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Video Game / Nuclear Throne

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"FLÄSHYN!" note 

What has happened to this world is now forgotten. We do not know our past, who we are, and why we're here. We don't even remember our families or our homes, but we know one thing, we shall get to the Throne.

Nuclear Throne is a Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up Roguelike by Vlambeer, creator of Super Crate Box, Luftrausers and Serious Sam: The Random Encounter. The game is currently available on Steam, PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch. The game is focused on high-adrenaline shootouts in randomly generated environments with a large amount of guns available at the player's disposal. Every character has different passive and active abilities, ranging from blowing up corpses to spending their own health to spawn allies. In addition as you defeat enemies you gain radiation, which allows your character to mutate, gaining new perks as you travel across the wasteland. But no matter how strong you or your weapons are, you must still be careful, because death comes quickly, and death means you're going on a one-way trip back to the campfire.


At some point in the past, humanity messed up. They tried their best, but they went extinct, either dying in the wake of the apocalypse or mutating to a point where they could no longer be called humans or anything even remotely close to natural life. Though the human race was destroyed, Earth was not; it merely changed. Life became a struggle for survival, but it continued ever onward. A long time has passed since the apocalypse, and now rumours of the fabled Nuclear Throne has led a small group of mutants together to a secluded campfire. They have very little in common, but they all have the same goal; seeking the Nuclear Throne. This will by no means be easy, however, as the path to the Nuclear Throne is guarded by murderous bandits, ravenous monsters, and the mysterious Interdimensional Police Department (IDPD), a heavily armed militia determined to prevent anyone from reaching the Nuclear Throne for unknown reasons. Using their uniquely abnormal superpowers, these very same mutants will do whatever it takes to claim their prize and rise on top of the apocalyptic food chain, no matter the consequences.


Compare and contrast Enter the Gungeon, another Roguelike with Bullet Hell elements.

This game contains examples of:

  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: You fight Throne II inside of a swirling, purple portal.
  • Ammo Using Melee Weapon: Most melee weapons logically require no ammo whatsoever, but the Jackhammer, Laser Sword, Laser Hammer, and Laser Screwdriver all require ammo, the former using up Explosive ammo, and the latter 3 using Energy Weapon ammo.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Each character has an unlockable B skin that can be obtained through completing various tasks. These challenges' difficulty ranges from "stuff you will probably do by accident" to "pro players will have trouble with this".
  • Anti Poop-Socking: One of the loading screen messages reminds you to take a 15-minute break for every hour you play.
  • All There in the Manual: Most everything about the characters. Things like Steroids being a scientist, Fish having been a police officer, and even a few characters' genders are never mentioned during gameplay, or at best hinted at in the loading screen hints. Even the bosses have backstories that the game never even touches upon.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Robot will not eat his weapon if he only has one. This prevents you from accidentally ending up weaponless.
    • If you open up the portal to the next level and a weapon is near it, it will get sucked in with you and be there at the start of the next level in case you wanted to pick it up. Same goes for rad canisters. This can actually be frustrating if you're trying to avoid weapon chests or rad canisters for the secrets you get by skipping them.
    • Rebel sacrifices some of her HP in order to summon allies, but if you're low on HP to the point where the next summon would kill you, it just won't work until you gather more HP, preventing accidental deaths.
    • Certain attacks from bosses, such as Big Dog's missiles, tend to drop ammo pickups, ensuring that you aren't completely screwed if you run out of ammo while fighting them. Due to the way pickups work, these drops may instead be health kits, meaning you have a replenishing supply of HP for the battle.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Disc Guns, guns that fire, uh, discs (in this case, buzzsaws). They do respectable damage, but the ricochets will hurt you just as much as it'll hurt an enemy (and are hard to dodge), and if the game spawns a level with tight corridors, kiss your life goodbye.
    • Nuke Launchers are an explosive-type weapon that is extremely powerful. Missiles from it will also veer off-course and are just as likely to blow you up as your intended target.
      • The devs seems to be aware of this for the Disc Gun and Nuke Launcher, because finding a golden version of one of them grants an achievement called "Good Riddance".
    • The minigun and gatling laser. Amazing for clearing out a large room or tight corridor in a hurry, but will chew through your entire stock of ammunition in just seconds. Not even the recycle gland mutation can rescue the minigun from becoming useless over any amount of extended use.
