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Video Game / Within a Deep Forest

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Within a Deep Forest is a platforming game by Nifflas, the man behind Knytt and Knytt Stories, with a unique protagonist and an extremely simple concept.

You are a ball. You can, by completing certain objectives which are not given to you, acquire new materials from which to form yourself. The overarching story is that you must stop a mad scientist from detonating a bomb which will exterminate all life on the planet.

Notable for its simple graphics, virtually limitless exploration of the game world, and breathtaking music.

This work contains examples of:

  • Bad Future:
    • The Future. Dr. Cliché has won in this future, and therefore everything is frozen over and bleak.
    • The intro says he did it to prevent a worse future (or so he believes, at least).
  • Cyberspace: Utopica and Utopica Minor have this aesthetic to them.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You can't solve a puzzle/progress as your current material? Commit suicide and pick a new one when you regenerate at the nearest Save Point.
  • Dungeon Bypass: You only need to collect six of the ten ball forms to complete the game - 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 0. This means you can skip three of the game's dungeons (Ljus/Utopica, That Hover Thing, and the Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility) entirely.note 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The final form you acquire allows you to fly with careful timing of your button presses.
  • Escort Mission: In Shinock Reign, you must hit switches to help a spider progress down the tower. You can, of course, die while doing so — even from touching the spider itself!
  • Eternal Engine: That Hover Thing, parts of The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility, and Dr Cliché's Underwater Base.
  • Excuse Plot: You're a ball. You're going to Save the World.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Everything about the game — the environments, the music, and the exploration-based gameplay — seems designed to encourage a serene, Take Your Time experience. Yet you are ostensibly racing against time to find and disarm a bomb. With only SECONDS TO SPARE, according to the ending!
  • Green Hill Zone: Harara Mountains and Pinewood Heights.
  • Ground Pound: Not in the most literal sense, but the metal ball has this effect if bounced enough, as it can destroy cracked wooden bridges.
  • Gusty Glade: Lots of areas have windy corridors that only the metal ball can resist the flow of, but the main one is The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility with its giant fans that constantly threaten to push you into pits.
  • Hub Level: The main area, Pinewood Heights, sort of acts as this to the other levels, including the moon.
  • Invisible Block: They're visible only when you're close to them in the Shadowlands. Meanwhile, the visible ones aren't actually platforms...
  • Level Ate: The Moon is known as the "Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility" and appears to be made mostly of Cartoon Cheese, with mice running around some areas. This could also be a Mythology Gag since one of Nifflas' older songs is named "The Cheese in the Sky", and his first game #modarchive story also showed a moon made of cheese with holes in it during the Nifflas Forest level. (Nifflas sure likes the Cheesy Moon trope.)
  • Metroidvania: An unusual mix with a bouncy ball and no combat, but it fits well considering each new ball material will allow you to progress to new areas.
  • Minecart Madness: The Markstone Ridgemine. It's a sudden change of pace and ambience where you dodge obstacles in a minecart set to an upbeat trumpet track.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Cliché. His name is particularly tongue-in-cheek about this.
  • Nintendo Hard: You will die a lot, especially in glass ball form. Save points being frequent (usually) and the charming atmosphere make it less frustrating though. Usually.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Averted for the most part — as many areas involve gradually bouncing higher and higher, fall damage is generally not a thing. The exception is the Glass Ball, where bouncing too high or too fast will make the fragile ball shatter, requiring careful precision platforming to avoid moving at lethal speeds. This is what makes the sections where you need to use the Glass Ball to go through laser barriers incredibly challenging.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: You. Certain materials are resistant to certain hazards (the Glass ball is immune to lasers, the Metal ball is immune to spikes, etc.), but no matter what form you're in, if you take any amount of damage, it's back to the latest save point for you.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: You're Dr. Cliché's failed prototype, being a sentient bouncing ball instead of a world-freezing bomb.
  • Remixed Level: The frozen-over future is this for Pinewood Heights.
  • Space Zone: The moon, of course.
  • Spikes of Doom: A fairly common hazard. Some of the more advanced balls are unharmed by spikes, but that won't help you in the parts of the game where you can't use those materials (or when you haven't gotten them yet).
  • Scenery Porn: Nifflas is especially good at this, and Within a Deep Forest does not disappoint.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The future. Everything is frozen over, including the water. However, since you bounce everywhere, it isn't particularly slippery.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Pathetic Ball has two very specific uses: the tiger that eats powerful objects refuses to eat it, allowing you to reach the final area; and it is used as part of the combination lock to the time bomb in said final area.
  • Time Travel: You reach the Far Side of Ilune Lake by traveling to The Future to bypass the dragon that guards the lake, then traveling back to your current time.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: More like Too Bland for Yog-Sothoth — a tiger guarding the path to the final area will eat anything that passes by in an attempt to absorb its powers. The Pathetic Ball has no powers, however, so he simply lets it bounce along past him.
  • Tutorial Level: Harara Mountains. It's entered in a completely separate area to the main game.
  • Underground Level: A large chunk of the game, actually. Crystal Path, The Shadowlands, Ljus, Markstone Ridgemine and the optional Crystalline are entirely underground. The Lunar Cheese Extraction Facility is half underground, while several areas of Pinewood Heights (and therefore The Future by extension) and even Harara Mountains are underground, too.
  • Underwater Base: The very last area, Dr. Cliché's Underwater Lab.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: You can choose several materials to use to progress, ranging from your standard rubber superball, the easily-shattered glass, the heavy steel, and snow. There are far more to choose as well, though Spider isn't one of them.
  • Womb Level: It's extremely brief, but the very end of The Shadowlands has you go inside a giant monster to receive a powerup from some weird cat thing living inside the creature.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Cliché's plan is to freeze the world in order to prevent it from being torn by war. Was the future really that bad? (According to Knytt Underground, the answer is yes.)
  • With This Herring: Again, you're a ball. A ball who's going to stop a bomb from going off by bouncing around a lot.