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Video Game / Mush The Dawn

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They all want to survive. Not all want everyone to.

Mush is an MMO released by Motion Twin studios. You play as one of sixteen characters aboard the spaceship Daedalus. However, two of the crew members have been infected by an alien species known as the titular Mush. The goal of the Mush is to convert all to the Mush Singularity, or at least kill everyone, while the humans need to make sure everything on the ship isn't constantly going haywire while trying to return home. Among all of this, the ship's AI Neron watches everyone, sometimes being helpful, other times... less than helpful.

Following the end-of-life of Flash, the game has essentially become defunct, although there have been a few efforts from both fans and the devs to keep the game playable - you can find some of the extensions [[!view/104909|thread/65331495 here]].


Tropes that appear in this work include:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Zig-Zagged with Neron. Sometimes, she'll seem helpful, and other times...
    ''Alert: the Daedalus hasn't fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair in waaaay too long, I'll have to remedy that."
    • It is worth noting, however, that she never seems to actually do anything.
    • This is all intentional, oddly enough. A robopsychologist on the ship designed a security algorithm that was based on the program and the intended user to have a special personality connection. It proves vital in the escape of the ship when its compound is stormed by the Mush, delaying the attackers and allowing it and the crew to escape in the Daedalus.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Your ship starts out with 32 units of oxygen, and you lose exactly one every cycle - unless the tanks are broken, or a player removes some from the tanks, of course...
  • All There in the Manual: There is a surprising amount of backstory for several of the characters in the Biography section. In addition to this, Mush has different "seasons" in which two characters are swapped out - these characters are always Finola/Chao and Derek/Andie. The reason for this is not explained in the game proper, but on the wiki, you can read that this is due to each season taking place in an alternate timeline - one where Finola was successfully kidnapped by Kuan-Ti & Chao and put into cryostasis on the ship, but Derek was lost, and one where Finola anticipates their arrival and leaves a series of traps that lead to the death of Chao and force Derek to retreat. In this timeline, Derek's survival is what draws Andie to the ship, as they are an admirer of Derek's.
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  • Amusing Injuries: Failed attacks can result in this. It's entirely possible to try shooting someone at point blank range, only for you to toss your gun back onto the shelf and bruise your shoulder. The game even has a special death message for situations like this - "Putting the FUN in Funeral."
  • And I Must Scream: Becoming Mush is this for the characters - they are aware of what is happening to them but cannot stop it (unless they are converted back to human with RFS), and are often forced to kill or infect their former friends.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Players have "movement points" and "action points". AP is required to do pretty much every basic task, such as attacking a player, repairing an object, cooking, finding planets, flying patrol ships, and so on. MP is, as the name suggests, used to move between rooms, and a player with no MP will be stuck right where they are. Points are regained once a cycle, which is three hours in real time. In general, a player will only gain 1 AP/MP on cycle change, severely limiting the amount of actions one can take in a day, but resting in a bed or having certain traits can change the rate of gaining AP dramatically.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The blasters, while seeming to be the best weapons available, only have 3 shots per blaster, 2-3 damage per shot, and 50% chance to hit. There is a small chance of an instant headshot, but the likelihood of this happening before the blaster runs out of shots is extremely low.
    • The microwave, which allows players to cook food for no AP cost, also has a significant chance to sever the connection between the ship and Sol, meaning that no rebel bases can be contacted and no research into Xyloph can be conducted. This makes the microwave a particularly dangerous item, and using it at any point is almost a guarantee to get a player killed on suspicion of being Mush.
    • The grenade, which damages everyone in the room it is used in and has a range of 0-10 damage, potentially killing multiple people at once - but it also damages the player who uses it, and if NERON Core Peace is activated, it will immediately out the player who uses it as Mush, as only Mush can use it while this setting is active.
    • The MAD Kube. You will receive a 5+ bonus to Glory if you solve it... but it costs 1 AP to try, and you only have a 10% chance of success every attempt. It is nothing more than an AP sink to even attempt to use it.
