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Video Game / Riddle School

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Sweet, sweet freedom... is what he'll have as soon as he gets that door open.

"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 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.



Tropes featured include:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Very early on in RS5, Phil slips through an air vent to escape his cell.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Viz, Diz and Quiz.
  • All Just a Dream: RS5 reveals RS2 through RS4 to have been this.
  • 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.
  • And Then What?: The last part of Mr. Munch's plan to kill Phil is just a note that says "Killed Phil. Now what?"
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Phil invokes this while interrogating Quiz towards the climax of RT2. He challenges Quiz to a quiz, and asks several of these questions in a row, every single one of them one of these, to illustrate just how much he suspects about Quiz's motivation.
  • Artifact Title: Past RS4, the series 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.
  • Bald Woman: Smiley in the five Riddle School games. Eventually subverted when she grows brown hair in Riddle Transfer.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Mr. Soggy in RS3. You have to knock his glasses off with the rubber band hidden in the vent.
  • Big Bad:
    • Viz in Riddle School 5.
    • In Riddle Transfer 1, Zone 5.1 and its leader, Shaw DeLot.
    • Quiz in Riddle Transfer 2, but his position gets taken by Diz near the end of the game.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Appears on a sign in the library in RS3.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Phil's reaction in Riddle Transfer 2 when Smiley says he always had better grades than her, despite her being more passionate about learning.
  • Book-Ends: Transfer 2 takes place in the same school as the first game.
  • Brainy Brunette: Smiley enjoys school and grows a full head of brown hair in RT1. Downplayed, since she admits at the beginning of Transfer 2 that Phil always did better in school than her - something which understandably shocks him.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Not only does Phil talk to himself a lot, but he sometimes speaks directly to the player.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Phil hates school, but is very clever in how he escapes from it in each game.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Diz in Riddle School 2, Riddle School 4 and Riddle Transfer 2.
    • Quiz as well; he very briefly speaks in the intro to 5, then turns out to be the main antagonist of Transfer 2.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: The ending to RT2 has Phil confess his love for Smiley.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Phil is full of dry wit and wisecracks, as seen in the page quote.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Viz decided Earth was evil enough to be destroyed because one kid left school early, though he also spent time researching some of the kids at the school.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Mrs. Mooses's 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.
  • Drone Jam: Chubb serves this purpose in the first three games, sitting right in front of the Principal's Office where you need to go to get the key to escape. In Riddle Transfer 2, the aliens invoke this by deliberately setting him down there so Phil can't get to Quiz.
  • 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, 9000, and 9001 on the keypad all have programmed responses from Phil.
  • 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. The codes are:
    • Phil: 78255. You can see it by clicking on your TV screen.
    • Phred: 51702. Phred's clue is a piece of paper with the word "Snoz". The letters are actually numbers, bunched up together.
    • Zack: 12345. The clue he gives you sounds complicated, but it's actually a set of consecutive numbers. It was written on the side of his door.
    • Smiley: 51333. The agent who locked her up was mumbling it to himself out loud.
  • Evil All Along: Diz.
  • Extreme Omnivore: In the first game, Phil claims that Chubb once swallowed his refrigerator. In the third game, he eats a bowl of pudding—bowl and all.
  • Eye Scream: You have to invoke this on the alien guarding the Quiz's office in RT2 in order to get in.
  • Faceship: Viz's personal spacecraft is made in the likeness of his head.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band
  • 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 room, with nothing but a gumball machine and a lightbulb.
  • 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 Generic Guy: Phred. When giving the characters last names, JonBro just gave him Whistler, since he had no real personality before then and was only known for giving Phil his whistle in the second game.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • Apparently par for the course where Zone 5.1 (Transfer) is concerned. Not only do they make very little effort to conceal the codes to open the prison cells from the prisoners (see Enter Solution Here above), but every guard in the facility apparently gets the day off at the same time.
    • The staff in the schools Phil has gone to aren't much different. 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Quiz in RT2 tries to take over the school when Phil confronts him with a quiz, causing him to break down and give up trying to continue Project Vizion.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quiz, to stop the planet-freezing ray in RT2.
  • High School: The setting of RS3.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Viz is killed by his own ice ray.
  • 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), Viz says "Prepare yourself... for the Grand Finale."
    • Similarly, during the introductory cutscene to Riddle Transfer, Phil makes a comment about a "new beginning".
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Happens twice in RS5, to Zack and Viz.
  • Man on Fire: After Zack's constant cold is cured, he develops a very high fever.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Smiley always tries to stay positive about things.
    • The teachers in the various schools have names related to their quirks or the subjects they teach.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Ms. Cophey loves drinking coffee, to the point where she is in a near-constant state of Caffeine Bullet Time.
  • 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.
    • ''Return To Riddle School'' has a gaping hole in Ms. Cophey's room that Zack thinks a clown is hiding in.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It's not revealed until RS5, but if Phil hadn't escaped school way back in RS1, the entire series' overarching plot would've been nullified.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple: Phil and Smiley at the end of the series. The ending shows them growing up together.
    JonBro: Fans asked me if Phil and Smiley were in a relationship. I always said "No, they could both do so much better". But after Phil's newfound acceptance of school, I figured maybe they're perfect for each other.
  • Painting the Medium: The aliens have colored speech bubbles that match their skin color; likewise, their names are highlighted with their color in RT2.
  • Plucky Girl: Smiley, of course.
  • The Pollyanna: Smiley, to a T. Though the events of Riddle Transfer 2 break it more than usual. Until the end.
  • Pungeon Master: Phil has his fair share of puns throughout the series. One running gag is remarking "Now THAT was A SHARP idea!" whenever he solves a puzzle using something sharp (be it a pencil or a music note), immediately followed by him shaming himself for being so lame.
  • 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.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Quiz in RT2.
  • Running Gag: 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."
  • 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 have been 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: Probably one of the best examples of this trope. 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 something much, much deeper.
  • Shout-Out: Too many to list, to other popular users, games, and animations on Newgrounds.
  • The Sociopath: Diz doesn't want to destroy planets because he thinks he should judge which civilizations are moral or not, like Viz did; he wants to destroy planets just for the sheer catharsis of it.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Stay in school, or you'll be abducted by aliens!
  • Stock Ness Monster: One of the five animal residents of Zone 5.1 (Transfer) is Messie, the Mock Mess Monster.
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Richy in RS3. It's not at all clear how he actually got in there in the first place; maybe he did it to himself by accident.
  • 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.
  • Take Your Time: Vizion's freeze ray is never fully charged unless it is pointing away from Earth.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Smiley has a mouth as her characteristic. As a style choice, JonBro made all the children bald and gave all the adults hair. Since Smiley didn't have the usual TSC of hair, he tried giving her a mouth instead. It didn't work: The special features section in Riddle School 5 lists "Smiley is a guy" as the biggest misconception about the series. Come Riddle Transfer, he just gives her a ponytail and some small eyelashes.
  • Translator Microbes: Using the "Creature Communicator" allows Phil to communicate to creatures in Zone 5.1.
  • Triangle Shades: Viz sports a pair. So does his spectator pod.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Remake: Return To Riddle School is the original Riddle School remade with better graphics, a different solution path, and a lot of additional Call Forwards.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Viz. Technically, he was trying to eradicate evil. He was just a little misguided about where he could find it.
  • 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.
  • When He Smiles: Phil when he returns Smiley's hug at the end of RT2.
  • Where It All Began: Most of RT2 takes place in the same school building that the first game did.
  • You Are Fat: Chubb doesn't mind people making fun of his weight, as long as it's witty.


Example of: