Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Night in the Woods

Go To

"Everything sucks forever."
Mae to Gregg, from the trailer

Night in the Woods is an adventure platformer developed by Infinite Fall and published by Finji. The player controls Mae, a recent college dropout, who has returned to her hometown, the sleepy mining town of Possum Springs. There, she struggles with the changes to her home and her former friends - Bea, Gregg, Angus, and Germ. As Mae struggles with finding her own identity and coping with the massive changes in her life, she begins to have odd dreams with ominous messages, and discovers hints of some mysterious force living out in the woods of her community.

Notable for reaching its Kickstarter goal in just over a day. The official website can be found here. In December 2013, a companion game titled Longest Night was released. In December 2014, a second supplemental game, Lost Constellation, was made available as well. The game was released on February 21, 2017, and a release on the Xbox One with both supplemental games on December 13th. On that same date, the PC version as well as the Xbox One version received a free update called "Weird Autumn Edition" that added in numerous scrapped scenes and occurrences. This same update was available for the PS4 in January 2018. The game was also released for Nintendo Switch in February 2018, and for iOS in September 2021.

Announcement Trailer, Release Trailer, Weird Autumn Edition Trailer

Night in the Woods provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Abandoned Mine:
    • Whatever's in the woods, it's just behind the shuttered mines.
    • The mines cast a long shadow over the whole town. Decades back they provided for the town and made it prosperous, but were also a cause of a lot of deaths and some terrible working conditions.
  • Accidental Murder: Bea brings up at the end that she and the others due to causing a cave-in have potentially left a dozen people to starve in the dark. Even Gregg is shaken up by this, but Angus says if given a choice he would have done it again. This leads to everyone staring at him in surprise.
  • Acrofatic: Hard as it is to tell from the art style, Mae is indeed supposed to be quite overweight, as stated in her dialogue, and sprite's general roundness, and she just spent the last year mostly eating pizza, and not moving. This doesn't stop her at all from running around, making high jumps, and balancing on insulated power cables. Then again, she is a cat.
  • An Aesop:
    • Everything is going to come to an end at some point. However, being emotional about it isn't a bad thing; as long as you have something to hold onto at the end, there is a reason to be hopeful and know your life isn't pointless. It's okay to be frustrated and sad that something is gone, but there is always a reason to keep going and move forward.
    • Mental health is vastly misunderstood, and the services that come with therapy are scarce in rural areas. Mae mentions that with her breakdown, Dr. Hank's advice that she keep a journal is utterly useless to help with her disassociation. College was just as bad, where she found no resources and dropped out so as not to lose touch with reality.
  • Affably Evil: The cultists who have been kidnapping and sacrificing vagrants and criminals to the Black Goat. They clearly don't enjoy the acts they are committing and have no plans to hurt Mae and the others even if they choose not to join the cult. They were even very apologetic for almost shooting Mae and most of them held nothing against Gregg for shooting one of them with an arrow (victim of said shooting being the sole exception, but that's to be expected). And everything the cult does, they do for the sake of the town. Shame it involves sacrificing those they consider the garbage of society to an Eldritch Abomination that might not even be real.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Mae's dad calls her "kitten". She responds well to it.
    • Gregg refers to Angus as "cap'n," and Angus in turn calls Gregg "bug."
    • Before their falling out, Bea used to call Mae "MaeDay".
  • Alien Geometries: Mae's dreams run on this logic, especially the "musical band" dreams. There are buildings which seem to overlap each other, roads that go nowhere, and lights that turn on as soon as Mae walks past them. Everything is also tinged in a faint neon glow, and the gravity is far lower than normal, seeing as how Mae can jump from the ground to the roof of a building.
    • The Historical Society, with its overabundance of elevators, most of which only connect two floors, with no stairs in between. Mae even specifically notes that this design makes no sense, even when trying to think of a logical explanation. The building's connection to the Black Goat could have it veering into Eldritch Location territory.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted. Gregg sometimes wears a pickelhaube helmet that he reveals in an event with him that it belonged to his great-great-grandfather who (presumably) fought for Germany in World War I. Mae assumes it's the one the "fascists" wore, this annoys Gregg and he reminds her that's the wrong war and at the time they were not fascists. He even refers to Germany as "not the bad guys". It's implied that he means the German Empire, rather than Nazi Germany. Whether he's correct or in denial is unclear due to his strained relationship with his family.
  • The Alleged Boss: Mr. Santello owns the local hardware store, but entrusts all of its operations to his daughter Bea, and is never seen on the premises. He used to be more active before his wife's death and his resulting mental breakdown.
  • Alliterative Name: Arnold A. Applebaum.
  • All There in the Manual: Minor details not specifically mentioned in-game are in the game's code, such as the cranky bird in Underhill being named Varney. Tellingly, all doodles tied to the Black Goat also reference the goat constellation: Ibon, the First Singer...
  • Almighty Janitor: The Janitor, who appears at key moments to give Mae some cryptic advice while doing some kind of maintenance work. At the end, he even knows Mae's name, with implications he might be more than a normal janitor. The fact that a statue looking just like him is on the graveyard only raises more questions as well.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The religion of the cast features churches, Easter, popes, Sunday school, and a video cover associates crosses with priests, but the local church's main symbol is an eight pointed star, and the female pastor refers to God with "they" pronouns. Religion is often discussed by the characters, especially with the atheist Angus and the observant Bea, but denominations are never stated.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Inverted. To the citizens of Possum Springs, not having ambition is considered irresponsible.
    • Possum Springs is a Dying Town and there are few opportunities. Everyone in the game is angry at Mae for dropping out of college. She spends her days engaging in reckless criminal behavior, and shows no regard for the sacrifices others have made. Her parents want to know why, and are worried when Mae won't open up to them. Bea calls her out for not taking advantage of the opportunities that college offered though in one route, she offers sympathy and a possible solution on hearing why Mae dropped out.
    • Bea wants more than to be her dad's unpaid manager at the Pickaxe but is trapped because her dad doesn't listen to her, they have endless bills from her mother's cancer treatment even though she's gone, and they can't afford college tuition.
    • Angus and Gregg are saving up money to go to Bright Harbor, to be in a better town that's less homophobic.
    • The trope also gets discussed, since Mae reveals that she suffered a breakdown and couldn't even go to class, as well as her confessing to her mother that she feels like she messed up her parents' lives. This shows that she wants to be ambitious, but her brain won't let her.
  • Amicable Exes: You find out that Mae briefly dated Cole in high school, but their prom date was a disaster of epic proportions. (It involved her biting him so hard he bled while trying to kiss him, and him nearly choking to death on paper towels, while she vomited in the sink.) Mae is understandably anxious about seeing him at a party, but it appears Cole would like to try for this trope with her — he doesn't bring up what happened, and acts warmly towards her when he sees her. Unfortunately, Mae is raging drunk, and begins publicly ranting at him. (And then he apologizes for upsetting her, possibly in hopes of calming her down.) The whole thing ends with Mae puking and swiftly being brought home by Bea, leaving a very confused (and sober) Cole.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In a brief scene in Angus and Gregg's apartment, all of the main characters except Mae are there. The player briefly takes control of either Gregg or Bea (depending on who the player had Mae grow closer to) until Mae shows up at the door.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: In the Weird Autumn Edition, you can talk to Mr. Salvi at the Trolleyside Tunnel and go on an adventure with him to collect some antiques out of four junk piles (you can pick only one item out of two in each junk pile), fending off bats with your boat light on the way, until you get to the end with a forgotten mural. You will not only get a notebook sketch on completing this, but the items you collected on your journey will serve as interior decorations for your attic bedroom.
  • Another Side, Another Story: You are offered different perspectives depending on whether you decide to spend time with Gregg or Bea. Particularly, regarding Angus and Gregg's relationship, since doing Bea's route ends with Bea stating the possibility of them breaking up in the future, while playing Gregg's route will imply that their relationship is deeper and more meaningful than what she believes.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Zig-Zagged. When Mae thinks she sees a ghost, her friends firmly assess that ghosts don't exist but they agree with her that she saw something. Angus says he finds a living person more dangerous. In the game itself, there are newspaper clipping of ghost sightings, explained by ethylene poisoning.
  • Arc Words: "I won't die here." The phrase repeatedly appears both in the supplemental games and in the game proper, even as the title and subject of one of the band's songs.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Holes. Candy tells Mae about a sinkhole that appeared while she was sleeping. Mae tells the Donut Wolf cashier that the last time she ate Eternity Sauce, she dug a hole in the yard and slept in it. The first level of Demontower is called The Hole. The Sky Cat tells Mae that there is a hole that is constantly growing at the center of everything. The Black Goat cultists kill their victims by throwing them into a subterranean hole.
    • Stars. After being electrocuted, Mae meets Sharkle, who tells her that she will join her ancestors among the stars. Mr. Chazokov and Mae stargaze together. Angus and Mae also discuss constellations during their evening hike in the forest. The Sky Cat tells Mae that a hole is growing between the stars. The cultists explain that Black Goat is black like the space between stars. The painting that Gregg and Mae find at the historical society depicts Black Goat descending from the stars. In the "Lost Constellation" mini-game, Adina is searching for the Ghost Star. In another mini-game called "Longest Night", Mae and her friends identify constellations.
    • Pentagrams. The achievement icon associated with meeting the goth kids features pentagrams. When Mae holds Bombshell's hand, a pentagram appears over their joined hands. In the mine shaft, the Black Goat cult has arranged rafters in the shape of a pentagram. Pentagrams also appear in the Demontower video game on Mae's computer. In the "Lost Constellation" mini-game, the door to the Huncher's house is engraved with a pentagram.
    • Rats. Mae feeds baby rats nesting in a parade float she finds in a storage room. These rats proliferate and later run rampant through the downtown area and abandoned Food Donkey. In the Demontower game, swarming balls of rats attack Pale Cat.
    • Severed arms. Mae and her friends discover a severed arm outside of a diner. Eide's arm is severed by an elevator when he attacks Mae. In the "Lost Constellation" mini-game, Adina finds a severed arm in the snow, and the Huncher has several severed arms suspended from the ceiling of her house.
    • Fall (both the season and the verb). Fall is the season of fading/ending/dying. Possum Springs — a dying town — is noted to look particularly lovely in fall. It's also Mae's favorite season:she mentions fall and autumn trees when asking the Sky Cat about things that matter to her. One of the band's songs is "Weird Autumn," another word for the season, and it's sung by a group of people in the last days of their youth before they have to take on a more adult role. The name of the third chapter "The Long Fall," is a pun that ties the two meanings of "fall" together: the fact that this will be a complicated and tortuous autumn, and the band's descent into the dark side of Possum Springs. It also references the cult's method of sacrifice/execution: being cast into a pit. Other significant falls are Mae's drop from the telephone pole when she arrives back in Possum Springs, the unfortunate fate of the young girl that Jenny's Field is named after, the way Mae gets injured later in the game, and the elevator drop that kills one cultist and traps the rest.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Rendered in a flat, paper cutout style, of the sort used in school decorations and children's books, with Funny Animal characters inspired by the works of Richard Scarry. It delves into depression, mental illness in general, sociopolitical issues, and an Eldritch Abomination that may or may not be real.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The musicians in the reoccurring dream Mae has may be a band that used to play in town who eventually started trying to play to ghosts in the woods before dying of exposure one night.
  • Astral Projection: The main protagonist Mae Borowski was originally going to have the power, which would have only been activated when she dreams at night, in order to help tell her what's going on in the town that she is living in. However, in the final game, it's ambiguous if she's actually astral projecting or if it's just a combination of the stress of coming back home and her underlying mental disorder.
  • Author Avatar: Pastor Kate seems to be partially based both on Scott Benson back when he was a speaker for a church, and the liberal pastor of said church. Kate combines the pastors left-leaning interpretation of scripture with Scott's wavering faith in God and effort to help other people believe, so they won't hurt as much, even though he didn't fully believe in God himself.
  • Batter Up!: Mae weaponizes a baseball bat on a few occasions, like smashing fluorescent light bulbs with Gregg. She also uses one in one of her dreams to smash things in a dream version of town.
  • Beary Friendly: Angus is Gregg's loving boyfriend, who is friendly and compassionate to his friends, despite coming from a terrible and tragic upbringing.
  • Being Watched: The game on the whole, as the protagonists have no idea who the cultists really are. Also tied to the large, almost unsettling eyes of the characters.
    • Specifically, all three "ghost hunts" Mae can undertake in Chapter 3 have this trope occur towards the end, with Mae and whoever is accompanying her being watched by a hooded cultist hiding in the dark.
      • The trip to the Historical Society with Gregg ends with them being chased by someone else in the building. As Mae climbs down the fire escape to get away, the "ghost" suddenly appears in a window nearby, silent and unmoving.
      • The trip to the graveyard with Bea has the two of them open a coffin and desecrate a grave, only for Bea point out that someone is hiding nearby, watching them.
      • The stargazing trip with Angus to Possum Jump concludes when Angus tells Mae that there's someone standing right behind them in the woods, just staring at them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Angus is a Gentle Giant with asthma, who adores Gregg and cooks for his friends. When he finds out the cult has killed people, however, and one tries to kill Mae, he goes for the elevator lever in the mine and saves her life. He doesn't regret that dropping the elevator logically must have killed Mae's attacker and left the others stranded in the dark, unlike Bea. He does not like bad people, having grown up in an abusive household, and he's furious that the cult was trying to recruit them. Angus doesn't even believe in hell, but he hopes the cult members go there.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the mystery is solved and the cultists for the Black Goat are killed so that the sacrifices stop, Mae is still alone in the world and has no idea what she's going to do next with her life. Bea is still stuck in the job she hates, unable to pursue her dreams, and Gregg and Angus have an uncertain future together if Bea and Gregg's own predictions are correct. Even then, they only have so long left before the town is hit with another disaster that could injure or kill even more people, with the town eventually dying as a result. In the end, all the group has left is each other, spending what are potentially their last real times as friends with one another. Mae mends ties with her family and appears ready to open up to them about her mental problems and why she dropped out of college, while her dad plans to do the same.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first page of Mae's journal is a simple message simply stating "RIP Granddad", the final page is an equally simple statement of "RIP Casey".
