Spiral Knights

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A casual MMO by Three Rings, the makers of Puzzle Pirates.

The members of an unidentifiable race have crash-landed on the hostile planet Cradle. This ain't your standard planet, either. Just below the surface is a huge Steampunk dungeon full of monsters, traps, whirling gears and energy fields. As a Spiral Knight equipped with swords, guns, or bombs, you must join up with other players to fight down to the glowing core of the planet: an energy source powerful enough to restart their space ship.

Gameplay is very much in the style of The Legend of Zelda, complete with cutting down bushes to find items. The game has no Experience Points, your power level (and thus what areas the game will allow you into) is determined purely by the equipment you have. There is a heavy emphasis on Item Crafting, with the best items being synthesized from materials found in the dungeons.

One of the most unique aspects of the game is that, to an extent, the players themselves construct dungeons. The "Arcade" lobby consists of several dungeons on the left, from which players can collect colored minerals, and several receptacles for those crystals on the right. Every two days or so, one of those receptacles will become a new dungeon, and the levels available in it are determined by how many crystals, and of which color(s), have been poured into it whilst it was still a receptacle.

The game is free to play for a limited amount of time each day, but energy can be purchased for real money (or from other players for in-game currency) for extended play and to unlock some premium features such as carrying additional weapons. It is implemented in Java and can run in a browser window or full screen, and runs very well for a full 3D game even on low-end computers.

Available here. On June 14, 2011, it became available on Steam as one of its first free-to-play games.

Not to be confused with the other kind of Spiral Knight from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Tropes used in Spiral Knights include:
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Alchemer lines, all of them. The charged shots of the upgraded versions of the Antigua fire light/dark birds at the end.
  • Alliteration: A whole bunch of the level and stage names and item descriptions have this.
  • Adorable Evil Minion: Devilites and Gremlins.
  • After Boss Recovery: Danger Rooms, each room of an Arena floor, and the actual bosses have this. Along with a chance to recover right before bosses.
  • Alchemy: Not true alchemy per se, but its the feature that allows you to take recipes, materials, and crafting costs, and create new and upgrade equipment.
  • Allegedly Free Game: you can't get far without Crystal Energy, which must be bought by real money. But Crystal Energy can be sold in-game for crowns, so that most of the content is available to non-paying players. So, if you're clever, you can use somebody else's money to make progress.
  • Exclusively Evil: Subverted earlier in the game's history. Gremlins seemed to be this at first glance since they have a society but send armies of their troops after you at every turn and you're expected to fight them without mercy. Then you reach Emberlight, the town of Gremlin outcasts, which is populated by all the Gremlins who refused to follow their overly aggressive leader.
    • New Gremlin characters have even started moving up to the town of Haven such as the engineers Punch and Vise, and Nonna who runs a monster adoption agency turning this into more of an averted trope.
    • Their Chaotic habit seems a bit harder to break as shown by this announcement.

Punch and Vise wanted me to state for the record that they did not 'blow up' Vatel's recipe shop, but rather that it 'exploded while they were inside it.'

  • Anti-Poopsocking: The Energy system prevents free players from going on infinitely. You have a "Mist Tank" of 100 Energy which refills every 22 hours. Again, Crystal Energy can supplement this. See Bribing Your Way to Victory for more details.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The artifacts gained from defeating the bosses.
  • Armor Is Useless: In tier 3 and Lockdown, you take so much damage that the best course of action is to use armor that gives other bonuses or protects against annoying statuses and just try not to get hit.
  • Artifact of Doom: Implied with some of the weapon's descriptions.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Royal Jelly and Lord Vanaduke.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • Faust and Gran Faust tend to be this. Though the charge move can inflict Curse, one of the most useful status effects, it quite often inflicts the status on the player, making them essentially unable to attack for 30 or more seconds. Worse in Tier 3 dungeons, where even using the status-effect removal item may end up taking off a huge chunk of health if it ends up being cursed (which it will be most of the time). You can actually curse the enemies without using the charge attack. Faust's normal attack curses enemies, but not you. Only charge is the issue here.
    • A lot of the armors without normal defense, elemental defense, shock, or fire resistances are said to be this. Shock and Fire are simply some of the hardest statuses to deal with, Normal damage is literally everywhere, and Elemental damage is all too prevalent in elemental themed strata. This is getting better now that enemies are doing the proper damage and pierce/shadow turrets have been implemented.
      • A more specific soloing example of this is the Vitasuit Deluxe, a 4-star armor. It has the second highest health bonus of any fully leveled armor (highest is the Ancient Plate Mail but it decreases your overall speed) but it only has normal defense so that health bonus is negated since most enemies in lower strata do more non-normal damage then normal, however it becomes Awesome but Practical when used for medicing purposes by someone not on the front lines when in a group.
    • The Wild Hunting Blade embodies this. Each slash produces a phantasmal golden wolver head that bites the area in front of the knight using it. However, it's extremely rare to see any player use this weapon with any degree of seriousness, as the Vile/Dread Venom Striker series (a branching alchemy path) does the same amount of damage to 5/6 enemy types and carries a poison effect, and the extreme close-range style of the blade, lack of flinching, and useless charge attack render both inferior to many other swords of the same level. Most players just get it because it looks cool.
    • The Volcanic Pepperbox. Identical to the Autogun, but with a chance to cause fire? Sounds great, looks cool, but terribly low damage even with the fire it causes.
