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Video Game / One Way Heroics

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In One Way Heroics, you take on the role of an intrepid adventurer who must travel across the land and face the Demon Lord before a mysterious darkness engulfs everything.

Darkness always approaches from the left, and with each movement, attack and action you take, the darkness creeps ever closer. Forced to run right, you'll encounter any number of monsters, allies, thieves and shops on your desperate journey to stop the end of everything.

Developed by Smoking Wolf using the Wolf RPG engine, One Way Heroics is an unusual Roguelike game with an interesting mechanic implemented to ensure progression and add a challenge: A wave of all-devouring darkness chases you as you adventure, forcing you to advance endlessly to avoid being destroyed as you seek to defeat the Demon Lord.

You can get the game on Steam here, and find the official website here. An expansion was released called One Way Heroics Plus, expanding the game in many ways, which can be found here. A fanmade wiki has appeared here.

A spinoff, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, was released in Japan on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in 2015, with overseas releases for those two platforms as well as on Steam to follow in summer of 2016. It is a crossover between One Way Heroics and Spike Chunsoft's Mystery Dungeon series featuring updated graphics, music, and voice acting. One Way Heroics Plus, meanwhile, was re-released on the Nintendo Switch in 2020.


Compare FTL: Faster Than Light, another Roguelike that has you fleeing from left to right.

Tropes associated with One Way Heroics:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Whether or not there is one isn't known, but if you play the game on the hardest possible difficulty level and aim for the maximum distance, it's basically impossible not to reach at least level 1000 unless you run from every single enemy. On the other hand, since every level only increases a single random stat and levels also double as an alternative form of currency as described below, you can beat the easier difficulty levels on level 10 or lower.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The game's main distinguishing feature.
  • All in a Row: Unlike the companions, cooperative Non Player Characters will occupy space on the map and will try their best to follow the player.
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  • All-Powerful Bystander: Several Non Player Characters are ridiculously overpowered and some even surpass all of the final bosses, but they never go after the monsters or the villains unless directly provoked. Of course, they'll have no problem whaling on the player if he/she breaks the law.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Most of the endings feature the hero and Iris deciding to keep up the adventuring lifestyle forever, though in some endings this "adventuring" sounds more like just traveling a lot.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The Jade Forest, which will try to kill you if you harm rare animals which drop stat-boosting items. Apparently that one fox is more important than the one hero who can save the world. Worse yet, their AI doesn't allow them to avoid collateral damage when hunting you, which means they could end up attacking civilians and even innocent animals.
  • Anti-Grinding: The advancing Darkness prevents you from just hanging around in the same area to grind enemies; you must keep going whether you feel sufficiently leveled or not.
  • Anti-Villain: Turns out the Demon Lord is trying to get you to kill her to stop the Darkness, or rather the Dark Dragon.
  • Apocalypse How: If left unchecked, the Darkness could consume the whole world. And all this is being done to delay a later apocalypse which will wipe out all life, and is simply being delayed until space travel is hopefully invented.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Each party member you want to recruit consumes some of your charisma, and even if you have enough charisma, you can't have more than three, although Plus adds mercenary characters and animals to purchase that do not count towards this limit. However, recruitable NPCs are so rare outside of daily scenarios that you'll often run into nobody except the optional starting pet and the overpriced-but-guaranteed Guard D.
  • Area of Effect: The Lightning spell hits all tiles within a 5x5 area around you. Force Users can rely on this spell to effectively destroy anything in the area. Extremely useful for destroying walls and treasure chests... or wiping out large towns if you feel like being a psychopath.
  • Artifact of Doom: Panty Shot requests that you take his sword if ever he should die. He's wielding a sword that is draining his Life Energy in exchange for getting stronger over time. In gameplay terms, you don't have to worry about Panty getting killed by running out of energy, but his attacks do become more and more ridiculously powerful the longer you keep going.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Cooperative NPCs are prone to getting stuck around impassable tiles and being lost to the darkness, sometimes forcing the player to wait for them. They also can't climb mountains or swim, meaning a bad mountain formation or river can boot all of them from the party.
  • Atrocious Alias: Invoked by Panty Shot, simply because he's amused by his opponents being forced to refer to him as such.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The major mechanic of this game. It also adds to the story and the tension of the game's mood.
  • Barefisted Monk: Anyone who takes the Pro-Wrestler perknote  5 times will become this, but especially the Hero Class, who then gains extremely enhanced avoidance stats after activating the Zenura Weave. While punching does less damage than most weapons, you have an increased chance to pull off Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs to make up for it, and you completely bypass the Demon Lord's barrier defenses too.
    • Mystery Chronicle adds the (Sumo) Wrestler class, which bans you from using any equipment, but gives you amazing carrying capacity, awesome stat growth, a Last Chance Hit Point, and a wide variety of abilities. And you can still use the Pugilist class.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears can be found in volcano and snow areas, and their high attack power can easily tear you apart in 1-3 hits.
  • Beast Man: Some of the unlockable class skins are this. The Pirate and Force Knight class unlock a lizardman skin while the Ninja class unlocks a wolfman skin.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Demon Lord, who will appear to challenge you eventually (400km into an adventure on the A Walk in the Park difficulty).
    • In Mystery Chronicle, the Big Bad is instead the Fallen Angel. With the Bigger Bad being The Giant of Light.
