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Cart #32307 | 2016-11-07 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Blast off and strike the evil green legion of mutating ships from outer-space!


  • Move your main ship around with the arrow keys.
  • Shoot with <z>.
  • Holding <z> makes your ship go slower.
  • Once you level up and gain extra ships you can do a power attack with <x>.
  • Power attacks deal a lot of damage and clears all enemy bullets but it takes a while for the extra ship to cool-down and be useful again.
  • Extra ships follow you around shooting forward.
  • If your main ship gets destroyed, the next extra ship becomes your new main ship in its place.
  • In short the extra ships are: lives, bombs and helpers in one.


  • Lots. Of. Bullets!
  • Randomized procedurally generated enemies, mini-bosses and end-level bosses. Every play-through is different.
  • 1 bullet hits the enemy = 1 experience point. Each experience level reached makes your ship more powerful by giving you one of these: extra-ships, increased bullet shooting rate or increased power attack and lower cool-downs.
  • No penalty in death. You keep your experience points and experience level, you just restart the current level.
  • 10 different levels and infinite new game pluses with increased difficulty.


  • Shooters: Zanac, R-Type, Gradius, Cave Shmups, Recca, Raiden, 1942.
  • Others: Metroid, Cookie Clicker, RPGs.
  • Excellent Pico-8 Shooters: Astero, They Started It, Invader Overload, Buzzkill.

This has been my most ambitious Pico-8 game yet and I would greatly appreciate any feedback you might have... also, I'm interested to see how far people get on the game. Enjoy!

Special thanks to everyone on the pico-8 community for the help, encouragement and awesome little code snippets! I <3 Pico-8!

Update Log:

Update 1.03:

  • Adding a little flashing outline to the main ship to make it easier to distinguish from your buddy ships.
  • Made boss generation a tiny bit more interesting, I think.
  • Tweaks to the first level to try to make it a bit less boring.

Update 1.02:

  • Fixed to run on the PocketCHIP!

Update 1.01:

  • Fixed accidentially triggering a power attack by starting the game with 'x'. Now the game can only be started/continued with 'z'.
  • Display "death count" on game over screen as well.
P#31935 2016-10-28 00:42 ( Edited 2016-11-07 22:24)

The explosions, the star warp effect, the gameplay... it's all there. And it's all fantastic. Favorited! Got to level 4. I need to sleep, but I'll definitely be playing this one tomorrow!

P#31942 2016-10-28 04:45 ( Edited 2016-10-28 08:45)

This is so great! I got to W7 before the difficulty feels like just too much for me. These little guys who go straight downscreen and fire aimed shots from the side and behind are too much to handle if anything else is onscreen.

Minor bug.. when restarting with X it results in a super attack right away.

P#31948 2016-10-28 07:39 ( Edited 2016-10-28 11:39)

Very impressive!! Great with saving between levels. I got to w-3, but I am on a clicky keyboard and didn't know about the bombs, will try again with a controller in the standalone Pico-8!

I love the bullets, reminds me a lot of cave shooters, and they are always clearly visible.

When you die and lose the exp (especially with only one left) it is difficult to recover, you lose half of your firepower.

P#31966 2016-10-28 15:54 ( Edited 2016-10-28 19:54)

Very nicely done! The smoke behind the explosions seems so real.

P#31972 2016-10-28 19:30 ( Edited 2016-10-28 23:30)

Best. Period.

There are so many great things about this cart and one big sad thing...

Making a list of great things would take too long, shit, just look at it. It's gorgeous. Sounds great. More bullets than you can shake a stick at...but what I think is the biggest achievement with this one is the control vs bullets.

Jose managed to find the perfect balance of bullet hell and ship control on a very limited Pico8. You don't have a lot of degrees of movement yet at no point did I feel I was getting cheated by the controls, which is very impressive. I gave up on my bullet hell because I had accepted that you couldn't get fine enough control with such limited resolution but there you go...mission accomplished.

The one sad thing is that it won't play on the PocketCHIP. Games like this are the exact reason why I bought a PocketCHIP, which makes the lack of current version on the handheld a bigger and bigger problem - but that's another rant for another thread.

Simply put, this is a Top 3 cart for me. You can tell a lot went into this game and that it was made by a fan of the genre. Bravo!

Now to pick it apart and steal all the code I can!

