Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Tadpole Treble

Go To
"Goooooo, little tadpole!
Find your waaaaaay back home!
Swiiim for that sanctum you seeeeeeeek!"

Tadpole Treble is a Rhythm Game by BitFinity for the PC, Mac, mobile devices, and the Wii U released on May 6, 2016. It is notable for being spearheaded by Brawl in the Family writer Matthew Taranto. It features Baton, a young tadpole who has to make her way back home using a musical staff while collecting bubbles and avoiding notes and obstacles. View the first official trailer here.

Tadpole Treble contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Sonata to Baton. To the former's credit, he leaves her alone after he realizes that she's focused on something else.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: ELE-94, the computer inside the Sunken Derelict. It insists it's following programming, though.
  • Alliterative Title: Tadpole Treble.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Got all the bubbles in every level? Now you can play as the 8-bit version of Baton (named Biton) from Chiptune Lagoon in every level, and as normal Baton in Chiptune Lagoon itself.
  • Advertisement:
  • Band Land: The entire setting, Opus Island. Every body of water has a musical theme to it, and the characters are well aware of it. Etude even warns you that the catchiness of the music directly corresponds to the danger of the area.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Conductor's Storm, which is unlocked by obtaining all 13 Challenge Flies. No bubbles or food, just a gigantic kraken, plenty of notes, and hazards from previous levels.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Sonata, the overconfident tadpole from Midnight Bayou.
  • Chainsaw Good: ELE-94 uses a buzzaw in the second phase of its battle.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Baton swims through space, passing by backdrops of all the levels. The credits can be pushed around as she swims by them.
  • Crosshair Aware: The pistol shrimp in Thunder Creek do this to indicate where they will fire.
  • Advertisement:
  • Determinator: Baton won't let anything stop her from getting back home. While this is evident throughout, it's most apparent from Thunder Creek to the end.
  • Desert Skull: The underwater equivalent is present in Thunder Creek (due to it being Western-themed), including a hammerhead shark, nine hydra heads, and a leviathan.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Hitting a crossbones in Thunder Creek causes the game to flash a picture of Matthew and Michael Taranto, followed by the game's logo, and then the F-rank victory theme.
    • The normally very calm pause menu music has a 5% chance of being this instead.
    • If you sit in Etude's Grove long enough, the screen will slowly start zooming in on his face.
  • Enemy Mine: After chasing her throughout the entire game, Coda makes a truce with Baton to carry her to the Sunken Derelict, after realizing the oil spill is just as damaging to him as it is to the other creatures.
  • Eternal Engine: The Sunken Derelict, the final normal level of the game. It's a shipwreck that houses ELE-94, and it holds fans, wires, and a control panel.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The reason Etude has the Bestiary sections in his bubble market? He ate it (he thought the pictures would taste like animals) and is willing to cough up the pages in exchange for bubbles.
  • Feathered Fiend: Coda the pelican is a major enemy to Baton, though he's just following predatory instincts.
  • Follow the Money: The bubbles between the notes.
  • Furry Confusion/Carnivore Confusion: All the animals seem to have some level of basic intelligence, which makes the fact that they're all too willing to devour each other a little bit creepy. Often played for laughs in Etude's conversations. He advises that Baton shouldn't take it personally when someone (even himself) tries to eat her.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: In a game about aquatic creatures, the final boss is the psychotic AI of a crashed airplane.
  • Gratuitous French: Sonata. His lyrics include "Aller manger" and "mon cheri bijou".
  • Grimy Water: The freezing water of Snowfall Lake, the salt water of Saltwater Cape, and the oil of Sunken Derelict. Both cause Baton to take damage every few seconds.
  • Heroic Mime: Baton never speaks, even though other tadpoles (or at least Sonata) can talk just fine.
  • High-Voltage Death: In Thunder Creek, lightning will strike the water, zapping you unless you hit a cymbal, which will launch you out of the water.
  • Indy Escape: Via a current-dragged boulder in Gusty Rapids. Baton can knock it back with her tail.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Late in Trout Tributary, a massive trout blocks out most of the screen, amking it hard to see incoming notes and bubbles.
    • Gusty Rapids' current is so strong that it pulls Baton backwards. This is represented by the level going in reverse, with Baton starting at the right side of the screen and obstacles coming in from the left.
  • Ironic Echo: One of the lines that the final boss may say is a condescending and threatening "Go, little tadpole. Find your way back home." This is in contrast to the triumphant use of this phrase in Thunder Creek.
  • Jungle Japes: Piranha Jungle, where Baton swims through the river of an exotic jungle while being pursued by a pack of piranhas collectively known as Staccato.
  • Kaizo Trap: In the last segment of Piranha Jungle, Baton has to knock fruit from trees to throw the Staccato off her tail. Fail to hit enough fruit, and the Staccato will chomp her just as she passes the finish line for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In the final stage, electric wiring forms the lines of the implied staff bar on the playfield.
    • One of Etude's conversations has him remarking on how Coda "kickstarted" Baton's adventure, saying that he thinks a thousand fans kickstarted it. This is a reference to the game being crowdfunded by Kickstarter.
    • Sonata mentions he'll serenade Baton again if she decides to "come by for a high score". This also references the fact that the same song starts over every time you replay the level.
  • L33t L1ng0: The final boss's name, is a leet version of the word "elegy".
