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Video Game / Pause Ahead

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What an innocent-seeming game!

I awake in a dark place.
The number '00' is branded on my palm.
My thoughts are not on how I arrived,
But how I escape.

A Molyjam inspired platformer from Askiisoft seeks to answer the question, "What if the pause button was a weapon?"

An indie platforming game made in 2013 by askiisoft. In this game, you play as a surprisingly adorable humanoid wolf creature who attempts to escape from within a mysterious building.

The game's overall feel and design, like its predecessor Tower Of Heaven, invokes old Game Boy games.

Can be played here.


This game contains examples of:

  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: If you beat it, yes. It's a nice pair of shades for your wee sprite.
  • Badass Normal: The main protagonist, using only his jumping ability. That is, until you soon learn that pausing the game yields very useful results.
  • Bizarre Puzzle Game: Counts as one.
  • Bonus Level of Hell: Nihil, which you can only reach if you find all 3 secrets before reaching the final boss.
    • Secret 1: Level 6: Jump high up beyond the left corner of the room.
    • Secret 2: Level 13: Let the clock run down to 0:10 to reveal a door where you started.
    • Secret 3: Level 19: Floating under the leftmost spike will net you the final secret.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Almost all of the pause messages tend to do this.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: You're more likely to break your Shift key than you are to beat it.
  • Catastrophic Countdown: For you at least.
    • Up to Eleven: For several levels, your timer starts at 0:01 seconds.
  • Cool Shades: Your character starts talking quite differently as a result of his new found swag.
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  • Death Course: The whole game, but especially Nihil.
  • Death Is Cheap: Infinite respawns are in effect.
  • Developers' Foresight: Fail to pass the level two more times and the message becomes ''Pressing [shift] or [C] to pause may help me cross this gap''
  • Doppelgänger Attack: A double of you appears during the final boss battle; touching it kills you.
  • Double Meaning: It really depends on how you interpret each level's opening monologue.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Clearing Nihil results in your character getting terminated.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Architect.
  • Exact Time to Failure
  • Floating Platforms: Averted.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: One possible interpretation.
  • Hold the Line: The boss battle is this.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: For new players of Pause Ahead, if you die more than two times on level 5 (the first instance where you will need to pause), you will be prompted with I remind myself to press [shift] or [C] to pause.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall
  • It's All Upstairs from Here
  • Jump Physics
  • Little Bit Beastly: The only indications that the main character isn't human are ears and some of the pause messages.
  • Loophole Abuse: Pausing.
  • Made of Explodium: You explode when you touch a death trap, be it a set of spikes or a smashing block.
  • Malevolent Architecture
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: About halfway through the game, another character (who may or may not be the Big Bad) takes over the narration, and the pause messages become increasingly pleading, threatening, or plain nonsensical.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • The normal ending has you defeating the Architect and escaping the maze into the outside world. The Architect has no problem with this, as it has a good number of more test subjects to play with.
    • The secret ending, which requires unlocking and beating Nihil, has you playing the Architect's game to its horrible conclusion. Not much is really explained, but from the status of "terminated" at the end, it's surmised that the Architect has no more use for you as a test subject. Or perhaps you've become the new Architect. It's a Mind Screw of a Downer Ending. All of this made worse by the fact that it is also implied you never lived a real life.
      To pass into that dark,
      never having known freedom.
      Never to laugh, to learn, to love.
      Is there more tragic a fate?
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Nihil, the bonus level, which is Latin for Nothing.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game features many hazard-filled corridors that you can only traverse with the pausing mechanic. To make matters worse, you can't control your direction while paused, so being stopped within a death trap while paused equals death.
  • No Fair Cheating: You are always called out on it.
    • Press [shift] or [C] to break the game at any time, you dirty cheater.
  • No Fourth Wall: Once you obtain the Achievement 'Speak No Evil', the wall is absolutely and hilariously gone.
  • No Name Given: The protagonist you play has no name given. There is also the question of 'who' exactly may be talking to you...
  • Off with His Head!: Twice! You actually have to do this to get past the unlockable Nihil stage.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Contact with a spike or saw or evilly grinning blocks will end you quite explosively.
  • Pause Scumming: And it's an integral gameplay mechanic, to boot.
  • Platform Hell: Basically the whole game. Pausing has never been so fun.
  • Production Foreshadowing: At one point, the pause screen mentions anagrams. What's one of the words that appears when you pause? Ozuak.
  • Race Against the Clock: Every level is this to some degree, but the later levels, requiring you to finish the level in 1 second, require liberal use of the pause button to make it through alive.
  • Sensory Abuse: To your ears by the boss battle music. Potentially doubles as ''Psycho'' Strings.
  • Sequential Boss: The Architect battle has three major phases, the final phase of which is generally a Hold the Line segment.
  • Shout-Out: To Tower Of Heaven. And Bowser of Super Mario Bros if you unlock the Achievement 'Speak No Evil'
    • The game's description on the original site reads "Pause Ahead is a jumping-and-pausing action game. Pause through the caves until you reach the ending", which is a close match to a similar game's description.
    • That's not all. In the Bonus Level of Hell, the pause texts "Sanctuary," "Did you Know," "The witch woman," and "Once Had A Brother" reference the spike-filled bonus level of the same game.
  • Spikes of Doom: Plentiful.
  • Time Stands Still: How the Pause mechanic works in-universe. You only see what that would look like during the replays at the end of each level or during the boss battle, where a digital copy of you follows you around and mimics your exact moves.
  • Villainous Breakdown: This appears to happen to The Architect as you get closer and closer to the end.
  • You Are Not Alone: You start getting this vibe very early in the game as a result of the opening/pause text being directed at you, the player.
    • Play it enough times, and all the level opening text changes. You find that you have '01' branded on your shoulder. And you feel like you should go through that door for some reason...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In the secret ending, where the "you" in question is the player character.
  • Your Head A-Splode

Example of: