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Cart #bas-8 | 2023-12-09 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Birds and Saws

Experience a nostalgic throwback with this Pico-8 demake of my classic iOS game. Dive into the retro charm and challenge yourself as you guide a bird, skillfully avoiding menacing circular saws to rack up high scores.

Check out the project on GitHub.


Blades ascending from below prompt the player to move upward swiftly, requiring nimble maneuvers to avoid a perilous demise.

  • You can initiate a new jump without having to wait for the current one to land.
  • The lower blades progressively increase in speed over time.
  • The saws' velocity is limited, reaching a challenging top speed that demands swift maneuvers to escape.


  • ⬅️ or [Z] to jump left
  • ➡️ or [x] to jump right

Version History


  • Fix bug causing the game over screen to flash red.


  • Adjusted initial blade speed and speed progression
  • Increased player jump speed
  • Smoother camera tracking


  • Initial release
P#137287 2023-11-11 20:50 ( Edited 2024-01-07 07:12)


Love love love this!

P#137294 2023-11-11 22:27

I hate this game.
But it absolutely deserves a star.

P#137295 2023-11-11 23:05

I liked the game, but it would be cool if the blades rose more slowly and if along the way there were checkpoints to grab that made the blades stop for a second or two. This way we can play for longer and have a greater sense of accomplishment playing the game.

edit: Now I understand... The faster we play, the slower the blades rise. Either way, my ideas might be interesting for another playing mode for the game.

P#137298 2023-11-12 01:07 ( Edited 2023-11-12 02:19)

This concept is really cool and its really fun, but I agree that its a tad hard.
My best is 40. On the good runs I end up in this... flow state? Its very weird but very cool.
I think just slightly lowering the rate at which the raising spike floor's speed increases could help a lot.

Edit: I'm not sure how but I tried literally one time after I made this message and got 114... I have no idea how I did it, it felt amazing.
Is the spike floor speed capped at some point? (maybe based on the speed the player is going up to some degree?) It seemed to be right on my tail the whole time after a certain point.

P#137300 2023-11-12 01:59 ( Edited 2023-11-12 02:02)

Amazing game, the presentation is top notch. The game is tough but I think its what makes it fun.

P#137301 2023-11-12 02:09

Hello everyone,

I've observed that some of you were not entirely satisfied with the initial speed of the blades. Upon further inspection, I realized it was indeed on the higher side at the beginning of the game. I've made some slight adjustments without compromising the game's difficulty. The post has been updated with this tweaked version.

Additionally, I have enhanced the description to provide a bit more information about the mechanics, highlighting that you can jump off mid-flight without waiting for the current jump to land.

Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. It is greatly appreciated.

P#137305 2023-11-12 06:12

good concept for the platform and very nicely done (graphics are 👌).

P#137306 2023-11-12 06:24

Super fun and stressful to the fingers 😂

P#137308 2023-11-12 08:57

is there any way to speed up the camera so that it snaps to the player faster?

P#137311 2023-11-12 12:12

Hey @Aspext1090, feel free to experiment with the camera settings.

Locate the following vars and set them to:


This should result in accurate tracking, although there might be a slight jerkiness in the movement.

P#137315 2023-11-12 15:40 ( Edited 2023-11-12 15:41)

Great stuff!

I love this game - SO addictive :-)

The use of colour, sound, everything.... spot on.

Thanks very much!

P#137338 2023-11-12 22:27

I've just realised that after playing this for a while, the vertical motion makes the whole screen appear to move downwards when you finally die, particularly if you've been going a while e.g. score > 100!

Pretty cool secondary effect :-)

P#137339 2023-11-12 22:31

Very nice game, also readable code, gonna look for it

P#137367 2023-11-13 12:27 ( Edited 2023-11-13 12:27)

So good! We have been having our own little high score challenge with this in our discord and I just surpassed the others with this run:

P#137516 2023-11-16 10:35

@NerdyTeachers, this is really cool! I wish there was a way to incorporate leaderboard functionality into Pico-8.

My best is 617.

P#137518 2023-11-16 11:13 ( Edited 2023-11-16 11:18)

LOVE THIS 10/10 so hard but unbeatably fun when you find a groove- i find singing in my head helps to het into the "flow" of the game. Gold star for you.

P#137538 2023-11-16 18:46

Leaderboard :
sounds like an easy functionality to add to pico-8, right ? While I feel for you, this is actually a good idea not to include the functionality natively in pico-8:

Truth is it's a trust based system, and you can't reasonably trust the entire internet to play nice.
When all the submitted data is your chosen pseudo and your score, It is trivially easy to wreck the leaderboard, even if you add checksums or encryption. Nothing stops players from changing the score=0 line of your code to score=100000 to take the lead. Nothing stops them to create a loop that will turn the leaderboard into an unmoderated public doodle...
On game websites like Kongregate, the leaderboards handling is a permanently a lost battle. Even when the login part is natively linked to the website account, the high scores are vandalized daily and the only nice feature remaining is the "friends only" filtered view of the table. You don't want to become the moderator of your own high score leader-board...