    • The Super Plasma Cannon can pretty much kill anything it hits in 1 shot, and can even down the final boss in only 4 shots. It also has a 10-second reload time and chews through ammo like nobody's business.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The crystal spiders in the Crystal Cave, who behave much like the rats in the sewer but are faster and more resilient, and the flies in the jungle, which are twice as big as all of the player characters, and shoot out maggots at the player.
    • Alternative version of crystal spiders, found in Cursed Crystal Cave, are even more fitting for "Creepy" part
  • Bittersweet Ending: The true ending. The Captain and the IDPD are all but destroyed, bringing an end to the annihilation of universes, but all of your friends that the IDPD murdered are dead and it's uncertain whether or not you can even travel to a dimension where your friends are still alive anymore now that the IDPD is dismantled.
  • Black Swords Are Better: A secret weapon for Chicken, that can be obtained by leaving behind the Chicken Sword in 1-1, then looping the game, where it can be found in L1 1-1 (the first level of Loop 1 Desert). It does only slightly more damage than the regular Chicken Sword, paling in comparison to the Blood Hammer, Lightning Hammer, etc., but gains a much larger arc and tremendous damage while Chicken is headless.
  • The Blank: Guardians seem to have a tiny, active portal where you'd expect their faces to be.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Y.V. starts off with a golden revolver, in keeping with his "money to burn" characterization. Other characters can also find rare golden weapons, which have minor improvements over the originals such as increased rate of fire. Entering a portal with a golden weapon sets it as that character's starting weapon.
  • Blood Knight: Plant's loading tips include things like "No mercy" and "Kill kill kill" and "Blood blood blood".
  • Body Horror:
    • Melting, Eyes, and a few other enemy mutants.
    • The IDPD units suddenly change into a horrible cross with Freaks in the third loop.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Melee weapons. Compared to the other, more unique weapons, they can be fairly underwhelming. But they can block enemy fire and kill most enemies that you encounter in one or two swings.
    • The Ultra Revolver. It has an extremely high fire rate, has the same ammo cost as a regular revolver (plus a trivial radiation cost), and deals around the same amount of damage as a slugger. Similarly, its smaller brother, the Heavy Revolver, does a respectable amount of damage, especially on Steroids or Yung Venuz.
    • The Second Stomach, Rabbit Paw, and Bloodlust mutations. They do nothing flashy, but will keep you alive and going much longer than you would have under your own power.
  • Boss Corridor: Unlike any other level in the game, the last level of the Palace has no enemies, as it is simply a massive hallway leading up to the Final Boss. Given how said boss operates, the hallway also doubles as a massive Boss Room.
  • Boss Remix: All of the bosses (except for the Final Boss) have themes which remix the title music.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Starting from the loops, the IDPD Headquarters can be accessed through one of the vans. This area is full of IDPD units — regular and elite — and the final boss provides a Bullet Hell that would give The Throne a run for its money.
  • Car Fu: If a Snowbot (yeti-like enemy) collides with a car while doing its sliding tackle attack, it will stop and pick up the car. There is then a small chance every so often that said Snowbot will throw the car at the player, at very high speed, and it will explode on impact. A rare but potentially devastating attack. Getting killed by this will also show a special spiralling car animation to let you know that, yes, you died by having a car thrown at you.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Rebel can summon Allies at the cost of health — 1 HP for the first minion, and 2 HP for every Ally spawned when at least one is out (which also heals existing Allies, who otherwise die over time)
    • If you run out of explosive ammo, the Blood Launcher and Cannon will use your health for ammo instead. Missing an attack with a Blood Hammer will take your HP as payment.
    • Skeleton's special fires a shot without using ammo, but it has a small chance of damaging you.
  • Character Blog: Yung Venuz's Twitter account. #verifyvenuz
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Nuclear Throne has a local multiplayer mode where two people can play through the game. Instead of player-specific Ultras, the Ultras are aimed toward helping both players (shared HP and shared ammo). A fan mod with Vlambeer's support called Nuclear Throne Together gives online multiplayer and fixes some of the co-op bugs.
  • Collision Damage: Some enemies, like maggots and rats, can do this. Picking up the Gamma Guts mutation lets you do the same to your opponents.