  • Badass Adorable: Pretty much every single living thing you can find in the Clockworks, including the Spiral Knights themselves.
  • Beating a Dead Player: Enemies don't intentionally do this, but all of the big-hitting mobs can launch corpses across the room if they hit them, and Greaver status clouds can cause effects on dead players.
  • BFS: The Troika line. So big that the first two swords, both of them filled with cracks, are said to rely less on cutting and more on crushing your enemies (and seeing them driven before you, according to the Kamarin). The third sword, though repaired, still mentions blunt force in its description.
    • Most if not all of the 5-star swords are absolutely huge.
    • The Hatchet and its upgraded variety, the Heavy Hatchet could also count, despite the fact that they're extremely low-level.
  • Big Badass Wolf: Snarbolax, the (currently only) tier one boss. Alpha Wolvers (and Wolvers in general) also count.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The main hub for Tier 2 is a haunted hotel with a ghost concierge. That and the Candlestick Keep levels.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Scarlet Fortress and the Royal Jelly Castle.
  • Biting the Hand Humor: An optimization update was credited with Sega sharing the mysteries of Blast Processing with the development team.
  • Boring but Practical: The Calibur, Valiance, and Blast Bomb. They do normal damage with no extra effects (outside of Valiance's knockback ability at 5-Star). However, they do good damage without having to worry about resists or triggering any Demonic Spider abilities from the elemental slimes, have semi-unique abilities (Calibur's charge attack, Valiance's knockback, Blast Bomb's DPS), and you don't even need to bother with buying recipes because Missions will give you the recipes for free.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Double Subverted; Guns do require reloads (Some guns can only fire one or two shots before needing one). However, if you use a gun with a six bullet clip, fire five shots, and wait a split second, you can fire another six shots without your character reloading.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The Snarbolax's boss room contains one of those bells you've seen throughout the dungeon. Obviously, hitting him with the bell's stun effect is the only way to knock his invincibility effect out. Bonus points for the fact that Snarby does a couple of hit-and-runs during the previous levels, including one in an Inescapable Ambush room with no bell. Also a Tactical Suicide Boss, because he's only vulnerable to bell-stun whilst using his bite combo (unless you use a vortex to drag him to the bell), and the fight would be much harder if he just spammed ground thorns and spikes from the corners.
    • Justified- it turns out the recon teams that first explored the place set up the bells to help you.
  • Boss Dissonance: Mario type for the Roarmulus Twins and the Ironclaw Munitions Factory leading to them. The Royal Jelly and its palace were a Kirby type, but then they nerfed him.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Giant Lichen Colonies. For a while, they were the only users of piercing damage and thus no-one was properly defended against them. In addition to a bigger version of the spine-shooting spin the normal Lichen Colony uses, they can summon large thorns from the ground in a large area around them. To make it worse, they love using a Flash Step to ground thorn combo. Their appearance is usually preventable, but some rooms seem engineered to force one (Lichen Colony+4 normal lichens behind two rows of stone blocks, anyone?), or, in tier 3, start with them.
  • Breather Level: Treasure Vaults. No enemies except for a smattering of Chromalisks, pleasant scenery, treasure boxes and crowns everywhere. As a bonus, getting a Treasure Vault level usually means not getting an Arena or worse, a Graveyard.
    • It's worth noting that, while Treasure Vaults are certainly the least dangerous of those three level types, they're also typically the least profitable. Catchy music, though...
  • Breath Weapon: Zombies have literal versions. Gun Puppies and Kats also fire bullets from their mouths, although the Gun Puppy at least has the excuse of being a construct.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Energy is the secondary currency of the game, used for everything from moving down dungeon levels to resurrecting your character to crafting items. You're limited to a (quickly exhausted) daily allotment of 100 of the free Mist Energy, but you can purchase unlimited quantities of Crystal Energy.
    • Mist Energy regenerates 100 points over 22 hours to a maximum of 100; 4.545 energy every hour (slightly under 1 energy per 13 minutes). Crystal Energy prices, in contrast, have approached 6,000 crowns per tank-of-100-CE.
    • Finally: some actions (alchemy; "Silver Keys" for Lockboxes) require huge investments of Energy. A single piece of Tier-5 equipment requires 800 Energy at a go, which is upwards of 40,000 crowns, in addition to 25K for the recipe, a 5K crafting fee, and maybe more if you bought reagents at the auction house... and you'll want all five pieces of Tier-5 gear eventually. Making that many crowns is certainly possible, but shelling out cash is way more practical.
    • The Elevator Pass (making all levels cost no energy to go to) is only available as a purchase for real money, and its mere announcement caused CE prices to rise due to speculation.
    • Expansion Missions (the first one containing exclusive, untradable equipment) can only be purchased with real money, although with Steam it's possible to trade for it.
  • Bullet Hell: Branching spawn triggers in Arenas mean that you can sometimes have up to sixteen Gun Puppies at the same time. In T3 they fire 5 bullets every time they attack.
    • In two of Lord Vanaduke's phases, the camera pivots to be directly overhead and the game turns into this.
  • Cap: These are put in place in the earlier stratas for your gear (i.e. a 5* sword will do only slightly more damage over a 1* sword in the first strata, but keep gaining power in strata 2 and beyond). They Hand Wave it by saying that the Core powers everything including your gear, so the closer to the Core you get the more your gear powers up.
