Its full title is Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream — at least, that's what it says in English on the cover — and it does, in fact, have a Dream Land-y, Lewis Carroll sort of a feel. The heroine, Arsia Poach (a name that confounds everyone who's written about this game outside of Japan,) is an ordinary student who has a figurative rabbit hole open under her while attending her town's summer festival. In a case of Mistaken Identity, she is accidentally grim-reaped by a bumbling rookie "Spirit Guide" and taken to Napple World, a realm that lies in the boundary between the Real World and the Deep Dream (a.k.a. the afterlife).
No sooner does Arsia (constantly referred to as Poach) arrive in Napple World than she loses her "petals", six spirits that allowed her to exist in the real world. She's stuck in Napple World without them, so she goes on a quest to get them back and go home. Her petals escaped into the four seasons that lie beyond the charmingly quirky haven of Napple Town, and to make matters worse, the seasons have been in a state of chaos lately, swarming with monsters. So Straynap, the Spirit Guide who got her in this mess, volunteers to put Poach up in his ice cream shop in Napple Town, and lend her his wisdom to navigate the wilderness. (Which is worth more than it looks.)
It's imaginative, yet very orthodox in gameplay. And intentionally, unabashedly girly. And it's kind of a cakewalk too. It's no mystery Napple Tale wasn't on many Anglophone radars, but it's still a shame, since the game is a lovingly crafted 2½D Platform Action RPG. It's also the only game with a mayor who's part frog, part car or a flamboyant cow who tends a milk bar, and that's a promise.
This work contains examples of :
- Action Bomb: The green monsters in Secret Garden fly into rages and then explode once they are attacked.
- Action Girl: She runs, she solves puzzles, she does flippy double jumps!
- All Just a Dream: In the end, Poach wakes up in the Summer Festival square and sees the inspirations for the people and places she dreamed about in the festival booths. Though it doesn't stop Straynap from appearing at her house during the game's epilogue.
- Alternate Self: Many of the characters exist in two places — one in Napple Town and another one out in the seasons. They aren't identical, but they are linked to each other.
- Animal-Vehicle Hybrid: Frocar, anthropomorphic frog on top and automobile on the bottom.
- Attack Reflector: Projectiles and even enemies bounce off of Poach's racket and fly off the screen.
- Badass Adorable: Arsia/Poach
- Collection Sidequest: The coins scattered throughout the levels are redeemed for cards and items in the Collection Room. The items can be decoded into MIS, and the cards are just for the fun of it...and 100% completion.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Paffets are excluded from boss fights. Straynap explains that paffets are afraid of bosses, since bosses are the source of the abnormalities effecting Napple World.
- Door to Before: Most levels end with a platform that contains a sign announcing that a boss is ahead, and an exit gate that will return Poach to the area map.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Most citizens of Napple Town fit this bill.
- Frocar, who is an anthropomorphic frog on top and an automobile on the bottom. He's the mayor or Napple Town.
- Mele looks like an Indian-eqse street performer although he's proprietor of a toy shop. He is very supportive of Poach and gives her helpful items on a regular basis.
- Jackson, an anthropomorphic cow who tends a bar that serves milk.
- The ironically named Mr. Littlemoney is a tight-fisted miser.
- Cecille is elegant and polite, but painfully shy. She seldom leaves her house anymore.
- The classy-looking Ms. Madam is tragically bored, and Poach has to create ways to entertain her.
- Faceless Masses: Bystanders in the Real World have blank faces.
- Forced Tutorial: There's no way to skip past Piero's initial gameplay tutorial.
- Going Through the Motions: As is often the case with Dreamcast games, most characters only have a small set of repetitive animation cycles that they go through when the player interacts with them.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The aim of the game is to retrieve Poach's petals so she can return home.
- Hair-Raising Hare: The March Hare boss is a surprisingly intimidating figure who attacks with a giant pocket watch.
- Heart Container: Poach's life meter takes the form of pieces of fruit. Collect 4 Napple Seeds to grow a Napple Flower, and she gains an extra fruit.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: When she arrives in Napple World, Poach switches from a school uniform to a Gem-Encrusted outfit reminiscent of windup toys and Magical Girl costumes, featuring Giant Poofy Sleeves.
- Infinity +1 Element: The 7th Petal.
- Inner Monologue: Napple Tale has exactly one voice actor: Maaya Sakamoto as Poach. The only dialogue she delivers is an Opening Monologue, and wrap-up after recovering a petal.
- The Insomniac: The Napple Town version of Alice looks exhausted all the time because she is afraid of going to sleep. She is not moody though; she's actually quite nice. Being a blatant Alice Allusion, she invites Poach to a tea party to try to feel more alert.
- An Interior Designer Is You: More of an exterior designer really. The player has the option of filling Napple Town with "furniture paffets", but most of them only install once townsfolk request them.
