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Pause Ahead
Pauseahead-blog
  Information
Link: Pixel Love
Developer Askiisoft
Released: August 20, 2013[1]
Featured: January 6, 2014
Platform Flash
Control scheme: Keyboard
No. of levels: 24
Data saved: In-game progress
Genre(s): Platform, Action, Askiisoft.com
Website(s): Adultswim, Newgrounds
Soundtrack availability: Loudr, Bandcamp (Side A, Side B)

Pause Ahead is an action-platformer released by Askiisoft on August 20, 2013. It was featured on Pixel Love on January 6, 2014. The player controls a character trying to escape from an unknown dark place. Along the way, they are taunted by an overseeing narrator.

Controls

  • Left.png Right.png Left and right arrow keys - Move
  • Up.png Up arrow key - Jump
  • C/Shift key - Pause/unpause
  • Space.png / Down.png Spacebar/Down arrow key - Advance through dialogue

Levels

There are twenty-four levels in Pause Ahead, excluding any secrets. The player must get to the protagonist to enter the door before time runs out. Five levels in to the game, the player is introduced to the pause mechanic, which preserves the character's momentum until the the pause button is let go of, or the protagonist hits a wall. The pause mechanic also allows the protagonist to travel through hazards, but it does not allow free movement. At the end of each level, a HUD screen shows the player all their previous attempts simultaneously.

When Pause Ahead was released, levels were only saved from the most current unlocked. A level select screen was later added, allowing players to start from any level they had previously unlocked after clicking "Continue"[2]. Hovering over a level icon displays a part of the level's in-game text at the bottom of the screen.

Level 1: I awake in a dark place

Quote
I awake in a dark place.

The number '00' is branded on my palm.

My thoughts are not on how I arrived

But how I escape.

Perhaps pressing [UP] or [SPACE] to jump

And pressing [DOWN] or [SPACE] at the door.

This level has three steps leading to the door. The player is instructed on how to jump and interact with doors to complete the level. To complete this level, the protagonist can jump up the stairs to the door. A time limit of twenty seconds is given on the clock.

Level 2: At least I'm not coming this way again

Quote
Well, that didn't help much.

Looking at the sheer drop, I realize

At least I won't come this way again.

The player is given twenty-five seconds to complete this level. Spikes are introduced to the game, and appear sparsely along the ground. The protagonist must fall off the ledge, then jump up the three floating platforms to get the to the door while avoiding the spikes.

Level 3: I feel a rush of Deja vu

Quote
I feel a rush of deja vu

Not of memories, but of past lives

Most of which did not last long.

The game introduces self-moving saws. One saw is contained in a shallow pit, of which there are two in total. The protagonist should land in these pits while avoiding the saws as well as the spikes that are placed to the left and right of the first pit. After avoiding the second saw encountered, the door can be reached on the next ledge.

Level 4: Whoever thought to keep me here...

Quote
Whoever thought to keep me here

Is trying much too hard.

Level 5: Bridging this gap will require some rest

Quote
Bridging this gap will require some rest.

Press [SHIFT] or [C] to pause at any time.

Level 6: Time and space in this place is an illusion

Quote
Time and space in this place are an illusion.

Perhaps matter can be conquered as well.

Level 7: Time here seems... Malleable

Quote
Time here seems...malleable

But also more scarce.

I must spend it wisely.

Level 8: All this commotion to bar my path...

Quote
All this commotion to bar my path.

It's quite flattering, really.

Level 9: My sojourn stops here

Quote
I'm impressed you've mad this far.

But my sojourn ends here. This is a game you can't win.

Level 10: Who is in control?

Quote
Think for a second...

Who is in control? Who built this world? You die upon spikes. You die when time runs dry. You return to life, time and time again. You're playing by my rules.

Level 11: You are merely a rat in maze

Quote
I hope yo're not fooling yourself.

Everything proceeds exactly as it should. You are merely a rat in maze. Keep it up and you might even get some cheese.

Level 12: As long as there's hope, you won't give up

Quote
Don't worry, I've no doubt you'll reach the end.

As long as there's hope, you won't give up. That's why you have made it this far, isn't it?

Level 13: You must expect a reward at the end of this journey...

Quote
You must expect a reward at the end of this journey...

You're sorely mistaken Once you leave this cave you will cease to exist. You should probably just give up now.

Level 14: Your time grows scarce

Quote
Your time grows scarce.

You can try to push back the clock. But that's just denial isn't it

Level 15: Who is your puppeteer?

Quote
You're no less of a puppet than I.

which begs the question. Who is your puppeteer?

Level 16: No matter what you do now, I win

Quote
No matter what you do now, I win.

It's either obedience, or abandonment. So I ask again... Who is in control?

Level 17: Your time is drawing near

Quote
Your time is drawing near.

The end of existence Nothingness I do hope it was worth it? To willingly be a rat in a maze For a reward you desperately hope exists.

Level 18: ...

Quote
...

You have conguered thus far.. But no further. You are not warned lightly.. Cease now

Level 19: You cannot be here

Quote
I am foreign to what fervor drives you.

But it is entirely misplaced. You cannot be here.

Level 20: Please... Stop

Quote
Please... stop

Can you remain indifferent? This world is decaying Soon there will be nothing but you. ..And it.

Level 21: I awake in a dark place (Level 21)

Quote
I awake in a dark place.

The number '01' is branded on my palm.

My thoughts are not on how I arrived

But how I escape.

Perhaps pressing [UP] or [SPACE] to jump

And pressing [DOWN] or [SPACE] at the door.

Level 22: Don't...

Quote
Hey, stop

Don't go through that door.

Please

Please stop

Please

Don't...

Because I'd WAAAYYY rather watch you fail at the extra stage a million more times.

Level 23: Architect awaits

Quote
Are you nervous?

Don't be... The architect is real sweetheart

Level ?: Nihil

Right Guilliotine

Quote
It's appetite is all-consuming.

Your splintered soul will be it's repast.

Left Guillotine

Quote
Your hunger truly dwarfs mine.

Go, then

Reap what it has sown.

Nihil ending
Quote
So here we are, face to face at last. You have done exactly what you were told strung along by a leash, following pipe dreams and promises...

I am chained to this existence, to this role. I have fulfilled my function And so I no longer have a Place in this world. I hope that before it's too late you will break free from your chains.

— SUBJECT 01

Status-terminated Completion time - xxx Nihil completion time - xxx Deaths - xxx

To pass into that dark never having known freedom Never to laugh, never to learn, never to love. Is there more tragic a fate?


Interactive objects

Hazards

Development and inspiration

Pause Ahead, titled as "Pause ahead", was originally created for MolyJam 2012 based on a tweet that suggested using the pause button as a weapon[3]. It was available for download on Windows; the original game was made with Game Maker and released after forty-eight hours of development. Due to the time limit, much of Pause ahead's gameplay and design were based off of Tower of Heaven's[4]. On April 3, 2012, Askiisoft uploaded a gameplay video of Pause ahead.

The game later went onto further development to be re-released in Flash. Changes were made to the dialogue as well as the appearance of the main character and some other elements. Levels that were created in the Jam version were reused in the Flash.

Soundtrack

The main music of Pause Ahead is composed by Bill Kiley, available on Bandcamp as "Pause Ahead OST Side A". A separate album for "Side B" contains the music for a hidden unlockable area of Pause Ahead composed by Flashygoodness. The complete soundtrack is also available on Loudr with a minimum price of $5 CDN. Unlike Bandcamp, the tracks are ordered by their appearance in-game.

Tracks

Track name Composer Duration Location played
Hiatus Bill Kiley 1:26 Titlescreen
Time and Space Bill Kiley 2:24 Levels 2 - 9
Boss of Nova Bill Kiley 2:27 Levels 10 - 23
Headless Beast Bill Kiley 2:17 Boss level
Passage flashygoodness 00:30
The Dying of the Light Bill Kiley 1:12 Ending
Nihil Descent flashygoodness 4:32 Hidden level
Resignation flashygoodness 00:53 End of the hidden level
Cavernous Tales flashygoodness 00:34 Bonus track
Askiisoft Logo flashygoodness 00:09 Bonus track - Askiisoft logo startup

References

  1. Askiisoft on Facebook, posted August 20, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2014
  2. Developer Response on Kongregate: ...the game has just been updated with a level select!, November 20, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  3. MolyJam, Pause ahead, retrieved January 6, 2014: What if the pause button was a weapon?
  4. Askiisoft.com - Frequently Asked Questions: Does Pause Ahead have any relation to Tower of Heaven?, retrieved March 7, 2014.

External links

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