  • Bigger Bad: The Darkness itself, or rather the Dark Dragon, is forcing the Demon Lord to serve as a cat's-paw. And the Dimensional Ruler is behind the Dark Dragon and controls all the dimensions.
    • Mystery Chronicle has two Bigger Bads. Zeukrees, who is this version's Dark Dragon counterpart, followed by Pluton, an evil god who was banished from the heavens and Zeukrees's creator.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The normal ending, especially if you've talked to the Demon Lord and know more of the plot details. Yes, the darkness is stopped and the rest of the world is safe, but a huge portion of the world has already been destroyed and it will happen again... once more, after which something even worse will happen. Plus the Demon Lord wasn't really a bad guy.
    • Most of the epilogues are this. In some of them, your companions die happily; in another one the protagonist starts losing memories.
    • Averted in the Dimensional Ruler ending, where the player becomes a Physical God and gives all the characters their Golden Ending. And the Travel Journal ending, where you effortlessly destroy the Darkness.
  • Black Market: The Dark Brotherhood, which requires a Dark Brotherhood License or the Pirate class to unlock. You can also enter if your current bounty is high enough from killing friendly NPCs.
  • Bottomless Bladder, Nobody Poops: Talk to Iris enough and she will lampshade a number of things the hero is not doing during his days-long race against the darkness.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The End of the World ending. You've gone all the way around the planet and are now in the lifeless plane that used to be King Victor's palace. The Demon Lord shows up to give you a Holy Sword to reveal the Dark Dragon, and the last line is you rushing at it. If you get to the end of the world on Walk in the Park, the Demon Lord will fight alongside you.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Master of Unlocking starting perk, which grants a single point in Lockpicking. That single point is enough to open crates and low-level chests without having to use up keys or waste your weapons' durability or ammo (or worse, break whatever's inside).
    • The Cartography skill you can learn from the Court Trainer in Plus and Mystery Chronicles. All it does is point you towards the next town or dungeon once per day. Which is enough that you will usually never miss a town and reach several extra dungeons. The extra resources this grants you outstrip almost everything else you can get from castle NPCs or most starting perks.
  • Breakable Weapons: All your equipment has limited durability, so you may want to save the big weapons for tough enemies. Spare (good) weapons are heavy and scrolls to repair things without making them extra-brittle afterwards are rare.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The game does this every now and then. Iris has Medium Awareness, breaking the wall both for gameplay tutorial purposes and sometimes for comedy — especially when talking to an NPC with a Naughty personality type. Depending on how you do at the end of a run, the advice NPCs may also comment about the person on the "other side of the screen."
    "Chick-Diggin" Queen Freida: Ummm.... You can... do whatever you want with my body... okay?
    Iris: Oh no! This is supposed to be a family-friendly game!
  • But Now I Must Go: The Golden Ending, "Dimension Ruler", has your character setting things right in their world, reviving all characters that have perished and the recruitable NPCs getting along with each other. You then go to other dimensions in order to save their world.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': NPCs will somehow be completely aware of your poaching and murdering, even though all evidence of the misdeeds should have been swallowed by the Darkness.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Stepping on a lava tile is instant death. Iris says that she shouldn't have to tell you that. There's no problem with walking next to them, though.
  • The Corruption: How those monsters are created. You actually can have a party member afflicted with it, namely Dosey the Healer, who is slowly turning into a powerful Killer Hound.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Go over your character's weight limit, even by 1 weight, and they can't move at all.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: King Victor is a Necromancer and older brother of the Demon Lord, who are the last survivors of an ancient culture responsible for performing Heroic Sacrifice after Heroic Sacrifice to force the Darkness back to sleep when it wakes.
  • Dead All Along: Queen Freida.
  • Death Seeker: The Demon Lord, since it's the only way she knows how to stop the Darkness... unless you're up to the task of killing the Dark Dragon or Dimensional Ruler, that is.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Even the physically healthy Non Player Characters (who can probably move faster than you at first) have given up on outrunning the Darkness.
  • The Determinator: You, the Hero. Upon defeating the Demon Lord, the ending tells you that you instantly fall asleep because you've been out-running the Darkness for days on end without rest. You've been staying awake and moving through sheer force of will.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you make it to 2000 km while doing a non-Demon Lord quest, the dialogue will change depending on your quest.
    • If you recruit the Demon Lord, but then make it into the Dimensional Passageway, she'll comment on you abandoning the original plan to fight the Dark Dragon, but goes along with it because defeating the Dimensional Ruler is better in the long run.
    • Each cause of death is accompanied by a few sentences describing how the player died. In particular, dying to tick damage from an enemy with a curse or stench aura, which is rather hard to do unintentionally, have their own unique death messages.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Unless you have a Parchment of Darkness with charges left in it, not even abusing the New Game+ system to finish the game before Dosey can normally finish her Slow Transformation into a Killer Hound will save her. The epilogue will describe her transforming a short time after anyway.
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: Like in many roguelikes, moving diagonally makes you move to an adjacent space that would otherwise take two turns to get to. The game even has a key command that, when pressed, restricts you to diagonal movements.
  • Drought Level of Doom:
    • Deserts and Volcanoes. Both have fewer towns than normal and almost no vegetation, deserts drain stamina and speed, and volcanoes have moderately tough enemies. However, they also have gems lying around that are worth a lot of money as compensation.
