thing on Robin, and she has to face off against the shadow creatures who represent the people she failed, while the backgrounds portray said failure. The first creature carries Elro's broken sword, and has his ruined house standing in a sunflower field (sunflower being Elro's nickname for Robin), with the statues of his wife and daughter in the background. Mina's shadow has the graves of her Isi ancestors filling the background, Robin presumably thinking they would've lived if she could have stopped the One Concern sooner. The triangle-headed apparition representing Royal has the broken moon where he died. Agent Black has a literal black void, both it and her figure being a skeleton referring to her death at Robin's hands. The first three cannot be damaged conventionally and must be bypassed by turning on switches, which represents Robin's unwillingness to hurt others and desire to “fix” things. All but Black that is. "She" must either be shot again, or allowed to crawl past and explode on her own.
  • Battle in the Rain: The battle by the rocket against Agent Black is fought during a torrential downpour.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Reminding Agent Black about Agent Grey is a quick way to anger her (more so than usual). And because of his involvement in Grey's death, Elro's mere existence is enough to set her off.
    • Royal does not take kindly to being ignored or otherwise treated as lesser than he believes himself to be. This more or less gets him killed when he attacks the Starworm in anger.
    • Royal also manages to find another way to anger Black, when he tells her "This is bigger than you." while trying to persuade her to leave the B-17 launchpad so that they can fly to the Star Worm. The sheer hypocrisy of an Agent who sacrificed her humanity to her service hearing this from someone who followed his whims all his life completely crosses out his earlier efforts:
      Black: HAHAHAHA! So right! THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANYTHING SMALLER THAN ME. BUT YOU TAKE THIS ROCKET OVER MY DEAD BODY.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Elro takes this way too far, nearly dooming the planet several times because of it. It's only once Robin literally kills God that he grudgingly admits that maybe she can actually take care of herself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Darland Ascent, Robin and Royal are cornered by the Omega Controller and about to be shredded, when suddenly Captain Myron busts through the ceiling on his ship. When the Omega Controller rams it, the ship breaks its armor.
    Myron: I'll have my audience with you, marauder!
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Black delivers a "SHUT... UP!" in large, vibrating text towards a calm-as-always Chrome in One Concern West, shortly before beating the shit out of him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, the One Concern theocracy falls, and its remaining forces are led by clueless Tolo, and no longer have the power to harass Isi or intimidate peaceful people with Penance. Robin stops Armageddon from occurring by destroying the Starworm and its pilot to prevent him from siphoning off the remaining Ivory keeping the planet together, while nature repairs the planet after she sticks an Isi seed into Starworm's Ivory-infused corpse. It's also implied ChemiCo Contra are making headway into alternative energy research to ensure the planet won't come so close to the brink again. On the other hand, the demise of One Concern's transcended leaders like Mother, Chrome and Royal results in dozens of rank-and-file soldiers dying in the civil war, while most pupils at the Tower were killed by Mother's Corners, and the remainder appear unable to adapt to the independent life. The cycle of revenge between Agent Black and Elro ends with the former dying a horrible death, her remains burnt up in the atmosphere as B-17 took off, while the latter is alive, but crippled and embittered.
  • Blackout Basement: The Dark Cave area of Darland Ascent is appropriately badly lit. Robin's wrench acts as a small flashlight when charged, and she can activate generators to turn on lampposts.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Along with the usual superpowers and immortality, Transcending caused Agent Black to suffer constant, unrelenting headaches which she describes as feeling like knives cutting her, meaning they are most likely cluster headaches, known for their extreme intensity. She has been like this for almost 200 years, so it's no wonder she's such a grouch all the time, and why her sanity could take such an abrupt nosedive as it did.
    • Agents in general are stuck with this, as the very act of Transcending has caused them to lose limbs or organs which require prosthetic replacement. Chronic pain also seems to be a common symptom as well, since Ash also mentions suffering heavy pains in his gut.
  • Bloodless Carnage: None of the dead bodies seen in the game, whether it's One Concern soldiers killed in their civil war or the Tower's pupils killed by Mother's Corners ever display blood. The only exceptions are the Alien Blood of the Transcended individuals, which is white like Ivory, and the green blood of the final boss, an actual alien.
  • Body Horror:
    • The entire process of Transcending, which involves injecting Ivory directly into a person's body. A few people will succeed and survive the process with superpowers, though some will lose body parts in the process. And the many that fail basically melt into puddles of white goo. Even if it does work out, those who Transcend are plagued by sharp chronic pains, and Transcended people who live long enough will find themselves consumed by the Ivory; Father is essentially comatose, Fitzroy turned into a mindless being made of dripping Ivory, while Leticia kept her sanity but is no longer recognizably human.
    • Agent Black takes the cake when the blue eyes try to possess her while Isi Seeds sprout from her body. The end result is a giant monstrosity with Ivory trees sprouting all over its body and clusters of eyes hidden inside said trees.
    • The horrors of chemistry are demonstrated when Elro develops a serum that forcibly ejects all Ivory from matter, causing the object to turn into Detritus dust. Its real purpose is to be used on Transcended humans, who are practically filled with Ivory. The result? The affected person's skin turns purple as they start deforming and boiling alive, until they explode into a fine purple mist.
  • Bonus Boss: There are two, Mother's Corners and Fitzroy, both requiring some serious Guide Dang It! to find.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Lawrence executes a hapless One Concern Attacker in this manner, before turning around to face Elro.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Iron Heart tweak — all it does is absorbing a single hit before breaking, but the fact that it's possible to stack three of them at a time and landing shots on an enemy helps regenerate a broken tweak means that they're incredibly useful to have equipped for most boss battles. Plus, it's the only way to avoid being a One-Hit-Point Wonder in Challenge Mode.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Many bosses will summon some type of minion or use a destroyable projectile attack that has a chance to drop health. The first fight against Agent Black is a particularly egregious example: Three times during the fight she uses an unavoidable attack that always brings you down to one hit away from death, and then immediately summons a bunch of weak Controllers that are guaranteed to drop health pickups while she just slowly walks around doing the "Well! What is it?" gesture and not attacking, giving you plenty of time to kill the Controllers and get your health meter up to 75% full.
  • Boss Rush: An alternate game mode once the main story is beaten. Light Rush and Heavy Rush constitute about 45% of the game's bosses each, Full Rush uses the bosses from both Light and Heavy Rush, and Lethal Rush reuses the bosses from Heavy Rush, but removes the Regenerating Tweaks that all the other boss rushes have.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: For the purposes of a single playthrough, the Double Jump tweak granted after defeating Mother's Corners is useless, since all that's left of the story by the time they're available to fight is to confront the Starworm. It can still be carried over to a New Game+, however. Same goes for defeating Fitzroy, since the tweak from his fight is a Joke Item designed for a Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Silver Watchman really can't catch a break. He gets his ass kicked by you three times, his fourth attempt to kill you accidentally saves your life instead, then he gets possessed by the blue eyes (and gets his ass kicked by you again in his possessed state), and finally he is taken out by Royal of all people, who drops a boulder on top of him, trapping him underwater where his teleportation powers don't work, drowning him.
  • Canon Immigrant: Mina the thief was originally the focus of another Konjak project, though she was redesigned significantly for this game (her original design was recycled for an unique NPC in Isilugar).
  • Captain Ersatz: Not in terms of what she does, but Robin looks familiar...
  • Cardboard Prison: The trio of Robin, Mina, and Elro find themselves caught by the Concern and locked in The Tower’s jail cells at one point. Mina and Elro are locked up tight, but Robin’s cell includes a floor plate that she can stomp through to easily crawl out of her cell. Admittedly, not many people can Ground Pound as well as Robin.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The game starts out as a wacky adventure as Robin struggles against cartoonish, Large Ham villains, but as the game goes on, the villains get far less cartoonish as we see just how depraved and despotic the One Concern is. By the end, a large number of people have died in a bloody civil war, and the final battle is against an outright Eldritch Abomination that threatens to consume the entire world.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Elro's job is a chemist. He's apparently good enough to create a serum that will forcibly remove all Ivory from any object, which makes it very effective at killing Ivory-infused people such as agents.
  • Church Militant: The One Concern acts as the sole military power of human civilization. While the Isi can at least fend off the church's attacks long enough to escape, they're not equipped to handle any kind of full confrontation.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: The only doctor in the game has an incurable disease.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: All the One Concern members have codenames based off of shades of grey. Agents White, Black, and Grey, and General Chrome, Ash, and The Silver Watchman.
  • Concussion Frags: The grenades thrown by One Concern Attackers have practically no range at all. On the bright side, they can at least bounce between floor and ceiling a few times, making them difficult to avoid.
  • Corrupt Church: The One Concern has control over virtually all of human civilization, and it's not particularly shy about doing whatever it takes to keep things that way.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Downplayed with Isilugar. At first glance, it seems like a perfectly pleasant place to live in. In a lot of ways, it is, specially if you compare it with life in the Settlements where even minor, unintended crimes can result in Penance. Life in Isilugar is more relaxed and free, with the Isi religion being all about love and reproduction. That last part has a catch, however. Turns out the Isi religion is not perfect, either. Arranged marriages are common, and procreation is seen as a vital responsibility of every adult, which means that people who are sterile or otherwise unable to reproduce, like Doctor Gustavo, are seen as outcasts, through no fault of their own. That also means that Mina and Samba's relationship is probably also frowned upon, which might explain why it's played with such ambiguity throughout the game.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Quite a few of them.
    • Agent White: killed by an Isi seed growing into an Ivory tree that tears itself out of his back.
    • Mother shares Agent White's fate, though her entire body explodes into the tree.
    • Agent Grey and General Chrome get boiled alive and explode into Detritus dust thanks to Elro's anti-Ivory serum.
    • Agent Black bites it by being transformed into a monster made up of Ivory trees and the "blue eye" substance seen around the rocket platform, and then soon suffering from an acute case of spontaneous cranial combustion.
    • Finally, the pilot of the Starworm gets his head crushed by his malfunctioning ship.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The whole thing starts when Robin and Elro's father's death is presumably caused by the Concern, causing Elro to kill Agent Grey in revenge, causing Agent Black to pursue Robin and Elro in response, starting Robin's quest to rescue Elro and take down the One Concern for good.
  • Cypher Language: The manual gives a translation for some of the glyphs that show up in the Impact Zone and other areas.
  • Dark Reprise: The final boss theme, "Castle Doctrine", happens to be a remixed version of the second boss theme, "Machines".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Agent Black went careening past it long ago, according to herself. She almost came back when Agent Grey started trying (successfully if her dialogue before her final fight is any indication) to woo her, but that ended when Elro killed Grey.
  • Determinator: Black in her final battle is absolutely determined to protect the rocket from you, to the point that she eventually breaks open the rocket's fuel tank and starts drinking the Ivory fuel just so her Healing Factor can keep up with the damage you are dealing. By the end of the fight, she is weakly shambling around, with multiple Isi Seeds sprouting out of her back, barely able to form a complete sentence, and vomiting up the fuel she's been guzzling, but still refuses to stop fighting until she is swarmed with the blue eye parasites and dragged offscreen. And even then, she's still not done.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Anything involving Ivory, especially in the early half of the game. It's white, gooey, and has a weird smell according to Mina. There's also the thing where One Concern agents can be filled with seed from the procreation-worshiping Isi to make them explode in splurts of the pearly liquid...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted with the final boss, the Starworm Himself. Right after you finally beat it into submission (using a wrench and a handgun), a hatch in His head opens cleanly to reveal a cockpit... With a very pissed, wrench-wielding bird inside. It's not actually a god!
  • Die, Chair! Die!: You get Ivory Squares for breaking both the small light-grey busts of Mother and the similarly colored Isi icons. The game is called Iconoclasts after all.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Agent Black and General Chrome manage to outlive Mother. Chrome doesn't get far before he's taken care of, but Black lives long enough to fight Robin one last time, long after she has a reason to keep fighting her beyond revenge.
  • Driven to Suicide: A few examples.
    • Even earlier in the timeline: Agent Black mentions her repeated suicide attempts untold numbers of years ago, until she finally accepted it was easy for her to be brought back.
    • We first get to see what the "prototype" Tolo mentioned at the One Concern camp does when a pupil at the tower, Gerry, briefly escapes it inside Hazard Armor and sees that the outside world is fine so he's shot with it, and led to commit suicide by falling.
    • Mr. Andress is implied to commit suicide by drowning. At one point, he can be seen sitting on a dock, and when talked to will muse about his dead wife and how she always wanted to teach him how to swim. On later visits, he's nowhere to be seen.
    • Once Mother dies, Aisling Ferrier and Emmet Darland are seen trying to strangle each other with their scarves, fearful of the incoming Star Worm. It's somewhat fitting, given that Darland was one of those who ordered to stage Gerry's suicide. The end credits, however, reveal that he survives, while Ferrier is nowhere to be seen.
  • Dual Boss: Mother's Corners are an example where both bosses share the same health bar, and either boss can choose to hop into the background temporarily while the other keeps attacking.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The final boss, the Starworm (also known as "Him"), a giant, pale worm-like thing that destroyed the moon and that the higher-ups of One Concern are attempting to escape via rocket from. This is actually subverted when it's revealed the Starworm is really a spaceship piloted by an alien bird-man who just wants his gas tank filled up with Ivory and doesn't even know what humans are.
  • Elite Mooks: The aptly named Bastion Elites. Whereas the regular One Concern soldiers wear grey uniform with blue helmet visors and fight with submachine guns and grenades, Bastion Elites have also possess white breastplates and white helmets with purple visors. Their main weapon is a like an evolved version of Robin's stun gun, whose bomb shots produce a fiery Shockwave Stomp running in both directions, while their primary shot is also powerful (though it can be deflected at them with a wrench.) They can also dodge shots and rapidly cover distance by sliding along the ground.
    • The trope is subverted, though, in that while they are better suited to close-range indoor fighting, they are not exceedingly powerful next to the regular Attackers and Defenders. In particular, a full burst from the Attacker's submachine gun still does far more damage than any of the Elite's attacks, even though it's easier for the player to dodge. As such, when Mother's death and Chrome's revelations trigger a civil war between Bastion Elites formerly loyal to Mother, and Attackers/Defenders loyal to Chrome, the visible casualties appear in a strict 1/1 ratio. In the end, Bastion Elites appear completely wiped out, at least at City One, with regular Attackers prevailing, even if it only happened through sheer numbers.
  • Enemy Civil War: When Chrome finds out about Mother's plan to flee to the Moon with a select few chosen ones and leave the rest of humanity behind, he stages a revolt to overthrow Mother.
  • Eye Beams: Agent White's main ability. Its properties actually change depending on the colour of sunglasses he is wearing. Red makes him shoot a fiery beam of death, while blue gives him a Freeze Ray.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Elro gets one after surviving the Penance that killed his wife and daughter.
  • Fantastic Slur: Throughout the beginning of the game there's constant mention from One Concern loyalists of "pirates". As it turns out, they are referring to the Isi, an ethnic group of people with their own religion, who live off the grid to protect themselves from One Concern. The Isi indeed take offense to the term.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Mother is a borderline example. On one hand, she genuinely believes in what she and One Concern is doing, and seems to genuinely care for all her "children", which is seen very well when she's contrasted with Royal. Her original plan to finish the B-17 rocket so that it would hold as many humans as possible and take them to a new world, before this one breaks apart from Ivory overuse could also have saved the world, even if at an enormous cost. On the other hand, she still presides over a theocracy which liberally executes those violating its decrees and hunts down dissenters like Isi, as well as creating a Tower complex to indoctrinate a few dozen chosen pupils into worshiping her above everything else, and considering them a priority over everyone besides the agents when Royal destroyed the Omega Controller and put paid to her original plan.