  • Camera Screw: See Fake Difficulty. This is especially evident during the fight with Lord Vanaduke- both his strongest minions and many of his attacks have high damage but long start up times before they attack, and if you can't see them then the attack will probably hit you without you having any time to do anything about it.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Pit Bosses just walk around the brawls while saying stuff like "Looks like someone's getting a promotion." and "We can use a guy like you in management." to power-up their allies.
  • Character Level: Characters don't level up, but their equipment does, and the level of your gear is the standard by which Broken Bridges are repaired.
  • Charged Attack: Every single weapon has one of these and can be charged up by holding down the attack button. Though, each weapon has differing charge times and can have different effects.
    • Bombs can only be placed down after charging them. If you fail to charge them all the way, you'll simply put the bomb back down without placing it.
    • All enemies have specific animations they go through whilst preparing to attack, accompanied by a distinctive three-pronged aura underneath them indicating where they will attack to. As the tiers get higher, the amount of time they play these charging animations gets shorter...
  • Chiptune: Some tracks mix chiptune and conventional instruments.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: Players start with two weapon slots [1], and can use whatever weapons they wish to in both slots. The starting loadout is The Musketeer, with a bomb available from the first mission.
  • Circling Stars: This combined with a gong means that someone just got Stunned.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Lord Vanaduke's attacks usually cause flaming rubble to fall from the ceiling.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: You can select this at character creation. While this has an effect on the colors of your armor, the main difference is the player's dot on the minimap.
  • Combos: Very useful as with swords, if all hits connect, then the last hit will knock down or flinch the enemy.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The more knights there are in a squad, the more damage enemies can deal and take, so it can sometimes be easier to solo an area than bring three other players to help. Sometimes.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Continuing (by yourself, or when everyone is defeated) costs energy. It costs [X] (which is determined by what Tier of dungeon you're in) and doubles every time you die. Needless to say, you're not supposed to waste energy.
    • The game makes a very poor attempt at redeeming this by giving you an "energy blast" whenever you revive with energy that stuns and damages nearby enemies, but in order to do anything substantial (it powers up the more times you revive in one tier), you'd need to spend OVER 500 CE AT ONCE. Note that most (sane) players would give up when the revive cost hits 40 or so.
  • The Corruption: The Swarm.
  • Cute Machines: Love Puppies. Especially when you read the description for the True Love Locket they drop.
  • Cycle of Hurting: One of the biggest threats in Tier 3, due to perfect status infliction rates. Get hit by enemy with the Shock attribute, get paralyzed by Shock, get hit by another enemy with Shock, get paralyzed by Shock being reapplied, repeat until dead. Or: Step on freeze floor, watch health drain off as the trap reapplies Freeze to keep you there.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: The Royal Jelly, not really because of a massive health pool, but because it regenerates its HP by absorbing its minions.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Sword: The Faust and Gran Faust swords have some of the highest stats of any weapon in the game, but conversely have a chance to Curse the user when using the charge attack, which damages them if they use certain weapons. Similarly the Fang of Vog has a chance of setting the player on Fire.
  • Darkness Equals Death: If you wander into the dark areas of Candlestick Keep, a Grimalkin will form and start hunting you until you reach a lit area.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Cutter line of swords does lots of little hits. One of the more popular sword lines, since it's very good at "juggling" groups of foes.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: In groups, downed players can be revived by other players by receiving half of their remaining health. Unless the group as a whole is lacking in healing supplies and hearts, death tends to be more inconvenient than punishing. Death can actually be beneficial to others, by transferring Heat from a player that doesn't need it to a player that does.
  • Die Bush Die: Bushes (and similar decoration objects) may drop money or hearts. Obstacle boxes drop nothing, but they may be hiding buttons for unlocking doors.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Blitz Needle, Callahan, Radiant Sun Shards, Sudaruska, Dread Venom Striker, and to a lesser extent piercing-type swords. All of them are difficult to aim/control, or leave you open for a fair bit (or both), but have very worthwhile effects and damage if you can control them effectively.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Certain enemies start jumping around all over the place the moment a projectile gets anywhere near them, and most projectiles are slow enough to miss. It's also almost always possible for the player to do this consistently, assuming they haven't stumbled into Bullet Hell.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Your character walks a lot slower when firing/charging most guns, and comes to a complete halt to unleash a charge attack and to fire certain guns (i.e. the Autogun line)
  • Downloadable Content: March 2012 introduced Expansion Missions, which are gauntlets the player can purchase in the real world for a small fee to obtain exotic gear. The first of them is "Operation: Crimson Hammer", which pits players against the gremlin commander Warmaster Seerus.
  • Drop the Hammer: Gremlins tend to try to smash you with hammers made out of their wrenches. Warmaster Seerus wields a rocket hammer that can be obtained by the player.
  • Dual Boss: The Roarmulus Twins (both their normal and Shadow Lair variants) and the Rabid Snarbolaxes. Only in the latter case do they have separate health.
  • Dummied Out: Played straight with Sleep: It's not a possible Stratum theme, no weapons can cause it, and the only monsters that could inflict it have been since removed from the game. Players can still use it through Sleep vials, however.
    • Hilariously enough, you can still buy Sleep resist trinkets with rare Tokens, even though it's completely impossible to get affected by it.
