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Ultimate Odyssey

Cart #uodyssey-6 | 2022-08-14 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | Forks ▽ | No License


Ultimate Odyssey is an adventure exploration game where you take on the role of a destined hero to rid the lands of a darkness falling over it. Creatures are getting vicious and attacking people. Pirates have taken over the waters. And there are even reports of the dead rising from their graves. Can you find the source of the deadly incursion and put a stop to it?

How to play

There are three main modes of play: interacting, traveling, and fighting.


When you interact with people, or have choices to make, you'll be presented with a dialogue box with options. Use the arrow keys to highlight and select the option you want and press the Z or X button to confirm.


While being shown the map of the world, you can travel around it using the arrow keys. You can use the z key to switch between holding your sword and your bow, depending on how you want to be prepared for any fights that come along. You can use the x key to see your hero's current status.


Sometimes, you will be attacked and need to defend yourself! Combat is turn-based in this game. When it's your turn, you can move using the arrow keys. Running into an enemy will cause you to attack them.

As while traveling, you can use the z key to switch weapons, but watch out – switching weapons takes time, and gives the enemy a chance to take a turn!

You can also use the x key to bring up a list of special moves:

  • Attack with a bow. Allows you to attack an enemy at range. When you select this, a targeting reticle will appear. Use the arrow keys to move it to the target you want to fire an arrow at and press x to fire or z to cancel. Only available if you are currently wielding your bow and you have at least one arrow. Some terrain blocks your ability to attack enemies; when you have a valid target, the reticle turns green.
  • Precise attack. Raises the chance to hit on your next attack. Useful when you're having a hard time hitting the enemy. It costs one stamina, though, and gives the enemy a turn.
  • Power attack. Raises the damage you do on your next attack. Useful when you're not doing much damage. It costs one stamina, and gives the enemy a turn.
  • Fight defensively. Raises your defense the next time you are attacked, making it harder to hit you. It also allows you to regain some stamina, but it gives the enemy a turn.
  • Swap weapon. Same as pressing z, this lets you swap between your bow and your sword.

Note: If you are fighting in close quarters with the enemy, make sure you're not still wielding your bow. Your sword is much more effective against enemies in hand-to-hand combat!

Your Hero

Your hero has several measures that you can improve by getting training or improving equipment.

  • Health (Represented by a heart.) Your current health. If you ever run out, you die. Try to not let that happen.
  • Stamina (Represented by a star.) Your current stamina. If you run out, you cannot use special maneuvers.
  • Level Determines your health point and stamina maxima.
  • Strength Helps when attacking, with both chance to hit and to damage the opponent, but only with melee attacks.
  • Dexterity Helps when attacking with a bow, both chance to hit and to damage, dodging attacks, and escaping.
  • Sword Helps with melee attacks.
  • Bow Helps with ranged attacks.
  • Armor Helps reduce damage when you get hit.
  • Shield Helps reduce chance of getting hit.

Search the land for trainers, advisors, and craftspeople to help you improve these stats – you'll need higher stats to win the game!

Dying, Saving, and Loading

The game saves whenever you change locations from one map to another. To restart from a saved game, you can reload the cart and select "Load Game" from the menu. To start a new game, reload the cart and select "New Game".

If your character dies, you'll be given the option to have the royal court "resurrect" your hero. This will pull you back to the castle and restore you to full health. You do not lose any game progress, xp, gold, etc., but you might have to travel back to the location where you were adventuring to continue your adventure. (Luckily, there are ways to move around quickly which you will find as you adventure.)

Version History

v1.1 - Initial release
v1.2 - Update to (hopefully) fix reported out of memory errors and to fix a bug where you couldn't leave one of the oases.
v1.3 - Update to fix a hang when resurrecting before entering a town. Also makes healing heal your stamina too.
v1.4 - Fixed a bug in the gate connections.
v1.5 - Fixed a bug in accessing the end game area.

P#115319 2022-08-06 20:26 ( Edited 2022-08-14 16:54)

:: dw817

Congrats, @nephilim. this is the 2nd Ultima-style game I have seen, though there was a 3rd in production - defunct.


Also got into combat. Pretty unfair to have the bowman shoot straight though your opponents and on to you, and so many attackers for a single player, barely managed to get out alive from a single random encounter.

Nonetheless a worthy competitor in the Pico-8 field of Ultima-style games. Well done ! Gold star achievement.

P#115323 2022-08-06 20:56 ( Edited 2022-08-06 20:58)
:: dw817

OK the game saves, @nephilim, but when you return back your hits are at 18 even if you left the game at 110 hits.

P#115354 2022-08-07 03:47

The game should be saving whenever you go into or out of a new location; it doesn’t save every move. Are you seeing something different than that behavior? (I updated the instructions with this information.)

P#115355 2022-08-07 04:32 ( Edited 2022-08-07 06:39)

hum… how am I supposed to win any of the random encounters ??