    • Emmet Darland is a regular human who nevertheless became One Concern's most important civilian commander, who oversees its most important projects like The Tower and B-17 rocket, while agents and Chrome, powerful as they are, are simply guarding them. He is a soft-spoken and thoughtful man, whose notes at One Concern HQ reveal his regrets about the way the war with the Isi went, among other examples. He also orders for Gerry, a frightened pupil at the Tower who left it too early and saw that the outside world is not the wasteland as the pupils were told, to be shot with a prototype of Star Worm's guilt weapon, so that he would commit suicide on a stage in front of the other pupils, and thus dissuade them from ever leaving it again.
  • Fauxshadowing: In the first few minutes of the game, you can find people wondering if the moon breaking apart is going to result in pieces of it falling down on the planet. This is the one thing that ends up not happening (or even mattering).
  • Feed It a Bomb:
    • Both varieties of Croaktus in Shard Wastelands will eat bomb projectiles shot at them, blowing up shortly thereafter.
    • The Inti machine, used by the Isi to move Isilugar around has to have bomb projectiles shot into its mouth during the second stage of the battle.
  • For Want of a Nail: Pretty much the only reason Robin and Elro didn't die in the tunnels underneath Ferrier Shockwood is because the Carver machine was missing a single tooth in its buzzsaw.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a few things get hinted at pretty early on.
    • After beating the first boss, you may notice some large black feathers attached to the underside of the planet spine you fought the boss on, which obviously came from the Birdman (or at least a Birdman).
    • The Agents being superhuman is shown by Agent White throwing Robin into the wall in the scene introducing the Agents.
    • Agent Black's constant headaches get a small foreshadow by her pinching the bridge of her nose in almost every scene before her fights.
    • At the One Concern camp in the Shard Desert, the other wanted fugitive is a "Myron" whose mapmaking is illegal. The reason why doesn't become clear until Darland Ascent.
    • Samba and Mina's dialogues drop massive hints towards their relationship.
  • The Fundamentalist: Chrome genuinely believes in the religion he follows, and quotes the One Concern equivalent of The Bible or The Qur'an frequently, even during boss fights. He's also a hard line believer in everything that his religion is against, though he's open to discussion about the the differences and ideology between the pirate's religion and his own. Once he leads the One Concern militia into City One, he becomes a full-tilt Dark Messiah, wishing to remake the world after thinking himself to be "chosen" once he No Sells one of Elro's syringes of anti-Ivory material and losing faith in the higher echelons of One Concern. In reality, said syringe was only one of the two parts of the binary liquid, and he's killed in the Bastion when Elro hits him with the other component.
  • Flipping the Bird: Agent Black tells a Bastion trooper that she is going to crush his skull using only her two middle fingers.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • Interestingly, it's not the enormous worm from the stars that crashes down onto your planet — the worm's pretty well established in the lore of the game, and bears a resemblance to some previously fought bosses. It's the giant, muscular alien bird piloting the worm, who was never hinted at before the fight, and is never properly explained afterward as the game ends. Context allows you to piece together that the planet used to be a fuel depot for starship pilots like him that was colonized by humans, but he's still an alien bird of an otherwise unknown species, with no dialogue and no connection to any other characters, and he's the final boss.
    • Similarly, the blue eye corruption seems to appear out of nowhere after Robin escapes the Tower and it's never explained what exactly it is. Computers in the underground area hint it's some sort of biotech, it can be seen when using the fast travel system at the core of the planet, it is present at the core of the Omega Controller, and the Starworm has a cluster of the eyes roughly where another creature would have actual eyes.
      • There's speculation that the blue eye substance is produced by the bird pilot species, whether naturally or through technology, and its existence is what allowed it to control Star Worm all along. For what it's worth, the article positing that link, among other things, was retweeted by konjak himself.
  • Given Name Reveal: Out of all the Agents, we only learn Black's real name: Madelyn Binoche.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Agent White really likes doing this, even using it as an attack in his boss fight.
  • Goomba Stomp: One of the ways in which Robin can attack. It obviously doesn't work on The Spiny enemies like , or the electrified One Concern mechs, but is a very useful way to knock out various One Concern soldiers, who have a hard time shooting upwards to defend from it, with Defenders only able to attack along the ground. Final Boss tries using it on you during the second phase.
  • Green Aesop: An energy crisis is brewing in the background of the plot due to both the Tri and the Isi's overreliance on the non-renewable fuel, of which one can draw eerily similar parallels with real-world oil. Unlike oil drilling, mining for Ivory doesn't destroy the ecosystem... but instead can fracture a chunk of the world into space if done too much.
  • Ground Pound: Robin starts out with the ability to do a midair flip and stomp downwards, which can break red blocks. It’s a surprisingly effective attack as well: many enemies can’t attack Robin while she's jumping on their heads (such as the Concern soldiers), and the stomp deals good damage even late in the game and will home in if Robin isn't perfectly aligned above an enemy.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The last event of The Tower requires Robin to break into Black's office to attempt to save Elro, which manages to be more confusing than intended. In the preceding cutscene, Mina laments that she's lost her seeds and can't blow up the office's gate; Robin picked up the seeds while she was infiltrating the tower, so this seems to hint that Robin must figure out how to use the seeds or hand them over to Mina. Neither option is possible (the seeds don't come up again until One Concern West), and the actual solution is to jump up to a hidden ledge that leads to a crawlspace going directly into Black's room, which is marked by a small outcropping but is easy to miss in the panic.
    • All three key item quests have a confusing trait to them. Laurie's letter delivery is simply transferring key items back and forth between two people, but the location of the second person is hidden well. The cupcake quest starts simple since you can find its NPC in several areas, but the person you give the item to in Ferrier Shockwood just takes it without giving you anything; you must go back to the original person to get a different item and then backtrack to receive your reward. The Soldier's RSVP is the trickiest: you can get the letter after Isilugar Labs, but it won't be relevant until the end of One Concern West (at which point the game encourages to progress to the endgame), and you can't deliver the item since the recipient was killed in Black's rampage, so after examining the body you have to return to the Isilugar jail cell to report your failure and receive the quest reward.
    • Both Bonus Bosses are tricky to activate, especially for players who make a habit of exploring past areas as soon as they can.
      • For Fitzroy, you first have to meet Leticia in five separate locations; the first time is in Blockrock right in the open, but the rest are in out-of-the-way areas around the map, one of which requires the Galvanized Wrench to reach (she places her flag in the room next to where she is, as a slight hint). The hiding spots are sequenced and she sometimes only appears after enough story progression, making it more confusing. After the final encounter, you have to swim to the secret cavern deep within Glass Strait; the only hint for this is that Leticia's flag is on the water's surface, but it's in an area that has little purpose otherwise.
      • Mother's Corners can only be fought at the very end of the game after the Starworm crash-lands in Blockrock, where it really doesn't seem like there’s anything else to do (unless you notice a missing space in the tweak collection box). It's at least easier to find the items necessary for the fight, though they are spread out a bit and one is way back in The Tower. The hint the items give is also a bit confusing.
    • There are only slight hints that the Usurper Gun's swapping shot works on City One's gatekeeper and Mother, and no hints that it can remove the blue eyes protecting enemies in the Impact Zone.
  • Harder Than Hard: After beating the game, you unlock Challenge Mode, where you are a One-Hit-Point Wonder. Iron Hearts will still soak up a hit, but enemies don't drop Ivory cubes to repair them. Instead, they are repaired at Save Statues.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The screams of the mutated Agent Black in her final fight are downright bone-chilling.
