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Video Game / Riddle School

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"Now THAT was A SHARP idea! (I can't believe I said that.)"
Phil Eggtree

Riddle School is a Newgrounds flash game series created by JonBro (now known as Jonochrome) following a boy named Phil Eggtree trying to escape numerous grades of school, and later on, a number of environments.

The game is inspired by Tom Fulp's Pico's School, which is the reason the first game is a point-and-click adventure game which takes place in an elementary school, Though there are considerably less guns here; Riddle School opts to follow a relatively less extreme story by having the main character not shoot up the place and instead just try to get out of school through some strange puzzles.

Riddle Schools 2, 3, and 4 have practically the same mechanics to the first and follow a very similar plot line with our titular main character finding his way out of middle school, high school, and college, respectively. Riddle School 5 changes the stage from school to an alien space ship in an unexpectedly complicated series of events. Riddle Transfer sets up the stage to a sequel series of games by JonBro; the series's original plans were scrapped, but it ended with its second installment on May 25, 2016— the first game's tenth anniversary.

Later Jonochrome made a Riddle School Legacy edition of all of the games that makes the games easier.


Tropes featured include:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The teachers seem totally fine with you walking in and out of their classrooms and roaming around the hall when you should be in class. After you get past the one you're supposed to be in, everyone else is fine with you hanging around their classrooms and even taking things from them.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • In Riddle Transfer 1, Phil describes stars as being "gigantic gyrotastic gaseous galactic gravity globes".
    • If Phil stops talking to Messie, Messie tells him "Beat it, bowling ball brain."
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Very early on in RS5, Phil slips through an air vent to escape his cell.
  • All Just a Dream: RS5 reveals RS2 through RS4 to have been this, as Phil was trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine by aliens that you can only escape by dying there.
  • And I Must Scream: According to RS4's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, the janitor from the second game became trapped in his closet shortly before the school closed down for good. He didn't have any contact with the outside world until the school was demolished and he died. Since RS4 was later revealed to be All Just a Dream, this fate may not have really happened.
  • Area 51: Zone 5.1, seen in Riddle Transfer, is an agency that captures cryptids to study them, and captures the protagonists because they came in an alien ship. Unusually, they actually work FOR aliens.
  • Artifact Title: Riddle School 5 has very little to do with school.
  • Astral Finale: All of Riddle School 5, but especially Viz's freezer ship, and Riddle Transfer 2's final segment takes place in space.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When you have to kill Smiley in her dream in RS5, the camera focuses on the sharp top of the globe you're about to knock her into. She instead swallows the entire thing and suffocates on it.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Discussed in 3, Phil explains that Zach was able to freeze the flames when the cafeteria was on fire.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mr. Soggy in RS3. You have to knock his glasses off with the rubber band hidden in the vent.
  • Big Bad:
    • The first three games have the respective principals/counselors, Mr. Cwesschyn, Mr. Mister, and Mr. Potato, who run the schools that Phil is trying to escape from and hold the keys to his escape.
    • Riddle School 4 has Mr. Munch, who builds the college and kills Phil. However, he has being controlled by Diz.
    • Riddle School 5, and the original Riddle School series as a whole, has Viz, leader of Project Vizion who seeks to destroy Earth because he considers it evil, and kidnaps Phil and his friends for this purpose.
    • The Riddle Transfer games have Quiz, the new leader of Vizion and Zone 5.1 who orders Phil and his friends kidnapped and takes over his elementary school. However, he does a Heel–Face Turn, after which Diz reveals himself as the true villain of the entire series who was Playing Both Sides to take control of Vizion for himself.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Appears on a sign in the library in RS3.
  • Book Ends: Transfer 2 takes place in the same school as the first game.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Not only does Phil talk to himself a lot, but he sometimes speaks directly to the player. This is especially evident during RS5 when clicking a poster, which has Phil tell the player that he assumes they can read as everything he says is in text bubbles.
  • Broken Bridge: Prevalent through the series preventing Phil from accessing certain items due to a small problem. Most notably in Riddle Transfer, Phil's school friends are trapped in jail cells, but all of them have the codes to the locks mostly due to lax security. The problem with Phred and Smiley's cells is that their cell keypads has a broken required key or outright missing.
  • Calculator Spelling: In 3, Phil has to find the combination for Richy's locker. When he finds it, it says "BLOBBLES". Of course, it's actually 53788078.