    • Also, the music for the original Kickstarter trailer reappears in the end credits, and the two tracks bookend the OST.
    • Near the beginning of the game, the group finds a severed arm lying on the ground outside the Snack Falcon, which is the first clue they and the player receive as to the existence of the cult. Their final encounter with the same cult is when the injured cultist appears in the mine shaft elevator and tries to kill Mae, resulting in his arm getting severed when Angus drops the elevator on him.
    • The game starts with Mae making her way into Possum Springs through the woods, at night. The game proper before the epilogue ends with the gang fighting for their lives deep within the woods at night. Lampshaded, foreshadowed, and properly title dropped by the Janitor during the Harfest play: "We begin and we end, at night, in the woods."
  • Both Sides Have a Point: After eating dinner with Bea, Mae finds out that Bea has to run the Old Pickaxe because her father has suffered a nervous breakdown and doesn't do much. She tells Bea You Are Better Than You Think You Are and that she could leave her dad. Bea gets furious and tells her that unlike Mae, who has no responsibilities and pays no consequences for her actions, she doesn't have a choice but to help her father because no one else will. Mae is correct that Bea has a choice, and Bea is right that no one else will pick up the slack.
  • Boots of Toughness: It's hard to tell with the art style but Mae, the player character, points out in a line of dialogue, that she's wearing boots, which fits her tough tomboy personality.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: On Day 3, if you examine the family portrait on the second floor, Mae has this to say:
    Mae: Home. Where everyone knows my name. And my mom's name. And my dad's name. And about that time I put that kid in the hospital.
  • Broken Bridge: Through much of the story, parts of Mae's hometown are blocked off by construction workers.
  • Buffy Speak: Mae refers to the concept of a virgin birth as 'one of those God things' and 'when you have a baby because God'.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • At the first party, you cannot progress, or even leave, without directing Mae to keep drinking beer, despite her comments that she doesn't like it, Greg and Angus' comments about her being a lightweight, and some of Mae's earlier comments suggesting that she doesn't have a good track record when it comes to parties. The predictable happens.
    • The game usually employs this to ensure that there is no way to play Mae as a saint. For example, the player may not want to shoplift, and will probably feel that Mae should be causing as little trouble as possible for Bea after the fiasco at the party... but on your outing to the mall, there's no way of getting out of the clothing store without stealing a belt buckle.
    • Lampshaded after Mae's dinner with Bea; their conversation gradually gets worse over time as Bea discusses her lack of options regarding her future. There are only two options Mae can use and they both result in Bea kicking her out of her apartment. The kicker? Both of those options basically say, "There's always a choice."
  • Call-Back:
    • If you go to the park with Angus, there's a callback to the Longest Night minigame that was released as a promo for the game. In the promo, Angus is well versed in nearly all the constellations and what they mean. However, the entire thing turns out to be a dream Mae wakes up from. In the game proper, when at the park with Angus, Mae asks Angus to remind her what the constellations mean but he has no knowledge of any of them. Mae realizes that she thought he knew because he knew what they meant in a dream she had.
    • An easy-to-miss example: one of Mae's earliest dreams involves destroying a semi-abstract sculpture of an (anthropomorphic) bird, repeatedly knocking herself around in the process. Much later in the game, when she talks about the dissociative/depressive episode that led to her dropping out of college, she mentions being terrified of a statue that fits this description.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Mae, by her own admission, "gets woozy on cough syrup", so it's not surprising that she immediately gets sloppy drunk on three cups of watered-down beer.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the epilogue, Lori doesn't believe Mae when she tells her she spent the night being chased by "a death cult of conservative uncles".
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Many of the in-game problems could have been solved in seconds (or never even started) if the town had any reception.
  • Central Theme: One of them being self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, particularly for the ones you love.
    • Mae's parents took out another mortgage on their house so that they could pay for her college.
    • Bea supports her father, even though he does nothing in return and doing this means that she is unable to pursue her dream of going to college.
    • Greg tones down his carefree, crime-filled way in order to be with his boyfriend Angus.
    • Even the cult gets a twisted version of this, as all their sacrifices are for the benefit of their town. However, they don't make self-sacrifices...
  • Character Development: Mae at the game's beginning is a Stepford Snarker who engages in reckless criminal behavior and won't tell anyone why she dropped out of college. Beatrice calls her out for this, as does her mother Candy Borowski. Regardless of any route she takes, her friends confront her with a Jerkass Realization and she tries to be better for their sake. She apologizes to Beatrice for outing her college-less status at a party, or to Angus for enabling Greg's criminal behavior depending on with whom you spend your nights. Then after her near-death experience, she opens up to her friends about her mental illness, and plans to do the same with her parents. While she still has no long-term plans for the future, she wants to cherish the people in her life and respect them.
  • Cheated Angle: Due to the game's art style, this happens with any character who is a fox, reptile or a bird (Bea, Gregg and Germ being prominent examples), their features (beaks, snouts, etc.) are facing left or right, depending on where they stand. But their eyes just turn to the screen when they have to face forwards. Mae and Angus are aversions, since they are shown from a front angle in promotional art.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The abandoned mine shafts in town. Mae and her friends find out that the cult sacrifices people there. Also it's where the cult dies, thanks to Angus causing a cave-in to save Mae.
    • A mine shaft elevator. When the injured cultist comes up in the elevator and attacks Mae, who's been injured and unable to move properly, Angus weaponizes the lever to send the elevator straight down to the bottom. The impact crushes the cultist's head and severs his arm.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Germ, the only fan of the gang's band. The opening that Mae finds while climbing out of the mine leads to a well in Germ's backyard. He gets some rope to pull the others out, and dynamite to block the entrance.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mae's ability to jump and climb, which is revealed at the beginning of the game. Despite suffering a nasty head injury, she manages to jump to an opening in the climax, so that her friends can escape the mine shaft.
  • Clandestine Chemist: Implied to be the case with your missing / deceased friend Casey, as one of his murderers refers to him cooking up meth with a cousin.
  • Colon Cancer: The Game Within a Game that Mae can play is a roguelike entitled Ancient Doom Spire: Demontower: Part IV - Slaughter of the Blood Thief.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The dialogue text of key characters are color coded. Gregg is yellow, Bea is blue, Angus is red, and Germ is green. It's especially handy in later scenes where there's a lot of walking in very dark areas.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mae does this at times.
    Mae: Our eyes evolved to notice movement.
    Bea: Like dinosaurs?
    Mae: If the dinosaur is moving!
  • Conversational Troping: Invoked by Mae during a conversation with Aunt Molly, a policewoman.
    Mae: Are you trying to kick off a horror movie?! Nobody believes the girl who saw a ghost! Well, I've got bad news for you: the cop always dies!
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mae can pick up all sorts of bizarre ingredients at the grocery store. Both Bea and her dad can comment on how awful her choices are. Subverted if Mae makes the "correct" choice of ingredients for dinner, which is a bit of a Guide Dang It! if you want to get the "Accidentally Good Dinner" achievement (see below).
  • Cosmic Horror Story: What the game eventually turns out to be as soon as the Black Goat stuff comes up. Mae also meets a strange entity in her dreams that appears to be godlike.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Sort of, and sort of an Interfaith Smoothie. Popes and Sunday School at church exist, as do Halloween and Easter (but not Christmas, which is replaced with "Longest Night", some sort of winter solstice festival), and a video cover associates crosses with a priest. Yet, despite having a statue out of a pope outside, Mae's church has the primary symbol of an eight-pointed star and a female pastor who refers to God with the gender-neutral pronoun "They". A local "Virgin Mary"-style shrine also has a flame symbol on it. Mae got in trouble at Sunday School for getting mad about the story of the Broken Snake, the first thing that talked. One of their Saints is known to breathe fire and eat people... okay, that last one is disprovable by historical records. Except the last part.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: While robbing an abandoned Suck E. Cheese's store (Food Donkey), Mae finally gets fed up with Steve Scriggins being a Jerkass, telling him, "Scriggins! Bite my entire ass! Go legally brain dead from lack of oxygen due to choking on my entire ass!"
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nearly every character has one. Gregg is the only one of the main cast without any explicit baggage in his past, and it turns out even he has a pretty meaty traumatic incident he's never talked about.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • A somber, heavier version of "Die Anywhere Else" plays towards the end of Bea's final outing, "Proximity".
    • "Shapes", which plays when Mae is discussing her violent breakdown, is a slower and more somber version of songs that play whenever she's being overly destructive, such as "Clanky Must Die" and "I'm Going to Break Something".
  • Death by Irony: When Mae and her friends leave the mines the cultists force Gregg to leave his crossbow behind. Later, Eide attacks Mae in the elevator, forcing Angus to use the lever to kill him. The elevator crashing leads to a cave-in either killing the entire cult or trapping them to starve or suffocate. If Gregg still had his crossbow he probably could have just shot Eide and the cultists could have survived.
  • Death Seeker: After suffering a nasty head injury, and realizing that her fear of the "ghost" was entirely rational and led to her friends being endangered, Mae goes back to the mine shaft to confront the strange figure. Given her saying It's All My Fault and quietly saying "I love you" to her sleeping friends, it's highly likely that Mae thought she was going to die.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: Played with in that Mae never gets an actual diagnosis, but after the incident where she beat Andy Cullen with a bat during a mental breakdown six years prior, she went to Dr. Hank, who is terrible at dealing with mental health issues. All he gave her was a journal, which she admits isn't really much help.
  • Developer's Foresight: Often if you don't trigger certain conversations, later dialogue will reflect that. For instance, if you don't talk to Mae's mom on Halloween, you never get into the argument with her, so later conversations with her and Mae's dad reflect that change.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Saleem is a violinist who can be found playing along with the background music on a roof in Towne Centre.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: At the climax, a member of the Big Bad's team ends up accidentally screwing over every other bad guy thanks to a misguided attempt at vengeance. The Cult of the Black Goat would have gotten away with everything if Eide didn't just have to have his revenge for getting shot in the shoulder by Gregg. Because Eide attacked Mae, not only did Eide get his arm lopped off by a falling elevator (most likely bleeding to death as a result), he trapped himself and the other cultists at the bottom of the mineshaft with no way out. And this was after explicit orders by the rest of the villain's allies to just let it go.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?:
    Mae: Oh shut up already. I know this won't save me in the end. But I don't need it to save me forever. I just need it to save me now. So if you're gonna kill me right here, then do it. If not- (to the Black Goat).
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Mae's dreams get trippier and trippier about Possum Springs falling further into ruin with each dream. In the Weird Autumn Edition, both the band practices and the guitar-playing in Mae's room are kind of in space, with the "Pumpkin Head Guy" video in the former getting creepy visuals, and the latter's songs showing Mae floating and playing guitar in space with trippy visuals around her.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The cult's willingness to sacrifice those who "won't be missed" to the Black Goat, in order to cling to whatever prosperity they have left, is a pretty blatant allegory for real-life people willing to throw minorities and outcasts under the bus for the same reason. This is noted by the characters, one of whom outright calls them a death cult of conservative uncles.
    • Also with religion being a heavy theme throughout the story, the cult may also be seen as an allegory of religious extremist groups who kill innocent people in order to please a spiritual power and achieve personal gains.
    • When Mae first encounters the City Council, they discuss the issue on what to do with a statue of a war soldier (most likely Mae's ancestor), whether they should keep it or take it down for the sake of funding or attracting new businesses. This could be reminiscent on the issue on what to do with the Confederate statues or flags in the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting in 2015.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: At first, the woods seem creepy but harmless, local teens even throwing parties there. You definitely don't want to go in them alone, or go too deep into them, however. Or you just might get kidnapped and sacrificed by a cult...
    • The titular woods are home to a incorporeal, teleporting, kidnapping entity that begins to stalk Mae once she becomes aware of it, and is later shown to be a member of a murderous cult that was empowered by their eldritch god.
  • Doting Grandparent: Mae's late grandfather was this. What little we see of their relationship makes it clear he adored Mae, and he frequently indulged her love for gruesome horror stories, a love he shared. Mae obviously still misses him, though she prefers to dwell on the good parts of their relationship.
  • Dug Too Deep: Implicitly; the town used to be a mining town, but incidents of subterranean gas causing hallucinations eventually shut it down. Around the same time a cult surrounding the deepest pit in the mines sprung up, under the belief that in it rested an Eldritch Abomination that demanded human sacrifice. It's ambiguous if it actually exists or it's just more hallucinations.
  • Dying Alone: Invoked. The cult specifically targets people who have never stood out and won't be missed.
  • Dying Town: Ever since the mines closed down, Possum Springs has seen better days. There's a lack of jobs, a lot of people are leaving town, no money's coming in, and the citizens seem to accept it all as fatalistic fact that their lives are getting worse. The end of the game talks about it in a Cosmic Horror Story sense; if the Black Goat doesn't get sacrifices, the town will be abandoned, nothing will grow, and everyone will die.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All four main characters are dealing with traumas from their past, are unhappy with some aspects of their lives, have to deal with their own fears and some of them being outright stated to have mental disorders. The rest of the town is also like this; no one seems to be happy, and a lot of people are frustrated at various things.