    • The glitchy, distorted sounds after Robin gets shot with what amounts to a Battle in the Center of the Mind gun are incredibly creepy, leading into a similarly warped soundtrack for said battle.
  • The Heretic: Well, considering the game is called 'Iconoclasts'...
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Inverted. Robin herself favors her stun gun and her trusty wrench. The setting is a mix of modern and sci-fi, so most other characters use guns or explosives. As a result, there's a total of only four sword-wielding characters across the game. Three of them are villains: The katana-wielding Silver Watchman, and Mother's Corners, two warriors who each carry broadswords. The remaining sword user, Elro, is not a villain, but he is a bitter and stubborn man that kickstarted the biggest conflicts in the plot, and his nihilistic attitude nearly has the team fail, several times. Also, by the end, he kills with no remorse. It even plays into his combat style: Robin merely stuns human enemies, but Elro uses his sword to go in for the kill. It really says something that the only Reborn who did not survive the fight at One Concern East was Lawrence, who fought Elro and got a sword to the back (while he was down, mind you) for his troubles.
  • Heroic Mime: Robin does not speak at all and only communicates through emotes and body language (and a few dialogue choices), but everybody seems to understand her anyways.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Isilugar, an underwater town that's home to the Isi (known as "pirates" elsewhere, not that the Isi are fans of the term), an ethnic group with their own separate religion. The town is equipped with its own labs, Ivory-mining facilities, and a machine that moves the town around to avoid detection by the One Concern.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Despite how obvious it is from the get-go, Mina and Samba are never explicitly stated to be a couple (at least until the ending credits). Justified in that Isi culture places an extremely high importance on procreation, which likely means same-sex relationships are not tolerated and they have to keep it secret.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During the third phase against the Starworm, the Birdman reactivates it once he gets low on HP. This comes back to bite him when the Starworm's right hand crushes him before dying itself.
  • Honor Before Reason: Agent Black admits that keeping Royal and Robin from using the rocket to attempt to reason with Him is a poor decision, but her orders to protect the rocket are the only point of stability she has to cling to at that point.
  • Implacable Man: Two of the boss fights near the rocket.
    • While you are trying to get the elevator working, Black can not be stopped. Defeating the boss is not an option; you must fix the elevator and get out of there.
    • A more classic version is Elro, going up against Lawrence. He can shoot, throw knives, punch him if he gets too close, but unless he runs out of HP, Elro keeps. On. Coming. Good thing you're playing as him, and your job is just to No-Sell Lawrence's attacks while you keep marching up and stabbing him.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted on several occasions.
    • First one is when Robin's niece, Ella, is killed along with her mother through "Penance" when Robin is caught fixing Ivory tech at Elro's house.
    • Then, it happens when officials at The Tower respond to pupil Gerry briefly escaping and seeing the outside world by staging his suicide in a theatrical play to ensure compliance from the rest. Much later on, most of the same pupils get killed by Mother's Corners, deluded into thinking this will bring Mother back and reset the world.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Usurper gun, which is acquired roughly three-fourths of the way through the game. It deals more damage than the standard stun pistol, hits enemies multiple times, and kills many enemies that are otherwise outright invincible. However, its shots lack the homing ability of the standard gun, and shooting too rapidly will cause it to overheat, limiting its DPS.
  • Invincible Minor Mook: There are a lot of enemies that start off invincible (such as the Ghosmo ghosts), but the Usurper Gun can kill a lot of them. Ones that are always invincible include:
    • Herculeans are big one-eyed boulders that can't be destroyed, though they can be knocked back by Robin's wrench. One found early on can be killed by slamming it into the ceiling with a door, but this isn't an option for any others.
    • The Hazard Armor enemies are special Concern troops that can't be hurt or even stunned. The first time you encounter one is in a pseudo-boss fight where you have to play chicken with it while breaking down an ice block, but later ones just have to be avoided.
    • Blue-eye possessed Bipedro enemies also can't be damaged... by you. However, you need them to break down certain walls for you, so it's probably a good thing that you can't accidentally kill them and render the game Unwinnable. After they are done, there is usually a convenient pit of Spikes of Doom nearby that you can make them run into which will kill them. They also are the game's only non-respawning enemies.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: The short segment where you play as Elro is after Black rips his arm off, so he is slowly limping around and barely leaves the ground when jumping. Despite this, he manages to have an awesome boss fight at the end of the section.
  • Interface Spoiler: There are five save slots, each with a different character's sprite marking it. First is Robin, the player character. Mina, the first player to join your party, is second, followed by your third party member, Royal. This is your first big clue that Elro didn't die with the rest of his family in the Penance, as he's the fourth save icon. Averted with Agent Black, who is the fifth save slot yet never joins the party.
  • Irony: One easy-to-miss example: When asked about One Concern, Yon at the Settlement 17's Church replies that they exist to "enforce His will of a preserved, untouched planet." In reality, One Concern's Ivory mining is the main reason the planet is suffering earthquakes as the planet's crust has difficulty holding itself together and resisting magma beneath, and if things continued the same way, it would have collapsed like the moon. Once One Concern leadership understood this, they opted to build a rocket to escape the planet and potentially relocate the rest of the population there if they had enough time, rather than trying to reverse the process. Moreover, the planet is anything but preserved: Omega Controller changes the shape of the entire continents at its whim. Since its destruction summons the Star Worm, the best One Concern came up with was to execute any map-makers so that the secret wouldn't get out.
  • Ironic Echo: Multiple examples, but one even occurs in the credits: the Ivory spores seen around the planet after Robin restored its original environment through injecting Isi seed into Star Worm's body are the same ones that fly around during the third phase of Agent Black's final fight.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Royal. He means well and can be nice when he's not focusing on himself, but it's clear the One Concern have their claws in him with the whole thing about him being Mother's heir.
    • Elro is fairly nasty to everyone, but he has the best interests of Robin and her friends at heart, and he's been broken by the events of the prologue. In reality, he’s a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, as the traumatic events of the storyline push him into Villain Protagonist territory.
  • Kill the God: Robin sets out to destroy the Starworm after Royal's death, as it's her last option. It works, and in the process reveals it was never a god at all.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Agent Black, who heralds the more serious parts of the story. Especially once she rips off Elro's arm with her bare hands. That's where the story really takes a turn for the darker.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In Isilugar, after Robin defeats the One Concern soldiers, a few of them can be seen in a prison cell, still holding their guns. If you talk with the Isi guard, he says not to worry as they took all their ammo out. This was so Konjak didn't have to make new sprites just for this scene.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the beginning of the game, Agent Black drops a bunch of info on Robin and follows it with "Well, that's your backstory out of the way."
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Mina and Samba have this vibe going on. In the credits, it's revealed that they are indeed a couple, although they made it pretty obvious throughout the game even outside of this trope.
  • Limit Break: Averted. Most bosses tend to become weaker as the battle goes, forced to use less effective and impressive attacks as they become more and more damaged.
  • Lost Technology: At Darland Ascent, it's revealed that the Controllers the One Concern use to enforce their will were reverse-engineered from the Omega Controller during Father's reign, with the technology being lost once the facility had to be abandoned. Sadly for the rest of the world, the pit they pull them from has enough in good enough shape that they're likely to not run out anytime soon.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: On the one hand, Ivory is revered as sacred and powerful for good reason, as it can cause superpowers in those exposed to high amounts of the stuff, ultimately culminating in psychic powers that border on Reality Warping and an absurdly powerful Healing Factor. Not to mention removal of it causes things to turn into a purple dust that inhibits said powers. On the other hand, considering how the birdman piloting the Starworm (AKA Him) treats the stuff, it may just be a strange, mutagenic oil.