    • Coasts have sandy terrain like the desert, but also have water all over the place to slow the hero even more.
    • Also, oddly enough, "Everything is Silver" special campaign worlds. Lots of extra shopkeepers and money ensure better odds than normal of getting semi-rare items and good gear and no guards makes killing everyone unusually safe, but chefs are removed entirely and many items are replaced with money, meaning even if you buy out every herb you see, you'll have a hard time with food. Plus there's no old women to tell you where towns are and no fortune tellers (meaning no spells, not even the one to detect NPCs), so you'll miss a lot of towns unless you're the bard or very lucky, and there's no recruitable party members (not even the normally-guaranteed Soldier D). Most of these things are still available in Plus, however.
  • Double Standard: Parodied with Hero's Zenura Weave: Everyone will either think you're crazy or ask you to at least find some pants to wear, but if you're playing as a female character, some people will complement your body and other female party members will even be jealous of you. Downplayed in that either way, using this skill drops you to -99 Charisma, meaning that without extremely copious amounts of Level Grinding, you will never be able to recruit another NPC.
  • Double Unlock: To unlock a class, first you need to use Dimensional Coins to build the room that houses the class's Quest Giver NPC. Then you need to talk to that NPC at the start of a new run, which sees you trading out your save-the-world main quest for a new quest, which ends the run once you complete it.
  • Dump Stat:
    • Outside of the early game, Charisma — there are so few party members in the game in the first place, and usually the few you can find you will either get at the very beginning (or they become unobtainable, at least for that playthrough) or you will naturally (or unnaturally by murdering animals) amass more than enough Charisma to acquire them in later towns. It also marginally improves shop prices and ally damage, but the former is of little value and the latter is only meaningful if you have multiple allies. However, the Plus version's toll gates allow you to avoid the toll by begging, which sacrifices your Charisma.
    • Vitality is fairly weak to level up; when choosing perks, Survivor is more efficient for hp, while Strength is more efficient for general use and weight limit (if you don't want to take the perk that improves weight limit only). Further devalued by how, when naturally leveling up, there is a separate +10hp bonus you may level up randomly in addition to a +vit bonus, so you have a higher chance of getting hp in one way or another than a different, possibly more desired bonus.
    • Wisdom and Intelligence are, naturally, fairly useless for physical-based characters. In contrast, Agility and Strength have at least marginal use on par with Vitality for all classes.
    • Max stamina is invaluable for some classes, who rely on stamina-draining skills like Dash or Bash. It's useless for other classes, who have only few or no stamina using skills (most notably the Force User and Force Knight, who both have many energy-using skills but no stamina-using skills at all).
    • The Plus expansion adds Max Energy as a stat that can be increased on level up. However, food is usually only consumed either when you're low enough for the whole effect or your inventory is full, and even for the most energy-hungry classes the starting 100 energy will last through any fight save the final boss.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Axes (and to a lesser extent any strong attack) can easily bust down walls, making shortcuts into and out of dungeons to grab their treasure. This is very important since failing to get out quickly will get you swallowed by the darkness.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Getting the End of the World ending, which results in the extinction of most life, can be quite challenging due to enemies getting stronger and stronger. This is even worse on the "Walk in the Park" version of the ending, where you have to deal with the Demon Lord chasing the hero.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Darkness that's chasing you is an invulnerable wall of destruction that annihilates everything it touches. And that's not a joke — the Dark Dragon that generates it is a mountain-high monster that takes 10,000 years of sleep to reach its full strength, whereupon it can destroy all complex life. The whole Demon Lord system is an attempt to artificially lengthen the cycle, and even that's a temporary stopgap because there aren't any more candidates.
  • Elite Mooks: Denoted by a triangle or a star above them. However, you can't tell just how much stronger they are without seeing their name or using a Hunter, which usually means hitting them.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The darkness consumes everything, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. If you stay nearby, NPCs can be heard dying as soon as the screen scrolls past them.
  • Excuse Plot: Defeat the Demon Lord and stop the Darkness! Actually subverted — beneath the surface, there's quite a complex plot linking all the worlds.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Bombs can not only be thrown, they can also be "used", i.e. detonate it while carrying it to damage not only surrounding enemies, but yourself and any ally NPCs that happen to be with you. Oh, and when you select an item, including explosives, the sub-menu defaults to the "Use" command rather than "Throw". Have fun blowing yourself up by accident for the ten millionth time!
  • Fairy Companion: Iris the Fairy, whom you can talk to, and also gives post-game commentary and advice. She even gets grouchy if you neglect her for a while, which can unlock an achievement!
  • Famous Last Words: If you are killed, the game will let you choose from a list of preset lines as your dying words. Whatever you choose will then be published to other players in the same dimension along with other information at the time of your death.
  • Fighting Clown: The bonus "C" sprites for Swordmaster, Adventurer, and Tourist, and to a lesser extent Ninja.
  • Final Boss Preview: The Demon Lord shows up to chase you around for a bit once every so often. The first few times he does so, he gets extra layers added onto the "barrier" that you must destroy before you can damage him, so it's best just to run.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Hero's ability Zenura Weave: they can gain massive permanent stat boosts in exchange for being unable to wear any armor, which also strips their sprite naked for the rest of the playthrough.
  • Foreshadowing: On both the original and Plus version, beating the Demon Lord on Inhumane Odyssey results in a bizarre dream where the hero sees a mysterious figure and somehow knows it's manipulating all the dimensions and the Darkness. On the original version, one would be inclined to believe the hero is a Conspiracy Theorist. On the Plus version, you can actually fight the mysterious figure.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Adventurer. Low health, but he can dash and also can move two tiles in one turn (even jumping over enemies to let allies attack from behind). He also levels up in both swimming and mountain climbing (eventually crossing both terrains in one turn). The Hunter also has high speed, dashing, and mountain climbing but lousy health, designed for kiting enemies with a bow or spear.
  • Glass Cannon: Force Users, who have low defense and (unless they have weapons or accessories to negate the wait) take increasing amounts of meditation to cast their spells, which do massive damage and have the largest AoE in the game. The Hero class can also count, having amazing fighting abilities, but take far more damage from the side or back than usual. Taken Up to Eleven with Zenura Weave, which gives them more stats in exchange for being unable to wear armor. Or clothes, although accessories and weapons are still fair game.
  • Golden Ending: The Dimension Ruler ending, exclusive to Plus.
  • Guest Fighter: Mystery Chronicles has the the Ultimate Student and Wanderer classes, which come from Danganronpa and Shiren the Wanderer. Not only do these change your character graphics, but they also override your character's name.
    • The Ultimate Student class lets you play as Makoto Naegi, Komaru Naegi, or Monokuma. While they have weak stats, they get the "hacking gun" from Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls right off the bat, and have "Truth Bullet" abilities that you can upgrade as you gain levels.
    • The Wanderer class lets you play as Shiren, Tao, or Asuka. They're a bit of a Jack-of-All-Trades with balanced offense, defense, and movement abilities, but they suck at using Force powers. They also have special abilities that are extremely powerful, but can only be used at night.
  • Harder Than Hard: There's both the Maniac option that disables Dimensional Vault and Goddess Statues and makes enemies stronger, and the Inhumane Odyssey difficulty above Grueling Campaign with even higher enemy stats. If you absolutely know what you're doing or you really hate yourself, you can do a Maniac Inhumane Odyssey run.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Well, harder mode perks. The easiest difficulty has weaker enemies than other difficulties, you get a plant that continuously grows healing herbs, the Demon Lord doesn't regularly pop up to attack you before retreating, and when you do fight the Demon Lord, you have a fully party worth of NPCs backing you up. On the downside, runs are much shorter than on other difficulties because after 400km, the Demon Lord spawns and won't ever leave, so unless you are strong enough and well-equipped to run away from him forever, you will have to deal with him when he spawns. And the best gear doesn't spawn til way beyond 400km, and for the most part you won't find any recruitable NPCs within that time frame either.
  • Have a Nice Death: Whenever something kills you, a cutscene is created that lovingly describes how your weakened adventurer succumbs to the killing blow.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Dark Knight, The Dark Lord, and The Healer Dosey after she transforms into a Killer Hound can join your party under the right conditions.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Any food you eat to restore your energy only takes one turn to take effect.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels:
    • Walk In The Park (Easy)
    • Afternoon Stroll (Normal)
    • Grueling Campaign (Hard)
    • Inhumane Odyssey (Harder Than Hard)
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Time advances whenever you perform an action; the amount of time that passes depends on a number of factors, such as Agility (the faster you are, the less time you need to cross a single tile). If Maniac mode is turned on, any action you take will advance time by a fixed six minutes (thus, 10 actions = 1 hour and 240 actions = 1 day), effectively making the game strictly turn-based.
  • Indestructible Edible: Averted, since fire damage can burn herbs. Plus also introduces rotting food, which happens randomly. If food becomes too rotten, it will become Blasphemous Gel, which can be thrown to poison enemies and destroy the Dark Dragon's barrier.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Holy Weapons and Armor. They're all both powerful and lighter than the next-best thing, and the weapons get guaranteed or near-guaranteed critical hits. Oh, and since critical hits completely bypass the Demon Lord's barriers, so do holy weapons. However, most Holy Weapons tend to veer a bit too far towards Awesome, but Impractical due to their low durability, as well as the fact that getting guaranteed critical hits later in the game isn't exactly difficult. The armor is another story, though.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The items for the two "alternate" ways of beating the game (without killing the Demon Lord) are heavier than their holy counterparts but even more powerful and with better durability too, especially the bow (which has damage and durability almost double its holy counterpart and longer range). However, there's not much left to do by the time you earn them and you can only ever use them by opening the dimensional vault, and they don't cover every weapon type (or any body armor) like the holy items do.
  • Informed Equipment: Played extremely straight. For example, the Knight's C sprite shows him in a full suit of plate armor, when his starting armor is basically a thick jacket. The one aversion is when the Hero class rips all their clothes off to gain great power.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Genre Savvy players can identify towns, shrines, and dungeons on the minimap based on the color of the tiles that show up. Each terrain tile has a different color, so it's possible to tell which tiles are mountains and which are just ruins (which do nothing to hinder your movement). You can't tell what is a town, shrine, or dungeon just by looking at the map, but you know it's going to be one of those three.
    • Averted in Mystery Chronicle, as town and dungeon tiles no longer show up on the minimap. Thankfully, many classes have a passive ability that lets them locate either towns, dungeons, friendly NPCs, or treasure chests.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: What the game turns into even for high weight limit characters, as it's basically impossible to carry everything you want to have.