  • Call-Back: One in each Riddle Transfer game, both to the very beginning of the first Riddle School.
    • In Riddle Transfer 1
      Flying Pig: Right now I'm free as a bird in a birdcage.
      Phil: Pig, I think you and I would probably make really good friends.
    • In Riddle Transfer 2
      Richy: I don't even have a smart teacher. I'm getting out of this school as soon as I can.
      Phil: Richy, you've got a lot to learn.
  • Cassandra Truth: When the cast return to Miss Cophey's class for real, she asks them why they've been absent for the past few days. After they tell her...
    Cophey: Yeah yeah, I've heard those before. So what really happened?
    Zack: Why couldn't have we been in a more convincing-sounding double abduction?
  • Chekhov's Gun: A very long-runner in Mrs. Cophey's spinning pointer: first seen in RS1, comes in useful six games later in RT2, where it's revealed to be so fast it's able to cut through solid stone.
  • Color-Coded Speech: In 5, text bubbles pop up in the intro cutscene, all with separate colors. Green is Diz, red is Viz, and blue is Quiz. Additionally, when Diz and Viz are seen in game, their speech bubbles are colored green and red, respectively, while everyone else's is gray.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Phred's dream in 5, he mentions wanted to take effortless jobs such as a music conductor, substitute teacher or abstract artist. His Where Are They Now entry in 4 records him doing exactly this.
    • Phil noting the lava pool in the Vizion ship:
      "I've already fallen into one pit of lava, and I don't want to do it again."
  • Doomed New Clothes: Mrs. Mooses' story in Riddle School 4's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    Mrs. Mooses was at a bank and a bank robbery suddenly took place. The robber told her to get down on the ground. She said the ground was awfully dirty and it wouldn't be good for her new dress. She was shot multiple times and her dress was ruined.
  • Dying to Wake Up: The events of Riddle School 2-4 are revealed to be All Just a Dream induced by aliens that have abducted the main protagonist, Phil, and his friends. In Riddle School 5 where he wakes up, Phil only got out because he "died" in the previous game, and in order to wake up his other friends, he has to enter their dreams and kill them to successfully free them from their sleep.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Diz appears in 3 on a nondescript poster, and is sitting in class in 4, yet when Phil re-enters the class in 5 to kill Phred in his dream, Diz isn't present after the setup, providing an early hint to his importance.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After escaping being trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine and stopping the evil plans of Viz and Diz, the four main characters all get their happy endings.
    • Phil Eggtree and Smiley Sundae reconcile after he made fun of her, and form a genuine friendship that blossoms into love. They grow up, date, and marry, with the last shot of the series being them together and happy in old age.
    • Phred Whistler is saved by Phil and stays friends with him throughout his school years, even keeping the whistle that he gave to Phil in his youth as a symbol of their friendship.
    • Zack Kelvin was cursed with constantly being cold, to the point where in Riddle School 2 he actually freezes, and can even be killed in Riddle School 5 as a result of this. Fortunately after his cold genes are used to fire a Wave-Motion Gun to freeze Viz's ship, he is freed of his condition and no longer cold. He does have a flame coming out of his head constantly after this, but it doesn't hurt him and gives him the ability to sneeze fire. And as the Photo Album shows, he grows up to become a waiter at a successful restaurant.
  • Easter Egg:
    • As alluded to by one of the books in the library, beating 3 twice in a row leads to possession by Monkey Doll.
    • In 5, typing 1337, 1492, 2012, 9000, and 9001 on the keypad all have programmed responses from Phil.
      • Entering 1337, 2012 or 9001 in the keypad at the beginning of Transfer 2 causes Phil to berate the player for searching for easter eggs in such a time-sensitive moment.
    • Right-clicking the screen anytime in 5 will make the context menu accuse you of trying to cheat.
  • The End: The phrase is written in Mr. Kahm and Ms. Cophey's stories in Riddle School 4's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, when they both end up in "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" situations that the stories avoid describing the predictable outcomes of.
  • End-Game Results Screen: Every game except the first two shows your completion time after the credits.
  • Enter Solution Here: In Riddle Transfer 1, you have to enter the codes on Phil and his friends' keypads to set them free.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: According to Miss Cophey, the main cast had gone missing for a few days since Phil set off the time-stopping mine all the way back in 1, meaning that the plot as a whole took place for about less than a week.