  • Dungeon Shop: Perhaps the most important feature of the midpoint levels is the recipe merchant.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Possibly the Snarbolax.
    • The Swarm. So far the only members of the swarm that have been seen are all located in the shadow lair and are unkillable, and send wave after wave of corrupted monsters after you that drop nothing and continuously respawn. The echo logs at the end of each boss in the shadow lair describe it as "endless hunger", "a darkness", and "neither beast nor god, it is a creation unlike all."
  • Eldritch Location: The Shadow Lairs and the floor that comes after the boss.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: There are 3 damage types; Shadow, Piercing, and Elemental (plus normal which is average against everything). Each of the 6 enemy types is resistant to one, neutral to one, and weak to one, and deal different types to the players depending on their family type. Fire deals normal and Shock deals elemental.
  • Empty Room Psych: The maps have plenty of dead ends, some at the end of long detours from the main route. However, all will, at the very least, have enemies, treasure boxes, or minerals.
  • Energy Economy
  • Eternal Engine: The entire planet can be considered one.
  • Everything Fades: Robots explode, beasts and fiends vanish in a puff of smoke, and zombies disintegrate. Item drops stay until picked up, but uncollected hearts blink out of existence after a time. The only enemies that don't disappear are Gremlins and Zombies, if there is something around that might revive them (Grim Totems or Gremlin Healers in Tier 3).
  • Evolving Weapon: Not just with weapons, almost all pieces of equipment (except Vitapods and Trinkets) evolve by gaining heat, which is gained primarily through killing the Clockworks enemies. All pieces of equipment start from level 1, and can reach a max of level 10. With each level, stats for each piece of equipment grow, and when some milestones (of levels) are attained, some bonus effects are added (e.g., decreased Charge Attack time, faster attack speed, higher elemental defence).
    • Most higher tier items need their lower tier equivalent as part of the crafting recipe, and at a certain level for 4 and 5 star items to boot.
  • Exploding Cubes
  • Expy: The PvP mode Blast Network is Bomberman in all but name.
  • The Faceless: The knights' faces are always either hidden in shadow or obscured by their helmet if it covers their face (i.e., the Wolver line helmets). At first glance they look like robots but the description of several items and the existence of the Mecha Knights confirms that they're organic.
  • Fake Difficulty: The heavy delays and lag spikes that accompany almost every Clockwork run make the game even harder than it would normally be, causing a lot of unforseen damage. This is especially apparant with T3 Devilites: They attack very fast but can easily be interrupted by damage, which basically is the key in fighting them, next to shielding of course. One will need clairvoyance to actually do that with the delay though. Their sheer number and jumping around will also often screw up the auto-targetting, causing knights to flail after a different enemy than the one they want.
    • The camera is fixed at such a perspective that much more space above the Knight is visible than below. This makes it extremely difficult fighting ranged enemies from above, since the projectiles will be much closer to you by the time you can see them, and you have to close to dangerous distances to even target them. Additionally, enemies with heavy hitting long-reach attacks (such as Lumbers and Grimalkins) can wind up on you without seeing them if you're at just the wrong distance. Maps tend not to lead you top-down too often, but it does happen, and it also affects arena strategy.
    • It can be difficult to judge a horizontally-traveling projectile's exact location, since Knights and monsters are more than 1 tile high. This is particularly true when they're flying over non-uniform terrain or empty space. And worst when the projectile is fired from a different elevation, in which case a projectile that looks 3 tiles above a space could actually just be drawn very high, and hit the Knight there.
    • The Roarmulus Twin levels are especially infamous for how laggy and stuttery they are. Considering the lag is caused by high-explosive rockets flying in all directions that you have to dodge, often while fighting things, the end results are often unpleasant for many people.
    • Retrodes were a big cause for this before the Jan 4, 2012 patch being infamous for taking decent sized chunks off of anyone near them almost immediately after they spawned, though the nerf they and other enemies got in that patch might have been overkill depending on who you ask.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: Devilite Overtimers have them.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The signature attack of Retrodes, which does a lot of damage and inflicts status if the Retrode is elemental. Also possessed by the Roarmulus Twins after they reach their third phase.
  • Friendly Fireproof:
    • Averted for some enemies: Lumbers, Trojans, Rocket Puppies, and shocked Quicksilvers will all happily kill other mobs if you line it up just right. The Ice Cube and Blast Cube monsters effectively turn into bombs upon death. Played straight for the players (however, they can still hurt each other by shooting an explosive cube next to someone, or by pushing mobs into allies).
    • Partially averted for summoned Mecha Knights. While their normal attacks can't hurt players, they occasionally suffer from Shock and can spread it to nearby players.
  • Girlish Pigtails: The Spiral Tailed Helm, Emberbreak Helm, Firebreak Helm, and Blazebreak Helm have these attached to it.
  • Glass Cannon: The Mad Bomber set causes this. You become weaker to the four main status effects, but each piece gives two levels (out of six) of charge time reduction and damage bonus for bombs. The Chaos set used to be this before being nerfed.
    • The Wolver set and Bristling Buckler is a mild example, having lower defense than other sets in exchange for increased sword damage.
    • The Swiftstrike Buckler is a shield that gives you 3 levels of attack speed increase, but since it's a 3 star equip and there are no higher versions of it, you trade in a lot of defense potential.