    • The different drugs from the Narcotics Distiller can be this if the player doesn't have the Doctor, Biologist, Medic, or Nurse skill, since only players with those skills can see what each drug does, and the effects are completely random - for example, one pill might give +2 to AP, but -2 to Morale, which can be dangerous if a player is already low on Morale.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The knife - there's only one and it has potential to do even less damage than the blaster, but it also has a 60% chance to hit, a wider damage range (1-5), and a similar instant-kill potential to the blaster, all while having no charge requirement to use it.
    • The Plastenite armor - it has the potential to absorb one hit point of damage per hit. As the average player will, at best, have 12 AP, and it costs 2 AP per attack, this is a significant boon. Generally held by Chun as she will be the Mush's first target for elimination.
    • The Stainproof apron. Just as the name implies, it keeps the wearer from getting dirty while performing almost any activity (as every activity has a varying percentage to make the player dirty). As the majority of the ship's functions require the player to be clean to access them, this is an indispensable item and holding onto it for too long is one of the best ways to either draw suspicion to yourself or to get yourself killed (so that you'll drop it).
    • Hydropots - just a flower pot that can be used to plant things in. Also becomes CRUCIAL to have as many filled ones as possible toward the end of the game, as oxygen planets are difficult to come by and different plants will replenish the amount of oxygen lost on cycle change.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can buy gold mode, which lets you pick FOUR skills for each character instead of one. Gold mode unlocks a couple things permanently, resulting in silver mode once Gold mode expires.
  • Enemy of My Enemy:
    • When the Hunters put too much pressure on the ship, even Mushed crew members (depending on who controls them) may jump into the fray and protect the ship from imminent destruction.
    • A meta example for this is the presence of a griefer on a ship. Even while he usually "helps" the mush players, he still aims to spoil the fun for everybody else and so it happens that, while officially against the rules, it's not unusual to declare an unspoken ceasefire between Humans and mush until the griefer is removed from the game (whether by being reported or killed) so that everybody can help with the issue.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Exploited. Raluca has the skill "Genius", which allows her to bring any one research or project to 100% completion. Useful for anything like the Retro-fungal serum or the plasma shield, although only usable once per game.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Except for Chun, everyone aboard the ship has potential to be Mush or to be converted to Mush. The only exception to this is the rare case in which a game begins without any Mush - this can happen if a game does not fill before selection (Day 5, Cycle 2), at which point the characters in cryo are considered "inactive," and the game will randomly choose which players will be Mush. If both characters chosen are still in cryo, they will be completely inert, leaving an entire ship of only humans.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Mush spores can be transmitted sexually. The number of spores transmitted is doubled if it results in pregnancy.
  • G-Rated Sex: Doing The Thing is regulated to a line or two of text, taken from the perspective of someone outside the room.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Until they mutate, Mush look perfectly human. However, they are capable of altering their genomes and can gain traits such as acidic saliva or the ability to create slime traps. They also produce spores which can be used to infect humans.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Implied by the Mush, of all characters. Taking a shower as a mush will result in your character stating that they'd do anything to switch places with a human.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Mush managing to make it back to Sol or Eden with the humans is considered an instant Mush win.
  • Kill It with Water: A side effect from the conversion. Mush are actually damaged by water, which can make showering difficult.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: A definite possibility, considering Mush may do something that will incriminate any other living Mush. It helps that killing a Mush tends to get people to respect and trust you more.
  • Luck-Based Mission: And how. Planetary expeditions, even with the best preparations, might have an equal chance of netting you a rare artifact or killing a crew member. The randomized matchup makes it so that if a player with a high Mush level or with a Gold status is selected to be a Mush, the trip will be a lot harder than it would be with an inexperienced, Bronze-level Mush. And fires, malfunctions and accidents can happen at any time anywhere on the ship, potentially damaging vital systems such as the hydroponic farm and oxygen reservoirs before anyone has a chance to act. The whole game can be summed up as the players banding together and resisting everything the RNG throws at them.