  • Face Desk: Phil does this at the start of 1.
  • Fan Remake: Return To Riddle School is a fan recreation of the original Riddle School with better graphics, a different solution path, and a lot of additional Call Forwards.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The dream chair in RS5 is this in a sense, revisiting the beginnings of the previous three games with different goals: namely, instead of escaping each room you have to kill your friends.
  • Forbidden Zone: In every game, the one area that is always inaccessible is the Women's bathroom as Phil always refuses to go in. However, he makes an exception in Riddle Transfer 2 given the emergency situation. It turns out to be an empty cave, with nothing but a gumball machine and a lightbulb.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the ending in the legacy edition of RS4, it hints that the game was all just a dream.
    • In RT1, the CCTV monitor in Phil's cell that conveniently has his cell's keycode is a TELEVIZION brand, foreshadowing Zone 5.1's true owners.
    • In the beginning of RT2, the portal Phil logs into conveniently has Riddle Elementary set as a destination, which the player will likely write off as Phil simply having entered that in himself. It's later revealed that Zone 5.1 is under the employ of Vizion, who had been observing the school and presumably used said portal to kidnap the kids after Phil set the time-stopping mine off.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phil is choleric, Smiley is sanguine, Zack is melancholic, and Phred is phlegmatic.
  • Freeze Ray: This is Viz's ultimate plan: to freeze the planets by harnessing Zack's coldness. Fortunately, it backfires on him thanks to Phil's intervention. It comes back in Riddle Transfer 2, this time controlled by Diz and fueled by comet ice.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The staff in the schools Phil has gone to are rather incompetent.
    • In RS2, Phil enters the principal's office, takes the key to the front door, and bolts... all directly in front of the principal, who just stands there the whole time.
    • In RS3, the principal is too busy playing video games to notice as Phil swipes the key.
    • In Riddle Transfer, not only do the Zone 5.1 Agents make very little effort to conceal the codes to open the prison cells from the prisoners, but every guard in the facility apparently gets the day off at the same time. By the time Phil had broke all of his friends out and released two of their test subjects, the guards only respond to a tripped alarm and Phil had already snuck his friends down a manhole.
  • Here We Go Again!: Phil and his friends are prepared at the start of Riddle Transfer 2 to repeat the entirety of their lives up to University from Elementary.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quiz, to stop the planet-freezing ray in RT2.
  • High School: The setting of RS3.
  • Indy Escape: After giving Chubb a bowl of pudding in RS3, he inadvertently triggers this by rolling over to eat it.
  • Junior High: The setting of RS2.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In RS5, shortly before the final series of puzzles in the game (and by extension the entire original series), the Big Bad Viz says "Prepare yourself... for the Grand Finale."
    • Similarly, during the introductory cutscene to Riddle Transfer, Phil makes a comment about a "new beginning".
  • Lethally Stupid: Zone 5.1 does an awful job of keeping the cell passcodes secret, with one agent even speaking the code out loud in front of the prisoner as he enters it and another code being written on the inside of the cell door. In all, the hardest one to figure out is only so because the person who wrote it down has bad handwriting.
  • Magic Square Puzzle: Two appear in RS5, with the first one being a semi-traditional one where the goal is to spell out numbers on the bottom with the tiles. The second one has the same goals, but clicking a tile changes the ones diagonally-adjacent instead.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Phred's surname, Whistler, references his role in RS2.
    • Smiley always tries to stay positive about things. Her surname, Sundae, references her cheery nature.
    • Zack's surname, Kelvin, references the extreme temperatures his body generates.
    • The teachers in the various schools have names related to their quirks or the subjects they teach.
    • Nit Wit, when asked about his name, says that his parents chose it because it sounded smart.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The combination to Richy's locker in RS3 is "BLOBBLES". It's actually 53788078. Read it upside-down. Blobbles is the name of the protagonist of some early Flash animations JonBro made.
    • Looking at the clock in RT2 will have Phil debate if it reads 5AM, 5PM, or HAM.
  • Noodle Incident: While Phil will explain what happened that led to the various spills in the schools he has attended, he never gives an explanation about the spill in front of the janitor's closet in RS1. He simply tells the player that they "don't want to know what happened there".
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The first few games revolve around you having to get the key to escape because the door to outside is locked from the inside. This probably violates some sort of fire code. RS2 and RS3 are later revealed to be All Just a Dream, but the first game has no such excuse.