  • Eagleland: While the location of Possum Springs is never specified, there are many names, objects and details which heavily hint that Possum Springs is located somewhere near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    • Possum Springs was originally a mining town, a heavy industry in Pennsylvania and Appalachia in general.
    • It's located in "Deep Hollow County". There's a Deep Hollow stream in a mining area in Pennsylvania.
    • The last name of Borowski and references to "the old country" implies an Eastern European heritage; PA has a large demographic of Eastern European immigrants and descendants.
    • The Snack Falcon and its logo somewhat resembles Wawa, a popular chain of convenience stores in PA.
    • The local football team is named the "Smelters," and the logo is very similar to that of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    • There's an issue with sinkholes in Possum Springs, caving in and destroying houses from the underground mines. The almost ghost town of Centralia, PA has been partially destroyed by sinkholes caused by an underground coal mine fire that's been burning continuously since 1962.
    • Pierogies are a popular food in the game as they are in the real life Pittsburgh area.
    • Bea mentions that the library that she and Mae visit is one of the nicer ones around, and that it was funded by "some rich guy" back in the day, mirroring the Carnegie Libraries; Andrew Carnegie helped establish over 2,500 libraries, and the first American one was in Pittsburgh.
    • Mae can meet a Russian hiker passing through on the Great Deciduous Trail, which is apparently one of the National Scenic Trails. Both the Appalachian and North Country Trail pass through Pennsylvania, the latter going through the greater Pittsburgh area.
    • Barnstars, horseshoe-like objects thought to bring good luck that are especially common in Pennsylvania, are featured on a couple of background houses.
    • The places that Possum Springs can't be are Idaho, as Mae mentions to Rabies her dream of moving to a farm there, anywhere on the West Coast, since Selmers references it (and Silicon Valley in particular) as being far away, or west of the Midwest in general, since if Mae hung out with Bea enough, in the epilogue the two talk about planning a road trip "out west to where the land gets flat" (most likely the Great Plains) and seeing Fictional Counterpart versions of some of the Midwest's well-known tourist traps and roadside attractions.
  • Ear Notch: Mae has a couple small nicks in her left ear, which is appropriate given her history of violence and recklessness (she claims it was from a dog bite). Two of Germ's friends (the ones who have ears; the third is a bird) have more prominent ones.
  • Easy Level Trick: The boss of Demontower's Leafy Graves is quite challenging. However, its arena is guaranteed to have a patch of spikes in the upper left corner — spikes that can eventually kill the boss when it repeatedly lands on top of them. All the player has to do is clean out any other enemies that spawn and dash-deflect the boss' knives (preferably against a wall to avoid Collision Damage).
  • Egging: Mae has done this, among her list of other petty crimes.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Black Goat. It's described as being "black like the black between the stars," and its mere existence in this reality is causing the complete corruption of Possum Springs.
    • Also, the God-Cat in Mae's dream. It exists contemporaneously with all of space and time, observes time as if all events are happening at once, speaks of a hole growing in all things, and shows Mae blind, twitching creatures at the edge of reality.
  • Electric Slide: When alone, Mae spends more time on power lines than on the sidewalk.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Jeremy Warton goes by "Germ Warfare", which Mae considers to be this. He just started hanging out with the others one day...
    • Mae's is "Killer" because of that one time she put someone in the hospital by attacking them with a baseball bat.
  • Epic Fail: One possible dialogue path reveals that when Mae tried to make out with her high school prom date, he ended up bleeding copiously. She herself doesn't seem to be exactly sure how she managed to pull off that one. And then she almost choked him to death by stuffing paper napkins in his mouth to staunch the bleeding. And then she nearly choked on an almond and threw up on him. And then she tried to hide the evidence by clogging the toilet with the paper towels she'd shoved in his mouth. Not her finest hour.
  • Eternal Employee: Bea at the Ol' Pickaxe and Gregg at the Snack Falcon. Subverted with Angus, who only works the day shift at Video Rentals "Too."
  • Ethereal Choir/For Doom the Bell Tolls: In Demontower, you get this chilling music that plays when you get to the final battle with the Blood Thief.
    • Also, the former trope is played straight with "Sharkle Dream", in which Mae has a near-death experience in Gregg's path.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • While exploring the Historical Society after hours, Gregg and Mae hear strange clunking sounds. They come to the Map room, which has an animatronic making the sound every time someone presses the button. Gregg would be relieved, except Mae points out that it only moves if someone is in the room. This must mean that someone else is in the building.
    • In the climax, as the cult explains that they only kidnap and dispose of the delinquents, vagrants, and kids who wouldn't be missed, Mae says only one name: "Casey..."
  • Expy: Deceased magnate Arnold A. Applebaum is one for historical industrialist Andrew Carnegie, down to the union-busting and self-glorification.

  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Mae's is her unwillingness to open up about her problems. Her friends and family want to help her — at least, Gregg and Angus want to — but she doesn't want to talk about her disassociation episodes recurring at college. It's not until she nearly dies and Gregg tells her that people care about her, that she decides to open up and confess about her issues with Gregg or Bea, and with her parents.
    • The flaw of the Big Bad is their unwillingness to change. They believe they must sacrifice people to keep Possum Springs prosperous, despite the fact that the town is obviously dying regardless of their actions. Bea calls them out for it, but they remain stubborn. This later leads to their deaths, either by the cave-in or by slow starvation and suffocation.
    • The Dragon's flaw is his obsessive watching over Mae and her friends when they go ghost-hunting, and his targeting her specifically. While Angus, Bea and Gregg are skeptical that it's the same figure that Mae chased on Harfest, she identifies him and is further convinced that he has something to do with the kidnapping. It's notable that in the climax he attacks Mae when Gregg was the one who shot him with the crossbow. When he attacks Mae from the mine elevator, Angus smashes his head and cuts off his arm using the elevator.
  • Fictional Constellations:
    • During Longest Night (equivalent to the real-life winter solstice), one pastime is to sit at a campfire and spot the thirteen constellations in the night sky. Gameplay in the supplemental game of the same name involves linking the stars. There's a "lost constellation" of which the Ghost Star is a part, featured in the second supplemental game, Lost Constellation. This receives a Call-Back in the main game if Mae hangs out with Angus (who knows much less about them than he did in Mae's dream).
    • On certain days, Mae can find Mr. Chazokov on a roof to spot dusk stars, which are "wandering stars" only visible for a short period in spring and fall. Each dusk star has a name and character lore attached to it, such as Simone the Fighter and Castys.
  • Flavor Text: Quite a lot of it, and you often have to examine things several times to see it all, especially if you're gunning to get all of Mae's notebook sketches.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Two of the quotes from Grandpa's ghost stories in the intro. The specific quotes are "They feared death, so they ate the young.", foreshadowing how the cult would sacrifice the young and directionless to preserve themselves and the town, and "They went looking for the gods, and died in lonely places", foreshadowing how the cult, after seeking the Black Goat, ends up trapped inside the abandoned mine.
    • At several points, people mention cults.
    • When Angus fixes Mae's computer, he says it's not magic, just ones and zeroes. If you stargaze with him, he says he doesn't believe in a God, or if there is a God, he doesn't care.
    • Pentagrams are seen in a few places, such as the Demontower minigame or the secret handshake used by the cute girl at the party. One final five-pointed star forms from the wooden supports in the mine shaft.
    • You can find a missing poster for Casey before you learn he disappeared.
    • Mae at one point teases Gregg by saying she wants to see his head get stuck and chopped off by elevator doors. Guess what happens to one of the cultists in the mine?
    • Mae earlier chided Gregg for teasing her by saying it was too bad she didn't get crushed in a falling elevator by pointing out that it's a legitimate phobia of hers. At the climax, she narrowly avoids this exact fate.
    • Mr. Chazokov tells Mae during a stargazing session that the gods in the legends they discuss are just metaphors for unfortunate things that can't be controlled (such as death, disease, natural disasters, etc.). As is the Black Goat, metafictionally.
    • Mae's last conversation with her mother at home has a big one for the upcoming climax: "You... We... Wouldn't be in this mess if I wasn't such a massive screw up. I just want to fall into a pit and die right now."
    • Mae eventually expresses her romantic preferences, essentially wanting someone, gender irrelevant, who's strong enough to beat her in a fight. If you pay attention to the porn popups on her computer early on, you'll notice ads for "Meet Burly Singles in Your Area" and "Tough Angry Singles".
    • Right before going to the party in the woods, choosing the right choices will have Mae reveal some of her experience when she was in college, like how she wasn't able to make any friends while she was there. At the party, while drunk, she talks about the statue of the founder and how to her, it just looked like shapes, which is foreshadowing that she might have dissociation.
      • Mae also mentions during the party that she gets "woozy on cough syrup". Later, when discussing her mental breakdown in college, she mentions chugging down bottles of the stuff just to be able to sleep.
    • While not plot foreshadowing, Mae's walk home from the bus station has three certain actions that relate to future interactions with her friends:
      • Directly outside the bus station, the fireflies begin to swarm around her if she jumps into them. Attracting fireflies is required at the end of Bea's second hangout.
      • In the pit, Mae has to cause a pile of logs to slip by jumping on one to break it loose. Mae breaks a fallen tree with Gregg in his third hangout, as well as breaking a branch in Bea's investigation quest.
      • In the playground it's possible to spin the pirate ship's wheel by jumping near it. Repeat this with the four windmills around Towne Centre (three in Part 2, and one in Part 3) to release their payloads, and you get more lines of dialogue with Angus during his investigation quest.
    • There are hints that Mae suffers from serious mental health issues very early on. If you open the options menu early in the game, you can see some rather obvious and hollow-sounding psychologist-speak phrases written in the diary, such as "Count to ten!" "Take a deep breath!" and "I.P.S - Identify possible solutions!" The diary is the closest thing Mae got to treatment after suffering a serious breakdown:her parents had no option but to take her to the town doctor, a jack-of-all-trades whose strength was definitely not in psychology or psychiatry.
      • On a related note, the unreliability of the town doctor is mentioned in a random early game conversation, where one resident expresses doubt and discomfort about having to rely on him, only to be shouted down by another two residents who don't have any problem with him and his multi-discipline approach.
    • If Mae goes with Bea to fix the heater, she'll tell Mae about the hunting camps and warn her to not "like get shot or anything". A possible option later the same night leads Mae to wonder what it's like to get stuck in a cave. Mae's later shot at by the cultists, who are wielding hunting weapons. Soon after she gets stuck in a cave for a while (as does the cult, but they don't get back out).
    • A chat with Germ will have him mention a frightening experience where a strange man stalked him for hours, Germ only escaping once night fell. Given Germ is a tree dwelling vagabond and the cult sacrifices those who they feel won't be missed, it's very likely they were eyeing him as a sacrifice to The Black Goat.
    • In one of Bea's hangouts, she and Bea attend a party with Bea's friend Jackie, a goat who's introduced (aside from a cameo in chapter 2) decrying fascism. The villains of the game turn out to be trying to sacrifice "undesirables" who they feel don't contribute anything in the hope of preserving past glory as they see it; which would very much be the aim of a fascist government. Ironically by sacrificing them to a goat.
    • Even the music provides foreshadowing. The theme that first plays in Durkillesburg, when Mae first gets to swing a bat, reappears at the end of Clanky Must Die as Mae destroys the furnace in similar fashion. As Mae's Sanity Slippage accelerates, it plays as she trashes the Donut Wolf bathroom. The theme's culmination is Mae's confession to beating a classmate senseless with a baseball bat the last time her mental health deteriorated.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: They may not be related, but Mae and Bea have this vibe. Mae has a loving relationship with her parents and could afford to go off to college, but remains completely immature and dropped out. Bea, meanwhile, lost her mother and was forced to stay behind to work to keep her father's shop afloat, maturing in the process. She expresses her frustration about this multiple times. Subverted when it is revealed that Mae has serious, untreated mental problems, to the point where even Bea stops thinking of herself and Mae like this.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: Gregg (optimistic, excitable, emotionally unstable, and a reckless risk-taker).
    • Choleric: Mae (the leader of the group (whether the others agree with that or not), rebellious, and hot-headed).
    • Melancholic: Bea (depressed, emotionally distant, hard working, and intelligent).
    • Phlegmatic: Angus (kind, socially awkward, and reserved to the point of appearing emotionless).
    • Eclectic: Germ (the only one who has no personal demons eating away at him; he even has a good family in the Weird Autumn Edition).
  • Fragile Speedster: The player character in Demontower as you progress through the levels; your dashing ability increases, while your maximum health decreases. This continues until they're a One-Hit-Point Wonder on the last level.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: At the end of the game, once The Heavy has been defeated, almost all main characters show a hint of sadness for them. Mentioning that they were driven by a desperate desire of saving the town they lived in, and that they said to not enjoy the things they did. Angus is the one to call out that they shouldn't pity them. The Cult of the Black Goat had, unnecessarily and in an act of desperation, sacrificed the homeless and the ones that people "wouldn't miss," in order to ask an Eldritch Abomination to save their town, and Angus feels no sympathy for, among them, having sacrificed their friend Casey.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Steve Scriggins is a sleazy guy who hangs out with Gregg and Mae sometimes, even though neither of them like him at all.
  • Fun with Subtitles: At one point, Mae is incredibly drunk. The dialogue options are crisp and eloquent almost to the point of Expospeak Gag, but what she actually says is slurred and wobbly.
    Dialogue choice: I am mortified by my behavior. I am sorry.
    Mae's spoken dialogue: Awe Bee, I am acting lika jerk, are you madat me???