- Item Crafting: Or in this case, mon crafting. By decoding MIS from items and using collected recipes, it's possible to create creatures called paffets that can assist Poach in a variety of ways.
- Jerkass: Gomez is just a jerk; disliked by everyone in town for his bad attitude and mean-spirited pranks. He locks up paffets and petals and refers to them as his collection. He ends up being not so harmless when Piero forces him to fight Poach.
- The Jester: Piero, the clown in the circus tent.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Poach enters Alice's dreams to fight her nightmares, allowing her to overcome her fear of sleep.
- Mentor Mascot: Straynap is a neurotic little clown/flower-fairy creature, and no one, Poach included, is inclined to take him seriously. Still, his knowledge about Napple World is second-to-none.
- Mine Cart Madness: Water slides and multi-rail roller coasters instead of mine carts, but the principle is the same.
- Modular Epilogue: The game has Relationship Values for Straynap based on whether or not Poach is nice to him. The final scene changes depending on her affinity with Straynap.
- Mon: Paffets — cute helper-creatures that Poach can create. They come in 2 types:
- Paffets that accompany Poach into action maps. Each one has one function: recovering health, using a special attack, transforming into a Temporary Platform and so on.
- "Furniture paffets" — living chairs, streetlamps, ceiling fans, etc, that are installed around Napple Town based on townsfolk requests.
- Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Contact with pits, spikes, bodies of water and the like are penalized with a slap on the wrist: Poach loses a little health and restarts next to the hazard.
- The Nose Knows: Straynap can distinguish things by smell — but it's not really "smelling" and more like "hunches". Or so he says.
- Only Smart People May Pass: The trivia zipline section in the Secret Garden level. Well, more like only smart people avoid taking extra damage.
- Portal Crossroad World: In plot terms, Napple World lies between life and death; in gameplay terms Napple Town is the Hub Level that connects all of the seasons.
- Protection Mission: The boss fight in Red & Gold has the dual goal of protecting Treant, a talking tree, and defeating a boss pamera. Treant is growing bombs instead of napple fruit due to the influence of the boss pamera, who is hiding inside the walls. Treant serves up bombs for Poach to knock into the boss, but the bombs can hurt Treant as well.
- Reality Changing Miniature: The "complete" Napple Town is evidently a bunch of sandcastles in Piero's circus tent.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Poach's hair is literally rose in color, and she is cheerful and empathetic.
- Seasonal Baggage: Seasonal motifs are central to Napple Tale. Napple Town has season-themed streets, and the streets lead to the seasons themselves — in the form of locales. Air-Aided Acrobatics in spring, fireworks in summer, falling leaves in autumn, and of course, an obligatory ice level for winter.
- Shrinking Violet: Cecille.
- Source Music: The background music in the seasons is audible to the characters. Straynap explains that the music is known as "Petal Whispers," and it's produced by the petals that inhabit living things.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The many variations on the heroine's (rather odd) names: Pōchi, Poach, Pooch, Pouch, Porch? Arsia, Alsia, Alisia?
- Spinning Clock Hands: The summer festival flower clock is part of the Amazing Technicolor Battlefield for the final boss battle. Naturally, the hands spin wildly.
- Starfish Language: Paffets "speak" in MIS, sort of the essential building-blocks of Napple World.
- Surreal Theme Tune: The opening theme Shippo no Uta is cheery and full of Alice in Wonderland imagery. An example, in translation:''Morning has come! - My clock does a handstand
My desk laughs and my hat flies away
My shoes left home without me
So in a panic I jump to my feet"
- Trademark Favorite Food: Poach's loves her mom's stew more than just about anything. So much so that she's completely enthusiastic about stew-flavored ice cream.
- Translator Buddy: Straynap translates the MIS communication that Paffets use for Poach...but late in the game, he loses the ability to interpret it, and Poach discovers she can translate it herself.
- Treacherous Advisor: Piero. He seems a bit like a Trickster Mentor in that he's helpful but engimatic, and rather indifferent to Poach's well-being. But he's actually kind of a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's trying to avert the Dream Apocalypse that will occur if Poach leaves Napple World through apotheosis.
- Verbal Tic: Straynap, being excessively polite, ends almost all of his sentences with "desu". Yes, memetically Hilarious in Hindsight.
- Video Game Settings
- Villainous Breakdown: Piero. He's as cool as a cucumber the whole game...but his composure slips a bit after Poach reverses his attempt to remake Napple Town. And then shatters during his last ditch attempt to prevent Poach from leaving Napple World.
- World of Silence: A creepy, dimly-lit version of Napple Town where spotlights are trained on Poach wherever she goes. But the proper Nightmare Fuel is that everyone is Piero. Because Piero steals Poach's petals to enact an Assimilation Plot.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: After the boss sequence in Fjordland, it becomes clear that fatal occurrences won't kill Poach while she's in Napple World. It's all actually hers to control, since it's her dream.