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Video Game / Vanish

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This is the lightest the game will ever be.

Vanish is an indie horror game developed by 3DrunkMen on the Unity engine and hosted on IndieDB.

You are a Featureless Protagonist, who is set into a darkened sewer to do... something. There is a tunnel that leads out. It's the only way you can go. It's just scary. The tunnels aren't very well lit, the pipes are rattling, and there's this suspicious clicking in the distance...

The fact that the player is told nothing about what is going on or what they are doing is an intentional design choice on the developer's part. The only way to proceed is to pick your favorite tunnel and start walking. The story, what little of it there is, is explored through markings and messages spread throughout the tunnels.

The game is downloadable here. You can also get in touch with the developers via the comments section. To date, only approximately thirty people have beaten it.


  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: What sewer would consist entirely of ridiculously long corridors, with just two thin pipes running across the walls near the ceiling?
    • Possibly justified in that it's not a sewer, but rather an underground generator and water main.
  • Ankle Drag: The game over screen has the protagonist get dragged down a hallway while retaining their POV.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game will never spawn more than one moleman at a time in order to prevent getting stuck in one area or cause an unwinnable situation. They also will not follow you into the smaller tunnels, making them safe spots. Finally, they are blind, so they can walk right past you if you stand still and stay close to the walls.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The notes. We don't actually know whether the writers are dead, but the outlook is grim.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: The intro shows that the protagonist had a bag over their head before they were thrown into the tunnels.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The molemen visibly lack any apparent genitals.
  • Beast in the Maze: The molemen are the beasts, and the sewer is the maze.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: The molemen are implied to use echolocation to track you down.
  • Body Horror: The molemen are hideously deformed and have birdlike faces to boot.
  • Bottomless Pits: One appears in the Water Pump Room. Fall into it and you die. Notably, it's the only way to die aside from being caught by the Molemen.
  • Claustrophobia: The game certainly evokes this, with its narrow corridors and few open air spaces.
  • Darkness Equals Death: This game is very dark, to the point where you can run face first into a moleman if you're not careful.
  • Dead-End Room: Played with. Often when a player stumbles into a dead end that wasn't there before, they can simply turn around and go back the way they came. However, if a moleman is after you, the trope is played horrifically, lethally straight.
  • Driven to Madness: The note authors. The protagonist doesn't do so well either. If the player doesn't find the keys and escape within a certain amount of time, the character will begin hearing whispers and demonic chanting, then faint and wake up in another area.
  • Eldritch Location: The underground water/generator maintenance tunnels. They are filled with monsters, the walls constantly shift, and there are whispers all around. The notes imply it used to be a normal area where maintenance workers regularly worked before the monsters showed up and the tunnels started shifting.
  • Excuse Plot: See Thrown Down a Well below.
  • Fainting: Will happen if too much time passes. You will faint and wake up in another area.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Little is known about the main character, other than he is male and is wanted dead by someone or something.
  • First-Person Ghost: The only part of your character you can see is their hand when they faint or hold up a glowstick.
  • From Bad to Worse: You're dumped into a maze with no idea where you are or how to get out. Then the molemen appear. And the maze starts to change as you play.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The molemen are implied to be the ones making the small tunnels scattered around the sewer, and you can even witness a moleman enter one. You never encounter one in the tunnel with you.
  • Genius Loci: The tunnels are constantly rearranging, implying this is in effect. The description of the game even implies this to be the case, suggesting that the walls in the tunnel are alive and are trying to keep you from escaping. This is also hinted at by the whispers going on around you, even though the only other living things in the tunnels are the monsters.
  • The Ghost:
    • Hank and Phil, the authors of the various notes you find, are never seen. Justified in that they are likely long dead.
    • The person(s) who threw you into the sewers to begin with. They make sure you don't see what they actually look like.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The person(s) who threw the protagonist into the sewers.
  • Harder Than Hard: Turning down the brightness as far as possible ramps up the game's already high difficulty.
  • Hate Sink: You can't hate the monsters since they are just following their instincts, but you can hate whoever trapped you with them.
  • The Heavy: The game does not have a Big Bad, but the Molemen are the only real threat the player faces besides a single pit they can fall into.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • That strange clicking noise. The notes you find in the tunnels suggest that the creatures emitting them are blind, making the clicks echolocation. Meaning that they are how you are being hunted.
    • There's also the sound of the generator going out, leaving you in complete darkness. And let's not even get started on the whispers and background noise.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Played straight if you crank up the brightness, but nightmarishly averted if you turn it down.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The molemen.
  • Indie Game
  • Insane Troll Logic: Actual emphasis on "insane" in one of the notes.
    It hears me. I hear it. It knows me. I know it. It is me. I am it.
  • Interface Screw: Getting chased by a moleman causes the screen to shake, and getting scared at all causes your POV to shrink.
  • Invincible Villain: The monsters cannot be attacked in any way.
  • Jump Scare / Cat Scare:
    • The various pipes and light bulbs strewn around the sewer will randomly burst and short out, respectively, but don't hurt your character.
    • You will sometimes find a monster/Moleman behind a gate. If you approach it, it will ram the gate to try and grab you.
  • Karma Houdini: The person(s) who throw you into the sewers aren't given any comeuppance for it. You are also unable to kill the monsters that try to eat you and are implied to have killed Hank and Phil, though they are predatory beasts simply following their nature, so the latter may be justified.
  • Let's Play: A well-known one by Markiplier. Here's the playlist.
  • Locked Door: You have to find it and the keys to open it to escape.
  • Logical Weakness: The monsters are blind, so if you stand still, they may walk right past you without noticing you.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The game is randomly generated and changes as you play it, and it is a real challenge for many a player.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Since the description implies the walls in the tunnels are alive, that raises the question, when you hear whispers as the protagonist becomes frantic, are the walls or the souls of the previous victims "talking" to him, or is it just in his mind?
  • The Maze: The premise of the game. The sewer is a maze. Find the end.
  • Minimalist Cast: Just you and the monsters.
  • Mind Screw: The maze changes while you're inside it frequently. You can hear whispering and chanting if you stay alive long enough in-game, live longer and your character will faint and wake up in another area. None of this is even remotely explained in-game.
  • Mobile Maze: The passages of the maze change. Dead ends can appear behind you if you take a wrong turn... especially if you're being chased by a moleman.
  • Nameless Narrative: The protagonist is unnamed, as are the person(s) who threw him into the tunnels. The monsters don't have an official name either. Averted with Hank and Phil, though they are The Ghost and most likely deceased.
  • Neck Snap: What happens when a moleman catches you.
  • Never Found the Body: While Hank and Phil were most likely eaten by the Molemen, there are no bones or bloodsplatters to be found in the tunnels.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Alpha version of the game was notoriously difficult. The full game is somewhat more forgiving with the difficulty.
  • No Name Given: Played Straight with the protagonist and the person(s) who forced him into the sewers. Averted with Phil and Hank, the maintenance workers who leave notes behind for you to find.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: You will experience this if you fall into a deep hole in the pump room.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The plot is very minimalist if you couldn't tell. The Alpha version was true to the trope and had no backstory or explanation of the plot.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: You won't always see a moleman, but you'll definitely hear them.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The molemen tend to disappear when out of sight.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: If the molemen catch up to you... oh snap.
  • Random Event: Rarely, you can see a moleman from behind metal bars. When this happens, he'll stand up, reach through the bars to try and grab you, then run off.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: There's only one "level", but it is randomly generated each time you play and even while you're playing it.
  • Red Herring:
    • Any and all directions you see written on notes or on the walls are this. Following their directions is inconsequential to beating the game.
    • You can see Molemen entering holes, and one of the notes state that it may be dangerous to go in there. In truth, you never actually encounter the monsters in the holes. The ones you see entering holes will vanish when you try to follow them. By proxy, those same Molemen are this as well, as they are incapable of hurting you since they will go through the holes before you reach them.
  • Sanity Slippage: The note writers start to suffer from this, and it shows in their writing. The Player Character doesn't fare much better.
  • Scrapbook Story: The notes on the walls tell the story of what happened to the last two people that went into the sewers.
  • Scripted Event: After you get the glowsticks for the first time, the generator breaks down, sending you into total darkness.
  • Shout-Out: The premise of getting forced down into a mysterious underground maze-like structure can remind some of the game SCP-087-B.
    • The creators name drop Slender on their FAQ, stating that one doesn't have to collect all the notes to complete the game.
  • Silence Is Golden: There is no dialogue at all in the game.
  • Silent Protagonist: The character makes a few frightened gasps every now and then, but that's it.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The molemen, especially in the alpha version of the game, are hard to shake off your trail even if you're running away from them, as demonstrated in this video of Markiplier's Let's Play (skip to 7:50).
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Or rather, Ten Second Glow Sticks.
  • Thrown Down a Well: More like a sewer. The release candidate has an introduction where you are brought to the entrance to the sewer with a bag on your head. The bag is removed to show a heavy iron door. The door is opened and you are unceremoniously thrown in.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Except it's random, meaning that you essentially have to get lucky each time you play.
  • The Unreveal / Left Hanging: Who are the person(s) that threw the main character into the sewers? Why did they force him into the sewers to begin with? Who is the main character? Where did the molemen come from? Why does the maze change as you travel through it? None of these questions are answered in the game.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The reason Hank and Phil got trapped in the sewers, to begin with, is that the former dropped his keys to the access gate.