But if after all these warnings, you still feel like it, here's a relatively easy solution :
On the game over screen, if a new high score is reached, ask the player for his chosen name (that you can locally save with cartdata), then display a 2D bar code containing a url to the leaderboard web page, including the name and score to add to the table. What I love with this solution is that you can submit your high score with your phone even if the pico-8 device is offline.

Note that the situation is not always as bad as described : it is sometimes possible to submit a proof alongside the high score.
I've seen this on sokoban leaderboards : the actual sequence of moves played is sent with the high score, and the server side of the leader board can replay it and check is the resulting grid is solved or not.

P#137665 2023-11-20 06:58

cool game! just one last try

we’ll get leaderboards some time between now and pico-8 1.0
the program will take care of login, anti-cheat (by using a checksum of the cart), storage

P#138200 2023-12-03 22:55

Thanks for a great game, Yoko! One small issue that I've noticed - if you leave the game on Game Over screen for a few minutes it starts flashing red like crazy. Here's a clip - https://imgur.com/a/TS0W0Zy

P#138490 2023-12-09 18:25 ( Edited 2023-12-09 18:30)

@lastofavari I will take look and try to fix it. Thank you for playing.

P#138491 2023-12-09 18:28

@yokozuna I've added a link to my previous comment to show how it looks.

P#138492 2023-12-09 18:31

@lastofavari The flashing red issue on the game over screen has been fixed in version 0.1.2b. Thank you once again for bringing it to my attention.

P#138493 2023-12-09 19:14

"You can jump off mid-flight without waiting for the current jump to land." I tried doing that, but it didn't work. I tried it multiple times and it never worked.

P#138701 2023-12-14 22:26

@Hell_Cat What I intended to convey is that there's no need to wait for your current jump to land before initiating the next one.

P#138718 2023-12-15 05:14 ( Edited 2023-12-15 05:15)

Really cool! I'm new to this community but gotta say this gives a good first impression :)

P#138733 2023-12-15 10:55

This is my 7 year olds new favorite game. He's already up to 142!

P#138770 2023-12-16 14:26 ( Edited 2023-12-16 14:27)

Hey @Helacaster, that's fantastic to hear! It sounds like your 7-year-old is really enjoying the game and making impressive progress with score of 142. It's great to see such enthusiasm and engagement.

P#138814 2023-12-17 19:47

Managed to get into the mindset and go far.

P#138849 2023-12-18 16:02

@TheEyeKatcher wow! The highest posted so far. Congrats.

P#138856 2023-12-18 17:51

Really fun game!

On the good runs I end up fully immersed into the game lol

P#138861 2023-12-18 19:30

I tried to mod in a 'right button' button.

It's not quite smart enough.

P#139349 2023-12-29 13:51

Wonderful and addictive game

P#140403 2024-01-21 20:05

great concept!!

P#140879 2024-01-30 17:12

So very good.

Thank you!

P#141280 2024-02-08 08:35

Hi @yokozuna, was this game was an iOS/Android mobile game? Do you have any way to get in touch online? I'd like to get in touch. Reach out to me on Twitter if you have a chance.

Love this game!

P#141451 2024-02-13 06:26
P#142742 2024-03-11 01:04

high score this game is awesome

P#142836 2024-03-12 23:45 ( Edited 2024-03-12 23:46)

New highscore
the most addicting game on the set and definitetly one of the best[img]/media/91159/Screenshot 2024-03-30

P#145136 2024-03-30 16:29

@Jaxs3n$7 Congratulations on reaching a new high score! I'm thrilled that you're enjoying it so much.

P#145145 2024-03-30 17:41

My daughter loves this game so much. The highest score she got so far is 592.

P#145332 2024-04-01 04:43 ( Edited 2024-04-01 04:46)

Is there anyway I can change the mapping of button on my handheld?

P#145333 2024-04-01 05:10

@shellte I think this is not possible.

P#145334 2024-04-01 05:12

@yokozuna : there's a new scoresub function that allows post high scores on the BBS. You expressed interest in having a global online shared high score table, your wish has been granted, it seems.
If you implement it and start having to deal with high score moderation, please share your experience as the high score table seem to just have an id string like carddata, so there is no owner or administrator as far as I can tell.

P#145778 2024-04-05 10:00

@RealShadowCaster Thank you for letting me know. Is this somewhere documented?

P#145779 2024-04-05 10:01

@yokozuna, I stumbled on it while using the built in help of pico-8 : I typed help, then help data and saw the unknown to me scoresub entry, then typed help scoresub. It may well be a sneak peek at a future functionality : I haven't tested it myself but remembered you were interested in it.
EDIT : just tested it, the function just displays a red popup at the bottom of the screen that says "HI SCORES NOT IMPLEMENTED YET", sorry for the misinformation.

P#145782 2024-04-05 10:51 ( Edited 2024-04-05 11:01)

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