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Possum Springs contains both anthro and non-anthro rodents, cats, birds, and raccoons. Mae has a stuffed raccoon, her prom date was an anthro raccoon. Her parents have a bird in a cage. Lori M. is an anthro mouse usually found perched next to a building full of non-anthro rats. Mae's grandfather tells of a talking cat in Lost Constellation as if a talking cat were unnatural, even though both he and his granddaughter are anthro cats. When breaking into the Shreigeist house, Gregg gets attacked by an owl.
    • Probably the most blatant example is when Mae talks about how a dog chewed up her ear when she was young, causing to look like it does at the present. She then says something along the lines of "The joke is on him though, dogs only live for like 10 years, unlike people."
    • Lori M. refers to "the human spirit." Scott Benson implies that "human" refers to any kind of sapient animal in this universe.
    • There are references to buck hunting season in the game even though there are deer people wandering around the town.
    • If Mae fails to raise the rats in Mallard's Tomb, she'll complain about the fact her father owns a bird to Germ when he asks her if she has any pets. Germ agrees with her that birds are the worst.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Mae can play with a ball of yarn despite finding it "patronizing."
    • Mae is shown to have claws when she scratches the bathroom mirror at Donut Wolf.
    • If the player interacts with the bird in the bird cage in Mae's house, Mae will state that she never liked that bird.
    • Mae can jump three times her own height and walk on power lines, because she's a cat.
    • Many of the constellations in Longest Night are referred to as being anthropomorphic, and others are said to resemble other characters: Bea mentions that her mother always said she resembled Harmonium, Germ is said to resemble Invenerus (Specifically with the beak), and Lucio is specifically cited as a fox. In the game proper, Mae refers to Corvin the Thief as "asscat".
  • Gallows Humor: Many characters. Greg and Mae tease each other about possible horrible and unlikely deaths. Mae's dad comments that she shouldn't go out "unarmed" after Mae and her band find a severed arm, and Mae's mother jokes that it shouldn't be too hard to find out who said item belonged to, with she and Mae acting out a light-hearted skit about someone locating the owner.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The bass minigame can be very difficult, and the first time Mae has band practice you'll have had, at most, two cracks at it before and can't have practiced "Die Anywhere Else" yet, so it's hard to do well. This makes perfect sense story-wise, as Mae hasn't played in ages, thus losing much of her skill, and the song is new to her.
    Mae: I literally do not know this song.
  • Game Within a Game: Demontower, a roguelike Mae can play on her laptop. Potentially a Shout-Out to The Binding of Isaac or Enter the Gungeon, with a hefty helping of Dark Souls.
  • Garage Band: The four mains occasionally take evening breaks to play in a band together — Angus on vocals, Gregg on lead guitar, Mae on bass, and Bea using a computerized drum kit.note 
  • Gay Best Friend: Subverted with Gregg, in that the title is literal. Rather than be like the stereotypical swishy gay character who dishes out advice to his female friends, he's just Mae's childhood bestie who joins her in her acts of petty vandalism and just happens to be homosexual. (And Mae herself is not straight either.)
  • Gayngst: Downplayed with Gregg and Angus. Their relationship and the fact that they live together is depicted as entirely normal by both the narrative and all of the present characters. However, they mention that they've both gone through a lot of trauma to get to this level of normalcy and are desperate to move somewhere where they aren't the only queer people they know (which Bea theorizes is the only reason they're together in the first place).
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Mae's dream in "Longest Night" rapidly starts unraveling when Mae realizes that she and Bea aren't close enough to be hanging out on Christmas.
  • God Was My Copilot: The Janitor is implied to be some sort of supernatural force, possibly even God itself towards the end of the game, he even knows Mae's name. The God(?) Mae meets in her dream point out that the thing Mae calls God doesn't exist, or at least is working in such a subtle manner, that is impossible for them to see, which would be fitting of a Janitor. There is though a plausible explanation to a lot that happens around him, and some are possibly just a coincidence, so it ends in a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane situation.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: If you talk to Mr. Chazokov on the first day of Act 2, he'll tell Mae, he's looking for "dusk stars". You can have Mae reply, "Dusk Stars is the name of my shoegaze band."
  • Good Shepherd: Pastor Kate. She's a very kind woman, is trying to open a homeless shelter, and gladly strikes up a friendship with Mae, despite Mae's religious beliefs (or lack thereof). She uses her faith as a tool to help people of all backgrounds, creeds, and lifestyles. She privately admits her own faith in God is wavering, and she hopes that, by convincing other people to believe, she can convince herself, too.
  • Goth: Bea. She becomes more positive over the course of the game, however.
  • Green Gators: Bea Santello, one of the main characters of the game, is a bluish-green crocodile.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Growing pains and arrested development are some of the biggest themes in the game from the start, touching on everything from the mingled disillusionment and longing one feels upon looking upon their own naivety as a kid - especially with regards to losing the faith they were once able to take for granted when they were young - to how daunting the future looks when a person is thrust into young adulthood despite not having grown out of old coping mechanisms and bad habits yet, and they're now able to see old and familiar things in their lives start to decay with age.
  • Guide Dang It!: If you're going for the "Seriously?" trophy, you have your work cut out for you, as you will have to traverse each and every inch of Possum Springs, multiple times, looking for things to examine and people to talk to. The description even lampshades just how hard this achievement is.
    "All sketches? We made the game and have never gotten this. Wow."
    • The "Accidentally Good Dinner" achievement (see video) can be a bit tricky if you want to make dinner for Bea and her dad. There are four good recipes out of dozens of possible combinations of ingredients.
    • The questions the Thryy Wyrd Tyyns ask you when you first meet them on the cliff near the First Coalescence Church, about which spooky thing you have encountered in your life. From the clue on your journal and at the beginning of the game, the answer is obvious: a shipwreck. Also, about what God is like: it foreshadows what you will meet in the final dream in Part III (the Sky Cat), and it is "uncaring and distant".
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Inverted in the climax. When Mae asks the cultists why the latter is monologuing about what they do, including murder, the cultists point out that they can't go to the police. Even with Mae's word, the police will only know that hooded figures meet in a mine shaft to throw people down a pit. Plus, the cultists know Mae and her friends, as well as where they live, but Mae and her friends don't know who the cultists are.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A bassy screeching sound appears whenever the "ghost" shows up. At one point Mae acknowledges she's been hearing it in her head. In a GDD conference one of the developers noted that the sound was deliberately played in a way that made it feel like it was coming from Mae herself.
  • He Knows Too Much: Mae and her friends get too close to the cult's business, and are nearly killed by them.
  • He's Back!: At the start of the fourth chapter Mae's concussed in a fall while running from the cultists, and is limited to clutching herself and walking. After they're trapped in the cave, she has an encounter (maybe?) with the eldritch monster they were sacrificing people to, and delivers a badass boast to make it leave her alone. At that point what should be needed to save the day, but a jumping puzzle? Cue Mae saying she feels better and the full jumping mechanics being restored.
  • Hidden Depths: Gregg can actually write really good music. When the band jams, Mae even mentions that they can look into playing at venues if they want to continue.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Well, "humans," but regardless, as terrifying as the Black Goat is, it's ultimately just a destructive, unknowable, and quite possibly near-mindless force. On the other hand, the cult members are fully aware of what they're doing and don't care because, the way they see it, they're targeting undesirables to protect their way of life.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During the mall trip with Bea, she dismisses the local Hot Topic Expy as being for teenagers and claims to be embarrassed to even be there... and yet her outfit comes from that store.
    Mae: [Pointing to a copy of Bea's dress in a rack] Hey, isn't that...
    Bea: Shut up.
    • Shortly after, if you ignore the shoplifting scene you can find a short conversation between the two with Mae complaining about the lack of any good music in the store, saying it's all for twelve year olds. Bea then points out that the store is draped wall to wall with merchandise from Mae's favorite band and that Mae herself isn't far off from being a twelve year old.
    • Gregg and Mae discuss how much of a scumbag criminal Steve Scriggins is during "Crimes", while glorifying their own crimes.
      Mae: So should we smash a window to get this out of here?
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: The player is never told what the eternity sauce at the Donut Wolf is made of, but after saying that she didn't want any, Mae said that the last time she had eternity sauce, she stayed up all night digging a hole in her backyard with her parents finding her asleep at the bottom of the hole the next morning.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bea. She's stuck working constantly to keep her father's store open and her bills paid. With her mother's death and father's subsequent breakdown, any hope of going to college and living a normal life like she dreamed of has been shattered as she tries to keep what's left of her family going.
  • I'll Kill You!: Gregg says this when the cult reveals that they killed Casey, his and Mae's best friend. He just can't because the cultists have guns and he has a crossbow. Later on, however, when Bea points out that the cave-in will trap the cultists underground, Gregg denies that it was murder.
  • I Never Told You My Name: In the epilogue, the Janitor calls Mae by name, and Mae realizes she never told it to him.
  • I Want Grandkids: Mae's mother mistakenly begins to suspect that Mae's worsening health in the third act is actually morning sickness, and the possibility that her daughter is pregnant is the only thing that breaks the concern, that she was otherwise displaying for Mae's condition.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: A defied trope. Mae wanders off to confront the "ghost" on her own, only for Gregg, Angus and Bea to arrive and shoot him with Gregg's crossbow. Through the rest of the game, the three friends refuse to abandon Mae. The final lines of Mae in the game are along the lines of "We may die tomorrow, but at least I am not alone today thanks to being with you guys".
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Mae after the party does this while drunk after relearning that Bea's mother is dead. By the time Bea pulls up to Mae's house, Ocular Gushers is ensuing.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: The final chapter has Mae grievously wounded after she falls down a mountainside escaping the cult. The player guides a slow-moving Mae back to town. Sudden inexplicable changes of scenery suggest that Mae is experiencing memory loss, fading in and out of consciousness, or suffered a concussion in the fall.
  • Innocently Insensitive: All over the place. Because a good number of the characters conceal their issues and traumas, what seems like perfectly ordinary conversation can trample all over one of the participant's feelings.
    • People in town constantly taunt Mae about dropping out of college, ranging from good-natured ribbing to complaining that she has it too easy or sneering that they knew a waster like her would be back. The adult residents in particular seem to think that they're just being Brutally Honest or dealing out tough love, but Mae didn't drop out because she was a slacker — she dropped out because her mental health issues made college a nightmare.
    • On her first night back, Bea gives Mae a ride home after hanging out with the group. Mae tries to make chitchat and ask about Bea's status quo—perfectly reasonable thing to do after not seeing someone for a while—but Bea, extremely sensitive about her parents, the store, and Mae dropping out of college, kicks her out of the car right then.
  • Insult of Endearment: Mae and Greggory go back and forth on one another, discussing the grisly bodily harm and/or death they didn't suffer in their latest shenanigans.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Gregg believes he does this in the climax if Mae told him and not Beatrice about her disassociation. He tells Mae firmly that even if he doesn't understand what she's going through, he's not going to let her die on him, and it's not her fault that the cult started hurting people and stalking them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Mainly, Gregg (a fox) with Angus (a bear). The player character, Mae (who is a cat), used to date a raccoon boy back when she was in junior high; and if the player decides to have Mae crash a college party, she has the option of flirting with a woman nicknamed "Bombshell" (who is a bear).
  • Ironic Echo: "Nothing to be scared of down there. Just a party." First used by Bea to calm Mae before attending a party, later echoed by Mae before descending into the mines to confront the cult.
  • It's All My Fault: Mae says this in the climax when Gregg shoots the cultist to save her. Her friends tell her that she didn't cause the cultists to commit murder or endanger them, and that they're there for her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Aunt "Mallcop" does have a point in that Mae shouldn't be wandering in the woods on her own to get home, especially to walk on power lines. She points out that Mae by being a Woman Child is naive about the world, and thus more vulnerable to getting hurt. Mae ultimately agrees with the sentiment, even if she's snarky about it.
    • Subverted during Bea's route. Bea gives Mae a What the Hell, Hero? speech for wasting her college opportunities, while Bea would kill to have gotten the chance to attend college. Bea backs off from this one when she finds out Mae left because she was having mental health issues.
    • Mae gets one in on the Gregg path: when Angus blames her for enabling Gregg's criminal tendencies, she angrily asks him how it's her fault when Gregg is the one committing the crimes. This causes both Angus and Gregg to back off, and for Gregg to vow to stop his crimes for Angus's sake.
  • Jump Scare:
    • When on Gregg's ghost hunt, Mae and Gregg hear a lot of odd noises in-universe. Turns out it's an old animatronic that isn't quite fixed yet. Later in the same scenario, the "ghost" randomly appears in a window when the two are running down a fire escape.
    • Earlier, when Gregg is picking a lock to get in to the museum, an owl will loudly screech and swoop in on the two of them out of nowhere just as Gregg gets the door open.
  • Kaizo Trap: Wherever the Final Boss of Demontower falls, they leave a pool of blood that's just as harmful as the rest of the blood in the game-within-a-game. Since the player character is a One-Hit-Point Wonder at this point, avoid it if you don't want to restart the level.
  • Keet: Gregg cheerfully screams most of his lines, seemingly can't keep still, and is super excited about everything that's happening.
    Let's do some criiiimes!
  • Knife Fight: Mae and her friend Gregg have playful knife fights for... fun, only nicking each others' hands, instead of going full-on dangerous.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Mae's dad's attempts to make a funny about family taco night are... not well received.
    Dad: The family that tacos together rockos together.
    Mae: ...
    Mom: Honey no.
    Dad: What?