    • The Striker in Lockdown is this combined with a Fragile Speedster: Boosted sword damage and speed, a dash ability, base health in T3 (compared to Recon +10 and Guardian +12).
  • Global Currency Exception: Brinks takes the tokens you get from treasure boxes and bosses. His shop also holds many unique equips and trinkets.
    • The same goes for things bought with Krogmo coins. This is at least justified by the Minigame Zone nature of where you get them, and the rich king who runs it.
  • Green Hill Zone: Aurora Isles, Jigsaw Valley, and Treasure Vault levels. May or may not have the simplicity that a Green Hill Zone implies.
  • Gun Twirling: How you reload most of the guns.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted. They don't dispatch enemies nearly as fast as swords do, but range advantage is often worth it (especially when fighting Vanaduke). They are also a good means of hitting switches or explosive cubes at a safe distance, and may be used to lure enemies into areas more suitable for players to fight in.
    • Played straight however with the gear meant for gunslingers with lower defenses and weaker secondary benefits then their bomber and swordsman counterparts.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Playing on higher tiers gives you more crowns so you can purchase more recipes and Crystal Energy and more heat so you can upgrade your weapons faster. The second half of any tier is much more profitable than the first half, too.
  • Heart Container: Zig-Zagged.
    • Most armors/helmets also give you health bonuses, as well as certain trinkets. However, as with other gear, these bonuses only become active past a certain depth of dungeon.
    • There are also "Vitapods," which increase the owner's health bar by the number specified on the pod. However, they're immediately dropped once you leave the Clockworks--meaning you need a new one for every single dungeon crawl. (This is not as irritating as it sounds, as they drop fairly frequently and, if you start from Moorcroft Manor or Emberlight, can be purchased from in-town vendors.)
  • Helpful Mook: The rare version of the Gun Puppy family, the Love Puppy, heals you. And then you kill them for the health trinkets they can drop.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Bombs. The Shock status effect also hits anything around the afflicted when it procs. And yes, there is a bomb capable of inflicting shock.
  • Hub Level: Haven (the Arcade, specifically) contains all the gates that lead to the various dungeons of the Clockworks. There are also various checkpoints along the way to let players heal up and prepare for the next stratum.
  • Invisibility: The main power of Recons in Lockdown.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The player can equip shovels and wrenches to attack enemies with.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A few of the level names fall into this, like Everybody's Fired and Hiring Freeze[2].
    • It only got worse after the introduction of missions. The most notable being a mission where you have to stop a gremlin logging operation. The name? Axes of Evil.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Most apparent in the Deconstruction Zone and the second part of the Royal Jelly's palace, as well as Silver Keys for players' lockboxes.
  • Jack of All Stats: The items you get from Missions (which seem to be standard-issue from their flavor text) are this. The defense items all provide health bonuses and defend against piercing damage, but none of the items have any elemental or status modifiers (good or bad), meaning equipping only them gives you high health and defense against a common damage type, but vanilla attack damage and no defense against status effects or elements.
    • Master of None: Most of this gear is either mediocre or greatly outclassed by tier 3. For example, the Barbarous Thorn Shield not ONLY gives piercing/normal defense like Aegis (albeit marginally less), but also gives Sword Damage Bonus on top of that.
    • The weapons are a subversion; they lack elemental or status damage, but when fully upgraded their specialty is knockback, and they do it very well.
  • Kaizo Trap: Has since been fixed, but Ironclaw Munitions Factory had a nasty one for a couple of hours after being added: The lasers that covered the hallway to the boss elevator were invisible, and since you have to lower the fences blocking the lasers to get to the elevator... For a lesser version, the Royal Jelly's minions don't die until after his somewhat long death animation finishes playing so they can kill you before No Ontological Inertia kicks in.
  • Kill It with Fire: A line of gremlin monsters does this. And dear god, they used to do it far too well. This troper distinctly remembers a large group being able to fill entire rooms with inescapable firey death. Their Nerf was well deserved.
  • Lag Cancel: Shield Canceling: Using your shield before the end of a standard combo or right after a charge attack cancels the rest of the animation. Like all other shield techniques, very important to survival.
  • Lethal Lava Land: One of the various areas in the Clockworks.
    • Firestorm Citadel is arguably the most difficult of Lethal Lava Land levels if not the most difficult levels in the game as it is.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Game. Skillful use of your shield is vital to surviving: it not only allows you to absorb a certain amount of damage without harm, but the shield-bubble applies a knockback to all nearby foes, allowing you to push them towards something (a Wolver bell) or just away from you. Trojans, Mecha Knights, and Darkfang Thwackers also carry shields to block attacks with.
    • Regenerating Health: The shield-bubble can only take so much pounding before it caves in. It will come back after 8 seconds, and regenerates up to its full defense value any time it isn't being actively wielded.
  • Magikarp Power: The items you can trade for Jelly Gems for are this. The Sealed Sword, a heavy sword with a rather unreliable charged attack, can be eventually upgraded into the Divine Avenger [3] or the Gran Faust [4]. The Antigua can become an Argent Peacemaker [5] or a Sentenza [6]
  • Meaningful Name: The Faust and Gran Faust both refer to, well, Faust- they deal shadow damage and have a chance to curse you for a long time if you use their charge attack, referencing the archetypal Deal with the Devil.