    • There's a comparable quandary with the "Penance". While a house being ground down from underneath by a Controller acting as a giant buzzsaw is clearly not magical, it's unclear how much control the One Concern has over the process. Even Black appears genuinely uncertain when she asks Robin if she's the reason for all the Penance in her Settlement, so it's possible all Penance happens because the Omega Controller sent minor Controllers there, while One Concern can at most signal which house they would like destroyed, and ensure City One remains untouched. As such, Mrs. Andress' Penance for creating small maps was probably Omega Controller's own decision to ensure its planet-altering properties are not found out, since no-one besides Mr. Andress appears to have even known of it.
  • Mecha-Mooks: This is One Concern's primary means of offense aside from their troops, mostly showing up in their late-game facilities.
  • Mega Neko: Mother fights you by using her Reality Warper powers to form a giant cat out of pavement, cars, and other objects in the vicinity, which she rides on.
  • Mind Rape: The Starworm is capable of doing this to people, as Robin and Royal find out the hard way. It appears that the Concern is also working on reverse engineering a gun that can replicate the effects. Careful attention will show that their prototype ended up in the hands of a sea captain who uses it to recruit and control his crew... and briefly in Mina's hands, when she fired at Robin. (It was an ineffective misfire. Probably.)
  • Mirror Boss: The Final Boss is a humanoid avian starship pilot/mechanic who fights using a wrench and several different types of Ground Pound.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • From amusing to serious: Mina tells Robin not to point her butt at her seconds before Agent Black gives Royal "The Reason You Suck" Speech, brutalizes and (temporarily) kills him.
    • From serious to amusing: The final boss battle has Robin undergo and break out of Mind Rape fighting against the Starworm, only for a giant muscular bird-person to jump out of it and squawk angrily at her, almost as if he's throwing a tantrum at his Starworm getting wrecked and the depot running low on Ivory.
  • Mook Maker: The Kerthunk mech of the One Concern, and the Inti machine used to move Isilugar, but taken over by the Controller at first are both reduced to spamming weak Controllers in the last stage of their battles.
  • Moral Myopia: Royal has a severe case of Protagonist-Centered Morality. Whereas Mother, whom he is meant to succeed, understands that people living under One Concern accept her as a goddess not just because of her power, but because she's using it for their good (even if it's her theocracy's understanding of good), Royal does not bother to act on anything but his feelings, expects "his people" to surrender their interests to his whims, and doesn't seem to care about killing them when they are in the way. He expresses this most clearly when he's imprisoned in a Detritus-filled room at the One Concern HQ:
    Royal: I have EVERY RIGHT. I am a son of HE, THE ALMIGHTY! What's a train compared to me? What's swordsman Silver compared to me? My choices are divine! Like Mother's!
  • Mr. Exposition: Old man named Yon at the Settlement 17's Church only exists to fill you in on the basic tenets of One Concern's beliefs.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mina's mother is basically a stereotypical Jewish Mother in a setting where Jews don't exist, constantly guilt-tripping her daughter with the usual "You never visit! You're leaving me again! You don't love me!", as well as suggesting Mina get together with that Nice Isi Boy who keeps asking about her. Since she is in a wheelchair, this could also cross over into Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Even though Royal had crossed the Despair Event Horizon and asked to be left behind to die on the decompressing Midway moonbase, Robin obviously still feels enormously guilty for doing so. As soon as she lands back in Blockrock, the first thing she does is sit in the Troubled Fetal Position and cry, and during the Battle in the Center of the Mind portion of the Starworm boss, one of the shadows represents Robin's guilt for leaving behind Royal.
  • Mythology Gag: The Isi lady who's always seen sitting on couches in Isilugar is based on the design for Mina that was used in Mina of the Pirates, one of Konjak's earliest big projects and the origin of Mina's name and base design.
  • Neck Snap: The way Agent Black kills Royal at the Detritus pit at the One Concern West, before Robin drags him to safety where he could revive.
  • New Game+: Beating the game allows you to save a completed file. Continuing the file will restart the game, but keep all of your Tweaks.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It seems that Royal is particularly good at this. First, he accidentally activates and is forced to destroy the Omega Controller, which throws the planet's ecosystem out of balance and summons the Starworm. He heads to City One to confront Mother, which basically allows Chrome to start his rebellion, which sparks a vicious civil war. He also attacks the Starworm when it ignores him, only causing it to be angered and attack the planet. Though that last one may have been for the best, as the attack left a vulnerable spot on the Starworm, and it's likely a fight would have occurred regardless of Royal's assault.
    • You can make a lesser case for every single potential hero, as just about everyone manages to in some way make things ironically worse, betraying the point of their values due to acting on them. Robin being a Heroic Mime is the primary reason she's exempt, as it keeps the audience at just enough of a remove to leave her beliefs if not her motivations ambiguous.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Had the Silver Watchman not tackled Robin and ended up pushing her out of the tower in an attempt to kill her, it's very likely Agent Black would have successfully shot and killed Robin then and there.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Chrome is a cyborg cowboy general with superpowers who's also a cult leader of sorts.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Agent Black is a very pale girl. Agent White is a Scary Black Man.
  • No Name Given: The ending credits list the name of every character, enemy, and boss in the game. Except the Birdman, whose name is left blank.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Agent Black is very much a student of the Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? school of thought. Indeed, she almost shoots Robin point blank in The Tower, and is only stopped by the Silver Watchman tackling Robin through the wall and out of the room they were in due to wanting to kill her himself.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Everything concerning the chemical sorting minigame you have to do to get the grenade launcher attachment. First off, despite being contained in what look like secure boxes, those will combust spontaneously if chemicals are mixed. Furthermore, mixing any amount of triangle-labelled chemicals with circle-labelled chemicals causes a massive Chain Reaction Explosion, so naturally, you'd have to be pretty careful with handling them, right? No, the One Concern soldier carrying the chemicals has no regard to what is being put where, and another one gets bored and instructs him to move faster, giving you less reaction time to put the carrier on the correct level. Finally, once you beat the helicopter boss while on the train, Royal jumps in and blasts the cargo with his powers... except, you can see the triangle and circle labels pasted to the car you're standing on top of, and the subsequent explosion from the mixed chemicals causes the entire train to topple and crash.
  • Not So Stoic: Agent White's death by Ivory-accelerated Isi Seed growth clearly terrifies Agent Black, while Grey's death at the hands of Elro actually made her break down. And that's not getting into her Sanity Slippage in the game's climax.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted. Dr. Gustavo is a medical doctor who says he's not the right kind of doctor to deal with the craziness of the Tower's pupils.
  • One-Time Dungeon: Unusually for a metroidvania, there are several sections in the areas that get locked off through plot progression, such as the Omega Controller tunnels in Darland Ascent and nearly all of One Concern East. Collectibles are never placed in these areas, so no items can be missed in them.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Elro is a notable example of this. First, he loses an eye, but gets off with an Eyepatch of Power. Then, Agent Black rips off his arm, yet he doesn't bleed out (though he does receive medical help from Chrome's army a short while later. He also goes back to wielding his sword in the other hand soon afterwards. Lastly, he is shot in the leg by Mina, severely enough to lose consciousness for a while, and yet eventually comes back to his senses to push the launch button like she wanted from the start. Again he receives medical help afterwards, but it's unclear how much time passed since then.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Mother is essentially the goddess of the One Concern and the ruler of the planet, and yet, she hardly does anything with this power, and simply stays in City One, waiting for the B-17 rocket to get finished and take her to the moon and only venturing out to inspire her "children" where she ends up killed by an angry Mina with Robin's assistance. Everything the One Concern does during the game is initiated by the lower-level leaders, be they Transcended, like Agent Black or General Chrome, or even regular humans, like Ferrier and Darland. It's implied that she's lived for so long, she's beginning to enter the kind of decline seen in Father and Fitzroy, and so her commanders have taken on the active roles, and are already squabbling for succession.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: A combination of ivory blood, the Isi seeds, and the blue eyes causes Agent Black to mutate into a horrific, screaming monster.