  • Lampshade Hanging: It was already established that Mae knows all the stories of the nighttime constellations, so when there's a sideplot involving finding constellations in stars at dusk, she asks why she's never heard of these before. The answer? By the time they got to dusk star formations, they had already used all the well-known legends and myths.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The cult shoves its victims down a pit in the mine, one that has a long fall. The person falling would be awake for a long time while heading towards the bottom, if the Black Goat doesn't eat them first. Thanks to Mae and her friends causing a cave-in, the cult is Buried Alive in the mine, and it's possible that the impact made them fall into the pit.
  • Lead Bassist: Mae Borowski is a Type C by virtue of being the Player Character, who just happens to play bass; the four friends never perform in public, leaving their actual memorability up in the air. Then again, depending on how well you play during each practice, she potentially demonstrates an amazing talent at improvising songs that she has never performed before.
  • Left the Background Music On:
    • The Deep Hollow Hollerers provide the background music of Mae's dreams with each instrument joining in when Mae finds its respective player.
    • In the second and third days of Part III, during the third section of Possum Springs, Mae suddenly hears violin music belonging to Saleem, who lives on the topmost roof near the First Coalescence Church (whose music can be heard here). He will stop playing the violin if you talk to him for a conversation. The same goes for when you talk to Sadie the saxophonist at the Husker Bee Ballroom. If Mae manages to get them both to reconcile, then when she enters the ballroom on the last day of Part III, both Sadie's saxophone and Saleem's violin can be heard, and can only stop if you talk to them for a moment. Even better is that the duo can now be heard at the Trolleyside Tunnel in the Epilogue, and one of the teens lampshades that they wish Saleem and Sadie would "shut the eff up" if you talk to them.
  • Leitmotif: All four main characters have melodies that are associated with them; Gregg and Bea both have musical stings that are repeated elsewhere in the soundtrack (The Snack Falcon Gregg theme and both renditions of Crimes for Gregg, MaeBea for Bea). Angus has a theme that's represented in Video Outpost "Too", Angus at Home, and Angus Climbs the Hill. Mae's theme is typically associated with her being destructive and stretches throughout Durkillesburg, Clanky Must Die, I'm Going to Break Something and Shapes.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Gregg, in the ending. He gets a crossbow to defend himself and his friends.
    • This simple, repeated exchange between Mae and Gregg always signals that they are about to get real about some shit.
    Gregg: Crimes?
    Mae: Crimes.
    • Angus would like to raise Gregg a notch. As the gang leaves the mine shaft, using the old elevator, the cultist that Gregg shot reappears. He grabs the nearest person, Mae, who's injured and can only kick at him. Angus then grabs the elevator lever and switches it, so that the cultist loses an arm and crushes his head.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: Parodied. During the first hang-out with Greg, Mae recalls being weirded out by an animatronic pig, that would sometimes be on display at the Food Donkey with stuff like sausage links.
    Steve: Eatin' his own kind.
    Mae: Or her own kind.
    Steve: Whatever, PC-Police...
  • Living Motion Detector: The main mechanic of the shoplifting segments. Mae even says that people evolved to track movement, so as long as she doesn't move when they're looking at her, she's fine. Even if the clerk is looking right at her with the stolen item in her grasp.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "The Intercom", "Clanky Must Die", and "I'm Going to Break Something", which play through short sequences that can be completed long before the songs even reach their climaxes, and the particularly catchy "Skate Wolf" can barely be heard in the scene it appears in. Players are also unlikely to catch the entirety of all four Astral songs, due to variable mixing, and the sequences ending shortly after activating all four band members.
  • Loser Protagonist: Mae Borowski, main character, is an unemployed college dropout, whose untreated neuroses catapult her back to her parents' house in her hometown. The very next day, she manages to throw up on her ex-boyfriend at a party. While it's initially played for laughs, it becomes increasingly clear that she genuinely needs help... and being the main character of a Ghost Story (or rather, a Cosmic Horror Story), only makes things worse for her.
  • Missing Main Character: After Mae gets shot down during her chase sequence, the control gets briefly taken over by either Gregg or Bae, depending on which one you spended the most time with.
  • MacGyvering: Spoofed. While hanging out with Bea during a house call to fix Mrs. Miranda's noisy furnace, Mae attempts to cobble together a fix of her own, using the objects you find in the basement: a fan, a fishing pole, a badminton racket, and a garden gnome. There are a few options available, all of them look ridiculous, and all of them just fall apart, before you even get a chance to try it out. Oh, and while you were messing around, Bea already fixed the problem, because she does this sort of thing for a living.
    Bea: "Way to go, Mae. Please don't fix anything ever again."
  • The Mall: It's possible to visit a dying shopping mall at one point, which helps remind Bea and Mae of more carefree times.
  • Mama Bear: Aunt Molly portrays herself as this. She offers Mae a ride home on threat of arresting her, when Mae was dreading a walk through the woods at night, alone. It's somewhat justified in that Mae was jumping on the power lines, which is dangerous. In the climax, we find out offscreen that she and her partner combed the woods to find Mae after her friends reported that weird guys in hoods shot at them and forced them to split up. Aunt Molly quickly got Mae to the hospital and notified her parents
  • Manchild:
    • Mae is a character study in arrested development. At age 20, she's still immature, unemployed, and rudderless in life. She amuses herself with petty crimes, despite being old enough to know better.
      • She is a twenty-year-old college drop-out who acts like a rebellious teenager, compulsively committing petty crimes, and having a hard time talking to other people her age about more adult concerns. This strains her relationships with her parents and most of her friends, except her partner in crimes, Gregg. Her flighty exterior also hides some severe mental issues, including a textbook case of dissociation / derealization.
    • Gregg is also this, albeit to a lesser degree than Mae. Even though Gregg has a job, an apartment, and a serious romantic relationship (unlike Mae), he demonstrates immaturity on multiple occasions. He commits petty crimes and allows Steven to shoplift from Snack Falcon, even though both could get him arrested and/or fired. He nurses grand plans for moving to Bright Harbor with Angus, oblivious to how unrealistic his dream is. Angus even ends up calling Mae out for encouraging this behavior despite his best efforts to keep Gregg stable.
  • Master of None: Dr. Hank is the town's resident doctor. As discussed by the townsfolk, Dr. Hank tries to do every field of medicine, but he doesn't do any field of medicine particularly well. Especially not mental health therapy. Dr. Hank's entire solution for Mae's mental problems is to have her keep a journal of the things she's thinking about. Not in addition to talking to a therapist, taking medication, or anything else; just "keep a journal" and that's it. As Mae's continuing mental health struggles show, this is absurdly ineffective.
  • Master of Unlocking: Gregg is shown to have this ability. He's able to pick open two elevator locks in the dark, while under extreme stress, using nothing but a pair of pliers and a paperclip. Even before that, he's got a set of lock picks that could have made the job even easier. In the Weird Autumn Edition, we do see Gregg use a lock pick to unlock the basement door in the Historical Society Museum, while Mae is holding a flashlight over him, but once he finishes picking the lock, an owl suddenly attacks him, causing him to lose the lock picks (and Mae to drop the flashlight), before they make their way in to escape.
  • Mature Animal Story: Night in the Woods features a cast full of anthropomorphic animals. It also features alcohol, swearing, serious themes about mental health and growing up in a Dying Town, a mysterious kidnapping or two, and vandalism.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • The nature of the "ghost" Mae keeps seeing around town. She is convinced that it really is a ghost that is kidnapping people, while her friends assume that it's a guard or a hunter whenever they see it . The truth is none of them are right. It isn't a ghost, but it IS a cultist supposedly powered by an Eldritch Abomination with the ability to walk through walls.
    • The Janitor has a recurring and cryptic appearance through the game. In the end, he might be just someone really old and experienced who happens to be wise and be in the right place at the right time, at the end, he knows Mae's name even though she never introduced herself. He is possibly God or another entity as there is even a statue of him in the graveyard.
    • Mae has recurring nightmares of an astral band in strange places that always end with she meeting a gigantic and bizarre creature. It's hinted at the possibility that Mae has some sort of connection to the supernatural and that those entities are some sort of Cosmic Horror, or if it's just converging delusions of the involved parties. The nature of Mae's dreams are ultimately left unexplained, though there is genuinely a possibility that Mae is sick and is hallucinating in her nightmares, not helped that the end of the game confirms she has some sort of psychosis, with symptoms of dissociation and sleep paralysis. Also, one of the newspaper in the library reveals that there was some sort of gas leak in town that made people hallucinate when a few miners Dug Too Deep. Then again, the possibility that her apparent mental illness is the result of The Black Goat reaching into her mind is ultimately just as likely, given what the narrative shows. Whether or not The Black Goat even exists is never explicitly confirmed; basically all the assurance that the player has to go on is taking the cult's word for it. Thus, it's left open to interpretation whether the cult's superstitions have any grounding in reality. It's also just as open whether Mae has been influenced by the Eldritch Abomination, it's just her disassociation and mental disorders wreaking havoc on her mind, or if it's some combination of both.
  • Mini-Game: When Mae hangs out with her friends, the gameplay switches to this, such as a Rhythm Game during band practice and a Stealth-Based Game when shoplifting.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Mae's mother briefly wonders if Mae is pregnant. This has nothing to do with Mae's weight, however — she gets this idea because Mae dropped out of college, seemingly out of nowhere, to come and live at home, and has been feeling physically ill, and has been unusually moody and avoidant. Of course, it's nothing like that at all, but Mae's mother is surprisingly supportive, and open-minded when she asks Mae about it.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Mae wanders into the woods alone, at night, after no one picks her up at the bus station. She then sees a flashlight and fears the worst. Then the person holding the flashlight speaks, and Mae starts to snark with an annoyed expression. It's her aunt Molly, or rather Aunt Mallcop. Aunt Molly then takes her home, pointing out the alternative is that Mae spends the night in jail.
    • After a fun band practice, Mae and her friends find a severed arm lying in the road. Even the music acknowledges the change. Then Black Comedy ensues when Mae pokes the arm with a stick.
    • At the party, a drunken Mae first moans about embarrassing herself in front of her ex. She then rants about wanting to cut people with a knife, and throws up her dinner tacos. Bea takes her home, revealing to the audience and a forgetful Mae that her mother died, and that she's bitter about not going to college. After this, Bea helps a drunken Mae to her room and tucks her into bed. Then Mae has a scary, trippy dream about smashing things with a baseball bat.
    • At Harfest, Mae and Gregg help Bea with a Stylistic Suck Halloween ghost play about the town. They have fun with it, especially since Mae had to memorize her lines in five minutes. Bea and Gregg after the show tell Mae that she can't join them on their respective trips for business and romance. When Mae is trying to figure out what to do, however, she sees someone being kidnapped.
    • The ghost hunt with Angus in the state park is a sad but ultimately touching scene where Angus tells Mae about his Abusive Parents and his disbelief in gods or the supernatural, and the two are having a pleasant time stargazing and getting to know each other better. At least until Angus notices that they're being watched by one of the cultists, and the two run for their lives back to Bea's car.
    • In Lost Constellation, what you hear about the Huncher before you meet her makes her out to be terrifying, but in person, she and the Kid turn out to be pretty funny. Then you find out what she's done and what her origins are.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In the opening, the player makes a series of choices about what Mae remembers most about the year her grandfather died, including the disasters that struck Possum Hollow (the flood or the new highway taking away all the traffic from town), his favorite quote from the Prayer of the Forest God, and what he was staring at in his final moments.
  • Multiple Endings: While the ultimate outcome of the story doesn't change, there are two possible variations of the ending:
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Minor character Mrs. Miranda apparently mummified her husband after he died and kept him in her house.
    Bea: Wait for it...
    Mrs. Miranda: You can't take a woman's husband just because he's dead!
    Bea: There it is.
    Mae: Holy God.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Ride the chariot to donut hell!"

  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Intentionally done with Germ's pet possum, Rabies. Germ wanted the other possums to respect Rabies, so he named him after something they'd be scared of.
  • NEET: Mae Borowski, the Loser Protagonist. She drops out of college due to having such severe disassociative episodes, that she can't even function at school anymore, which may or may not, have been caused by an Eldritch Abomination known as the Black Goat. Mae spends most of the game running around town, talking to her friends, committing crimes, and doing womanchild things, while her parents encourage her to have some ambition.
  • Nerdy Inhaler: Angus needs an inhaler, and while he may be the most 'nerdy' person in his group of friends, he's also probably the most physically imposing.
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: While it's left ambiguous, it's implied the influence of the Black Goat is, if not the cause of Mae's disassociative episodes, making them worse.
  • Never Trust a Title: Night in the Woods takes place over the course of several days and nights, only a few of which are spent anywhere near the woods.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Danny is this and fully aware of it. Having been canned from his construction job, he spends the rest of the game struggling to keep employment, including brief stints at the Ol' Pickaxe and the Clik-Clak Diner. In the epilogue, he's shown to have gotten a job at a new taco joint in town.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: While the plotline begins in late October of 2017, the game was released in February 2017. While the game is set in a World of Funny Animals, it's otherwise very similar to our modern day.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The cult had already disarmed Gregg at gunpoint and pointed out to the group that they can't tell the police what happened, since the gang doesn't know any of the cultist' faces. Mae can't think straight due to her head injury, so the gang decides to head home to regroup and think a plan, ideally to not become the next generation of cultists. Then the cultist that Gregg injured with his crossbow comes up the elevator shaft and attacks Mae. Angus weaponizing the elevator against him causes a cave-in; while the gang gets out thanks to Mae's adrenaline rush allowing her to climb and find an opening, the rest of the cult is trapped down below. While Bea is shaken at the possibility, Angus points out that the cult were bad people.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • Mae's mother, of all people. Her favorite books are about either grisly murders, or tales of survival against wanton human cruelty (such as "Barrel Boy", who was locked inside a barrel his entire childhood).