  • Mighty Glacier: Guardians in Lockdown: The Guardian Shield ability not only makes them about twice as hard to kill as anyone else, they can shield allies and even heal on the field. They possess the highest health of the three classes, and slight boosts to Sword and Bomb use. They are also the slowest movers on the field.
  • Multi Mook Melee: Arena levels, any of the Danger Rooms. The amount of enemies spawned can be daunting... and at least one wave will contain foes that are difficult to stagger.
    • Royal Jelly Palace is mostly about dealing with large amounts of jello cubes trying to kill you.
  • Mundane Utility: The descriptions for some items state they can be used for non-combat purposes, such as the Volcanic Salamander Mask being used as a coffee pot, the Volcanic Salamander Suit being used as a stove, the Heater Shield being used as a stove top, and the Chroma Tear being used as a contact lense.
    • Some descriptions invert this such as the Punch Gun intended to be used in emergencies to blast open damaged drop pods and the Venom Veiler being used for destroying insects on crops (and can also apparently destroy the crops themselves).
  • Nerf: The Chaos set (damage bonus but stat weaknesses) and the Royal Jelly boss, among other things.
  • Never Found the Body: The ultimate fate of the Alpha Team, supposedly one of the best knights the Spiral Knights had to offer. It's said that they found a way into the core and never came out. It's also said that their souls inhabit the bodies of Trojan Knights.
  • Ninja Looting: At least partially averted. The game is designed to emphasize the Co-Op Multiplayer experience.
  • Nintendo Hard: Some of the lower depths can become this - especially the Tier 3 ones. Also, all danger rooms apply, due to the abundance of spikes and few safe walking locations - not to mention, all the enemies...
    • Though you're already going to hate Tier 2 when you first enter it. Hell, Tier 1 is pretty difficult with your starting equipment.
  • No Conservation of Mass: The Royal Jelly spits out mini-jellies periodically in battle, at no cost to itself. It then absorbs these jellies now and then for health.
  • Non-Lethal KO: The Knights themselves only get knocked down no matter what hits them. Any nearby Knight can help them up. They even continue to blink while downed.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The Royal Jelly's death also causes every other enemy in the room to splat.
    • Though you need to beat them both down, destroying one of the Roarmulus Twins automatically destroys the other.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Ironclaw Munitions Factory has electric floors and rocket launchers set up along its corridors. Worker safety is not top priority for gremlins.
  • Not Completely Useless: Poison in general is a very underwhelming status effect, lowering enemy attack power (when the best defense is to not get hit in the first place) and preventing them from being healed (when there are usually more attractive options for neutralizing healers). It is all but necessary, however, for dealing with the Royal Jelly, who heals rapidly and is easily capable of outhealing an unprepared party.
    • Also goes for when it's applied to players. Just avoid getting hit until it wears off and don't attempt to use healing items in that period. Unlike poison in most other games, it causes no damage by itself.
    • Poisoned enemies also take more and deal less damage, making it only semi-useless.
      • Most useful aspect of poison is it that on enemies it causes them to take damage when healed by other enemies. Keep a group inflicted with poison and their medic becomes one of your greatest allies.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The May 17 update had a couple. While the Basil change [8] was quickly accepted, the binding rule change [9] causes uproars due to coming out of nowhere and leaving a bunch of people with equips they were planning to sell but no longer could.
    • In addition, the more appreciated AFK kicker for the Blast Network.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Kats are ghosts. Phantoms also apply.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Arena levels have three stages, and you can proceed to the next depth after finishing any stage, but most players do all three stages for the mass of crowns earned in the process, whether they're prepared or not. Many players will also wait for arena levels before going down an elevator for this reason.
    • Danger Rooms are optional areas (with energy locks) that are basically a long, difficult arena stage, including the massive crown payoff afterward.
    • Despite being a random draw, this is why some people prefer Graveyards over Treasure Vaults. Once you can deal with Phantoms, all that is left are element-neutral zombies with predictable spawns. And a lot of them.
  • Personal Space Invader: Zombies used to have a leaping attack that caused this if (and that is a huge if) they connected. Now the attack simply causes instant damage if they come anywhere close to you, changing it from a powerful but easy to dodge attack to an annoying (relatively) low-damage far-range attack.
  • Player Preferred Pattern:
    • Vog Cub, Owlite or Thorn shield, Gran Faust/Divine Avenger, Polaris, Krogmo trinkets. There is some variation, but expect to see those a lot.
    • Wolver sets! People love 'em.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire is an element that both the player and enemies can use.
  • Point of No Return: Party buttons act like this per level, as they cause a gate to appear behind you when you step on them to open the gate in front of you.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Weapons paths that deal lesser damage for an improved bonus vs a certain enemy type (i.e. Cautery Sword, Cold Iron series, Heavy Deconstructor) tend to be this as the lesser damage vs everything else is too great to ignore (although there can be other potential benefits, such as Cold Iron's charge attack being able to reliably hit more)
  • Press X to Die: The effect of the Curse status effect. As a bonus, the most common way for a player to be afflicted with Curse is using the Faust or Gran Faust's charge attack.
  • Punched Across the Room: Lumbers do this to anything they hit. The player can do this to lighter enemies with heavy swords and the Calibur's charged combo.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Shadow-based weaponry and attacks are usually purple (one notable exception being the Faust and Gran Faust, which are burgundy). Shadow damage and defense is also depicted by a purple meter.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Partly subverted, as the overall theme of the level can be decided by the number of crystals deposited in a certain terminal. The rest is random and cycles with time though.