    • It's confirmed in RT2 that a coffee-jacked Ms. Cophey spinning her pointer stick instantly turns her into a laceration hazard, which Phil uses to saw the lid off of a eye drops container made of stone.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The elementary school from the first Riddle School is the setting for RT2.
    • The first classrooms from Riddle Schools 2, 3 and 4 are revisited in RS5 via the dream chair, complete with the older, less polished graphics from those games.
  • Painting the Medium: The aliens have colored speech bubbles that match their skin color; likewise, their names are highlighted with their color in RT2.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The passcode to open Zack's cell in RT1 is 12345.
  • Recursive Canon: The second and third games contain advertisements for themselves, and Phil plans on playing them as soon as he gets out of school. The epilogue of RS4 mentions one of the teachers playing RS3 on the internet and being driven insane by the monkey doll's curse.
  • Running Gag:
    • The quit buttons in the title screens never work. Clicking on them will not quit the game. Finally ended in RT2, where the quit button actually works.
    • Subverted the first two games both have Phil making the same terrible pun after leaving the first room; in the third game (where the method to leave the starting room involves rendering the teacher blind), Phil remarks that his idea "wasn't very sharp at all. In fact, it was kind of blurry."
    • Phil will always refuse to enter the girls' bathroom in the school. He finally enters it in Riddle Transfer 2.
  • Schmuck Bait: A poem book in RS3 warns "Don't beat this game two times straight, or else you'll meet a certain fate." Opt not to heed the warning? You get possessed by Monkey Doll.
  • Self-Deprecation: Several jokes in the series involve the impossibility of Riddle School 4 being released, even within Riddle School 4 itself.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Revealed to be the "weapon" in Quiz's ship during the last segment of RT2, which Quiz activates.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first game was made as nothing more than Pico's School-inspired point and click that could be beaten relatively quickly and had the production values of a typical Newgrounds Flash game. With each game though, the plots got more and more intricate and the animation became progressively better. And of course that's to say nothing of the fifth game onward, which turned it from being a simple "escape school" game to a save-the-Earth-from-aliens plot.
  • Shout-Out: Too many to list, to other popular users, games, and animations on Newgrounds.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Stay in school, or you'll be abducted by aliens!
  • Sucky School: RS1 starts you off in a math class with a teacher who thinks 3+0=2. Another teacher thinks the earth is flat.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Phil and Phred in the fourth and fifth games, respectively.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In RT1=2, replacing Nit Wit's eye drops bottle with the soap bottle won't work, as he points out that it's clearly where his eye drops bottle used to be.
  • Take Your Time: In RS5, Viz's freeze ray is never fully charged unless it is pointing away from Earth.
  • Translator Microbes: Using the "Creature Communicator" allows Phil to communicate to creatures in Zone 5.1.
  • Unwinnable Joke Game: RS4. Attempting to do anything results in Phil's teacher dropping him into a pool of lava. It was originally an April Fool's joke created because JonBro was getting sick of the games' formula.
  • Updated Re-release: There is a legacy edition of all the games that makes the games easier, with some added and changed dialogue and edited and new cutscenes added. It also made the games connect to each other.
  • Visual Pun: Before you enter the principal's office in Riddle School 1 and Riddle Transfer 2, you enter a room called the "box office". It's a giant box.
  • Wham Episode: Riddle School 4, when Phil Eggtree "died". Made originally as an April Fool's joke to convince others there will be no more Riddle School games, but years later made a few more, with RS5 tying in the significance of the other games, including #4.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    • Riddle School 4 has one that can be viewed after the game ends, accounting for each and every character throughout the series and how they eventually met their ends. But since 4 was All Just a Dream, none of it actually happened.
    • Riddle Transfer 2 has a photo album during the credits, which shows Phil and his friends growing up and living happily ever after; unlike the one in RS4, this one is real.
  • Where It All Began: Most of RT2 takes place in the same school building that the first game did.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: One of the posters in RS1 states that even though there are more than 50 lockers in the school, only seven students actually attend the school. There's actually eight students. Including the core quartet, there's also Richy, 5, Chubb, and Greg.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: In RS5, you have to turn down a thermostat to make Phred wear your sweatshirt. If you try to do it before it logically makes sense, Phil will point out that he hasn't deduced yet that's what he has to do.