  • Item Caddy: Despite her title, Dosey's initial role is ultimately closer to this, as she uses herbs to heal you and gives you various rare potions during her conversations with you.
  • Item Crafting: A minor version: equipment can already have some modifiers on them when you find them and there are a number of scrolls that can add modifiers to them, with some of the more common modifiers having scrolls and items dedicated to them. However, the stronger modifiers are gotten randomly from using a Scroll of Swordplay or Phalanx on the said items, you can only have up to 8 modifiers on a piece of equipment and adding another removes the oldest one.
  • Joke Character: The Tourist in Plus and the Zombie in Mystery Chronicle.
    • They both start out with no stats above 0, spread their level bonuses evenly (and "waste" some of them for journal pages and charisma respectively), and cannot access the dimensional vault.
    • To get their special ending, the Tourist then has to waste turns in "exciting" (aka dangerous) situations to fill the travel journal, while also micromanaging its pages for balance. All it gets to compensate is extra starting cash and a limited-use escape ability.
    • The Zombie doesn't have a special quest, but it does have -99 charisma (ensuring no allies when allies were the main way to survive as a Tourist) and is weak to fire. And no extra cash.
  • Joke Weapon: The Fluffy Baton. On one hand, it adds 50% to your accuracy and 150% to your Combo stat. The downside? It boasts an attack stat of -999, meaning that unless you spend the entire trip grinding, you'll never get it to deal more than 1 point of damage at a time. However, due to how status effects work and thanks to its high durability, one can potentially turn it into a Lethal Joke Weapon by applying the right scrolls.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: In Mystery Chronicle, this trope happens when the player "pleads fervently" to let a Toll Collector pass through their gate for free (at the expense of 3 Charisma), despite there being nothing to show, given the pixelated art style. The Always Female Toll Collector gets flustered, the screen cuts to black, then the Toll Collector is next seen in a daze and saying "Wow...", implying the Player Character just french kissed her as a bribe.
  • Lawful Stupid: Apparently, the letter of the law still applies even when the world is being rapidly consumed. Why yes, you still need to pay the toll even though the people who collect it are going to die in a matter of minutes.
  • Light Is Not Good: Mystery Chronicle swaps out the Darkness with a just-as-deadly Shine Raid.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Frequently with some conversation tunes, but very notable with the Demon Lord's themes, which you often hear only the intro before the Lord vanishes. #3 in particular is good enough if you sit around for a bit, and then it just keeps going. Justified, as most of the music comes from free resource sites and was not composed specifically for this game.
  • Lord British Postulate: Doubles with All-Powerful Bystander as written above. If the Dimensional Vault Guard is provoked, she'll turn out to be a One-Woman Army who is immune or heavily resistant to almost all forms of damage, not to mention that normal attacks at close range will just open the vault menu instead. Someone managed to kill her with Blasphemous Gels and lots of running away.
  • Low-Level Advantage: A very odd case. Leveling up itself is helpful, but your character level itself does very little (it mostly unlocks one special skill per class unless you're a Force User). Instead, your level is used as an additional currency. You can trade "levels" for bonus stats, a free save, or (for the Force User) extra Force Spells, but you keep all the stat gains so you're actually stronger than before. However, due to the usefulness of high-end Force User spells, you're better off saving your levels until you learn them before you start spending them on Goddess Statues.
  • Macrogame: Aside from unlocking perks and classes, you get a "dimensional vault" which you can store items in at the end of the game (whether you won or lost) and then withdraw at the start of a later run. Eventually, you can store enough powerful items to win the game several times over, not that you could carry them all. Plus adds the ability to customize the starting castle, using "dimensional coins" that can be gathered through gameplay. Heavily downplayed if you use Maniac mode, which disables the Dimensional Vault, only allowing you to use items you find in your current run, although you can still start class unlock quests that you've opened up from previous runs.
  • Made of Explodium: Some flammable items don't like it when you get hit by fire attacks while you carry them, and make this known violently. It can get painful if that vial of Liquid Dragon Flame ignited while in your inventory.
  • Made of Indestructium: Shrine walls cannot be broken through. They have exceptionally high HP, and any attack, no matter how powerful, will only do Scratch Damage. You can't make enough of a dent into one before the Darkness catches up.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Dosey's healing items are useful, but keep those Buddy Tablets that she gives you during a conversation! When The Corruption overcomes her, you can use one on her Killer Hound form to calm her down, re-recruit her, and gain the most powerful Lightning Bruiser in the game.
    • You normally would not expect unglamorous perks/stats such as Mountain Climbing or Swimming to be useful, but they are; Pirates and Hunters enjoy, respectively, unparalleled access to water and mountain tiles to attack or avoid enemies with impunity (and, if they can fight back, they must surmount a defensive bonus gained from standing in the tile) and access otherwise impossible treasure. While Swimming is fairly niche but useful, Mountain Climbing is seen as one of the most versatile stats in the midgame, as mountain chains can turn a tasty dungeon into an impassible trap.
    • Panty Shot's attacks get more and more powerful the longer you keep going. He explains this is because of the Artifact of Doom he's using as a weapon.
    • The Mystery Chronicle-exclusive Samurai class has a skill that works as such. It starts out not much stronger than your normal attacks and has both a very high ST cost and needs 4 durability points per use. However, use it often enough and it not only becomes stronger and more accurate, but cuts the weapon durability cost down to 3. Keep using it and it becomes even stronger, cheaper to use, and adds a chance of lowering your opponent's Attack stat. Still keep using it and its final upgrade makes it so its ST cost becomes negligible to the point of being spammable without ST recovery items under almost all circumstances, uses as much durability as a normal attack, therefore making it more efficient than attacking normally since it can't combo and therefore waste durability, and deals so much damage that the only things that could even survive getting hit with it once are boss-tier enemies — emphasis on could.
  • Marathon Boss: The Demon Lord fight can be ended pretty quickly in a normal game, even on hard mode. But in Maniac mode, he gets increased stats and a truly massive health bar, so that even well beyond when the game would normally end, you'll be hard-pressed to kill him in one go.
  • Marathon Level:
    • One of the endings requires reaching 2000 km rather than fighting the Demon Lord. That's at least three times as far as most characters should be by the time they're ready to kill the Demon Lord. Oh, and once you've achieved that, you can try for up to 10000 km. The game gets progressively sparser with towns and save points as you go, and the chance of the few towns you're able to find being empty except ,for a single NPC, a pair of low-tier chests, or even a horde of zombies just keeps going up. Initially this makes keeping your energy up an issue, but later the weaker enemies are replaced with bears and tigers who frequently drop food.
    • The Plus expansion also adds another ending which requires you to reach 3000 km in the much harder alternate dimension.
  • Master of Unlocking: The Adventurer and Pirate classs start out with a Lockpicking skill that lets them attempt to open up chests and locked doors without keys or force, with varying degrees of success depending on the skill level and strength of the lock. The skill that grants one point towards Lockpicking (and the skill, if the class you choose doesn't have it as a starting skill) even shares its name with this trope.
  • Money for Nothing: Money can be short early on, but as the game goes on your income will accelerate faster than anything you'd want to spend it on. Your maximum inventory weight is a FAR more oppresive limit on what you can buy than your wallet. And then later on, the frequency of shops starts decreasing. That is, unless you managed to find Dark Brotherhood shops (and have appropriate pass), which will sell extremely powerful scrolls and items that are normally extremely hard to find (and are appropriately priced, of course). Averted if Panty is in the party, since he'll leave if you run out of money for his fees.
  • Mordor: Corrupted Lands. Almost no towns, not much plant life, and the toughest enemies in the game. Unlike other "difficult" terrains, there's no special items to compensate, so you generally want to race through it quickly.
  • Multiple Endings: Several of them, including difficulty-based endings and one for each party member.
  • Nintendo Hard: True to the nature of most Roguelikes, OWH is a challenging game, with punishing terrain, fierce monsters that randomly have buffs, and the scarcity of items/money, but it's still relatively merciful compared to some other examples thanks to the greatly variable difficulty level and rare but permanent opportunities to save your progress and reload it as you wish, although you can only get additional Hero Points the first time you die or beat the game per save.
  • No Hero Discount: Averted with some but played extremely straight with others. Some people will give you free items or information in hopes that you use it to stop the Darkness. The shopkeepers themselves will still charge you full price, even though the shopkeeper is minutes away from being consumed by the Darkness (which is keeping pace with the hero). However, the higher your Charisma, the less the shopkeepers charge you. Taken Up to Eleven with the Toll Collector in Plus, who charges you a large sum of money to cross the border, even though the border will cease to exist in a matter of hours. You can spend Charisma to lower or waive the fee though.
  • Nominal Importance: Played with for Soldier D, one of the soldiers from the castle. Despite not having a name, he will join your party if you have at least 4 charisma and can hold his own in combat. But he's still weaker than any of the other recruitable characters (especially for his price). If you ask Iris about him, she'll complain that he doesn't have a name, an affection rating, dialog, or any special traits.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Walk In The Park, the "easy" difficulty, has the Demon Lord show up at 400 km, and will hunt you down until either you or him die. If the Demon Lord hits the edge of the screen, he'll teleport to the right of you. Afternoon Stroll, the "normal" difficulty, makes him appear sooner, but unlike on WitP, he will disappear after a while and return later again and again, so he's not always chasing you all the way to the endgame. This makes it harder to get the End of the World ending on WitP.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Tragically averted with Dosey's Killer Hound transformation. Even if you use New Game+ to finish the game faster than is normally possible and defeat the Darkness which caused it, it will still finish after the adventure.
  • Nostalgia Level: The "Dark Lord" sidequest that's required to unlock the One Way Hero in Mystery Chronicle. It starts with you meeting King Victor, has you meet several Non Player Characters from the first game along the way, and ends with you slaying the Dark Lord. Unfortunately, she's not responsible for the Shine Raid.
  • Not Me This Time: The Dark Lord is not responsible for the Shine Raid in Mystery Chronicle.
  • Not the Intended Use: You are supposed to equip a bow to fire arrows at far away enemies. A strong enough character may just throw arrows by hand to great effect (although with only a range of two squares). This is remedied in Plus, where arrows have to be equipped to the accessory slot in order to throw them.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In Mystery Chronicle, you're always given the choice between two characters to recruit, but getting both is supposed to be impossible since they're on opposite ends of the map. However, one can take a Teleport Potion out of the Dimension Vault, get one character, then use the potion and hope you get close enough to the other one... only to find that they're no longer there. It's especially egregious since a big part of those characters' story lines revolves around each other, so what could have been Developers' Foresight instead turns into this.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Depends on the build: physical classes are better off focusing on Strength while the likes of Force User naturally benefit more from pumping all their extra levels into either Intellect or Willpower.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Dosey seems to have have been somehow cursed by the Darkness to become a Killer Hound basically by proximity. When she survived her village's consumption, she grew wolf ears and a tail. About 10 days after her joining your party, she will suddenly grow teeth and attack you. You can kill her, or you can recruit her again as a Canine Companion. It is possible, but exceedingly hard, to make it through the game such that she will not transform.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Better grab your items before they get swallowed by the advancing Darkness! The autoscroll also prevents you from backtracking to that Appraiser who just got swallowed by the Darkness.