  • Morale Mechanic: Morale goes down whenever a character dies, at day change, and under a few specific circumstances. The lower it is, the more likely you are to contract a psychological illness, and when it reaches zero, your character will kill themselves at cycle change.
  • No Saving Throw: There's no way to resist the Mush skill Transfer, which allows a Mush to take over the body of a human player who has been spored. Any Mush who uses this will often kill their original body and play mimic with their new character, which can lead to attentive players noticing any out of character behavior.
    • Conversely, there's no way for Mush to fake double eating (or what players call a "food test"). Mush can only eat once per cycle, and gain nothing from doing so; it's purely for the purpose of mimicry. Due to this, it is against the rules for any player to force another player to double eat to prove their humanity, and doing so will generally result in a swift ban.
  • Not Good with People: Raluca. She loses morale points when in the same room with other people. She's also the only one who can pick up the cat without getting scratched.
    • Her second level gives her an ability which shields her from morale penalties when crew members die. But she takes -4 (compared to the -1 you get when a crew member dies) when her cat dies.
  • The Prankster: Roland Zuccali takes this to ridiculous levels, having once pushed Eleesha Williams out of a plane as a joke.
  • Pregnant Badass: Besides occasional nausea, pregnancies don't impede female crewmembers in any task, including participating in risky expeditions, piloting fighter ships or even fighting against the Mush.
  • Properly Paranoid: Someone usually is trying to kill you. Short of killing at random to find the Mush, it's hard to be too paranoid.
    • A skill of Gioele, properly named Paranoid, gives him two extra cameras to place in the ship at the start of the game.
    • Chun is even worse off than the others, as she has no one she can trust 100%. While the other humans always know they can trust her as she is immune to the mush and the mush always knowing who is mush and who is human, she is all alone, surrounded by potential enemies.
  • Sex for Solace: Morale can get low after a series of deaths, and if the psychologist is no longer with you, there aren't a lot of ways to get it back up. Hop in an empty room with a bed, no camera, and flirt with someone of the opposite sex, and PRESTO. Morale is through the roof!
  • Social Deduction Game: Like Mafia before it, the humans must figure out who aboard their ship is part of the treacherous Mush before they either take over the ship or destroy it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a poster of Hamtaro in the Bravo Dorm.
    • The Lizaro Jungle, a rifle already appearing in Minitroopers, also appears in this game.
    • A Portal Gun shows up in the intro.
    • The Mush themselves. Once mutated they look suspiciously like a Zygon.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: If a character with a title (such as Paola, who is Communications Officer) dies or becomes inactive, the title is passed down to the next person in a set order of command, and that person assumes the role and the responsibilities.
  • Talking to Himself: Whoever is the Neron Admin may end up doing this a lot, since there's a setting that lets them make Neron talk.
  • The Virus: The titular Mush; after being spored enough, the player will be taken over by the will of the Mush.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: If all human crew members are killed, NERON will jettison the remaining players into space as a last-ditch effort to remove the Mush. Surviving Mush are granted quite a bit of points for attaining this ending, since not only they have to evade the humans' investigations, but also hold the ship together when more than half of the uninfected crew bite the dust.
  • Tutorial Failure: The tutorial is blatantly self-destructive and flat out wrong about some things. For instance, it says that you will regain points at cycle change based off of your morale and HP. However, the amount actually depends on whether or not you're in a bed, or if someone in the room has Logistics. In addition to that, it also completely neglects to share certain information with you, such as that you can die in the tutorial - the game will put you into starvation mode immediately in order to show how eating resolves it, but you still lose health every cycle you don't eat and will die once you run out.
  • Viral Transformation: Again, the Mush - the spread of spores turns humans into the Mush.
  • Zeerust: Invoked with many of the character designs in the game - they very much look like a 60s interpretation of what space age characters would look like. Special mention goes to Eleesha, Finola, and Janice.