Adrian has just moved into an old mansion with his girlfriend, Rebecca. After another couple hurriedly leave the mansion, a spooky backstory about the house is revealed, and some seemingly unexplainable events occur, Adrian comes to a conclusion...
And he wants to leave...
Compare with Katy133's earlier work, Three Guys That Paint. Also compare and contrast other games that play with the medium: Save the Date, Undertale, Pony Island, Doki Doki Literature Club!, and Dreaming Mary.
Due to the nature of this work, spoilers will abound in the tropes. It's highly recommended that you finish the game before reading on. You Have Been Warned!
[redacted] Life provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Gender: When describing Tirle, Adrian says that their gender is incredibly hard to identify, with their body and voice having features similar to both. Given that they're a game character even within the game's universe, they might not even have one.
- Anti-Frustration Features: While the game only gives you only one save slot, if you reach a game over or a bad ending, the game gives you the option to jump back to before your last choice.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Tirle talks directly to the player after the game's ending.Tirle: That's right. I'm not talking to Adrian...
(Turns to look at the camera.)
Tirle: I'm talking to you.
- Cobweb of Disuse: The mansion's backgrounds include this.
- Creepy Long Fingers: Clara in her creepy form.
- Dating Sim: Parodied in Hana's introduction.
- Deadpan Snarker: Adrian and Hana.
- Dem Bones: If the player agrees to let Tirle reset the game, Tirle disappears in a quick fade. In a blink and you'll miss it moment, you can see Tirle's skeleton. *Shivers.*
- Genre Blindness: Most of the characters, owing to them not realizing that they're fictional characters.
- Genre Savvy: Adrian and Hana.
- Genre Shift: The game constantly shifts from one game genre to another. First, the game goes from a horror game to a Japanese-style dating sim, then it switches to an RPG game, and so on.
- Ghost in the Machine: Conversed by Adrian near the end of the game.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Usually, the ghost Clara is shown with no eyes and a vague face. However, when she appears more threatening, her eyes become black pits with two tiny pinprick lights for eyes.
- Haunted House
- Haunted House Historian: Tirle tells Adrian and Rebecca about the Backstory of the mansion.
- Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Adrian's girlfriend wears a Letterman jacket. It's later revealed that it was originally Adrian's and that he gave it to her.
- Improbable Food Budget: Adrian lampshades how impossible it is for Rebecca and himself to be able to afford living in a mansion.Adrian: Apparently, this is a world where you play an estate agent a lot of money and then hope for the best.
- It's Probably Nothing: Rebecca says this to Adrian.
- Later on in the game, Adrian has the option of saying this to Rebecca as payback.
- Lucky Charms Title: The "square brackets" in the title.
- Malevolent Architecture: Adrian notes a painting frame that has claws, saying that it "looks like the frame is trying to rip open the artwork."
- Meta Fiction
- Mind Screw: The genre-swapping nature of the game overall gives this feeling, but it gets especially mind screw-y when the player has to dig into the game's code to solve a puzzle. Along with the puzzle solution, there's a rambling message written by a (then) unknown character who tells the player not to turn around. The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You indeed.
- Multiple Endings
- Noticing the Fourth Wall: The whole premise of the game is that the main character realizes that he's in a video game and is trying to escape it.
- Ominous Visual Glitch: Rebecca does this early on. Later, a suit of armor also does this. Then near the end of the game, things like image planes from the background are replaced by "image not found" notifications.
- There's a horrifying example where parts of Rebecca's head are not appearing properly, making it look like she has no face.
- There's also moments where characters' dialogue text appears with glitches.
- Painting the Medium: See Ominous Visual Glitch, above.
- Player and Protagonist Integration: Although the player controls Adrian's choices throughout the game, it's later established by Tirle that Adrian and the player are separate entities.
- Poltergeist: Clara has abilities associated with this type of spirit.
- Programming Game: To complete the game, the player has to go into the game's files and change a line of code to save the main character.
- Reset Button Ending: The game's ending.
- Save-Game Limits: The game only has one save slot, with the ominous text below it reading "You only get one."
- Secret Underground Passage: The mansion has this.
- Speech Impediment: Sen is a stutterer, to the point where Adrian points out that Sen's amount of dialogue almost broke the textbox.
- Spooky Séance: Tirle, Adrian and Rebecca perform one.
- Stylistic Suck: The horror game that Adrian is trapped in at the beginning of the game is purposefully clichéd.
- Same with the dating sim game Hana is trapped in.
- Switching P.O.V.: Adrian and Hana.
- Tarot Motifs: Tirle's tarot card reading.
- Title Confusion: It's [redacted] Life. Lower case "r," upper case "L," square brackets.
- Tone Shift: While the game is comedic and pokes fun at different game genres, the game also has moments that go into Nightmare Fuel territory.
- The game also has moments of genuine sadness, such as the scene where Adrian and Hana wonder if they'll ever escape to reality, and realise that all their loved ones are not real since they're just characters in their respective games.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The game constantly changing genres after each (intentional) game crash.
- Visual Novel
- Yandere: A rare male example with Kaemon.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Hana's Backstory is that she was born with pink hair. Her parents saw her hair and realized that she would grow up to be an anime protagonist.