  • Player Data Sharing: Both the original and Mystery Chronicle use Twitter to enable their Socialization Bonus features.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: You're able to keep going for days or even weeks. Upon beating the Demon Lord or reaching the end of the world, you immediately pass out into a lengthy sleep before waking up days later.
  • Power-Up Food: You can find various non-aggressive animals that drop stat-boosting items when killed. However, doing that makes the Jade Forest Rangers hostile.
  • Press X to Die: Going onto a lava tile without levitation will instantly kill you. The game will gladly let you do this by holding down the key corresponding to the direction of the lava, with the warning phrase "You are already melted."
  • Procedural Generation: The worlds are procedurally generated with a random seed word, which you can share with others.
  • Punny Name: There's a mercenary named Panty. "Panty Shot". Iris comments on how lame the name is. It turns out Panty intentionally Invoked this so that enemies will be forced to call out his name.
  • The Remake: Mystery Chronicle is really more of a re-imagining than a proper sequel. The basic premise is the same, just with light instead of darkness, all of the mechanics and classes from the original game and Plus return, but with new content, new graphics, and voice-overs.
  • Random Drop: Most enemies logically drop weapons or throwing ammo associated with them, like Imps and their Big Stones, and some beasts can drop Animal Meat, but there are other things that can be dropped entirely at random, mostly if the enemy in question has a title like Pack-Rat or Rich. As a variation of this trope, merchants also have their inventory randomized as the east part of the map generates.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Stack enough Pro-Wrestler perks and you can pull this off.
  • Ratchet Scrolling: Once something is scrolled off to the left, it's consumed by the Darkness and you can't go back. In fact, trying to go off the left side of the automatically-scrolling screen is an instant Game Over.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Demon Lord, and also King Victor.
  • Relationship Values: Party member affection rates increase via various means, mostly when you get far enough in the game, kill enough enemies, and use enough healing items.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: The further you get on higher difficulty levels, the more the gameplay creeps towards this: while enemy HP and defense doesn't generally scale fast enough that not being able to kill them in 1-2 hits becomes an issue, their attacks are still strong enough that they can murder you in a few hits if you're not careful. This also makes fire-breathing enemies an even bigger threat, both because the otherwise massive defense that your allies get when they're leveled high enough doesn't seem to protect them from it and thus it can kill them in a single hit since their HP doesn't go past 999 unlike yours as well as setting you on fire if you're not wearing fireproof armor: while the herb- and gem-destroying effect is a minor annoyance at best when you're at a high level, the burn effect does more damage the higher your level is and a single fire breath can stack multiple different-leveled burn effects on you that you can't survive even with constant item use if you're exceptionally unlucky.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Dark Lord is revealed to be one.
  • Safety in Indifference: The hidden Elven village. The Elves admit that they don't care about the end of the world. They just want you to leave when you're finished with your business.
  • Save-Game Limits: For what's essentially a Roguelike, the game's extremely merciful when it comes to this: not only can you save your game every time you run into the often-appearing Save Attendant, but she also sells a random number of Save Crystals that you can use at any time to save your game. The Goddess Of Time, Chronos, also randomly offers you a chance to save your game in exchange for 5 levels, a very reasonable cost considering the levels work as a secondary form of currency as stated above: you can also load any save an unlimited number of times, which is a godsend when you attempt to beat the game by reaching the end of the world, considering there's no telling when you run into a dead end with no way out. The only real limitation is that your score is saved when you die or finish the game for the first time, meaning that you can't get any additional Hero Points for your marathon-length run if you die at any point.
  • Save Scumming: You are given ample opportunity to die, learn, and start over from your last save (like Dark Souls) until the ending is Future Perfect. HOWEVER: You get a small penalty to your overall score for every single time that you save the game.
  • Schmuck Bait: You are told up front that breaking open the Soul Jar in a Demon Shrine will do nothing except powering up the Demon Lord. Guess what — that's exactly what it does, and it does nothing else. Granted, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as you can potentially recruit the Demon Lord with enough charisma and the right item.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The Plus version has more gimmicks and nerfs to balance out various abusable features from the original and make it much easier to get cornered, making it closer to the difficulty of other Roguelike games. Some gimmicks include:
    • Toll booths, which will put a bounty on you and send a Lightning Bruiser Toll Collector after you if you try to sneak past.
    • Expiring food and food poisoning. Worse yet, Animal Meat always has a random chance of being rotten when you eat it.
    • Int, Charisma, and EXP penalties for Zenura Weave (which is still considered overpowered by some).
    • Randomly appearing enemy mobs that are both powerful and cluster together.
    • Random periods of higher enemy frequency.
    • All of the hero's main stats except Strength have their positive effects reduced, and the goddess altar has its cost increased and limits your choices of benefit.