  • Conlang: The characters actually speak in a language called Trashtalk, most characters say "FLÄSHYN!" at the beginning of each level, which translates into "Let's do this!"
  • Cowboy Cop: Rogue's rifle references this — one of the tips becomes "Loose Cannon". Fish may have also been one prior to his mutation, judging from one of his loading tipsnote  and his B-Skin getup.
  • Crapsack World: All civilization has been destroyed in the apocalypse, and the horribly mutated survivors fight relentlessly over what remains.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Final Boss and the True Final Boss both have over 1500 hit points, far more than any other enemy in the game. Better hope you brought enough ammo.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Robot's special ability is to devour his current gun for ammo and/or health. This is incredibly useful, but if you had just played someone like Fish or Crystal who use their abilities much more liberally, you may end up chowing down on your gun in the middle of a fire fight.
  • Dark Reprise: A few bars of the normal final boss theme is played in a distorted way during the fight against the Captain.
  • Deadly Disc: The Discgun from Super Crate Box makes a reappearance in this game, and functions more or less the same way.
  • Degraded Boss: On loops, Big Bandit is replaced by multiple, more aggressive Big Bandits. The number of Big Bandits increases with each loop, ensuring that the group never becomes a pushover.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • In update 25 of the game, Vlambeer added footstep sound effects, which changed based on what sort of surface players walked on. In update 27, getting the Extra Feet mutation gave you more footsteps. Y.V.'s B-Skin, where he floats, doesn't make any footstep noises.
    • Rebel has a B-skin which gives her a winter coat. What happens when you reach the frozen city with her? She puts on the hood over her head.
    • Whenever Robot levels up, the "select a mutation" screen is rewritten to say "install an update". If you're picking more than one mutation, it also says "Do not turn off Robot".
    • The hidden underwater "Oasis" zone has every playable character and bandit in it encased in a bubble except for Robot and Fish, who obviously don't need it to breathe. (Y.V. only has one to keep his money dry.)
    • The clock hands in Crown of Haste will change with your computer's clock.
    • Getting YV to Level Ultra will change the "Generating..." text on the loading screen to "Verifying..."
    • In YV's Crib, if you have YV use his airhorn, Yung Cuz will cheer. In addition, if you destroy the television, Yung Cuz will cry.
    • Pausing the game as Chicken while in a decapitated state will also display her headless avatar on the Pause screen.
    • Dying to the final boss gives you a special message: "You almost reached the Nuclear Throne".
      • Dying to the final boss via collision damage gives you this mocking message: "You reached the Nuclear Throne"; subverted in that doesn't unlock character who is described to be unlocked by "reaching the Nuclear Throne" - have to actually sit on the Throne for that
    • The Oasis actually keeps the elemental weapons in mind, with fire weapons fizzling out and lightning weapons hurting everything on screen — including you.
  • Desert Bandits: While the common Bandit enemies appear in nearly all levels, they feature most prominently in the first, desert area, with their leader being the boss of that part of the game. They also look the part, wrapped in white cloth and with their faces covered.
  • Drop the Hammer: There's a sledgehammer that can be picked up in the middle of the game, and an energy hammer you can pick up later. There's also the blood and lightning hammers that you can pick up far later than both.
  • Dual Wielding: The unique ability of the Steroids character; all other characters can only have one weapon in use at a time.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Completing the secret Oasis level takes you to the third Scrapyard level where Big Dog resides. It's possible to take this shortcut from the very first Desert level, meaning that you can skip the rest of the Desert, the Sewers and the first two Scrapyard levels. This makes unlocking Plant's B-Skin, where you have to reach the Throne in under 10 minutes, far more manageable than it otherwise would be.
  • Energy Weapon: Weapons that use energy ammo fall under this category, and the mutation Laser Brain increases the effectiveness of all of them.
  • Easter Egg: Going into a Crown Vault while an area's B-theme is playing, tiles hinting at the ambiguous story can be found scattered throughout.
  • Elite Mook: Some enemies have more deadly variants, such as the Golden Scorpion in the desert that shoots more bullets and in irregular patterns and explodes into them. All of them are dreaded, especially the Elite IDPD agents.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The IDPD have masculine and feminine voice clips, which seems to indicate gender equality in their forces. The Captain is also a woman who's implied to speak Finnish.