  • Leitmotif: Pieces of the Saltwater Cape theme tend to play when Coda the pelican is present in cutscenes. Logical, since Saltwater Cape is Coda's domain.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Present in Piranha Jungle, and they eat said piranhas. They also have great singing voices.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the end of the game, a familiar, cheery jingle plays as Baton finishes her journey and finally makes it back to her home, only to find the whole place covered in oil.
  • No-Damage Run: Required to get the Challenge Fly of Piranha Jungle (appropriately named the Glass Fly). Thanks to the piranhas, it's a fairly tough task.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Coda the pelican is just a hungry bird who happened to snap up a tadpole who wandered too far from her mother. Etude and The Bestiary pages also state multiple times that the many creatures trying to eat our heroine are just hungry predators trying to survive as well.
  • Plot Tunnel: In a case of Gameplay and Story Integration, the first level, Tadpole Pond, is inaccessible after the first time you beat it; the game is about Baton getting back there, so it makes sense. Even once you do make it back, it can't be played until after beating the Sunken Derelict, since it's covered in oil.
  • Power Cable Attack: In the Sunken Derelict, ELE-94 will try to zap Baton with wires that are in the water with her.
  • Rank Inflation: A letter rank is awarded after each stage, with "S" being the highest as per tradition, with the "level cleared" jingle altering accordingly. In an interesting twist, the game also challenges you to do as poorly as possible (without dying) by rewarding you for successfully obtaining F ranks as well.
  • Really Was Born Yesterday: Sonata, the tadpole who tries to serenade Baton in Midnight Bayou, as pointed out by his bestiary entry.
    • This of course applies to Baton as well, the game straight-up opens on her hatching from her egg.
  • Recurring Riff: Part of the Tadpole Pond theme will play whenever you clear a stage.
  • Retraux: Chiptune Lagoon, in spades. All of the graphics are replaced with pixelated versions, the music is, well, mostly chiptune, and it's Reference Overdosed to NES-era games. This is actually commented on in-game, with several sources noting how the lagoon's water has an odd effect on the animals there.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The water of Thunder Creek is filled with gigantic skeletons. As sung by the snails, they belonged to various animals that didn't make it through Thunder Creek.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: The secret pause menu song eventually descends into this, and the final boss's song has elements as well.
    Hey, Baton, we could just keep rockin' girl
    And we'll rock 'till we die or go INSANE!
  • Score Multiplier: Visible at the top of the screen. It goes up as more notes are passed without running into them, and drops when damage is taken.
  • Sequential Boss: ELE-94 has three phases, each with a different goal and a different song. First Baton has to break the wires in the Sunken Derelict ("Sunken Derelict"), then she has to launch up and strike an egg-shaped device three times ("ELE-94"), and then she must attack the machine directly by smacking its lighter back at it ("Another Refrain").
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silent Snarker: Even with Baton being a Heroic Mime, you can see her get an annoyed look on her face when Sonata confronts her.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snowfall Lake, a region covered in snow, ice, and evergreens. The music is very festive, and Baton can even slide down the snowy hills.
  • Side View: The game's playfield is a side view of the water. Fitting the musical motif, it's arranged like a sheet music staff.
  • Source Music: Opus Island's varying music exists in-universe and is commented on by Etude. In addition, all of the vocal songs are sung by in-game characters: Sonata, the Thunder Creek snails, and ELE-94.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: The "notes" that pepper the waters of Opus Island.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Walt's level theme is a waltz.
    • One of the lines in Midnight Bayou:
      Sonata: "I'll swim by you in this bayou."
    • Sonata's level is lit by moonlight
    • The secret level is a battle between "Baton" and "Conductor".
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Coda is described as this in the Bestiary, specifically comparing him to Wile E. Coyote. (Really, though, Baton was swimming through his territory the second time around, and frogs are stated to be a delicacy to him.)
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: In its third phase, ELE-94 attacks Baton with a lighter... which can be swatted back at it for damage. However, if it isn't active, it has no effect.
  • Tail Slap: Baton's main method of defense.
  • Theme Naming: All individual characters' names are based off music terminology (or equipment, in the case of Baton). The only exceptions are the lone Stag Beetle in Thunder Creek, who's only referred to by his species, and Walt the turtle, though his name is probably a play on Waltz, considering the style of music in his stage, Turtle Pipes.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The Travel Guide states that Piranha Jungle is populated by 13 piranhas and 130 flytraps.
  • Uncommon Time:
    • Midnight Bayou alternates between 3/4 and 5/4.
    • The first section of Sunken Derelict is in 9/8
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After spending the entire game evading or otherwise outwitting foes, who'd have expected that you'd have to actually attack the final boss in order to defeat it?
  • Verbal Tic: Etude has one. Rrup.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In Midnight Bayou, you can smack the mosquitoes that get in the way of Baton when she hits a cymbal (they do deal damage if you touch them, but they otherwise don't attack her). Swatting them all gets you the Pesky Fly.
  • Villain Song: "Another Refrain", the song ELE-94 sings during its third phase. It's very upbeat for a song about wanting to annihilate a tadpole.
  • The Wild West: Thunder Creek's theme; a desert full of skulls, inhabited by a cowboy beetle, his head of snails, and sharpshooter pistol shrimp.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: