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A platformer developed by Edmund McMillen. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the player controls Ash (voiced by Rich Evans), a one-eyed blob creature who after his favorite video game cartridge finally breaks decides to go out into the world and build himself a friend.

Platforming is reminiscent of Meat Boy, meaning that challenge is to be expected.


This video game contains the following tropes:

  • Adorkable: Ash, so very much. He's a video game nerd who makes awkward Let's Plays and the entire game is about him going out into the world to make a friend. The dorky voice also helps.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The titular character in the Pus-Man cartridge.
  • After the End: By the time you start the game, Ash is one of the last...things, alive in this world. Then something happens overnight once you finally make a friend, leaving the world even worse off for the second half of the game. And if you have enough tumors, you can survive the THIRD apocalypse and enter Nevermore.
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  • Antagonist Title: Pus-Man.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: After assembling your "friend" and somehow triggering the second apocalypse, all the tumours you've collected so far count as extra lives. Luckily, reaching a warp point resets your tumour count to whatever amount you had collected, and you can always revisit the Past levels to get any tumours you missed.
  • Always Close: No matter how much time is remaining when you complete Acceptance in the normal ending, Ash always escapes just in time to Go Out with a Smile before the explosion happens.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Ash's sprite is designed so that his missing eye is always on the right (player's left), no matter which way you're facing.
  • Apocalypse How: The world already suffered what is most likely a Class 5. The ending has the world go through a Class 6.
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  • Atomic F-Bomb: Ash's reaction when his cartidge breaks in the intro.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Really, the game would have been a solid T rating rather than M if it weren't for the massive amounts of F-bombs that are dropped.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Wall Of Sorrow. As expected, you will die if you touch the ghosts.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: The Hollows has bioluminenscent mushrooms and enemies, and Ash also glows for whatever reason.
  • Black Comedy: The cutscene that plays after finally completing your "friend" is definitely played for some dark chuckles.
  • Blackout Basement: The Hollows.
  • Blob Monster: Ash himself. The intro suggests he Was Once a Man. The Nevermore ending confirms it. Many enemies count, as well.
  • Bookends: The cartridge you find at the end of Nevermore? It's the same catridge Ash plays in the intro.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The cartridges and the future levels you unlock by going into the Steven heads with enough tumors. Later on, you can enter the real deal, Nevermore, unlockable by sacrificing yourself to the glowing orb at the end of Ruin/ start of Acceptance with at least 450 tumors.
  • Bullet Hell: The SS Exodus has some elements of this.
  • The Cameo: Isaac, Gish, Guppy and the squid from Aether all appear (or at least creatures resembling them do) in the second half of the game, hidden in secret areas. Isaac even uses the "hurt" sound from Rebirth when talked to.
  • Companion Cube: Ash's friend, after being assembled, is still just a rotting corpse.
  • Continuity Nod: The Steven NPC in Blight acknowledges Ash as another part of himself, and even tells him to "GET IN THE BOX! or whatever..."
  • Cool Airship: SS Exodus, clearly inspired by certain other airships ...
  • Crapsack World: Best described by Ash himself.
    Ash: "It's a dangerous, twisted place, full of death, decay and... death, mostly."
  • Creepy Crows: Croasts are crow-like enemies found in the Wall of Sorrow stage. They wear skulls on their heads like most of the other enemies, make cawing sounds, and swoop down at Ash.
  • Dark World: The Future stages basically serve as this to the Past stages, being more nightmarishly hard and evil in atmosphere than its counterpart.
  • Death Mountain: Wall of Sorrow.
  • Downer Ending: As per tradition for a Edmund McMillen game, Ash dies in the first ending, although with a smile. The second ending is a bit more optimistic, even though Ash is transformed in a small planet and stuck in Nevermore forever, at least now he is no longer alone and Steven is walking on him.
  • Down the Drain: Overflow, Blight, and Ruin.
  • Epic Rocking: The track for the timed Acceptance sequence is exactly six minutes long.
  • Eternal Engine: The stage aptly named "The Machine".
  • Ethereal Choir: It's rather subtle and could probably be mistaken for just instrumentals, but you can hear an angelic choir singing in the background in the Arid Flats theme if you listen closely enough.
  • Eye Scream: Ash is missing one eye. When thinking about the things that may happen to him if he ventures outside in the intro, he mentions losing his other eye as a possibility.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: You actually play the game Ash is streaming. The game breaks as soon as you "die", and the levels are designed to ensure you won't complete them all in a single life. Subverted if you do manage to complete them without dying, which earns you a Non-Standard Game Over in which Ash finishes his stream and doesn't go outside to make himself a friend and an achievement for your troubles.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Pay close attention to the very beginning of the game, where Ash plays the "End is Nigh" cartridge just before it breaks. His livestream name is "ASH_DIES_ALONE", which is exactly what happens in the game's main ending.
    • The optional Future levels are a hint to Nevermore's existence. To drive the point home, next to the blob creatures that take you to said Future levels have signs with a roman numeral from 1 to 4 on them. The glowing orb at the end of Ruin has the roman numeral for 5 on it.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In the first ending, Ash gives the world one final smile as he accepts the fact that he's about to be caught in the blast of the orb.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: You can collect tumors located throughout the world. This comes into play later in the second half of the game, where all of them are converted into extra lives.
  • Guide Dang It!: Accessing the Nevermore stage. Jumping into the orb at the start of Acceptance without having at least 450 tumors just repeatedly kills you until you get a game over - and to make it worse, even if do you have the required amount of tumors, you still have to wait until 450 tumors are depleted. If you don't pick up on the small hint you're given that the entry point is significant, you might assume that what happens when you enter it prematurely is just a glitch, and that the entrance does not actually lead anywhere.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: All over the freakin' place in The Machine.
  • Interface Spoiler: By the time you fully assemble your friend, you'll still have several carts left to collect, and missing achievements if you're playing on Steam.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: It's see-through and doesn't seem to affect anything except Ash.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Golgotha, which has a Fire and Brimstone Hell vibe. Although the lava might be the least of your worries there.
  • Level in Reverse: Some screens require this to collect the tumor. Getting the normal ending also means completing Acceptance, which is essentially Ruin but backward and on a time limit.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens to Ash when he dies. Which will be very often.
  • Meaningful Name: The end is nigh - it has not come and gone, it is still nigh. Two more apocalypse-inducing explosions happen since the beginning of the game, once after assembling your friend and once after clearing Acceptance.
  • Meat Moss: Prevalent in Retrograde. Unlike most examples, it's not there for show. It is also prevalent in Nevermore and The Future.
  • Mind Screw: How does Ash survive jumping into a bomb capable of causing another apocalypse? Why is the intro cart found in an area only revealed by a nuclear explosion? And why is there a miniature Steven walking on top of Ash in the secondary ending?
  • Multiple Endings: Three of them. One for beating the game in the most obvious manner, one for beating a set of levels unlocked by collecting at least 450 tumors, and one for beating the unglitched cartridge that Ash is streaming at the very start of the game.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's a platformer by Edmund McMillen. If you've played Meat Boy, you'll have an idea of what you're getting into.
  • Not so Fast, Bucko!: After assembling Ash's "friend," there's a second apocalypse and a new set of levels.
  • Oh, Crap!: After putting your "friend" together...
    Ash: What the fuck!? How the FUCK does the Earth die twice!?
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: One of the tracks in the game titled "The Future" has this, which makes sense considering that it's a remix of Verdi's Requiem.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Subverted. Regardless if you escape within the time limit in Acceptance, Ash is still caught in the mushroom cloud at the end.
  • Planet Heck: Golgotha, of course.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The whole soundtrack are reworked classical pieces. The theme of The End is Camille Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre", the music in the Wall of Sorrow is Franz Listz's "Hungarian Rhapsody", the music in the secret underground Mega Tumor rooms and Ruin is Edvard Grieg's "In The Hall of the Mountain King", while the music of Golgotha is Modest Mussorgsky's "Night On Bald Mountain", just to mention some examples.
  • Remixed Level: The first ones in The Future.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The End, which ironically is the first area. Its future counterpart Anguish as well.
  • Shifting Sand Land:
    • The Arid Flats and its future counterpart Gloom.
    • To a lesser extent, Retrograde, as the environment seems to be a Palette Swap of Arid Flats.
  • Shout-Out:
    • All the collectible cartridge games are a reference to a classic game. For example, River City Rancid, Catastrovania, Pus-Man...
    • The Kuko Jr. and Kuko enemies are one to Kracko, both in name and design.
    • The Charger enemy.
    • The headblobs you can enter to play hidden Future levels are called Steven. The Nevermore ending also features Steven walking on Ash and ends with his face. (This resembles the setting of the canned game ∅uroboros)
    • The headblob found at the beginning of The End stage says "Must be blood, must be fresh...feed me..."
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Ash has the tendency to say "fuck" a lot.
  • Solid Clouds: Some areas have clouds that you can use as platforms. In Wall of Sorrow, the clouds serve as Temporary Platforms.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The game that takes place in a dismal, post-apocalyptic setting has "Hungarian Dance" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" as soundtracks of all things. Although it is likely the themes were meant to represent the more chaotic side of doomsday.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Super Meat Boy and, if the general aesthetic and the Nevermore ending are anything to go by, Time Fcuk.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game begins with Ash doing what seems to be a Let's Play of one of his favorite games. His narration is awkward and mumbly on top of having Rich Evans' grating voice, and it descends into panic when his game breaks.
  • Underground Level: The Hollows and Golgotha.
  • Up to Eleven: The sound menu can be put on 110%.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Nevermore.
  • Timed Mission: Acceptance and the Dead Racer cart. In both cases, if the time limit runs out, you have to restart the level from the first room.
  • Video-Game Lives: Either 0, 9, or infinity in the cartridge levels. Also, the tumors you get in the past are each 1 life in the future.
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