P#31974 2016-10-28 19:47 ( Edited 2016-10-28 23:47)

This is very, very good. There aren't a lot of pico-8 games which are hard but make me want to keep playing to get better at them, but this is definitely one of them. A lot of my comments have already been made. Your tuning of the ship movement slowdown during firing is pretty ideal: it's not dramatic enough that it's annoying, and I got through the first few minutes of play without really paying attention, but it slowly becomes absolutely essential to manage.

Really the only blemish I've seen is the issue cheepicus reported, where continuing with the super attack button immediately triggers a super.

P#32027 2016-10-29 13:54 ( Edited 2016-10-29 17:54)

Thanks a lot for the great comments and reviews guys!

I'll try to fix that starting power attack bug soon.

And I agree with MorningToast, not being able to play it on my PocketCHIP is a big sad thing. I actually found out about Pico-8's existence because of the PocketCHIP. If only there was a way to know why it wouldn't run, it just kicks out of Pico-8 without any kind of error message.

P#32062 2016-10-30 00:37 ( Edited 2016-10-30 04:37)

Great game...played this a bit over the weekend and got to level 8 before I really started to struggle.

Like the generated enemies. Once I had enemies that looked like a flower pot with plant growing out of it!

P#32119 2016-10-31 09:32 ( Edited 2016-10-31 13:32)

I never had gotten into bullet hells (this counts right?) until this game, I'm level 9 ,world 4 ,30 deaths and loving it. Well done!

P#32127 2016-10-31 20:20 ( Edited 2016-11-01 00:20)

What a great game!
And it's nice that you can save the progression.

P#32142 2016-11-02 04:25 ( Edited 2016-11-02 08:25)

@guerragames: The pb on the PocketChip is that Pico-8 overestimates the token and/or memory count (not sure which one, maybe both). So if your game is close to either 8192 tokens or 64 kbytes, Pico won't load the game as if it there was an overflow. We have the pb on the 1st collab16: each of us 16 gamemakers used the most of their 512 tokens, so the whole cart is close to the token limits. It's ok on computers, but too big to work on pocketChip.

I don't know how much the game size is overestimated, in terms of tokens or kbytes. At least that would be a clue at the max size allowed on pocketChip. I really hope Zep can fix this issue. It's a pity for people who, like many of us, bought the pocketChip because of pico-8.

P#32149 2016-11-02 09:33 ( Edited 2016-11-02 13:33)

@ElGregos: I have a version of the cart in my PocketChip with 7391/8192 tokens and 46923/65536 chars. I would think this is reasonably below the limits, but with no proper error reporting anything's possible really. I'm open to try any other ideas you guys might have though.

P#32152 2016-11-02 11:45 ( Edited 2016-11-02 15:45)

Fixed on PocketCHIP, turned out to be a string again. Last time it was something like "-=", this time the older version on PocketCHIP doesn't like a string with this "\".

And I think the new version even has a bug on the token counting related to that string, typing:

print("hello world!\\",64,64)

with and without \ gives different token counts.

P#32157 2016-11-02 17:24 ( Edited 2016-11-02 21:24)

I LOVE THIS. Wish that the first level wasn't so long and boring, though. Game doesn't get fun until the green level. Then I'm all in! :D

P#32225 2016-11-05 05:59 ( Edited 2016-11-05 09:59)

This is great!

P#32232 2016-11-05 08:10 ( Edited 2016-11-05 12:10)

Thanks for your comments and feedback, guys!

@hseiken: My intention was to design the first level as a sort of tutorial, but I agree it's a bit on the boring side, I'll try to tweak a little in the near future.

P#32238 2016-11-05 11:32 ( Edited 2016-11-05 15:32)

(Instant star and fav for me)

The only thing that consistently bugs me is some bullets going faster than the majority of other bullets. (most often arcs/circles from the far side of the screen that feel like they move 3-4x faster)

My first/enduring reaction is it would be fine if various speeds were different-enough looking. As is, when it gets thick enough, I feel like I'm forced to use a screen clear when I'd prefer to have just as many bullets and try to dodge them. (some of the boss gifs you posted are what I crave, but the pile of different speed bullets world 3 and now 4 have had me stuck up to level 10 and counting.)

P#32311 2016-11-07 17:24 ( Edited 2016-11-07 22:24)

nicely done! well... i dont know if you gonna read this comment tho. anyway, thanks for da gem.

P#97392 2021-09-16 09:24

(almost) 6 years later, still an absolute gem

P#136072 2023-10-18 12:56

How do you beat world 10?

P#137473 2023-11-15 14:27

what exactly do the level ups do besides giving you an extra ship sometimes?

P#138241 2023-12-04 21:00

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