  • Evil Weapon: Cursed Weapons have a small chance of spawning inside purple chests in every level. These weapons may be more advanced than what is possible for the given level it spawned in, but like cursed items in other roguelikes, they cannot be replaced except with other Cursed Weaponsnote . Carrying two of them at once may cause enemies to drop purple-colored Cursed Mini Ammo Chests which give more ammunition on pickup than regular Ammo items, but will explode if left alone, possibly killing players who take too long to retrieve them. Finally, loading screen tips suddenly begin turning into distorted messages which imply that the Cursed Weapons are alive and can see the player. Retrieving a crown from the Crown Vault, choosing the Last Wish mutation, or looping the game will cleanse the weapon. note 
  • Extreme Omnivore: Robot can eat guns for ammo and HP.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Eyes has, well, eyes all over his head.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: For most of its Early Access duration, the game had no "win state": reaching the throne and killing the final boss only loops you from level 1-1 except significantly harder, meaning that you'll die eventually. Update 92 finally lets you win the game.
  • Flechette Storm: The Splinter Guns fire multiple smaller bolts like a shotgun. Seeker guns will fire multiple projectile that home in on enemies.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Zigzagged. Most of the time, enemies can't hurt each other, but explosive damage will still hurt allies (which is justified, as it hurts everyone hit). A subversion comes with the IDPD. While the IDPD and normal mutant enemies don't try to gun for each other, IDPD attacks can hurt mutants and vice-versa. This last rule can come in handy in the Palace and on the loops, as it will help lighten the load.
  • Funny Animal: Fish and Chicken.
  • Gatling Good: This game features the Minigun, which consumes ammo like crazy and require the wielder to stand still or get pushed back the gun's intense recoil. The Double Minigun, which fires twice the bullets, consumes ''even more'' ammo and pushes the user back no matter what. The Laser Minigun is the Energy Weapon counterpart and doesn't suffer the same drawbacks, at the cost of energy ammo being scarce. In a similar respect to the Double Minigun, the Plasma Minigun offers more firepower at higher ammo consumption and recoil. Then there's the Gatling Bazooka, which rapid-fires explosives and comes with the natural drawback that explosions harm everything, including you.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Golden weapons allow you to equip a stronger weapon than your default revolver from the start as well as having slightly better firepower than their less shiny counterparts.
  • The Goomba: Bandits, the first enemies to appear and present as fodder for the rest of the game. While their shots are as dangerous as anything else, they have a very low rate of fire and don't move around much, on top of having very little HP. They're only dangerous in big groups.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • YV, being the Gun God, is immortal, so his death animation simply has him teleporting away out of frustration. The bodies of both him and Horror will also not be found in the IDPD attack at the campfire, having presumably teleported away and disintegrated into rads respectively.
    • Alternate universes plays heavily into the backstory of the game, with the IDPD being from ones where the apocalypse never happened. Every new run that you start are justified to actually be alternate universes where all the characters are alive to justify your deaths and every loop starts in a new alternate universe.
    • At first, Random seems like a standard option for loading up a new character every time you die, but there are loading screen tips exclusive to the Random option that imply that the option is actually the name of a mutant who considers themself the best of the bunch because they're always adaptable and can replicate someone perfectly.
  • The Ghost: The Proto Mutant, a mutant in the game's backstory that was the first to set after the Nuclear Throne that sets off the idea of pursuing it. Not much is known about him, except that he also made the Proto Statues, the IDPD is hell-bent on keeping the playable mutants from everything related to him, and he could possibly be the skeleton sitting on the throne, but given the loops and alternate universes, who's to say?
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the mutations powers up the on-death knockback enemies receive to such an extreme that other enemies take damage if the body careens into them.
  • Guide Dang It!: The secret areas and the characters associated with them, and the B skins has bizarre unlock conditions that you can either stumble upon by accident or have to look up to find out.
  • Hand Cannon: The Heavy and Ultra Revolvers, souped-up handguns that only appear during the late game (and post-loop for the latter).
  • Harder Than Hard: Hard mode, which you unlock by looping the game twice in a single run. The fact that the game considers just reaching The Sewers as Chicken in hard mode as an accomplishment should give you a pretty good idea of how brutal it is.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The IDPD attacks the player out of a preemptive attempt to keep the conditions of the apocalypse out of their universe. By the third loop, the troopers have spent so much time crusading against mutants that they turn into mutants themselves.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Jungle, a secret level where everything is trying to kill you.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Radiation is the name of the game: all enemies drop it except for the IDPD before the third loop, and it functions as the game's exp system, with you being able to select a new mutation with each level. In addition, the Ultra weapons all drain radiation on use but are insanely powerful as a result. Horror takes it even further by being literally living radiation and having the ability to blast enemies with it.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The flame weapons, ranging from standard flamethrowers to even flaming shotguns.
  • Instrument of Murder: A rare weapon is Fish's Guitar, which is about as strong as a sledgehammer but has fast reload speed, making it one of the better melee weapons in the game. It can only be found at the camp site if you loop as Fish or have it as a default weapon in the Weekly.
  • Item Caddy: Several mutations work like this: Rabbit's Paw increases enemy drops, Open Mind adds an additional chest each level, Plutonium Hunger makes you gather items from a bigger distance...
  • Joke Weapon:
    • The Screwdriver. It has short range, can only hit enemies head-on (as opposed to the wrench, sledgehammer, and shovel, which hits enemies in a wider radius), and it's one of the weakest of the melee weapons. However, it can be used to repair a car in the scrapyard, which takes you to a mansion where you can find a golden weapon.
    • The Pop Gun and Rifle, two guns that have stupidly high fire rates but pitifully low damage due to firing shells instead of bullets. Fun, but not something you would ever rely on past the first couple of levels.
    • Toxic Bow and Toxic Launcher. Toxic damage relies on enemies that stay still, the toxic clouds can damage you, and it's pitiful against enemies you seriously want to use it on (aka bosses), and the Toxic Launcher takes a few seconds to go off after firing, which gives enemies just enough time to run over to you and take you down with them.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • The Dog boss of the scrapyard goes out in a series of spectacular explosions. These can kill you.
    • Also, if a next level portal appears next to a car, it can blow up the car while drawing you in, killing you.
    • Lil' Hunter in the Frozen City loses control of his jetpack when you kill him, and he can crash into you and explode.
    • Don't use a disc gun on the final enemy of a level if you're close enough to get sucked in immediately. The disc will grind you to pieces before the level can end.
    • The throne itself.
  • King Mook: Big Bandit, the boss of the first area. The loop bosses also qualify.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Strong Spirit mutation. Doesn't work if your character's maximum HP is at 1, naturally, and goes away after you hit 1 HP, but you can re-activate it by getting back to full HP in the next area.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: The energy screwdriver initially doesn't seem that impressive given that it has the same paltry range as it's underwhelming, non-energized counterpart. However, it's lethality comes into play with the fact that it does the same damage as the energy sword and swings much faster, giving it some serious DPS even without Laser Brain.
  • Limited Loadout: Despite the game boasting 50+ different guns and five ammo types, you can only carry two weapons at once, and only Steroids can use both at the same time.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The theme of the I.D.P.D. Headquarters, which otherwise sounds quite menacing, is replaced by a much gloomier piano tune if you arrive there as Rogue. The song, called "The Place I Once Called Home", is meant to hammer in the fact that Rogue was once an I.D.P.D. member herself.
  • Macrogame: As a Roguelike, there are little bits of progression that carry on between runs. The most major are the unlocking of characters, crowns and golden weapons. You unlock characters by performing a specific action or visiting a specific area. When unlocked, you'll see them back at the campfire after you complete your run. Crowns are much harder; you must acquire them on your run and defeat the Final Boss. Since you can replace your crown in the Frozen City, you only get to keep the one you end the game with. Golden weapons are easier to acquire than crowns but the way to get them is less obvious and requires more luck. You need to be lucky enough to receive the screwdriver, which you need to use on a broken-down car in 5-1. This will take you to Y.V.'s mansion, where you can find a random golden weapon. Leave the area with the golden weapon equipped and it's yours for keeps. However, you can only have one golden weapon unlocked per character; getting another one replaces the first.
  • Made of Explodium: Cars can take a few hits, but will explode after taking enough damage (or being thrown at something).