  • The Pig Pen: Mina apparently isn't too keen on bathing frequently, since a Running Gag throughout the game is that she smells absolutely awful. During the fight against Ash, she has to hide in the pools of water, since he can smell her when she hides in the bushes.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Mina's melee attack involves using her shotgun like a club.
  • Player Nudge: The boss battle against the Omega Controller starts with a nearby One Concern soldier throwing grenades at it to knock it back, cluing in the player to do the same.
  • Playing with Fire: Mendeleev's powerset.
  • Plot Tunnel: There are large chunks of the game where the plot restricts Robin from backtracking to other areas until she makes enough progress.
    • After Robin washes up at Shard Wasteland, she's locked out of Blockrock until the first act of the game wraps up following Isilugar Labs, since she can't get out of Shard Wasteland without the electified wrench. This plot tunnel has several smaller plot tunnels within: Robin can't return to Shard Wasteland once she gets to Isilugar, and she can't leave Isilugar Labs until she beats Agent White.
    • Once Robin gets captured at the end of Ferrier Shockwood, she has to go through two areas (The Tower and Darland Ascent) with no way of leaving either until Mina unlocks a fast travel station for her.
    • You can't leave One Concern West once you enter it, and after finishing the plot there you have a brief opportunity to fast-travel out of it to resume exploring; go any further, and you enter the first section of the endgame and can't return to exploring until right before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Mother blames Royal for hastening the end of the world by destroying an Omega Controller, whose demise sent out a signal to the Starworm to come down, and made the earthquakes afflicting the planet from Ivory loss completely uncontrollable. However, Mother (and the other One Concern officials) are also partially at fault because none of them bothered telling Royal anything that was going on, namely that Ivory mining has left the planet on the brink of destruction, destroying the Omega Controller would just make things worse, and the One Concern has been working on a rocket to help at least part of humanity escape before it's too late.
    • Not to mention that apparently, no One Concern official dared to tell her how Agent White died, and so her reaction at Mina jamming seeds into her is bewilderment, rather than horror and desire to stop the fight. Robin is obviously not allowed to mention this as well.
      • This is doubtful. Agent Black most certainly told her. It's just as likely that Mother is so haughty and arrogant, she simply didn't believe that a small number of seeds would kill her. Her behavior underlines that: She doesn't appear frightened until it's far too late, and even then shows defiance.
    • Equally, when Royal first suggests his plan to see Mother to heal Elro, neither Robin nor Elro himself bother to tell him that Elro murdered an agent unprovoked, and so is highly unlikely to receive help at the best of times. Of course, Royal also neglects to mention that he's merely talking about spiritual healing rather than physical healing; had the rest of the party known from the start, they likely wouldn't have bothered trying to confront Mother in the first place.
    • Then, Robin was already told by Teegan how Elro's serum works when she faces Chrome at the Bastion. Yet, she again cannot mention the part about binary compounds, which might have dissuaded Chrome from exposing himself to the syringe.
      • In fairness, that scene is ambiguous. It was mostly done in a flashback, and there's nothing in the dialogue to indicate that Teegan re-told Robin what happened. Furthermore, Chrome was going to kill Robin as part of his plan to spare the planet from the Starworm. If Robin knew, it was unlikely she was going to say anything about it.
    • Nobody bothered to fill General Chrome in on the details of the "flee the planet" plan. His anger at learning about the plan and finding out that he and his men were going to be left behind is part of what inspires him to kick off the Enemy Civil War.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The blue eyes you encounter in the Dark Cave (and seemingly everywhere else since) have this power. You'll occasionally find them stuck to the local wildlife and even to robots, although it doesn't seem to change their behavior much (most are hostile to you either way). When the Silver Watchman gets possessed, their influence becomes much more evident. You find him catatonic staring blankly into space, and later he fights by wildly swinging his sword around, completely abandoning his former precise, teleport-powered fighting style. The... thing that is possessing him even does so by attaching a tentacle to his head and dragging him around like a puppet on a string.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Purple seems to be the signature colour of the One Concern, The Theocracy that rules the planet.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Reborns — Lawrence, Nobel, and Mendeleev — who are fought at One Concern East.
  • Rage Breaking Point: While Black never did like Chrome, this reaches its nadir in One Concern West when Chrome reveals that City One is willing to ditch all of One Concern on a dying planet.
    Chrome: Children... This is a tumultuous moment. We lack our prior comforts. What little we had. Frustrations rise... Questions become loud inquiries. But it is a time where we must first give sacrifice, so that together we can achieve greatness beyond what we had. What have you given up in the chase of a dream? Would you risk your own life? Perhaps... Perhaps you would, knowing your dream had been thwarted by someone else... ?
    Black: Chrome... ?
    Chrome: I have learned much. Your dreams are set. You exist solely to produce a rocket. It's a vessel meant only for mindless children, to leave you behind, and to die from a tragedy Royal has brought upon you.
    Black: *leaps off of the couch, doing a double Angry Fist-Shake* CHROME!!
    Chrome: Royal angered the almighty HIM and He is coming to answer Royal's sins. Your "royalty" has only brought you doom, but I bring you a solution. You have withstood much frustration, all from your set place in society. I spend every day seeing you suffer. Follow me, and I will have dialogue with Mother, and save the good, honest people here and elsewhere.
    Black: *entire head turns a deep shade of red* WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
    Chrome: Fated sister, you told me to not selfishly give thought only to individuals. I am here now, thinking of us all.
    *Black leaps to the podium and punches Chrome off of it*
    Black: SHUT... UP!!
    Chrome: Fated sister, you are still emotional and blinded from your grief. You must take your time to come to your-
    *Black tackles Chrome and proceeds to lay him out*
    • Mina and Elro never really did see eye-to-eye, but when she and Elro trek all the way to the buttons to launch the rocket with Robin and Royal into space, only for Elro to refuse to press his and begin walking to the rocket to retrieve Robin, Mina is so fed up with him that she blasts him in the leg with her shotgun.
  • Railroading:
    • There's no getting around leaving Royal to die on a decompressing Midway, as one scanner is pulled too far away from the door to work while you're carrying him, and the other is just flat out broken, meaning trying to use the Usurper Shot to position him near it would be pointless even if it did work. The game even twists the knife by giving you way more time than you need to escape, as if to suggest that there is actually a way to save him when there isn't.
    • Far more egregious example at City One. Usually, you are locked into a boss battle by the One Concern metal doors activating behind you. However, this doesn't happen when fighting Mother, because all she wants is for you to get out of the way, and let her converse with her people in peace. She even offers to talk to you at the Bastion at first, before ordering Bastion Elites to escort you there. Yet, you are forced to fight regardless, the way out blocked by an Invisible Wall, even though the reason you wanted to meet her in the first place was so that she could heal Elro, which she obviously can't do at all once she's dead.
  • Rainbow Speak: Anything important is usually highlighted in red. This includes hints and things that may not seem important at the time ("cartography?").
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Agent Black gives a long one to Royal when she encounters him in the detritus pit outside One Concern West, where he can't use his powers, and after he killed Silver Watchman A fragment of it below:
    Black: You are a sheltered child. You don't know rejection. The world will die within days because of you. You are now the antithesis of everything you hoped to be.
    Royal: What are you talking about?
    Black: How would you rule, Royal? When was the last time you could feel for another person? You are a faultless production. Never had discomfort. Never had true misery. You could never relate to people. You're beyond change.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Two bladed Controllers are fought in the game: one with Robin as a Warm-Up Boss in Blockrock, and another with Mina in Ferrier Shockwood.