    • The levels themselves are not randomly generated, but which level you get next often is, unless you happen upon a string of connected levels (usually leading up to a boss).
  • Reverse Shrapnel: The Dark Reprisal bomb causes a bunch of dark projectiles to spin around the bomb's detonation point, constantly damaging enemies that run into it.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: In classic Zelda style. Some of the destroyable objects even strongly resemble similar objects from Zelda.
  • Recursive Ammo: The Alchemer series of handguns uses elemental bullets that also split up at higher weapon levels.
    • Lord Vanaduke's mask, in his second and fourth stages, shoot large bullets that whirl around and shoot streams of smaller bullets.
  • Retirony: Mentioned in the description of the Blackhawk gun. "...It's said to contain the soul of a knight who was only two days from retirement."
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Snipes. Please don't step on them.
  • Royal Rapier: The Flourish series. It even replaces normal damage with piercing damage.
  • Rule 34: Yes, it exists. For some reason, gremlins are the biggest victims in this case. And of course, wolvers and the Snarbolax.
  • Salaryman: The Devilites. They throw office supplies at you.
  • Schizo-Tech
  • Shield-Bash: Shielding for a half second causes all enemies surrounding the player to be knocked back. This trick is just as important as actually blocking attacks to surviving. It even works if your shield is broken.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Silkwings and Gremlin Menders are capable of healing their allies, which are probably beating on you at the same time. Both are very dangerous if left alone; The Silkwing heals enemies by touch, meaning it can heal enemies fast, and Menders get area heals and even a Revive in higher tiers.
  • Shout-Out: Lots.
    • The "Sentenza" gun is said to have been wielded by one who possessed "angel eyes".
    • One of the "Wolver Den" levels is "Raving Rabids.
    • Also The "Nameless Poncho" is a shout-out to the Dollars Trilogy. The creators seem to love those movies.
    • The Achievement for defeating the Snarbolax is "O Frabjous Day!".
    • One of the monsters in the Jelly line is called the Jelly Green Giant, after the Jolly Green Giant of canned and frozen veggie fame.
    • They even pulled it off in an advertisement. Take a look at this and don't even dare to say you didn't get such a blatant reference.
    • The Magnus's 5 star form is called the Callahan. The descriptions also reference this.
    • The Radiant Silvermail sounds very similar to Radiant Silvergun.
    • There's a technologically-inclined NPC Knight named Bosco in the western part of Haven.
    • The description for the Heavy Demo Helm notes it "...might be handy if you, the master of exploding, take it with you."
    • The Voltedge's charge attack delivers a 1.21 gigawatt shock.
    • A subtle holiday-themed one with the Nightblade's upgrade, Silent Nightblade.
    • The Spiral Pith Helm, instead of looking like a proper archaeologist's pith helm, instead resembles the much larger one worn in the desert by another figure fond of wearing dark, oversized helmets.
    • The achievement for hitting an opponent with a snowball is "Son of a Nutcracker!".
    • A new set of armor for buying Sonic the Hedgehog CD on Steam or an energy pack will net you a suit of armor resembling a certain metallic doppleganger. Buying an energy pack at half that cost gives you an accessory that lets your knight sport a familiar pair of fox tails.
  • Shovel Strike: The Slime Slasher weapon, a beginner's... uh... "sword".
  • Shows Damage: The Roarmulus Twins start breaking down when they take enough damage, signaling a phase change. Vanaduke's mask also does this, completely shattering after the second bullet phase.
  • Situational Sword: The Cautery Sword, which is useless not only because of Crippling Overspecialization, but because you can turn a Brandish (the base for Cautery Sword) into a Nightblade, which does the job better.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World
  • Smash Mook: Lumbers are huge constructs that can club you with their tree trunk of an arm. Has pretty good range and can stun you, so get out of the way or block. While the attack does speed up as you go deeper, they suffer from a cooldown that is long enough to allow two melee combos if you evade.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: People, when you need to leave your party, please remember to drop any useful items you might have before entering an end-of-level elevator.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spikes, brambles, poisoned brambles... All of those are annoying obstacles that do more damage in later levels and that enemies often use as cover, since they aren't harmed by them.
    • For extra fun, spikes can be hidden under certain blocks. Not only can you easily step on them right as you destroy the blocks they were hidden under, you just removed an obstacle for the monsters nearby.
    • Jelly cubes were eventually updated to be covered in spikes (in order to justify a gelatinous cube dealing piercing damage, presumably), and can summon spikes from the ground.
  • Spin Attack: The Calibur series of swords has this as their charged attack. The Royal Jelly also goes invulnerable, Turns Red, and spins around the area when it has been weakened enough.
    • The Fang of Vog adds an Incendiary Exponent to the Calibur charge, allowing it to set both user and enemy on fire.
  • Standard Status Effects: Curse (take damage if you use marked weapons), Fire (drains HP), Freeze (can't move or turn), Poison (decreased attack, can't heal), Shock (damage and induces flinching), Sleep (can't do anything, but you regenerate), and Stun (decreased move and attack speed) are available. The player actually gets stronger variations of some effects, like Freeze inflicting damage if the enemy "thaws out".
  • Stun Guns: You have the actual Stun Guns which are low tier weapons that can stun, and then you have the Magnus, which are essentially more powerful two-shot punch guns with a chance of stun.