  • Magikarp Power: Melting starts the game with 2 HP (for reference, a single bullet does 3 damage), but he gains levels much faster. If you can survive a few levels, he becomes incredibly powerful, especially if you can upgrade his special power to deal tons of explosive damage at no ammo cost.
  • Mook Medic: The Necromancers in the lab, which revive fallen enemies as Freaks. The Technomancer takes this a step further by reviving dead enemies as Necromancers.
  • More Dakka: Many weapons in the game have an automatic counterpart, which fires continuously as long as the attack is held, or an assault counterpart, which fires multiple rounds with each shot. Y.V.'s special attack also lets you fire two shots at once, and can be upgraded to four shots. Steroids can upgrade his special attack to get 20% of every shot free and his passive which makes every weapon fully automatic, making the normal auto (and less accurate) variants of each weapon redundant.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Crown Vault's are automatically destroyed in the Weekly challenges, to prevent the player from switching out the crown forced on them.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • A few enemies will instantly kill the player if they touch them. Namely, all laser crystal variants, the Hyper Crystal, and I.D.P.D. Vans.
    • You can also do this to most enemies as well provided you have a strong enough weapon. You can even pull this off on the Final Boss by using YV's special ability (when upgraded with Throne Butt) while holding a Super Plasma Cannon, as long as you have Back Muscle with at least 96 energy and Scarier Face. Difficult, but Awesome, to say the least. Watch it in action here.
  • One Hitpoint Wonder: Melting, in spite the fact he has 2 HP, still is this due to the fact that everything (except touching maggots, being in fire for a short period of time, and a few others) does more than 2 HP in damage. The only way to alleviate this is by taking Rhino Skin... which makes him into a two-hit point wonder.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Crossbows can pull this off with smaller enemies, while the Heavy Crossbow will pierce through just about anyone.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Throne returns in 0-1 after killing the last IDPD unit as Throne II.
  • Piss Take Rap: The lyrics to the YV Mansion Rap are wonderfully silly and over-the-top.
    Shoot you in the morning, get your blood on my eggs / Shoot you in the hand, head, face, chest, neck, legs / At chrismahanakwanzica me hide under tree / Jump out mini-gunning down your fat family!
  • Power at a Price: All the crowns come with a drawback. None of their effects are strictly beneficial.
  • Promoted to Playable: As an April Fools' Day joke, Big Dog.
  • Retirony: Fish was a cop one day from retirement before the apocalypse hit. He's not dead yet, of course, but this is a roguelike...
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Every character has a revolver as their starting weapon, except for the Chicken and Rogue, as mentioned above. Y.V.'s happens to be made of gold. Averted since these are their starting weapons and as such usually the weakest weapon in their arsenal note , but played straight with later incarnations like the Heavy and Ultra Revolvers, the former of which deals more than double the damage of the regular revolver per shot and the latter dealing as much damage as a Slugger with each bullet.
  • Sad Battle Music: The final boss theme.
  • Samus Is a Girl:
    • Crystal and Chicken are both female, but you'd never know that unless you looked it up. Chicken's voice sound effects are vaguely feminine-sounding, but Crystal is otherwise completely androgynous.
    • The I.D.P.D. Captain, due to the all-covering armour she wears. While she has a few lines and is voiced by a woman, her voice is just distorted enough to not be obviously female.
  • Sewer Gator: A slightly uncommon enemy in the Sewers level. Doesn't do any collision damage, but wields a shotgun that can be dangerous at close range. Fortunately, they move slowly and take a moment to react to the player once line of sight is established. There's also a rare chance for any alligator to spawn as an elite "Buff Gator" that has much more health, wields a dangerous flak cannon, and aggressively pursues the player upon spotting them. After looping, buff gators appear all over the Sewers, Scrapyard and Crystal Caves.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: There's a wide variety of shotgun-based weapons, ranging from the traditional kind, to a slugger that fires one giant shell, to a flak cannon that fires one shell that explodes into multiple shells on impact.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Disc Gun, Minigun and Laser Cannon from Super Crate Box make a reappearance, and Yung Venuz from their previous game Gun Godz is now a playable character.
    • One of the loading screen tips for Hard Mode is a reference to Luftrausers' own Hard Mode:
      "What does SFMT stand for?"
    • One of the late game weapons happens to be the Heavy Machinegun.
