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Cart #28428 | 2016-09-12 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Cave Runners!


  • Your good friends are lost in this complex cave maze, run inside it to find them quickly!


  • Press button, click mouse or tap the screen to make your runner jump.
  • Use the restart run menu option in the pause menu if you feel you're wasting too much time on a single run.


  • Simple one-button/mouse-click/screen-tap control allows you to play on your PC, tablet or smart phone.
  • In Cave Runners there is no death nor damage, only annoying difficult jumps, missed jumps, one-sided walls and evil inanimate things alike.
  • 6 unlockable extra playable characters.
  • Each character has an extra secret target objective... be sure to find it.


Special thanks to my wife for playtesting the game, people in twitter for motivational retweets and likes and people here that post useful code examples with techniques, tweetcarts and whatnots.

Feedback, critiques, bugs, best-times, screenshots, etc would be greatly appreciated by yours truly.

Click here to see my personal best times:

Update 1.101:

  • Tiny update to make a few jumps a little less frustrating.

Update 1.1:

  • Replaced the target circle with a little arrow.
  • Added gold, silver and bronze medals based on my personal times, try to beat them.
  • Once all characters are unlocked, display the sum of best time... see how much you can reduce it.
P#27593 2016-08-28 20:02 ( Edited 2016-09-18 19:18)

Wow ! Just ... Wow ! This is amazing ! I have never seen a single-button platformer before outside of the one Katy plays on my PSP all the time, "Jetpack Joyride."


This one, however, really does let you control player's direction, ascent, descent, and like NES Batman, he can climb walls !

Outstanding ! This is definitely one of my favorite games now.

Playing the 2nd level. Oww ! This level is much harder. Okay, suggestion: How about having walls that close behind the player at key points so they don't inadvertently jump back to an area where they have to work hard AGAIN at getting past a point they've already seen ?

... Wow, I just cannot get past level two. Very challenging game. May have a difficulty level where EASY is 66% speed, normal is 100% speed, hard is 133% speed.

Update: Yeah this game is a bit of an obsession. Work smarter not harder. Finally rescued the cat (level 2). Phew ! The puzzles you put in here are incredible !

Seeing this is giving me some ideas for one-button games that I'm certain haven't been written yet. Reminds me a bit of a word-processor I made years ago where you only had one button to type in text, save, and load your work. It was a programming curiosity at the time.

P#27607 2016-08-28 22:20 ( Edited 2016-08-30 00:39)

This is the best one button game I've played! It's a really clever way of building a single button platformer. I love the idea of having no enemies, no deaths, etc. so it's just pure platforming. That really takes out a lot of the frustration, and it lets the play remain continuous. I haven't tried optimizing anything, and haven't fully explored for secrets, but here are my times after a single run (characters hidden, since that's half the fun):

P#27611 2016-08-28 22:40 ( Edited 2016-08-29 02:43)

Thanks for the good feedback, guys!

@dw817: NES Batman is one of my all time favorites and definitely was an influence when making this. I'm glad the game is inspiring you in different ways. :)

@Sibwara: Good times! Hope you keep playing and post your best times (and secrets found) here!

Don't forget to use the "restart run" option to avoid frustration and rage quitting! :)

P#27650 2016-08-29 12:14 ( Edited 2016-08-29 16:14)

Played this for what felt like forever last night on the PCHIP and it worked great and felt great. I'm not usually a fan of the genre but I think to someone's point about the lack of "risks" is key. Ones like Super Meat Boy just frustrate the shit out of me but this one is more about pathfinding than nailing perfect jumps, which makes me feel better (and smarter).

The wall jumping is perfect so major props for that because it's easy to mess up - comparison is the Batman is spot on...and also, one of my favorite NES games (killer soundtrack to boot)

Just very well done and should be a top feature for the PocketCHIP...just a great, low-barrier game for the device (and not murder on the thumbs!)

P#27652 2016-08-29 12:22 ( Edited 2016-08-29 16:22)

Great replay value! I wish it wasn't a mouse game, but I'm too lazy to change it. EDIT: I'm lazier than I thought... (buttons work great)

Bug - (edited to spoil less): was able to cut through the background near ***.

P#27671 2016-08-29 18:27 ( Edited 2016-08-30 07:07)

@morningtoast: Thanks for the good comments, man! You should post your times!

@tyroney: hehe, yeah I wanted to make the game playable even on systems without buttons, but I definitely prefer to play with physical buttons. As for that bug, yeah, my wife found it as well but I decided to keep it as a little cheat/glitch/exploit to get better times, especially since it's not really that easy to pull off.

P#27678 2016-08-29 19:56 ( Edited 2016-08-29 23:56)

Guerra, I did see someone sitting in a corner right near the bottom when playing the cat. I know it wasn't the mouse as the location indicator had it in an opposite direction.

Easter Egg ?