P#115363 2022-08-07 12:12

Use cover if there are ranged enemies and to disrupt the enemies being able to surround you. Use your bow to pick off ranged enemies before the melee fighters get close. Use the special abilities to increase chance to hit if you are missing a lot or having to land too many hits to take something down. You can flee off the board if you need to. And be sure to invest your earned XP and GP into training at the castle and town. You can adventure around town a bit and run back to the healer after a few battles to build up your character stats so you can range farther afield.

P#115370 2022-08-07 14:57

Posted a new version that hopefully corrects an out of memory error a player encountered, and fixes a bug that prevents you from leaving an oasis.

P#115377 2022-08-07 17:17
:: dw817

I agree with @freds72 (rare). Random encounters just about kill you in this game, especially if the bad guys have a bowman or two.

Suggest the bowman (like you) has limited ammo instead of what is seemingly infinite. Scale that according to player's level since arrows shot from enemies go right through other opponents with no damage to them.

Either that or humorously let the bowman shoot his own men in his attempt to shoot you. Eh - that still is not very good.

How about this, text that shows "Bowman has you in sight." then you DODGE, then you can have 2 good combat commands as he's reloading before the message appears again and you can dodge again.

Additionally both you and your opponents miss hitting each other an awful lot. That's just time for more opponents to surround you with no damage to them or you. Modern RPGs don't even bother with missing your target now unless it is a special BOSS or something that requires a unique weapon to hit them with.

Suggest ALL hits come through. If you using "to hit" with agility or dexterity, have that attribute instead increase damage to opponent and possibly get more than one turn in combat if your agility is especially higher than your opponents.

Also especially for level one characters, it is common for the player to wipe out weak enemies in a single hit with the weakest attributes and weapons. Naturally in harder levels this does not happen unless the player has adequately gained levels, experience, and upgraded their armaments

As it is now you are fighting tooth and nail just to get past a single encounter.

. . .

I died in combat and selected, "Resurrect." then the whole game hung with no button to continue it.

P#115402 2022-08-07 21:46 ( Edited 2022-08-07 21:57)

Have you tried using precise strike in combat? Using precise strike practically guarantees a kill on a goblin – they only have one hit point, so any hit will kill one, and precise strike gives you a much better chance to land a blow.

You're not intended to just charge ahead and bump into enemies in this game. You're intended to utilize the terrain, figure out which combat maneuvers you want to do, wisely use your bow versus your sword in different situations, etc. If you do this, you should have no trouble surviving an encounter, especially after you start getting some training under your belt.

The resurrect hang seems to be related to starting a new game but not having gone into the castle or the town before you resurrect. It saves your game when you go into these areas, so if you haven't saved your game yet and it resurrects, then it doesn't have that saved game to fall back on. I'll upload a fix for that here in a bit.

P#115406 2022-08-07 23:51
:: dw817

I am trying precise strike, @nephilim. The problem is then it still takes 2-turns to defeat an opponent, unless you do something like I did in S2.

I set it so when you used Runestones to cast damaging spells, it did not count as a turn. In fact if you used the same type of runestone afterwards it would do even more damage so you could stack them and your opponent would never strike.

I called it combos. I think what would best be seen is if there is some way to guarantee kill the easiest opponent in one hit, especially since it's like 8-10 opponents to your one for a random encounter.

I can't think of any modern RPG where there is a weak first-level creature that is not defeated every time in one hit.

P#115413 2022-08-08 01:52

Well, what you're saying is interesting, to be sure. I honestly didn't expect these battles to seem so difficult for people. If anything, I was worried it would be too easy, that people would feel they were just expected to grind through easy encounters until they could get to the "meat" of the game.

Just to sanity-check myself I started a new game and kept track of the first four battles (all goblins) and the upgrades I could afford after each:

  • First battle: I took 3 points of damage. Able to upgrade +1 bow and replenish quiver.
  • Second battle: Took no damage. Gained a level.
  • Third battle: Took 3 points of damage. Gained +1 strength. Upgraded bow twice (to +3).
  • Fourth battle: Took 11 points of damage. Gained +1 strength.

That fourth battle was basically the worst goblin encounter it could throw at me; all nine goblins, two of them archers, with all of us kinda clustered towards the middle. And even that only took 10% of my health.

It sounds like you're using the intended elements like precise shots and terrain cover and bows and advancement, so I'm not sure where the disconnect is, exactly. If you're using that stuff, I wouldn't expect you to be losing anywhere near 100 hp (!!) in one goblin encounter. Even in extreme cases of bad luck, where the archers and skirmishers land hits on you disproportionately luckily, I'd only expect, like, maybe 30 damage?

I do realize the combat system is a little more complicated than in a lot of similar games which expect you to just run up and bump into things until they die. That approach won't work in this game, but that's by design. I wanted to get in some tactical decisions for the player to make during play to help add some depth to the combat (since you're going to be doing a lot of it). Deciding when to burn turns to get precise shots, when to burn turns for power attacks, and when to defend seemed like a fun decision space. In the original Ultima, you'd just attack-attack-attack-attack and there weren't any decisions to make, really, other than some moving into position, and I wanted to reduce the tedium of that. I wanted combats to have opportunities for strategy, but maybe the system I came up with for that is not working for people. I don't know; I find it pretty engaging, but maybe that's because I grok it, having designed it.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'd even do to address it at this point, since it's all in place and I'm right up close on the token limit. And personally, I like the battle options.