    • A secret exit portal in the sewer level takes you to a bonus room where the only enemies are four turtles and a rat.
    • One of the loading screen tips when playing as Fish is "Like Kevin Costner".
    • A random loading screen tip will just display the word "Rosebud".
    • Another tip references an infamous review of Doom, where the reviewer lamented an inability to talk to the monsters.
    • The Plasma Cannon and Super Plasma Cannon function like the BFG variants from Doom and Quake, firing green projectiles that explode into smaller energy balls on impact.
    • Plant's B-skin was recolored to give him red vines and blue petals. Being the character with the fastest speed in the game, it comes to no surprise that he resembles a certain blue hedgehog. Better yet, one of its loading tips is "GOTTA GO FAST".
    • Fish's B-skin is this to Old Snake and Snake Plissken.
    • In a similar vein, Robot's B-skin was updated to change its purple coloration to a deep blue. This suggests that Robot was used by the IDPD, but the ear-like fins on its head and the new grimace it sports for its optic give it a passing likeness to said blue hedgehog's mechanical doppelganger.note 
    • Yung Venuz' mansion rap references Teen Wolf, Hakuna Matata, and Rudy Huxtable.
    • One of the loading screen tips when playing as Horror simply says "In The Zone".
    • The Flak Cannon and Ion Cannon work almost exactly like their Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2004 counterparts, respectively, being a shotgun weapon that fires a sphere of multi-hit death and a massive beam strike. The Nuke Launcher similarly functions like the Redeemer Missile, being weapons that fire a remotely controllable nuclear rocket.
    • The final boss theme that plays while fighting the Nuclear Throne sounds exactly like an acoustic Spaghetti Western version of "The Justice Ray" from the Thunder Force series.note 
    • A loading screen tip for the Jungle area is "Welcome To The Jungle".
  • Spread Shot: Several instances of these, usable by both the players and the enemy.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Out of the ordinary for a non-FPS game, but not for a game about guns. Each weapon belongs to a different category, and as such uses the same ammunition as its ilk. In addition, each ammo type has a special mutation that benefits it.
    • Bullets: The most basic of weaponry, starting with the regular Revolver, and subsequent guns firing more and more bullets at a time, leading up to the Minigun or the Hyper Rifle, which shoots five bullets at once, and has autofire. Its special mutation is the Recycle Gland, which gives you a chance of recovering any bullet that hits a target. (The Pop weapons fire shotgun-like pellets despite using bullet ammo; they aren't affected by Recycle Gland, but they are affected by the Shell's special mutation, seen below.)
    • Shells: Shotguns of all shapes and sizes, which vary between firing either regular pellets, which hit in a spread, flame pellets that ignite on contact, or slugs, which are single heavy shots with enough force to kill giant scorpions in one hit. These shots have less range than other weapons, but bounce off walls and deal more damage up close, making them useful for closed spaces or crowd control. The Shotgun Shoulders mutation increases the range and speed at which they bounce off of walls.
    • Bolts: Crossbows, obviously. These weapons come in either traditional bolts, which fire straight with perfect accuracy and pierce through small enemies killing them instantly, splinters, which fire in a spray similar to the shotgun, and seekers, which deal lower damage but home in on enemies. Also includes the Toxic Bow, whose bolts release poison gas on impact, and the Disc Launcher, which fires bouncing buzzsaws of friendly fire death. The Bolt Marrow mutation gives bolts slight homing capabilities.
    • Explosives: Grenade Launchers of various types, with an obligatory Sticky Bomb variant, a mini grenade variant whose weapons fire multiple grenades at once, and one that also releases poison gas on detonation. The only weapon class capable of destroying terrain by itself. Curiously, Flamethrowers and Flare Guns use this ammo type too, as well as the Jackhammer, despite being a melee weapon. Its special mutation is the Boiling Veins, which makes the player immune to fire and explosions when at or under 4 HP.
    • Energy: Laser weapons which fire single piercing beams, plasma weapons which fire balls of energy which eventually explode, an orbital strike Ion Cannon, and lightning weapons that home in on objects. Similarly to the Explosives above, the Energy Screwdriver, Energy Sword, and Energy Hammer are all melee weapons which use Energy ammo. The Laser Brain mutation increases the strength and duration of all energy attacks.