  • Suicide Attack: Howlitzers. Once the base is destroyed, the skull falls off and attempts to charge someone before exploding.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: In case that skull on the elevator monitor didn't tip you off, the health pads right before a party button (that spawns the boss) should.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The Graviton Bomb and its more powerful upgrade, the Graviton Vortex.
    • And now the Electron Charge and its upgrades.
  • Sword Beam: The Avenger series of swords has these included in the charge attack. They're shaped like giant glowing swords and explode after flying a short distance.
    • The Faust also the same, except the 5-star version instead of shooting 3 beams like the Divine Avenger, shoots one huge sword beam. The Faust's charge can also curse you unlike the Avenger.
    • Winmillion, a 4-Star sword that cannot be upgraded, shoots a beam with every slash. Arguably a Lethal Joke Weapon that provides bombers with consistent damage in melee and the utility of a ranged weapon in a single weapon slot. Not to mention a good substitute for a gun if you're going for a pure swordsman set.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: The three weapon types; swords do high single target damage at close range, guns do low single target at long range, and bombs do moderate damage in a circular area but only work after charging them. There's many weapons of each type, however, including a bomb that works like a gun, a sword that works like a bomb, two guns that work like bombs in different ways, 2 swords that fire projectiles, and numerous other variations.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Some keys are set so monsters appear the moment a party member gets within grabbing distance.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: By selecting the head with molded steel Girlish Pigtails.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Firestorm Citadel, a five-floor gauntlet that serves as Tier 3's only boss dungeon, is the closest thing there is to this trope. Presumably, the Core will be one, if it opens.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Bombs are one of the three weapon types. They specialize in AoE damage or status infliction.
  • Trojan Horse: A Trojan Knight is a living knight statue with a horse head. It's a type of enemy that can only be defeated by attacking its back. It may rarely drop a kind of material called the Trojan Horseshoe.
  • Turns Red: When its HP gets low, the Royal Jelly turns pink and starts spinning all over the arena, doing much more damage than before, and only stops for a few seconds at a time for you to attack it.
    • If a Devilite Pit Boss walks up to a normal Devilite and tells it that it has to work overtime, they start glowing and throw pitchforks that cause debuffs instead of office supplies, as well as gaining a close-range melee attack.
      • Alternatively, the Pit Bosses can turn other Devilites into Yes Men, who stand around the pit bosses and heal them. If a Pit Boss dies near a Yes Man, it Turns Red and starts attacking you.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Most guns do this via Gun Twirling, the remainder just eject spent shells without loading in new ones.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: A few enemies use the same equips that the players use, but will never actually drop them. This was especially prevalent with the Blackened Crest being used by Vanaduke's guards, as some players believed the item was impossible to get despite being the prerequisite to the Crest of Almire. [10]
    • Interestingly averted with three Gremlin items: The Wrench Wand, Thwack Hammer, and the ultra rare Darkfang Shield, which is ONLY from random drops. The Deconstructor bomb line may also count; it looks similar to the Gremlin bombs, and shows a Darkfang emblem in the explosion but isn't quite as identical as the other equips.
  • Unwinnable: Sometimes, ghost blocks[11] appear with respawning unbreakable blocks. A careless knight (or party of knights) can get trapped once the blocks respawn.
  • Unsound Effect: These accompany the onset of any of the Standard Status Effects, along with the zombie revival mechanic.
  • X Meets Y Meets Z Meets Potential 27th Letter of the Alphabet:
  • Useless Useful Spell: Heat Amplifiers. While some items (4 and 5 stars in particular) do take a lot of heat (item XP) to level, the 800 energy amplifiers cost would earn you more heat (plus other stuff) if spent on runs, and that CE would last longer buying 2 Weapon and 2 Trinket Slot upgrades which last a month instead of 48 hours.
  • Yes-Man: They are small and green guys who heal the Pit Bosses, only spawned in the first place when a Pit Boss compliments a Devilite. Normally they won't attack the players, but if their boss is killed they will turn into an Overtimer.
  • Your Head Asplode: Mecha Knights' heads explode upon death.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Normally, boss fights come right at the end of a particular tier, so once you've defeated a boss, you're home free. However, once you beat a boss from the Shadow Lairs after a line of grueling dungeons and intense battles, and are ready to head back up and celebrate... Welcome to the Unknown Passage.
  1. Temporary extra slots are buyable with a small amount of Crystal Energy
  2. Devilite levels, fire- and ice-based
  3. Uses a triple Sword Beam attack, giving the user a way to wear down an entire mob at once from range.
  4. Inflicts Curse, which causes the enemy to take damage if they do something that isn't moving around.
  5. Often agreed to be the best gun to bring to Firestorm Citadel since it destroys undead and allows the user to remain very mobile.
  6. Useful against slimes and also during Lockdown, not so much against gremlins.
  7. All drops are "pre-assigned" to a player as soon as they appear, meaning that there's no way to change who gets it after the item appears.
  8. Teleporting to Basil would cause his entire inventory to empty out except for 1* items
  9. A bound equip would carry over its bound status to any equip made with it. Motive seemed to be plugging a massive Bribing Your Way to Victory possibility.
  10. Eventually, it was found in a tier 2 treasure chest, and has since been added to the token shop.
  11. When hit, these make the contiguous set of blocks touching it vanish