One suggestion. Maybe holding down the button does a repeated JUMP. My finger is so tired trying to get through narrow places and having to whittle on that Z key 3-4 times in less than a second.

This game is so good it should be included in the HALL OF FAME of PICO games if there's going to be one. Just everything about it is excellent ! And ... ubetcha, it even remembers the last level you won so you don't have to start over every time. Full marks !


Whoa ! I found the car really quickly for some reason. You might make that a little harder as that's level 4.

Ah ! Easter Egg. Using the car, "Found a secret Dog in 2:04:003"

P#27683 2016-08-29 20:14 ( Edited 2016-08-30 01:37)

Thanks a lot for the compliments @dw817! Yeah, every character has a secret target, try to find them all!

Also, most of the main targets can be found in less than 50 seconds. ;)

P#27715 2016-08-30 12:01 ( Edited 2016-08-30 16:01)

50-seconds ? Phew ! I'm up to 4-minutes or more trying to find some of 'em. Keeps me coming back for more, though. :)


Do any of the characters have advantages or disadvantages over the other ? I know in Super Mario Bros 2 for the NES that Princess Peach could hold a longer jump in mid-air compared to the other character choices.

P#27718 2016-08-30 13:24 ( Edited 2016-08-30 17:24)

The different characters are just different skins for cosmetic purposes only. I'll consider having them have different abilities in the sequel. ;)

P#27728 2016-08-30 17:56 ( Edited 2016-08-30 21:56)

For those whose fingers are raw from pressing, change Guerragames' great game at the following:

Line #35

  if time_held == 0 then

Change to:

  if time_held >= 0 then

Now you can just hold down the button to leap which will help a lot to get out of tight quarters without cramping your fingers.

Hope This Helps !

P#27885 2016-09-02 01:58 ( Edited 2016-09-02 05:59)

Awesome man! i don't know if the game logic is original ( one button to do all ) but it's so addictive!

P#27886 2016-09-02 02:50 ( Edited 2016-09-02 06:50)

ugh... just uploaded a new version and now it's not working on the PocketChip. I'll try to figure out what's going on.

Edit: Fixed it. Apparently the Pico-8 version in the PocketChip doesn't like this text: "-=total=-". It probably didn't like the dashes in there.

P#27911 2016-09-02 14:00 ( Edited 2016-09-02 20:15)

Just text alone stopped it ? I wonder if it's thinking that is a subtraction from an unknown variable ?

(value) -= Total

Anything within quotes, however, should always be ignored by the interpreter.

P#27920 2016-09-02 16:27 ( Edited 2016-09-02 20:27)

This is incredible! I tend to stay away from one-button games because they are generally unoriginal or too simple, but this one totally nails it.

Really great gameplay, simple mechanics, very original, great music and sound effects, and the physics are spot on (which is hard to do). Very lean and impressive game overall.

P#28228 2016-09-09 12:37 ( Edited 2016-09-09 16:37)

Aug 28 - Cave Runners appears on PICO-8

Sep 7 - Super Mario Run announced at iPhone 7 reveal


P#28431 2016-09-12 18:51 ( Edited 2016-09-12 22:51)

@tyroney: hahaha man, that Mario guy is always stealing my ideas... Mario Galaxy was also my idea! </joke>

@grumpus: Thanks a lot for your nice comments! Makes me want to start working on a sequel :)

P#28435 2016-09-12 19:30 ( Edited 2016-09-12 23:30)

This is inspirational! I like the pulsating arrow that indicates where your target is. It has an SNES vibe despite being only 128x128. The jumping visual effect is somewhat jarring, but it also serves as a clear indicator that you have indeed jumped.

There's an out-of-bounds bug near one of the targets. I was able to phase through the wall, and phased through it again to get to my target. I couldn't tell you what exactly's going on in the code yet since I've not read it yet, but I figured you should know.

I starred because this is precisely the kind of stuff I think PICO 8 is all about. It helps motivate me to finish working on my game!

P#28716 2016-09-17 23:09 ( Edited 2016-09-18 03:09)

Wow this is amazing!

P#28722 2016-09-18 01:50 ( Edited 2016-09-18 05:50)

Simple yet tricky gameplay! Love it!

P#28745 2016-09-18 15:18 ( Edited 2016-09-18 19:18)

Thought I would give this a bump. It was definitely THE game for Pico-8 for its time a few years back - and giving it a star. Back then I didn't know what those things were.

P#68777 2019-10-11 21:11 ( Edited 2019-10-11 21:11)

Bump received and passed on!

P#79904 2020-07-25 06:35

It's been a while since anyone's posted here, but I think this is a fun game to speedrun! Here are my times.

P#97100 2021-09-09 13:46 ( Edited 2021-09-09 13:47)

Finally beat it! Here are my times:
(The bottom one is my total time)

P#148735 2024-05-20 20:19

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