  • Speaking Simlish: Supposedly, the mutants speak a language called Trashtalk. If you listen closely, there is some consistency to the near-gibberish sounds they make. The most immediately recognizable line is "Fläshyn" meaning "Let's do this!" which most characters yell when they enter a new stage. Rarer is "Ve'kh" meaning "blessing" which characters say when entering a crown vault.
  • Spider Tank:
    • Tank enemies from the frozen city level are exactly this.
    • The throne becomes one when you reach it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The entire line of explosive-based weapons, and Melting's special attack, which blows up every corpse on screen.
  • Summon Magic: Rebel's special attack summons a bandit to fight on her side, for the cost of 1 HP for the first on stage, and 2 HP for all additional bandits while at least one is on stage. Upgrading her ability increases their fire rate.
  • Tentacle Rope: Plant's special ability ensnares enemies in vines. When upgraded, the vines grow thorns that instantly kill low health enemies and/or summon explosive minions when enemies trapped in it are killed.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The fight against Throne II is topped off by a resurgence of the main theme to the game, usually heard on the character selection menu, heralding either triumph on your part, or a hint of where you're going in the next few seconds depending on your skill level.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Some of the weapons you can pick up are ridiculously excessive in how much projectiles they fire and how much damage they do, though this isn't really a bad thing. For example, the Super Crossbow (a crossbow that fires five bolts at once) is great for taking out both a tanky enemy and anything unfortunate enough to be around it.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Chicken's ability lets her throw her weapons - even if she only has one of them. This, of course, includes her starting weapon.
  • Time Police: The I.D.P.D. are from a timeline where the Apocalypse never happened, and will try and stop you as you get close to the Throne. If you manage to loop a third time, all the I.D.P.D. troops are turned into mutated freaks, which goes to show they do it to protect their own timeline.
  • True Final Boss: The I.D.P.D. Captain.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The cocoons in the crystal caves contain trapped enemies that you can free by shooting. They'll still try to murder you on sight, of course.
  • Universal Ammunition: Despite the huge arsenal of weapons to use in-game, there are only 5 ammunition types. This leads to completely different weapons somehow sharing the same ammo pool, such as the Auto Crossbow and Disc Gun both using bolt ammunition.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: A minor example. In Y.V.'s Crib, there's Y.V.'s cousin Yung Cuz who appears to be playing a game on his giant golden TV. Although you can't interact with him (save for Y.V. himself, whom Cuz cheers when he blares his airhorn), but you can damage the TV. Destroy it, and he'll cry nonstop until you leave the level. This doesn't affect the gameplay as a whole, though.
  • Warmup Boss: Big Bandit, the boss of the first area. A real challenge for new players, but a complete pushover once you beat him the first time.
    • Wakeup Call Boss: Big Bandit again. When you make it to Loop 1 1-3, the enemy count is much higher than when you were there the first time, possibly being a gigantic horde if Crown of Blood is active... and after a few enemies die, two Big Bandits spawn, turning the fight into a Wolfpack Boss. These Big Bandits have slightly more health than the pre-loop Big Bandit did due to loop health scaling, but what's notable is they are much more aggressive - they start performing actions very quickly after arriving, and have much lower delay after a charge or machinegun round. This only gets worse on later loops when even more Big Bandits spawn (4 on loop 2, 6 on loop 3, etc.) and they get even faster; at late loops they are pretty much always either charging or firing their machineguns. Way out at loops 5 and up, Big Bandit(s) become the hardest boss in the game.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The IDPD wants to protect their own timeline from the apocalypse or any outside influence. This includes assassinating potential threats, which includes you. They spawn whenever you're going for a crown and in the palace, and they start to chase you regularly in the loops. They also succeed in murdering the other playable characters, or different instances of them.
  • Wham Line: One of the verses from the credits song provides more context for an oft-seen loading screen tip, making the course of the game suddenly seem much sadder.
    It's not fair, it's not right, there's no reason to fight
  • Wham Shot: The first thing you see after initiating a loop is a campsite with the other playable characters dead, with the IDPD immediately spawning in. Assuming you survive Throne II, this sets you up for being chased by the IDPD for the rest of your run.
  • Zerg Rush: Almost all of the enemies in The Labs will make a mad rush for you. Included in the swarms of Freaks or exploding enemies and enemies that will tank the damage.


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