    • Lori loves horror movies. She also reveals her daydreams about being a monster to Mae when they hang out by the train tracks.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: When Mae meets Bombshell at Jackie's party, Bombshell is wearing a low-cut V-neck blouse. Since Bombshell is a bear, the blouse doesn't reveal anything.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Mae mentions a "cement incident" where apparently some old things from the house were lost from being encased in cement.
    • While riding in Mr. Salvi's boat, we hear the tail-end of a story about how he saved Longest Night. From Mae's follow-up questions, he never told his kids what happened because it would "spoil the magic", the incident left him with a scar on his neck and, while the police never caught the culprit, they will likely never return to Possum Springs.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Almost every middle-aged person in Possum Springs looks wistfully back on the past. They're still mourning the loss of the mines that used to be the lifeblood of the town, and everyone is hoping the mines can be restored to pump life back into Possum Springs. Mae's dad bemoans that in the old days, bosses respected workers, workers respected the bosses, and everyone got a day's wage for a day's work. However, stop to read the non-ghost related microfiche in the library, and you'll see that these middle-aged adults have rose-tinted the past so much that it may as well be soaked with pink paint. The mines were so dangerous that people above the ground weren't safe from their faulty structure — Jenny's Field is so named because a young girl fell into a sinkhole caused by one of the mine's pillars collapsing, and Jenny's mother Never Found the Body. The bosses' neglect of safety caused many fatalities, and the strike action taken to try and make working conditions less lethal resulted in the mine owners calling in the army to break up the strike. Plus, it's revealed through this microfiche that the miners Dug Too Deep and released a hallucinogenic gas that caused people in town to see things, which may have contributed to the creation of the Cult of the Black Goat and given Mae her disassociative mental problems. Thus, the idea that the mines reopening would revive Possum Springs to happier times isn't just incorrect, it's outright dangerous.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Possum Springs is a sleepy mountain town with not a lot going on except for the new superstore, the Harfest festival, and a robed cult kidnapping undesirables and feeding them to an elder god.
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: Possibly unintentional, but in pre-release material, Mae's black jeans and sneakers make her look like a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal at first glance. In the final game, her pants and shoes are adjusted to lighter colors, likely to avoid this.
  • The Old Country: Mentioned in passing by Mae, particularly about their family's old cuckoo clock. Judging by the name, one would assume it's Poland, but the only other countries specifically mentioned as existing are Russia and Italy, and the latter was in the context of a historical pope who killed and ate his rival, as well as having a pretty good horror movie industry, so it's anyone's guess. When Mae's father is telling her a folktale from there in Lost Constellation, he only refers to it as "back where my grandparents came from".
  • The Old Gods: The Black Goat, a creature "as black as the space between stars" that lives in a hole in a long-abandoned mine. Unless sated with human sacrifices, he will bring destruction upon the town.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe. "Go Get Dead, Angel Face" is Mae's. It's even available as an option to practice in Mae's bedroom in the Weird Autumn edition, but selecting it causes Mae to refuse to play it and remove it from the list of options. Forever.
  • Older Than They Look: The central character, Mae, is twenty years old, but could easily be mistaken for a teenager, partially because of the game's storybook esque art style, and partially because Mae's the shortest of her friends, is a womanchild, and doesn't have a job or driver's license.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Bea (who works very hard at a job she doesn't like much) repeatedly wonders how Gregg manages to hold on to his job, given how casually he skips work whenever something more interesting turns up.
  • The One Who Made It Out: The game has this as a theme, as it's centered on a small Dying Town. Gregg recounts a story from his childhood about how he accidentally let loose his uncle's sheep, and how nearly all of them, either returned or died. Only one of them escaped to the woods, and Gregg says that he wants to do the same.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with the three neighborhood kids all named "Harley". There's also probably two people called Dan in town; the cat that keeps changing jobs throughout the game, and the unseen Dan that Aunt Molly mentioned helped her with searching the woods for the kidnapped kid Mae reported.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Anytime Angus gets angry, with Angus being a Gentle Giant and a Nice Guy, Mae knows that something is wrong. Such as when he fights with Gregg after a bad night outing to get donuts, or when he says he doesn't regret leaving the cult to die.
    • Happy-go-lucky Gregg is certainly not so in the climax. Gregg wields a crossbow when an injured Mae goes back to the mines, and yells at her for trying to die. Then he gets furious on hearing the cult killed Casey, threatening to shoot whoever did it with an arrow with "He was my friend, you bastards!" at the cult. The only reason Gregg doesn't fire is because the cult thought to bring guns, resulting in a Mexican Standoff.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Angus, Mae's father and Adina Astra from Lost Constellation obviously. Though due to the art style, every bespectacled character seems to have opaque glasses.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Mae's mom tries to be this, and mostly succeeds. She's understanding and patient when Mae drops out of college abruptly and asks to come home, and doesn't push her too much, though she clearly wants to know what happened. When she briefly gets the wrong idea and thinks Mae came home because she's pregnant, she doesn't freak out or get angry, and immediately starts assuring Mae that she'll do whatever he can to help her, and that she understands completely. She sometimes loses her patience with Mae, and even gets in an argument with her over Mae dropping out, but afterwards, she almost immediately owns that she went too far, and assures Mae that she trusts she had a good reason. It's this trust that allows Mae to say that she'll finally open up to her mom after the business with the Cult of the Black Goat is over.
  • Opposites Attract: Gregg the knife-wielding, leather-clad, petty criminal (albeit he's trying to turn his life around) with Angus the neatly dressed, polite, bespectacled, science geek.
    • Discussed in Bea's route at the end. Bea believes that when Gregg and Angus move to the big city and meet new people, they might break up, with Angus realizing there are better options for him than Gregg out there and that fit him better. Of course, if the player chooses to go ghost hunting with Angus, he will point out that Gregg saved him from his Abusive Parents, so their relationship might be deeper and more meaningful that what Bea thinks.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: A frequent choice of colors from the background to the main character herself. Especially prevalent in the mine at the end of the game.
  • Our Liches Are Different: One of the dusk star constellations depicts Gramercy the Medium, whose spirit possessed his own corpse after he died, allowing him to live on as an undead being while retaining his sapience. Mae isn't particularly impressed by the story.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: As briefly mentioned in one of Gregg's hangouts, a defining characteristic of vampires in this universe is shiny teeth rather than sharp teeth, since lots of people have sharp teeth anyway.
  • Painful Rhyme: One of Fisherman Joe's poems has him awkwardly try to rhyme "storm" and "home." Mae mocks this by drawing a picture in her journal of a fish with a hat and briefcase saying, "Honey, I'm horm."
  • Parental Neglect: While Mae bemoans this when having to walk home through the woods, her parents sincerely did forget that she was coming home a day early. When she's actually in town, her parents are more than willing to spend time with her. It then becomes double-subverted when we learn her father is a recovering alcoholic.
  • Parting-Words Regret:
    • Averted between Mae and her mother, if they have that nasty fight on Harfest. They apologize to each other the next morning and are on good terms when Mae gets a potentially fatal head injury.
    • Played straight when Mae argues with her friends about the ghost being real or not. Nevertheless, they follow her into the woods when she insists on going, because being in the woods alone is dangerous. Then she suffers her head injury, and her friends are worried sick while hiding in Gregg and Angus's apartment.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Courtesy of the late "Little Joe".
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • You only have so many days to do things you want with your friends. Realistically, you can only reach the end of Bea or Gregg's storylines once per playthrough, and even then they have multiple endings.
    • There's also various side activities in the town, which don't take time out of each day, but are plentiful enough to be easily passed by.
    • When Mae chooses to go ghost hunting with her friends, there are three available options between Bea, Gregg and Angus. You can only see two of them per playthrough.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Aunt Molly's first act is to take Mae home when the latter is walking home alone in the woods. For the rest of the game she's a bit obstreperous.
    • The janitor appears to a comatose Mae and her parents, and appears to heal her. There are some implications that the janitor is a god, or God, but in his previous interaction with Mae he had simply asked her to get him a free soda.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: A platonic example; when Mae suffers from her head injury, there's a scene where the people she befriended all gather and ask her to wake up because they don't want her to die. Lori says she wants Mae to star in her movie, Selmers says that Mae hearing her poems makes her happy, and Mr. Chazokov starts crying as he recounts stargazing with Mae.
  • Please Wake Up: Subverted. Mae falls unconscious after getting a severe head injury in the climax. The neighbors she befriended in the game — Selmers, Lori and Mr. Chazokov — gather. They all say they want Mae to wake up, with Mr. Chazokov bursting into tears as he recounts stargazing with her, thinking she's going to die. Fortunately, the janitor appears and Mae does wake up after he seems to heal her. The next day, after all the fracas with the cult, Mae can go to each of them and reassure her new friends that she's okay.
  • Poking Dead Things with a Stick: Just when things start to turn sinister, the main four characters find a severed arm on the sidewalk just outside the diner. Mae and Gregg talk about poking it with a stick, which cues a Mini-Game where Mae, controlled by the player, manipulates the severed limb by poking at it with a stick. Depending on the player's choices, either Mae can push up the sleeve and discover a cultist tattoo, or she can kill a nearby bug.
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-Zagged with Aunt Molly. She does find Mae on the first night and takes her home, instead of letting her walk through the woods. She also finds Mae when the latter goes missing near the climax, after the cult chases her and causes her to have a head injury, and it is implied at the end that she is aware that Mae is in some way connected to the "strange" calls she got in the epilogue, but doesn't pursue it because she doesn't want to know.
  • Positive Friend Influence: In Bea's route, she will play this to the womanchild Mae. Because Bea is bitter over Mae getting the chances she could never have, and not even caring due to her own immaturity, she will call Mae out on her behavior, how she can't just waltz through life not caring, and being a burden for everyone else, her parents, and friends especially, to support. In face of that, and of all Bea suffered between her father's dismissive attitude, her mother's death, and working with a possible sexual abuser, Mae is forced in the realization she has to grow up and mature.
  • Posthumous Character: Quite a few:
    • Mae's Grandpa's last words are the subject of the game's opening, and the events of his life come up in several sidequests. The Weird Autumn edition adds a scene where his ghost appears to watch over Mae while she naps in the Church.
    • Bea's mother gets very little characterisation beyond Mae drunkenly sobbing about how nice she was. Her death is mostly what forced Bea to grow up much faster than Mae.
    • On a more spoilery note Casey, whose status as a missing person is felt several times throughout the game turns out to be a case of Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead. The fact that the villains considered his life worth so little that they were willing to sacrifice him to the Black Goat without worrying about anyone missing him helps drive home that they are, indeed, the bad guys.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Even though they are Affably Evil, the cult for the Black Goat isn't messing around. When Gregg pulls his crossbow on them, several of them pull out guns, explaining that they have them for protection against wild animals in the woods. And they let Mae's group go peacefully, seeing as how none of them fit the standard of "people that nobody would miss" that the cult requires to sacrifice someone. This is in spite of Gregg shooting one of their members in the shoulder with a crossbow.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Mae says one when trying to get the goth guys at the party to move away from their car so she can get across the rooftops to the river. It kind of works.
    Mae: If you don't get away from your damn car, I'm gonna run it over your damn head.
    Goth Guy: Can you even drive?
    Mae: Wanna find out, citizen?
  • Predatory Business: The Ham Panther supermarket is a downplayed example of this, as everyone knows it's not the workers' fault, but there are still quite a few people, potentially including Mae, unhappy that it drove the folksy, apparently family-run Food Donkey and its animatronic performers out of business.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Adina Astra from Longest Night: Lost Constellation can be seen as a constellation during one of the "Dusk Star Hunting" sidequests.
  • Progressive Instrumentation: Features certain levels where you search for four ghosts. Each area starts off silent, but as you locate each one, they'll begin playing an instrument, until the entire band is performing.
  • Properly Paranoid: As Gregg or Bea lampshade in the climax, though Mae was scared it was a resurgence of her disassociation, she did see a kidnapping on Harfest and it isn't connected to her mental illness.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Demonstrates an example who isn't actively malicious in his intent with patients, but he does show that incompetence can be equally dangerous. Namely, Dr. Hank, the town's general medical practitioner, makes "keep a journal" and "repress your issues" into every therapy solution, which leaves protagonist Mae Borowski incredibly ill equipped to deal with her own dissociation and psychosis, leaving her to viciously attack another child, and later drop out of college when her symptoms flared up, and frightened her away.
  • Punny Name: Perhaps. The name "Mae Borowski" abbreviates to Mae B., and her onetime best friend is "Bea".
  • Quirky Town: Possum Springs, filled with dozens of hooligans and a lot of weirdos.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Mae's reaction when Pastabilities closes down.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Although things haven't really changed for the group, Mae seems to have a more optimistic outlook about her life by the end. She considers becoming a janitor and plans to talk to her parents about what happened at college, while her dad will talk about his work problems. Bea has renewed her friendship with Mae, and Angus and Gregg move forward with their plans to leave Possum Springs. The gang will also meet for band practice.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Mr. Chazokov. He's disappointed that Mae dropped out of college but still invites her to stargaze with him.
    • Aunt Molly. She takes Mae home when finding the latter jumping on power lines to get home through the woods at night, while warning her and Mae's mother that such behavior could get Mae arrested in the future. She also takes care of the severed arm outside the diner and orders Mae and her friends to do the buddy system. When Mae witnesses kidnapping on Harfest and tells Aunt Molly about a ghost she saw, her Aunt doesn't believe her and takes home, apparently ignoring the incident. Next time Mae meets her, she offhandedly mentions sweeping the whole area with someone after Mae's report. In the climax, we learn that she and her partner Dan searched frantically for an injured Mae when her friends reported her missing and that weird people with guns were firing at them. Aunt Molly gets Mae to the hospital and orders the friend group to stay in one location— Angus and Gregg's apartment— until they could figure out what the heck happened. The next day, Molly admits to Mae that she isn't entirely sure what sort of trouble her niece got into, but she would rather not know because what she can grasp of it plus the weird phone calls indicates that it's not pretty. Mae doesn't exactly thank Molly for saving her life, but she is a little nicer about it
  • Recurring Riff: Some melodies appear in different tracks throughout the game. For example, the melody played by the violinist can also be heard in the first level of Demontower.