    • The Silver Watchman is fought four times. The first three fights are in The Tower, with one and two being Duel Boss encounters and the third being a gimmick fight inside a tiny elevator. You face him one last time in Dark Cave, where he’s being used as a puppet by the Possessed Thunk, a Kerthunk mecha infested with the blue eyeballs.
    • Agent Black is the boss of both One Concern West and the Rocket Platform, where she's technically fought three times; once as an invincible enemy while activating the rocket, another time as a true rematch in front of the rocket, and then as the Ivory Beast, which has two forms.
  • Relationship Values: Say the right things to a few characters and the Battle in the Center of the Mind right before the Final Boss has one or more phases become easier by stunning them once you activate a switch, and Mina might join you for the Final Boss itself.
  • Retraux: The Ivory Springs version was very much so, and the newer version still has elements like square flowers. However, they have become a plot element, being a sign that the planet is artificial, and everything is made of Ivory. Isi still possess seeds of real plants from Earth, which are round and contain no Ivory (thus Royal can't manipulate them).
  • Right Hand vs. Left Hand: The upper echelons of One Concern are rather disorganized, thanks to an unfortunate combination of poor communication, differing ideologies, and a lack of strong, decisive leadership from Mother. As such, they often end up getting in each other's way, before things break down into a total Enemy Civil War.
  • Ring-Out Boss:
    • Once reduced to just a head, all the Carver machine in Ferrier Shockwood can do is spin its blades to produce debris. Elro will jam his sword into the blades to lock them up, at which point Robin has to charge up and grab a rail to ram into the head and knock it back; this repeats for a while, with Robin occasionally dislodging Elro’s sword from the ceiling, until the Carver nearly falls off a cliff (the "abyss" was only a few feet deep, but the Controller that Mina was chasing pops out and wrecks it).
    • Mendeleev works somewhat like this. If she's shot while she's in the air outside of her fiery mode, she gets knocked back and temporarily stunned. If she falls into an active electric current in this state, she gets zapped and loses a lot more health than she does from individual shotgun blasts.
  • Relationship Reveal: Though they made it glaringly obvious throughout the game, the ending credits show Mina and Samba reuniting for the first time since rescuing her from the Tower... and promptly start passionately making out.
  • Rocket Fist: Inti does this during the first phase of its battle.
  • Sad Battle Music: The final fight against Black has this, though it stops being sad once she goes One-Winged Angel. The same sad music returns outside of battle when you are escaping from Midway, and are forced to leave Royal behind to die.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Agent Black's sanity doesn't slip away so much as take a running leap off of the deep end after the first time you beat her in One Concern West's detritus pit. We don't see the actual process, but once she shows up again at One Concern East for her rematch, she's clearly not in the best place, mentally speaking.
    • Mother's Corners are an even more severe example. When they are first seen in the flesh (after being featured on multiple wall frescoes earlier) next to Mother, they are giving measured advice just before the battle that kills her. The next time you encounter them, they have devolved to killing all the Tower pupils they can find in a belief this will bring Mother back, and crying out for your blood once they encounter you.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The plight of the acolytes Mother was grooming in isolation to be the chosen ones to escape to Midway. Mina leaves the entrance to the Tower open, allowing the acolytes to wander into the outside world for the first time. Unfortunately, the result is that many of them die from the elements or are murdered by Mother's Corners, with the few surviving ones devolving into Lord of the Flies level dysfunction.
    • Royal's plan to communicate with the Starworm as well, though in this case the Shaggy Dog is agent Black. Having lost everything, Black found one last point of stability in guarding the rocket from anyone who would dare to use it. This unfortunately included the one person capable of beating her in a fight. The really sad part comes from the fact her death might have been avoided if Royal had waited for the Star Worm to descend to Earth, and then joined Robin as she would have tried to fight the Starworm anyway, allowing Black to live.
      • Then again, once Royal triggered Star Worm's arrival by destroying the Omega Controller, the best thing to do was probably to just wait for His arrival and get ready for a fight. Going to City One and killing Mother accomplished nothing; Chrome might have still triggered a civil war once Mother rejected his overtures, but it would have likely ended in a stalemate, and Mother would have escaped like she planned. It might not have been just, but at least the pupils wouldn't have died.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The One Concern Defenders, who attack by producing a blue Shockwave Stomp, and are immune to regular melee and ranged attacks from the front due to their shields. They are still somewhat affected by the bomb detonations, but the easiest way to knock them out is through Goomba Stomp.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The fight against Possessed Thunk involves damaging the Silver Watchman (who is being puppeted around on blue eye strings) until he falls over, then attacking the main boss while it repairs the strings. Eventually, the boss gives up on this and starts charging at Robin, though fortunately it's Weakened by the Light.
  • Shock and Awe: Robin's wrench gets an upgrade that lets her charge it with electricity by spinning it, and a second upgrade that lets her bombs and missiles become charged as well. The Birdman can do the same thing with his wrench.
    • Pure electric attacks (not counting blue energy Shockwave Stomp attacks) are also used by One Concern's Spotters, which have electricity running along their whole body to prevent you from jumping on them and Agent Black, who can zap lightning on ground level, as well as Isi's Inti machine, which zaps lightning from its fingers during the first phase of its battle, when it's taken over by a Controller during the One Concern attack on Isilugar.
  • Shockwave Stomp: A shockwave of blue energy running along the ground at a considerable height, and often in both directions, is an attack frequently associated with One Concern forces like Defenders, Silver Watchman Mother and even the Isi toolboxes that were taken over by the Controllers.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Handily averted by Mina’s pilfered shotgun, which has more range than any of Robin’s gun types, but absolutely no spread.
  • Sigil Spam: Everything belonging to One Concern has their hollow triangle symbol plastered all over it.
  • Signpost Tutorial: By means of signs that you walk past that expand to show how to perform commands. Some reappear in The Tower to serve as reminders as you recollect your equipment.
  • Skeleton Motif: Seen in the second and third boss of the game - the One Concern's Kerthunk mech and Isi's Kibuka walker. Even though they are made by two diametrically opposed sides of the conflict, and fight in a different manner, both still feature a body section shaped like a skull.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Robin wields a massive wrench, although her actual gun is appropriately sized, as is Mina's shotgun. Agent Black, however, shows up for her rematch wielding a rocket launcher with a length that's nearly double her height.
  • Smug Super: As polite as he's capable of being, Royal has pretty clearly let his psionic powers influence how he perceives others. Mother doesn't display this nearly as openly, but the fact that she seems pretty comfortable with everyone else being considered lesser than her has to indicate something about her personality.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Dr. Gustavo has an unspecified genetic disease, which makes him somewhat of a social outcast among the Isi since their culture highly values procreation and he refuses to have children since they would inherit his disease.
  • The Social Darwinist: Lawrence takes a full tilt into this after Mother's death. By the time he's confronted by Elro, he's gleefully shot multiple One Concern soldiers and executes the last one point-blank while giving a speech on how they must become ever stronger to be the best protectors. He continues to spout quotes of this nature all the way through his battle.
  • Spin Attack: In the Possessed Thunk fight the Silver Watchman it controls swings his sword so fast he resembles a buzzsaw, especially since he's hanging on a string a few feet off the ground the whole time.
  • The Spiny: The first enemies encountered are small spiny creatures called Pluro, which can't be stomped at, but are easily shot or defeated with a wrench.
    • Then, there are the Squints, which are much stronger enemies of this nature encountered in the Isilugar Depths. They are heavily armored, and positioned in such a way that simply stunning them with a bomb shot still leaves their spiny backs blocking the path. Instead, you must curve it in such a way that it detonates the explosive tip of their tail.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • Early in the game, Robin has to escape from jail by crawling through the community center’s attic. The Concern soldiers having a break near the bar will periodically laugh loudly at each other’s crude jokes, allowing Robin to crawl forward unheard until she can get away.