    • Fortress and Cave terrains, which both feature lots of walls you can be trapped by (and tough enemies in the former case).
    • The Coast terrain is full of sand and rivers, basically combining the worst aspects of Cave and Desert terrains.
    • The dimensional corridor, with tougher enemies and a tougher boss to replace the Demon Lord. Once you enter, you're there for the whole rest of the game, and the End of the World is pushed back to 3000 km.
    • A Tourist class, who is intentionally underpowered and needs to waste turns in dangerous encounters to fulfill his eventual win condition.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoplift and Die: A variation with the Toll Collector in Plus. He will charge you a sum for being able to cross the border into another country. If you don't pay, he will attack you. And he's one of the most powerful NPCs in the game, many times more powerful than even the Demon Lord, so don't be surprised if you get one-hitted by him.
  • Socialization Bonus: There are leaderboards, and you can also meet the Ghosts of fallen Players who will give you some of their experience points and a random item when you talk to them. You can also warn each other of threats in a specific world, share random seeds, or even post your exploits on Twitter.
  • Splash Damage: Elzite Bombs and Bomb Arrows explode violently enough to spill over into adjacent tiles when they go off. Don't stand right next to something you're attacking with them!
  • Suicide by Cop: The Demon Lord wants you to end his life of servitude to the Darkness.
  • Time Stands Still: The "Awakening" ability you start with acts like this, allowing you to defeat tough enemies (or make a quick escape). However, you only get 5 uses per playthrough.
  • True Final Boss: The Dark Dragon. The Dimensional Ruler from the Plus expansion is an Even Truer Final Boss.
  • The Unpronounceable: Because of the seed nature for setting up each dimension's terrains — area names included — bizarre, often vowel-less configurations of letters are pretty much the norm. It might not have been as much of a nuisance in the original Japanese (i.e. syllable-based alphabet), where every possible syllable except "n" ends in a vowel, but for our alphabet...Lampshaded in one of the random prologues.
  • Unknown Item Identification: All equip-able items have 3 levels of identification: the lowest only tells you their basic weapon type and weight, the middle one tells you their name and basic item stats and description, and complete identification adds any existing modifiers and current durability. You can fully or partly identify them automatically if your Intelligence is high enough, and failing that, there are scrolls and occasional NPCs which can identify all the items in your inventory.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Averted; nothing is immune to status effects, including the Demon Lord. He can be confused, rooted in place, set on fire, or even pacified, the last of which is especially unusual as a thing that works on the final boss. Sadly. the True Final Boss does have the typical immunities, but then again it has no physical presence in the game, is described as being as large as a mountain, and is literally the entire left side of the screen.
    • The Plus expansion adds another True Final Boss, and several alternate quests with their own bosses. All of these new bosses are vulnerable to status effects.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: You can hunt otherwise non-hostile wildlife and torment the neutral NPCs. You can also use NPCs as a distraction while running away from (or getting free hits on) the Demon Lord.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment:
    • However, both of these can come back to bite you. Jade Forest rangers (and later Lieutenants, possibly the game's strongest enemy) hunt people who hurt otherwise nonhostile endangered animals. And of course most towns have guards and heavily-armed equipment dealers who will thrash you for attacking them; and even if you can easily slaughter them, good luck getting any new party members or learning new spells, being told where the next few towns are, or getting both meals out of a chef. Plus adds in a rare inversion: there are settlements that will only allow the player in if they have "sin", which is gained by killing neutral wildlife or NPCs.
    • Under certain circumstances, it's almost encouraged to be rather unheroic while not getting blamed for it. While the Demon Lord or the Dark Angel want to kill you, they won't shy away from attacking NPCs if they're close by. This essentially means that one can sell a whole bunch of valuables to a merchant, manipulate the Demon Lord or the Dark Angel into approaching them so that they get killed, then grab everything you sold and everything the merchant had on them, meaning you potentially get twice the money and a whole bunch of items you couldn't possibly afford — with no sin penalty whatsoever!
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The Demon Lord is indeed powerful, but as you travel, both you and the random foes will eventually surpass the boss.
  • Vendor Trash: There are a number of gemstones that exist only to be sold. Herbs gathered in the snow plains biomes can also be sold for more money than normal healing herbs.
  • When All Else Fails, Go Right: The Darkness comes from the west and you have to keep going east.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: If you drop to 0 Energy, your movement, Strength, and Agility are greatly lowered, your HP regeneration rate is halved, and you stop generating stamina, so you better carry enough items that restore it. This is a more significant problem for Force Users, since their spells run off Energy instead of Stamina like the special abilities of most other character classes.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Darkness itself leaves a barren wasteland of nothingness (and monsters) in its wake. When you reach 2000km, the ending implies that you reached the starting point of the Darkness, as all you see ahead of you is oblivion.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death:
    • As is the norm for roguelikes, a good number of deaths are self-inflicted by carelessness, like getting crushed by the autoscroll, getting surrounded and mobbed to death while trying to climb a mountain and outrun the deadly edge of the screen, running out of energy or stamina at the worst possible times, breaking a good weapon or shield because you overused it, using a bomb item in your inventory instead of throwing it at the enemy, and so on.
    • Provided you haven't turned on Maniac Mode, your fairy companion will even point out potential reasons for your death, though they'll also admit if they can't figure out any way for how you could have lived any longer, either.

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