  • Red Shirt:
    • The random silhouetted kid that gets kidnapped on Harfest.
    • The Harleys mention that a girl from Mulvey went missing after Harfest.
  • Repression Never Ends Well: As a teenager Mae started suffering from some form of disassociation disorder, which went untreated and eventually caused her to put another kid in hospital during a softball game. The local doctor was pretty much the only avenue of treatment her parents had for her, and since he wasn't a psychiatrist, he didn't do much aside from having Mae write a journal and "suppress her anger". As a result, when she left for university while she didn't have another attack, she couldn't function in this new environment, and basically spent two years crying in her room, before coming home at the start of the game.
  • The Resenter: Bea is shown to be resentful of Mae for getting the chance to go to college, that Bea herself never got, and then seemingly throwing it away without a care by abruptly dropping out. However, Bea gets over it when she learns that Mae dropped out, because she was having a mental breakdown.
  • Resolved Noodle Incident:
    • Mae doesn't like to talk about the time she went with Cole to their high school senior prom and it ended in disaster. If you go with Bea to the graveyard in Act III and tell the Goth Teens an embarrassing story from high school, Mae will reveal all the gruesome, humiliating details: Mae went in for a kiss, but somehow screwed up, and bit Cole on the lip. She dragged Cole into the bathroom, and stuffed his mouth with paper towels, to stop the bleeding, while nervously eating candied almonds she'd stolen from the refreshments table. Then she nearly choked on an almond and puked, while trying to give herself the Heimlich maneuver. Then someone came in and, in a moment of panic, Mae tried to flush the paper towels she'd shoved in Cole's mouth down the toilet, causing it to overflow. Cole left early, and Mae was forced to get a ride home from Josh, a kid who rode to prom on a tractor.
    • There are repeated references to Mae putting another kid in the hospital when she was younger, an incident she doesn't like to talk about. Near the end of the game we get the whole story: Mae had a nasty dissociative episode during a softball game that lead to her lashing out.
  • The Reveal:
    • Anytime you interact with other characters to the fullest extent and learn something about their background, history, or psychology. (See Characters Page for full details)
    • Lori M. was the one who graffitied the “Dudes” mural.
    • The musicians in Mae’s dreams were the Deep Hollow Hollerers. Musicians who were active from the 1920s to the 1940s; wanting to serve as Psychopomps for any lost spirits.
    • Everything about the Black Goat Cult. (See other entries for more details).
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Possum Springs is based on small Pennsylvania towns, and Selma ("Selmers") went to rehab for a prescription painkiller addiction. As of the time of the game's release (2017), Pennsylvania was experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Mae happens to see a kidnapping, she (being something of a womanchild) assumes that a ghost is responsible, and goes ghost hunting. While she doesn't find any evidence of ghosts at the creepy historical sites she can investigate, the actual culprit is present, since they and their organization are deeply involved with the town's history.
  • Rod And Reel Repurposed: If you choose to tag along when Bea goes on a house call to fix an old furnace, you can attempt to cobble together a fix of your own using various objects you find around the basement, including a fishing pole. All it does is fall apart, which is probably for the best.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mae getting shocked with various kinds of Harmless Electrocution.
    • Mae being dragged into performing a song she doesn't know during band practice.
    • Gregg and Mae muttering, "Crimes," to each other.
    • Gregg and Mae thinking up various painful ways that the other person could have died, and increasingly getting into Cruel and Unusual Death territory. Often phrased as "too bad you didn't [die in this horribly gruesome manner]."
    • Mae frequently writes "GREGG RULZ OK" in her journal when making an entry that involves him.
      • Extended to Jen in Weird Autumn, whom Mae describes as "GREGG'S COUSIN OK".

  • Samus Is a Girl: The Palecat from Demontower is androgynous-looking, and only revealed to be female in the bad ending.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Mae comes home to find out her friend Casey disappeared without a word awhile back. No one aside from his parents seem too concerned — Mae's other friends theorize he simply skipped town like he always wanted to. But there are multiple hints something may have happened to him, culminating to the climax of the game, when you find out that the cultists kidnapped him and sacrificed him to the Black Goat, figuring he wouldn't be missed. Mae and her friends are all horrified by this, and to make matters worse, because no one will ever believe them about the cult, and all the cultists are dead (or close to it) by the end of the game, meaning there's no proof for their story, they can't tell anyone about what they saw. Casey's parents will never know the truth.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Characters often drift into this in optional conversations, such as realizing that "orange drink" is the only way they've ever referred to that kind of juice.
  • Serial Killer Baiting: Mae becomes aware of a mysterious "ghost" kidnapping people. Half way through the final chapter, the band are staying over at Gregg and Angus's apartment. Mae, suffering a concussion and barely able to move after an encounter with the villains, decides to go out looking for the "ghost" alone (since it targets people who won't be missed), although it's strongly implied her plan isn't as much to catch the ghost as die knowing the truth. Luckily, when she confronts them, her friends show up to save her, playing the trope straight (and making it much less mysterious after a crossbow bolt to the shoulder).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Pastor Kate's story is essentially this. Spends the entirety of the story trying to convince the City Council to let her start a program to give the homeless somewhere to stay, starting with Bruce, a vagrant who is relatively new in town. In the end though, the Council rules against her motion and even before then, Bruce already decided to leave, not wanting to burden Kate with his presence. Though she is clearly unhappy about it all, she takes it in pretty good stride.
    • This is the result of Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead. Mae's search for Casey ends with finding out he was one of the Cult of the Black Goat's victims. Despite brief hope spots, such as telling Mr. Chazokov that missing is not the same as dead and asking Angel to ask around after Casey, he's revealed to be one of the Cult's victims of the cult. This means Casey is gone for good, and had been for a while.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mae thinks Angus and Gregg make the cutest couple and won't hesitate to express it. Bea inverts it, as she thinks Angus and Gregg are together because they're the only gay men in Possum Springs, and that they'll break up when they meet new people in Bright Harbor It's worth noting that their relationship is actually much deeper and more meaningful to them than what Bea thinks, although it's fair that she wouldn't know, considering neither of them talk about it unless Mae hangs out with them to bond.
  • The Shrink: The unseen Dr. Hank is Mae's therapist. He turns out to be The Harmful Shrink — specifically, he's so ineffective, it crosses over into being harmful. His idea of treatment for Mae's obvious mental problems, which have resulted in her having a nervous breakdown and previously led to her putting a kid in the hospital, is a journal. Not in tandem with other treatment — just "keep a journal" and that's it. He also encourages Mae to "repress" her anger, rather than actually work through it. Bea lampshades this if you become close friends with her, pointing out that Dr. Hank treats a lot of different kinds of health problems, and that he's obviously incompetent at treating the mental kind.
  • Shout-Out:
    • If Mae looks at the Possum Springs mural at the bus station, at one point she quips, "Prepare for disappointment, ye who enter here," a parody of "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" from Dante's The Divine Comedy.
    • The blue canary night light in the Borowski home is a reference to They Might Be Giants song "Birdhouse in Your Soul".
    • Possibly one: the eventual reveal in the latter half of the game, an Eldritch Abomination with deep ties to the lore at the bottom of a mine shaft, revealed when the miners Dug Too Deep, and slowly corrupting a small town, is also the eventual reveal in Desperation by Stephen King.
    • Gregg mentions that Angus plays a game called Sword People Online, which may be a reference to Sword Art Online.
    • The plot of a small, dilapidated town with sagging industry and general decay turning to Eldritch gods for help revitalizing the town through ritualistic sacrifice because the beast promised to revive the town if they cooperated is very reminiscent of The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft.
    • The reveal of a group of townsfolk in a cult dedicated to keeping their town clean and stable by murdering undesirables or those who would disturb the peace, all wear matching outfits, and explain themselves as being a positive force for the town, is almost certainly a shout-out to Hot Fuzz.
    • Angus mentions the Bell constellation reminds him of "prog rock album covers", which most likely refers to Nektar's Journey to the Centre of the Eye or the cover to Pink Floyd's live album, Pulse.
    • In yet another Lovecraft allusion, one of the lyrics in Pumpkin Head Guy almost perfectly name-drops the title of Lovecraft's novella, The Whisperer in Darkness, "A whisper in the dark..." Considering the other, previously mentioned allusions to the Cthulhu Mythos scattered throughout the game, it likely isn't a coincidence.
    • Mae can lie to Gregg about having porn pop-ups cleaned from her computer, to which he'll respond: "Why must you turn the Internet into a den of lies?"
    • Gregg can mention watching a TV show about a no-nonsense judge called Judge Cathy. Germ's grandmother watches a similar show called Judge Janice. Both seem to be references to Judge Judy.
    • When you talk to Lori M. on the first rainy day, she mentions making a horror film in which a person stabs another in the eye with a knife; her speech balloon then shows a knife marked "REAL" stabbing an eyeball marked "FAKE". This is kind of a reference to the eye-slashing scene in the 1929 film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, entitled Un Chien Andalou.
    • Mae's favorite band in-universe, the Doom Metal band Witchdagger, is a reference to stoner metal band Sleep, with Space Dragon being very similar bass and riff-wise to Dragonaut. Other Sleep references include the robed and masked figure seen behind Mae as she drifts in the void resembling the band's mascots, the Weedians on the cover of Dopesmoker, and Mae's recitation of the song's apparent lyrics before she plays seems to be a reference to the vocal style on the aforementioned album, long, drawn out notes with themes of wandering and nomads. Word of God confirmed that Sleep are ALSO one of Mae's favorite bands.
    • A cult in an isolated rural town suffering economic hardship performs Human Sacrifice in the hopes it can bring back prosperity. Is this Night in the Woods, or The Wicker Man?
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Lost Constellation is a ghost story told by the characters.
    • In the main game, Mae's father watches Garbo and Malloy, a comedy show.
    • A game within a game example with Demontower, a game that can be played on Mae's laptop.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: In-Universe. Even as a child, Mae absolutely hated the cloying wholesomeness of Charity Bearity.
  • Signs of Disrepair: In one of Mae's dreams, there is an illuminated sign reading "DURKILLESBURG." And you have a baseball bat. It's popular among players to reduce the sign to "___KILLE___R_", which the game later reveals is a nickname Mae earned after beating a kid with a baseball bat.
  • Sleep Cute: In the Weird Autumn edition, if you have Mae take a nap in the church when her mother suggests it. The ghost of her beloved grandfather appears, watches Mae sleep for a moment, and smiles.
  • Small Town Boredom: Mae and Gregg's random acts of vandalism are largely a way to entertain themselves in their middle-of-nowhere town.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Mae ends up being this for the cult. Her "ghost investigation" leads to her friends discovering the cult at the abandoned mine shafts, which in turn leads to Mae and the others going to confront the cultists.
    • Germ ends up being the only person we know who has escaped the cult, based on an optional dialogue with him. He also helps Mae rescue her friends from the well in his backyard.
    • On the Gregg path, Mae becomes this by encouraging Gregg's criminal behavior. Note that Gregg was committing petty crimes before Mae returned, such as shoplifting and engaging in petty theft, but he finds it harder to hide from Angus, who wants to make sure Gregg doesn't go to jail. Eventually, Angus confronts them both, which makes Gregg admit that he has to shape up.
  • Stealth Pun: Mae is prone to sniping at people who annoy her and going to great lengths to find fault with them. One might even say that she can be a bit catty.
    • Holes are a recurring motif in the story, which takes place during autumn, or fall. The climax of the game involves Mae falling into a hole.
  • Sticky Fingers: Mae shoplifts, amongst other petty crimes, compulsively.
  • Story Branching: Dialogue and certain story elements (like who Mae sleeps with on the couch the day after she comes out of the hospital) change depending on dialogue choices. Choosing to not show up on the days certain events happen can even cause potential conversations to never happen, and sidequests to never kick off.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Garbo & Malloy, a comedy duo Mae and her father enjoy watching. They trade roles depending on who is setting up the joke.
    "That's a whoppah!"
  • Stepford Snarker: Mae for most of the game is a Deadpan Snarker that pretends she doesn't care about her problems. Towards the end she apologizes to her mother for being a screw-up, and while recovering from her head injury talks to Gregg or Bea about why she dropped out of college.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Harfest play which Bea ropes Mae into performing is this, even if you choose to try and follow along with the script, likely due to the numerous rewrites it suffered over the years. Mae, Gregg, and the Janitor frequently break character; Bea can barely contain the contempt she feels about having to narrate the whole fiasco, and while Danny and Bill both get their lines right, their performance is more wooden than the store countertop they're using as a stage. Even Germ's additional street friends and the trolley system tunnel kids make up the audience and laugh at how hilarious this performance is if Mae gets her lines right in the Weird Autumn Edition.
  • Super Doc: Dr. Hank takes care of all of Possum Springs' medical, dental and psychiatric needs. Deconstructed when dialogue makes it abundantly clear that he does none of them well, especially in the field of therapy. Treating Mae's disorder amounted to telling her to repress her anger and keep a journal, which is evidently his go-to suggestion. Bea and Selmers lampshades just how bad Dr. Hank and his suggestions are, and Selmers had to go to someone else for her rehab.