That idea you had of being able to electively dodge ranged attacks for some round-to-round effects sounds interesting, but I don't really have the token space to add it to the game without taking other stuff out. And if I did that, I'd want some other similar effects for other monsters. Maybe it's something to think about for another PICO-8 game focused more on skirmishes than exploring a large game world, but it's a cool idea.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment and give feedback. You're by far the person who's said the most about it, so thanks for spending some time on it and being willing to give your opinions and point out bugs; even if I don't implement everything you suggest, it's been pretty helpful to think about these things, so I appreciate it. And you've identified some definite bugs which I was able to quickly fix, which is always helpful!

(By the way, if you're interested in RPG tactical combat stuff, be sure to check out that PicoHaven game by icegoat, also on the BBS. It's got some great combat system stuff in it. Playing that is what inspired me to make Ultimate Odyssey.)

P#115431 2022-08-08 05:25

Just an update to fix a bug in the gate connectivity in the late game.

P#115592 2022-08-11 06:34
:: dw817

Hi @nephilim:

Yep I'm interesting in your game or I wouldn't be commenting.

Yes there is a definite and correct way to battle in your game for minimal loss. Yes most games of this caliber let you slug your way through with brute force without reading the instructions - for level 1.

That's just kind of an unspoken rule. For if someone is disheartened in their first battle, chances are they'll drop the game and go on to something else.

I probably did not state it correctly. What I meant to say is it SEEMS like you are doing poorly because the bowman just sits off in the distance and picks off 1-2 hit points a dozen times per combat.

It's not so much you are losing hit points it is that you have no easy way to retaliate when there are a bunch of them.

Even if only losing 1-hit point at a time, it's disheartening to see the enemies pummel the stuffings out of you from a distance and you can't do anything - and it's a random encounter.

Suggest enemy bowman do not show up at least until the 2nd level letting the player brute force fight the other baddies.

I'd still like to see 1st level baddies killed with a single hit. Making use of "precision" ability means it takes two commands to guarantee kill one opponent.

As for PicoHaven. Combat in there is dicey to say the least. You are having to rely on randomly pulled cards to win the battle. Your combat in Ultimate Odyssey to me is more preferable.

P#115617 2022-08-11 18:35

Uploaded a new version that fixes a bug regarding accessing the final world map area.

P#115751 2022-08-14 16:54

Just completed it, I had lots of fun playing it. I love how it’s intuitive and creates the Ultima experience without much of the original games bloat. I personally wished that there was music in this but it’s perfectly fine without. The game felt massive at first as well and it was such a cool thing to me that after you purchase the ship that you could now see that all the places we connected! A Sequel or a successor would be great! My only gripe would be the grinding and that I wish it were longer

P#116597 2022-08-30 17:14

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for playing, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

P#116601 2022-08-30 18:22

Loved it :) Such a nice adventure!
What about part two, m?)

P#117142 2022-09-10 12:59

Glad you enjoyed it!

P#117217 2022-09-11 19:40

I'm a massive Ultima fan, so this was really fun for me.

I love how the game world opened up with each quest completion.

It was a bit linear however - I would have loved it more if the world opened up with the skiff or ship a bit earlier and you had the option to choose which section to complete next.

I found the difficulty curve a bit unbalanced. It was hard to begin with, and then got really, really easy at the mid-game.

Particularly when I got to the armour & shield upgrades - I had so much gold to spend that barely any enemies could hit me at this point.

Also, I completely missed the bow skill merchant at the first town, so I completed the whole game with bow level 1. This may have contributed to the game being hard initially.

I would have liked to have heard about Skull Gate and Captain Transparentbeard from multiple NPCs throughout the game so that you know what your final quest is from early on. As it is, you only find out about it when you get the ship, and I didn't even see Skull Gate as I opened it before I knew where it was.

Lastly, this game is crying out for music and SFX.

With those criticisms out of the way, WOW! What a great job you've done of distilling the essence of Ultima down to the limitations of PICO-8. The sprites and tiles are fantastic and instantly evoke Ultima 4/5 sprites. Hiding locations and NPCs (aside from the bow merchant!) using the restricted field-of-view is 100% classic Ultima.

Despite only two weapons, no magic, and a single party member, I found the combat to be more tactical than even Ultima 5 at times, as you really need to use the terrain, weapon swapping, and combat options to get an advantage.

Unfortunately in the mid-to-late game, the combat becomes easy and ends up being an annoyance rather than a challenge.

Particularly with how often goblin and pirate encounters occur - I found myself avoiding grass and ocean tiles as much as I could. The pirates were very underpowered compare to the player once you get the ship.
Some sort of magic spell or item that can defeat multiple low level enemies in one go would help here.

Anyway, I hope this wall of text expressed how much I enjoyed playing this game. Great job!

P#117405 2022-09-14 11:06

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