    • The fight with Ash is a stealth-based boss. Ash is invisible, and if he sees Robin or Mina out of hiding, he’ll rush to them (regardless of who the player is controlling) and slam them into the ground for unavoidable damage. To hurt Ash, the duo has to stay in hiding spots (there are bushes and puddles to hide in, but Mina can only hide in puddles) until he starts wandering around; his location is signaled by sound waves and rustling grass, and he’s vulnerable to attack at this time.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Sure, Elro, let's ask your sister to repair the technology in your home, as is explicitly forbidden and punished to death by One Concern, right when the One Concern agents are around the place, and not, say, a couple days later! It's particularly galling given that Black and the rest were in a rush, and would have soon had to leave to meet Royal at Chrome's camp, while he wanted repairs done for the winter, so there was absolutely no rush.
  • The Stoic: Agent Black, whose main emotions seem to be apathy and annoyance.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Agent Black's habitual attitude. It's not so much that she's actually smarter as a combination of a permanent migraine (duplicating the usual effect of the trope) and having no real ideology beyond her job of keeping things functioning while being surrounded by idealists who believe nothing should be done except in accordance with their personal value system or religion.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: In its first phase, the Kerthunk boss can only be damaged when it throws its metal arm in the center of the screen.
  • Technical Pacifist: All of Robin's attacks only kill the local wildlife, and destroy robotic enemies and machines. Human enemies are merely knocked out, with visible circling stars above their heads. Throughout the entire story, she only ever directly kills one person out of necessity: Agent Black. In contrast, Mina's shotgun and Elro's sword actually do kill human enemies.
  • Teleport Spam: The Silver Watchman's main ability, which he uses to dodge your attacks as well as close the distance to strike with his sword.
  • Tennis Boss: Happens in the first phases of the Possessed Thunk boss fight where you have to knock back the charged projectile generated by the possessed Silver Watchman, which he can also knock back to you a couple of times before failing at that. Then again, you can just jump upwards to dodge that attack entirely.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The Agents are all named after shades of grey: Black, White, Ash, and, er, Grey.
    • Other Transcended individuals in the Concern are named after metals: The Silver Watchman and General Chrome.
    • The Reborns appear to be named after famous scientists: Mendeleev, Nobel, and Lawrence. Elements 101, 102 and 103 of the periodic table are named after these scientists, furthering the shared theme.
    • All the areas in the game are named after one of the One Concern's human officials:
      • Blockrock - Bea Blockrock
      • Glass Strait - Joseph Glass
      • Shard Desert - Oliver Shard
      • Ferrier Shockwood - Aisling Ferrier
      • Darland Ascent - Emmet Darland
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mina and Robin. Mina carries a large shotgun, bashes things with its butt, has enough body odor that a trained hunter can track her by scent, and gets angry a lot. Her chosen profession at the start of the game is wandering the world looking for stuff to take. Robin may be a mechanic with an oversized wrench, but also carries a small stun pistol (see Technical Pacifist), apparently bathes regularly, gets flustered, embarrassed, or scared far more easily, and even dolls up her hair. Her chosen profession at the start of the game is to fix up and nurture a settlement near where she lives. This distinction is on display in the fight against Mother, wherein Robin counters and dodges Mother's attacks, occasionally stunning Mother and pulling her out from protection while Mina is the one to do the actual damage against her by shoving seeds into her body, after Robin has made her vulnerable.
  • Underwater Base: Pretty much what Isilugar is. It's implied that it was a former colony ship used to settle this planet by humans from the original Earth.
  • Undying Loyalty: The basic One Concern Mooks all have complete loyalty to General Chrome, and refuse to let anyone but Chrome and possibly his Number Two Tolo order them around. Not the Elite Mooks of the Bastion, not the Agents, not even Mother herself. They all universally back Chrome when he rebels against Mother, and go to war against Bastion Elites, who were loyal only to Mother herself. Even after Chrome dies, the end-game credits show the few surviving ones paying respects at his grave.
  • The Unfought: General Chrome is never fought in true combat. He rides on the helicopter that you fight at the end of Shard Wasteland, but all he does is quote One Concern scripture while the helicopter is piloted by a generic Mook. He is ultimately killed by Elro’s serum at the end of City One.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Swimming of all things follows real-life rules. You can mash the jump button to swim faster, but your Oxygen Meter will deplete more quickly. By swimming at your default, agonizingly slow speed, you conserve oxygen much better and can cover far more distance. The game never tells you this, and knowing it is required to reach Fitzroy. It's impossible even with three Breathlesses equipped if you mash.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: You'd think the Silver Watchman would be a little more grateful that you freed him from his blue eye possession. He still tries to kill you again the next time you see him, but quickly subverted when he planted his sword to the ground, a common visual shorthand of a warrior's salute. Pity Royal came crashing on him, and drowned him.
  • Villain Protagonist: Elro, whose stubbornness and selfishness nearly doom the planet to destruction several times over. His controlling nature with Robin and fear for her after losing his wife and child also cause several problems throughout the game and result in a needlessly antagonistic relationship with Mina. His Revenge Before Reason attitude also results in his arm getting torn off by someone much stronger than he is, wounding him even further.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Chrome. Some of the Isi men also wear open shirts.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Even the most tyrannical of One Concern's rules do have a reasoning behind them. Executing the unlicensed mechanics who work with Ivory? The whole planet is made of Ivory, and its consumption is causing earthquakes and will lead to the planet's crust collapsing, so they cannot allow it to happen faster than they can finish building the rockets that would take the people elsewhere. Making cartography a capital crime as well? The planet is artificial, and it's constantly changing due to the Omega Controller, who was left behind by the Star Worm itself and so cannot be touched for fear of summoning it. There are even hints that the Omega Controller can trigger Penance itself to cover up its own existence.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There are quite a number of NPCs and side characters that are briefly seen but never mentioned again. For example:
    • Thor and Thandie finally manage to reach City One, right on the same day civil war breaks out between Chrome and Mother's factions. They are never seen or mentioned again.
    • We never see any sort of resolution regarding Mina's strained relationship with her mother.
    • The last we see of Royal, Robin is forced to leave him behind in the decompressing Midway moonbase. It's not clear if he actually died or not, but seeing as he's effectively immortal with the only known methods of permanently dispatching him being the seeds or Elro's serum, it's highly likely he's still stranded up there, dying and regenerating endlessly.
  • Where It All Began: The entrance to the last stretch of the game before the Final Boss opens up in the exact same spot where you fought the very first boss.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Leticia sure doesn't, as noted when Robin defeats Fitzroy.
    "Eternity" is only the dream of irresponsible children. Nothing with a propensity for fear would ever endure eternity.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Agent Black nearly says this word-for-word when Chrome insists on going through an unnecessary execution scene.
  • World-Healing Wave: One occurs after Robin injects an Isi seed into Star Worm's corpse, which contained extraordinary amounts of Ivory. This causes natural, "round" plants, rather than the artificial square ones, to sprout all over the planet. It had also stopped the earthquakes, which were a precursor to the planet's crust collapsing apart due to being weakened by Ivory mining.
  • Wrench Wench: The heroine, Robin, to the point of having a gigantic wrench that is used for most of the gameplay.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Mendeleev gets zapped in this manner if she falls into an electricity bar during her fight.
  • You Are in Command Now: Tolo inherits command of what remains of Chrome's forces after Chrome's death.
  • Your Head Asplode: The demise of Agent Black's final form, preceded by her uttering "HEAD...ACHE" for one final time.
  • You Killed My Father: Though it's not exactly clear what caused the death of Robin and Elro's father, Elro clearly lays the blame on the Concern. This is what causes him to create his anti-Ivory chemical which he uses to kill Agent Grey.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The final shadow creature during the final boss's first phase can be shot without any resistance. If the player lets it crawl to the other side, it ends up exploding anyway.

Alternative Title(s): The Iconoclasts

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