  • Supernatural Hotspot Town: The game brings us the town of Possum Springs, with a heavy dose of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane mixed in. The protagonist, Mae, has vivid dreams featuring monstrous animals, including one where she talks to a cat claiming to be god that shows her just how insignificant she is, but Mae is also the victim of untreated psychoses that could explain these dreams. Newspaper articles Mae can find alongside Bea talk about gas leaks from the mines causing vivid hallucinations, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that there is a cult operating in the town, a member of which has seemingly supernatural powers. Said cult is sacrificing citizens they consider blights upon society to something in the old mines... but they may just be throwing them down a pit to their deaths.
  • Symbol Swearing: In a game which uses a lot of normal swearing and only censors "fuck" into "eff", this still manages to make an appearance after Gregg shoots the cultist with the crossbow.
    Gregg: I am gonna *$%ing %*$**$%**$% you!!!
  • Tagline: "At the end of everything, hold on to anything."
  • Tap on the Head: Deconstructed. Mae gets a severe head injury in the climax, and her family has to take her to the hospital where she's in serious danger of dying. For the rest of the subsequent chapter, she's walking sluggishly and on the verge of throwing up. While she's fine the next day, her parents understandably aren't since they don't understand how she wandered off while injured.
  • Taught by Experience: After going around for most of the game not carrying any weapons, even when realizing that Mae saw someone dangerous, Gregg arms himself with a crossbow in the climax.
  • Team Mom: Bea is this reluctantly. She takes charge when Mae wants to find the ghost she saw on Harfest kidnapping someone, makes sure to drive Mae home safely for most of the game, and even tucks her in at one point when the latter is too drunk.
  • There Are No Therapists: Deconstructed. The town is so small that it doesn't have any therapists; it only has Dr. Hank, who has to cover so many fields of medicine that he ends up being a Master of None. As a result of this, Mae never got the help she needed for her issues, which eventually led to her dropping out of school. Selmers is only in recovery because she was able to seek help (and rehab) outside the town.
  • These Questions Three...: Played for Laughs. The trio of goth teenagers won't let Mae and Bea enter the graveyard without answering three questions... when did they first have sex, what was their most embarrassing moment, and what their ideal date would be. Bea thinks this is ridiculous, but she and Mae go along with it. Then, afterwards, the teens admit there's nothing they can do to actually stop them from entering, and they could've gone on in at anytime. Mae and Bea are not amused.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Subverted. In one dialogue option Mae insists she go into the mine to confront the cult alone. Her friends shrug it off and continue to follow her.
  • Tick Tock Tune: "Tick Tock", a playable song added with the Weird Autumn update, originally a kids' show tune about the clock, but turned dark by Mae and Gregg.
  • Title Drop: During the Harfest play and when the group is trapped in the mine shaft.
  • Token Minority Couple: Bea believes that the only reason why Gregg and Angus are still together is because they don't have any other options due to the lack of men who love men in Possum Springs. At the end of her story path, she says that once they move to Bright Harbor, Angus will probably leave Gregg due to having "better options".
  • Token Religious Teammate: Bea who at times indicates ambiguously towards having religious leanings. She prays before going into the woods at the game's climax.
  • Tomboy: Mae has very little traditionally feminine interests, while being very sporty and athletic. Even her friends address her as "bro" or "dude".
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Mae spends a good portion of the game using power lines to get around. She tries to do this at first to get into town over the fence; Aunt Molly finds her and takes her home. Later on to find extra playable content you have to climb on the power lines all around town.
    • When going to explore the "ghost" sightings, Mae and the others don't think to arm themselves even though according to Mae she saw the ghost kidnapping someone. After Mae barely survives running from the cult, she goes back while suffering a head injury and not up to par in terms of combat. Though it's implied she was trying to die, believing it was her fault the ghost was threatening her friends. Gregg calls her out for her actions because he cares about her, and so do the others.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: There's a cult of people who are kidnapping people and sacrificing them to an Eldritch Abomination, which may or may not exist, in hopes of reviving the town. Most of the town has no idea.
  • True Companions: Gregg from the start, along with Angus and Bea. Despite their own problems and their conflicts with Mae's shortsighted behavior, the four all care about each other and stick together to the very end. Gregg says as much in the climax.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: This shows up if you choose to spend the most time with Gregg. Mae and Gregg's friendship as teenagers was primarily built on various petty crimes, but with Mae off at college, Gregg was straightening up, and getting his life back together... and then Mae shows up back in town at the beginning of the game. Gregg's boyfriend Angus takes notice of this, and he eventually blows up at Gregg and Mae over it, though the three are able to work things out.
    • It's inverted if you choose to spend the most time with Bea, who constantly calls Mae out on her immature attitude and behavior, and helps Mae to grow more as a person.
  • The Unreveal: Even after being killed off, we never learn any of the cult members' identities. Some of them refer to each other by name, but they're names of people we never meet out of "costume." In a particularly frustrating touch, the "ghost" attacks Mae in the finale and Mae manages to kick their mask off, but they're in silhouette the whole time, preventing any potential recognition.
    • In fact, one of the most major reveals in the Weird Autumn Edition is how many previously-missing characters are not associated with the cult, such as Aunt Molly, the City Council, and a few assorted NPCs such as a wolf lady downtown.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Mae and a few of the others say the word "eff" instead of "fuck"; according to the developers, this was done to prevent an "M" rating.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Subverted; Mae is a snarky Nightmare Fetishist.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Mae and Gregg in are prone to lobbying several rounds of "too bad you didn't [die in some exaggeratedly horrific way]" at each other whenever they meet. They're still very close and supportive of each other.
  • Voice Grunting: The Longest Night supplemental game has this, while the main game doesn't, oddly enough. It does give some idea of how the characters sound like in relation to the others; Angus for one has a much deeper grunt than the rest of the gang.
  • Water Guns and Balloons: The Weird Autumn Edition has two minigames at Harfest, one of which involves throwing water balloons at the City Council of Possum Springs, who pose as Halloween monsters respectively.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The cult as a whole. They're otherwise normal people trying to protect their families from dying and their home from rotting away and being forgotten; to do this, however, they believe they need to make ritual sacrifices to an Eldritch Abomination within the mines whenever it hungers.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mae and Bea abruptly ended their friendship in the seventh grade. They become friends again over the course of the game.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The first night in the woods. That's where it will really hit you that the characters are a Dysfunction Junction, with Mae revealing her dad's old drinking problem and Bea telling Mae about her dead mom.
    • Harfest/Halloween, where the supernatural plot finally kicks into action as Mae sees someone get abducted.
    • Near the end of the game, depending on whether you've hung out with Bea or Gregg more, there's two possible ones. On Bea's route, after ruining her night at the college party, she vocalizes her hatred for Mae. On Gregg's route, he and Angus end up having a big argument, the first and only time that any problems with their relationship are shown to exist outside Gregg's head.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Bea is driving a drunk Mae home and Mae tells Bea to say hello to her mom for her.
      Bea: Goddammit, Mae... My mother is DEAD.
    • When Angus and Mae are done with their stargazing.
      Angus: There's someone behind us.
    • Right after Mae and the gang learn about the sacrifices in the mines and how they choose their victims:
      Mae: Casey...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When the gang finds an arm at the start of the game, they decide to poke it with a stick. Upon doing so, they notice there is a diamond tattoo on it. One of the gang says that they found a clue. The tattoo is never referenced again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Bea gets mad at Mae for acting like a drunk fool at the first party in the game. Mae had also forgotten that Bea's mother had died, and is acting irresponsibly, complete with having wasted her college opportunities. With that said, she is more sympathetic when Mae tells her in the Bea path why she dropped out, though she is right about the other parts.
    • Mae gets angry at her friends when they won't believe her about a ghost, because she did see something, and someone has been watching them during their ghost hangouts. It doesn't help that they all realize she was half-right; it wasn't a ghost, but rather an actual person kidnapping others and tossing them down a deep hole into the mine.
    • Angus is furious on seeing that Mae is encouraging Gregg to revert to his previous criminal behavior, which he was cleaning up so that the couple could move to Bright Harbor.
    • Mae gets in a shot by telling Angus and Gregg that Gregg choosing to be a criminal isn't completely her fault. Gregg acknowledges this and vows to be better.
    • Jackie tells off Mae for humiliating Bea at a college party and for being a jerk. It's all very true. This motivates Mae to chase after Bea, to apologize and to hear her out.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted; twice, people in-universe deciding that just shooting someone is a perfectly acceptable solution.
    • The first occurrence happens when cult members are chasing Mae through the woods. After the chase has gone on long enough, one of the cultists shoots at Mae with a gun. The cultist misses, but Mae ends up careening into a ravine, suffering a nasty head injury as a result. This is discussed when the cultists apologize to Mae, since they didn't want to actually kill her, and she had a very real possibility of dying as a result of falling in the ravine.
    • In the climax, Gregg shoots the cultist that Mae was approaching with a crossbow, non-fatally. Then when he threatens to do the same to Casey's murderer, the cult reveals that they are armed, and force Gregg to put down his crossbow to avert a Mexican Standoff.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Zig-Zagged. After the events from Harfest, Mae starts believing she's in a ghost story, and refers to horror movies when talking to Aunt Molly about the "ghost" and his kidnap victim. However, while she is right that something horrific is going on, she ends up being wrong on everything else: she shouts, "the Cop always dies!" at Aunt Molly, but the Weird Autumn update revealed that Molly survives the events. Also, the "ghost" is actually a human being, albeit a murderous one that nearly kills Mae.
  • World of Funny Animals: A world populated by anthropomorphic cats, dogs, bears, birds, alligators, rodents, goats, etc., as well as feral animals running around. On top of that, there are examples of feral and domesticated versions of the anthropomorphic animals, like people having pet dogs despite anthropomorphic dogs walking around a few feet away.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Mae being subject to Harmless Electrocution is a Running Gag, and when she is, her skeleton is invariably visible. It stands out as one of the only real visual gags in a relatively realistic story.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Mae is annoyed that no one believes her about a "ghost". It gets to the point where her friends only follow her into the woods not because they believe her, but they don't want her wandering around at night. Eventually they all realize the "ghost" was a hooded figure kidnapping children for a cult.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Apparently the townsfolk of Possum Springs celebrate the Winter Solstice festival called "Longest Night". One tradition is for the inhabitants to sit outside by the campfire at night and spot the thirteen constellations.

    Lost Constellation 
  • Ascended Glitch: When the game originally came out, jumping over the cliff allowed you to skip forming an entourage and extending the bridge as the game would assume you had gotten over legitimately. As of the 1.1 update, you can still jump over, and while you are not allowed to skip ahead in the story, there is unique dialogue for doing so.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Adina Astra disappeared and likely died after the story ends, but she was briefly reunited with the spirit of her lover and finally viewed the Ghost Star.
    • Also, the Framing Device, if you've played the main game. "Lost Constellation" ends with Mae happy, Granddad alive, and everything seeming just peachy. But we all know that won't last forever.
  • Call-Forward: Mae says that Granddad won't see her kids because she's going to have hound dogs instead. Granddad dies before the start of Night in the Woods, so he isn't around when Mae's mother mistakenly thinks Mae is pregnant. The first two lines of the Prayer of the Forest God are one of the quotes that the player can choose for Granddad to have said before he died.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: While seeking an audience with the Forest God, Adina finds out that he's been poisoned, and that is affecting her access to the frozen lake. He dies despite her efforts to thwart his poisoners, and she goes out onto the lake alone.
  • Developer's Foresight: At one point, there's a cliff you aren't supposed to cross yet. Not only is there unique dialogue for jumping off the cliff repeatedly, but there's also unique dialogue for using the game's ice physics to build up enough speed to jump to the other side before you're supposed to be there.
  • Doomed by Canon: Granddad dies before the start of Night in the Woods.
  • Framing Device: Adina's Adventure is a bedtime story that Granddad is telling to a younger Mae, during Longest Night.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Mae's commentary on the tale is hilarious. Granddad is equally amused and tells her to never change.
  • Humble Goal: Adina only wanted to see her dead lover again and find the Star where all souls go to after death.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Grandpa lampshades this when Mae asks him if the tale really happened. He says if it could have, but it happened a long time ago regardless.
  • Older Than They Look: The child kidnapped by the Huncher. After the Huncher is killed by the Forest God for poisoning it she says, "Until a few minutes ago, I was younger than you" and begins speaking to Adina using terms like "child".
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Mae is really into the tale, especially when ghosts and severed body parts are involved.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Adina gives one to the Forest God, who is angry that Brown told Adina it was sick. The Forest God threatens Brown but Adina says she won't allow Brown to be hurt, and that he's a good man, something the Forest God doesn't understand. She then calls the God a big dumb animal before bluntly telling him he's going to die because he was poisoned by the Huncher.
  • Screw Destiny: Adina points out to the cat that she survived her encounter with the Forest God, when the cat predicted she would die. He goes "meh" about it since he has been there more times than Adina and has never died. Though it's possible he meant a figurative death, as the story is about Adina moving on.
  • Snow Means Death: A cat warns Adina that if she goes into the woods, she will die. It's snowing hard, and much harder when she reaches the Forest God's realm. Adina almost freezes to death because of the Huncher, the same way the Huncher's twin sister died in a frozen pond.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Godtender Brown. He stays out in the blizzard, greeting travelers who want to see the Forest God, whom he is very loyal to. He is torn about how the Forest God is sick and feels useless because he can't help, though he doesn't know that the God doesn't care about him in the same way.


Video Example(s):


Night in the Woods

A drunk Mae pukes back up the tacos she ate earlier. Right in front of her ex, to boot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / VomitIndiscretionShot

Media sources: