Log In  

Cart #talis_rotdl-3 | 2021-06-15 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

TALIS - Return of the Demon Lord

The land of Talis is troubled: a prophecy announced the return of the Demon Lord.
Are you the fated hero who will seal forever this menace ?
Explore the land and improve yourself to defeat the infamous Demon Lord.


You choose one of the 4 hero classes and embark on a journey to find and defeat the Demon Lord.
Explore the land and visit the towns of Talis. Listen to the rumors in the taverns: you might hear of the location of a long lost talisman that might help you in your quest, or more information regarding the Demon Lord.
However, don't waste too much time exploring the land as the Demon Lord influence destroys the economy of the land.


  • 3d world display with day/night
  • moon influence on the dark denizens
  • 14 different monsters roaming the world
  • 4 different hero classes
  • Demon Lord influence on town economy as days pass by


  • please take time to read the rules in the forum below.
  • farm level 1 monsters on the first island to improve your starting hero equipment.
  • listen to rumors in taverns to learn of the Demon Lord type and his wereabouts.
  • Be wary of the moon influence on the monster strength.
  • Do not hesitate to pass time to improve your odds of winning against monsters.


PS: if you win against the game, please post in the thread below the hero you used, the demon lord type and the number of days you needed to defeat the demon lord.

P#91063 2021-04-25 12:40 ( Edited 2021-06-16 05:36)

Starting the game

On the opening screen you can choose:

  • new game: to start a new game
  • continue: to continue a previously saved game


  • games are automatically saved when entering a town.
  • each time a new game is created, monsters, Talisman and Demon Lord are randomized and the previously saved game is lost.

When choosing a new game, you can choose between 4 hero classes:

strong knight


  • good strength
  • low affinity with magic
  • can learn 1 spell

elusive thief


  • evade enemies when in forest or hills.
  • cannot use high level armor
  • can learn 1 spell

valiant cleric


  • all rounder
  • cannot use high level weapons
  • can learn 1 spell, and starts with a psy defence spell (prayer)

powerful wizard


  • high affinity with magic
  • cannot use high level armor or weapon
  • can learn 3 spells, and starts with a strength attack spell (fireball)

Note on difficulty

Each hero has his/her advantages and drawbacks. When starting your first game, the knight is easier to handle.
The thief is fun to play but more difficult to improve: the player will need to choose the time and place of its fights.
From lower to higher difficulty, it will be: Knight, Wizard, Cleric, Thief. Please note the difficulty is also influenced by the Demon Lord type (e.g.: a Wizard will be easier to use against a psy based Demon Lord than a Knight).

P#91064 2021-04-25 12:45 ( Edited 2021-04-25 14:29)

Roaming the land

The land is composed of different terrain features:

  • mountains and water are impassable
  • caves allow to cross seas
  • forest and hills block line of sight
  • cities provide what the player needs
  • ruins and cromlechs are the home of the monster bosses: defeat the monster boss to remove enemies.

Time is divided in months of 12 days.
Each day is divided in 10 hours: 5 of light and 5 of night.
Each moon phase lasts 3 days.

Press X button to advance time by 1 hour. Note that:

  • monsters move and spawn on the 10th hour.
  • used spells are replenished after 4 hours.

Press O button to display the local map:

  • the red line shows the direction in which you are looking.
  • you cannot move when displaying the map, however you can turn in place. Press again O button to close the map.

Moving into:

  • Monsters: starts combat.
  • Caves: allow you to choose wether you want to cross the sea (ENTER) or not (GO BACK OUTSIDE).
  • Towns: allow you to enter the town and automatically save the current game on cartridge.
P#91065 2021-04-25 12:51 ( Edited 2021-04-25 16:36)

In Town

Each town has the following places:

(use the upper menu to change places - use the lower menu to change the item proposed - navigate between menus with UP/DOWN buttons)


  • You can exit the town
  • You can save your game after having improved you hero

Reminder: each time you enter a town, you are at the drawbridge and the game is automatically saved.


  • Heals 1 life for 2 gold
  • A hero cannot have more than 4 lives


Providing the hero class allows it:

  • allows a hero to increase the level of his/her weapon
  • allows a hero to increase the level of his/her armor

Apothicary / spell shop

Providing the hero class allows it:

  • if a spell slot is empty, allows to buy a level 1 specific spell type (see Magic below)
  • if a spell slot is used, allows a hero to increase the level of his/her spell


For 2 gold, you get to hear one of these interesting rumors:

  • The Demon Lord type: strength or psy
  • The general direction of the Demon Lord lair
  • The general direction of the Talisman hideout

Town level

Each town in Talis has a hidden economic level: it governs the price practiced in armoury and in apothicary.

After a while, a town economy feels the pressure of the Demon Lord. Level increase of armor, weapon and spells get more expensive due to material shortage. If a city becomes too expensive, check in the vicinity in case some city are less expensive.

P#91067 2021-04-25 12:58 ( Edited 2021-04-25 16:37)


When encountering monsters, a combat round is initiated. You have 3 actions available (except the thief, see below):


attack the monster using the hero corresponding characteristic:

  • strength based: weapon level + str characteristic
  • psy based: psy characteristic

Attack + Spell

Cast a spell and attack the monster using the hero corresponding characteristic.
If the spell is:

  • attack based: adds the spell level to the hero characteristic
  • defense based: removes the spell level from damage inflicted by the monster to the hero

Note: if the hero has multiple spells, he can choose the spell to use in the lower menu ring (use DOWN button to access). If the hero has no available spells but selects this aaction, he/she will do a normal attack instead.


The hero flees and drops some equipment:

  • the weapon level is reduced by 1. If the hero's weapon level is 0, he/she loses a life instead.
  • the hero falls back to his/her previous location

Infiltrate (thief class only)

The thief, when in bad going (forest, hills), can evade combat with no penalty (no weapon loss, no retreat).

Combat outcome

There are 2 different combat outcomes:

the hero inflicts damage

This reduces the number of lives of the monster. If the monster has no more lives, it is defeated.

When the player has defeated enough monsters of one type, he/she increases by 1 his/her characteristic (e.g.: if a knight defeats enough strength based monsters, his/her strength characteristic increases by 1).

If the hero defeated the Demon Lord: congratulations, you won the game.

the monster inflicts damage

  • if the armor level of the hero is above 0: the armor absorbs damage up to its level. Leftover damage is removed from the hero lives. Then armor level is reduced by 1
  • if the armor level of the hero is 0: damage is removed from the hero lives.

If the monster and the hero are still alive, a new combat round begins.

P#91068 2021-04-25 13:11 ( Edited 2021-04-29 20:05)


There are 4 types of spells:

  • Attack based Strength spell
  • Attack based Psy spell
  • Defence based Strength spell
  • Defence based Psy spell

Attack based spells improve the hero characteristic in combat. Level increase is expensive.

Defence based spells reduce combat damage during on round. Level increase is cheap.

When a spell is cast in a combat round, it is unavailable during 4 hours: it needs 4 hours before the hero can use it again in combat.

Heroes do not have the same affinity towards magic:

  • Knight starts with 1 empty spell slot
  • Cleric starts with a defence psy based spell (prayer) and 1 empty spell slot
  • Wizard starts with an attack strength based spell (fireball) and 3 empty spell slots
  • Thief starts with 1 empty spell slot

For Heroes with low affinity towards magic, it is recommended to check the Demon Lord type at the tavern before buying spells.

P#91069 2021-04-25 13:19 ( Edited 2021-04-25 16:40)


Warning: when encountering monsters, their combat characteristic is nb_lives * level.

strength based

Are stronger during the full moon

Goblins (strength level 1)
Spider (strength level 2)
Mantis (strength level 3)
Orc (strength level 4)
Minos (strength level 5)
Howler (strength level 6)
Devil (strength level 7 - Demon Lord stuff)

psy based

Are stronger during the new moon

Minder (psy level 1)
Ghost (psy level 2)
Skelly (psy level 3)
Spirit (psy level 4)
Necros (psy level 5)
Vampyr (psy level 6)
Deity (psy level 7 - Demon lord stuff)

P#91070 2021-04-25 13:31 ( Edited 2021-04-25 13:31)



Nobody knows where it precisely is. It is rumoured that some boss monster keeps it in its lair.

The church encourages heroes on quest to defeat the Demon Lord to retrieve this relic.
Though the church has forgotten what the relic can do, holding true of this mysterious relic might help the courageous to purge the scourge of this world.

Adventurers at the tavern may have a clue, provided you pay them a drink.

Design notes

This is my third game.
My approach to games is to allow players to live their own stories.

As such, I wanted to create an immersive game with first person 3d display where the player explores the land to accomplish his quest. To increase immersiveness, I wanted the player to feel time passing (day/night, moon phases) and that time has an influence on the environment (moon and Demon Lord influences).

The most difficult part was not the techniques but the contents:

  • what rules to select for interesting gameplay
  • how to maximize the bestiary and the player actions within pico8 constraints
  • how to handle replayability

This took 6 months to tune the content and playtest the game with the different heroes.

I hope you will enjoy the result.

Enjoy your quest

P#91071 2021-04-25 13:56 ( Edited 2021-04-25 16:54)


P#91120 2021-04-26 15:19

Thank you for your time making the game, I loved it.

P#91228 2021-04-28 04:15

Fantastic work on the sprite design! As well as the environmental art! I can tell a lot of passion and love was put into this! Great job for only your third game!

P#91240 2021-04-28 11:33 ( Edited 2021-04-28 11:40)

If you immediately tap left/right to select continue and then press x game crashes

P#91241 2021-04-28 12:20

This bug is not easily reproductible. It seems to happen on tablet browser the first time you run the game without creating a new game first. It is not due to an absence of game save: I shipped the game with a saved game with a knight.
This bug never happens after (unless you remove browser cookies?). I have tested this cartridge on Windows pc, Linux pc and Safari browser on tablet. You should be fine if you start by creating a new game.
Thank you.

P#91251 2021-04-28 14:30 ( Edited 2021-04-28 14:36)

@red_ghost_71 hey found this HP bug for the cleric after I selected respawn.

Another one here I respawned with no HP

Also during the combat I’m taking damage after I kill the enemy? As well as I take damage after I flee (not sure if that was intended). The combat may need some tweaking.

P#91260 2021-04-28 19:30 ( Edited 2021-04-28 19:48)

Weird bugs, I have never encountered them until now. Can you give me more details ?

  • on which platform do you play ?
  • what version of pico8 do you use ? (This game was done on version 0.1.12c)
  • can you confirm that you were using each time the cleric ?
  • taking damage after killing the enemy: what was the enemy ?
  • normally when fleeing, you lose 1 weapon level (see rules ). However, did you lose anything else during the fleeing action ? What was the enemy in this case ?

Thanks in advance

P#91261 2021-04-28 20:18 ( Edited 2021-04-28 20:20)

the platform I played on was iOS mobile.
I played on the site so I assume 0.2.2c would be the version? Unless it's using the version you uploaded it as.
I can confirm I was using the cleric.
Update: New save, playing on desktop, using chrome. while playing as thief had the same issue now, combating against a minder.
the enemy was a minder when I lost HP after killing them.
I still definitely lost a heart when fleeing, that was all that happened. the enemy whilst fleeing was a minder.

P#91267 2021-04-28 22:04 ( Edited 2021-04-28 22:29)

Thank you for your precisions.
The browser version is 0.2.2c. I checked the pico8 changelog yesterday: it seems the new version updated binary operators. I will upgrade the code to the latest standard.
Regarding fleeing psy based enemies, I will look into the code.
I will upload the new version when both bugs are solved as soon as possible.
Thank you

P#91280 2021-04-29 05:35 ( Edited 2021-04-29 05:36)

@red_ghost_71 thanks man! I really love the core of the game. I wanna see it at it's best!

P#91290 2021-04-29 12:19

The cartridge is updated and is now version 0.2.2c compliant (update of binary operators, use of integer division to gain tokens).

I also corrected a few elements:

  • absence of life level control when fleeing combat
  • no main music theme reset when choosing flee or infiltrate at boss combat
  • load/save spell overflow

I also improved the thief hero: the thief acts now more in character (I won't tell how ;-) ).

I corrected the bugs.
Regarding the fleeing rule, I forgot to explain a part of it (had to look in the code to remember it).
Normally, when you flee, you lose 1 weapon level. However, if the hero has no weapon level to throw away, he/she loses a life instead.

The aim of this rule is to differentiate the characters from the thief who can infiltrate.

It also gives more incentive to use the X button to pass the hours when in map to observe the monsters and choose the time, level and place of battle.

Imagine you are looking at 3 Minders in front of you in the 3d map display. You know these 3 minders have a psy total of 3 (nb monsters 3 x level 1). They feel stronger compared to your psy characteristic of 2. You press X until you reach the tenth hour: the minders will disperse and you will be able to fight a single minder with psy total of 1 (nb monsters 1 x level 1) -> this greatly improves your odds of winning.

May I also remind you that psy based monsters are stronger under the new moon. To avoid this difficulty either pass the hours to get to the next moon phase or switch to hunting strength based monsters.

Enjoy this new version.

P#91314 2021-04-29 20:03 ( Edited 2021-04-30 17:12)

@red_ghost_71 Wow you updated this fast! Great! I’ll try it out today!

P#91367 2021-05-01 19:56

@red_ghost_71 Runs well, thanks man.

P#91769 2021-05-10 17:17

This is a great game. Two things I got confused by:

-I don't think I was able to use caves to get to another island. Maybe I pressed the wrong button.

-My knight has one spell, but when I select attack+spell it says "no spell" selected and doesn't let me pick one.

P#93098 2021-06-06 02:43

Thank you for playing.

on caves:
when entering a cave, you have two options.

  • enter: press X to enter. This allows you to change islands.
  • go back outside : press X to stay on the current island. This cancels changing islands move.
    Press O in roaming mode to look at your map : you will thus check if you crossed the sea or not.

on spells:
when used, spells have a cooldown of 4 hours in game.
A spell still in countdown is greyed. A grey spell, is not available in combat.
If you need your spell, check its state before going in combat. If it is grey, it is still in countdown.
Press X in roaming mode to pass one hour and check back the spell state.

Silver Wolf Guild advice: the wary adventurer does not pass time near an enemy to avoid being overrun on the 10th hour.

Green Cauldron Apothicary note: it takes time to replenish a spell because you need to memorize it. Always plan for time to memorize your spells. Or you risk ending like Arduin The Unready during a goblin stampede. :-)

P#93105 2021-06-06 13:32

Something I am still not quite understanding though. I don't know how to execute my spell. It isn't gray, it just isn't able to be used during battle, I guess?

Also, a minor request: Detect if there is a saved game present, and if so, have "Continue" selected by default on the title screen. I'm always afraid I'm gonna delete my save :D Some games actually don't even have a new game/continue option, they just always save, but have a "reset progress" or "new game" option in the menu that you must go explicitly select.

P#93107 2021-06-06 14:18 ( Edited 2021-06-06 14:21)

I see what your problem is. In your case, it is normal not being able to use your spell: the enemy is psy based (minder) while the spell is str based (fireball).

Spells are colour coded as follow:

  • str attack spell (fireball): red
  • psy attack spell (mindblast): orange
  • str defense spell (stoneskin): blue
  • psy defense spell (god prayer): green

When playing heroes with a single spell slot, it is advised to check before at the tavern the type of demon lord. It will then be easier to select your spell specialty to match your characteristics and the demon lord type. If the spell does not help your quest much, getting the talisman may help you.

Regarding your minor query, it is on my todo list. It was sacrificed due to a lack of tokens in version 0.1.2c. Since I ported the game in 0.2.2, I may retrieve enough tokens using the latest pico keywords to implement this feature. It will take some time to test before release though.

P#93108 2021-06-06 15:01

I have another minor request. I think that the game should save not only when you enter a town, but it should be saved any time you leave a town as well. I often find I go to a town, improve something or heal, leave, then die, and have to repeat the improvement. So I've gotten into the habit of always leaving, then returning, then leaving, every time, to avoid this situation, haha.

P#93227 2021-06-09 01:54

On second thought, that would create a disadvantage. I'm trying to fight a boss right now and trying different strategies with exactly what I buy from the town first (will armor work? etc.) if it auto saved, I'd be forced to re-earn rather than try different strategies. Trade off I guess.

P#93248 2021-06-09 13:59

You are totally right. I have considered saving on exiting town and rejected it for the same reason since I have space to save only one game on the cart.
However, if you wish to keep upgrades you bought from town, you can explicitly save at the drawbridge.

P#93262 2021-06-09 18:13 ( Edited 2021-06-09 19:15)

Oh nice, somehow didn't notice the explicit save option. That works, saves me the trouble of re-entering haha. Looking for the talisman at the moment...I suspect this giant orc is stopping me from finding it. heh

P#93336 2021-06-11 01:59

Regarding your minor query (start cart on continue when there is a saved game), I could not implement it due do a lack of tokens.

  • converting remaining keywords to latest pico version: + 3 tokens
  • add update: - 8 tokens (based on checking the cart save area)

Since my code is 8191 tokens long, I am missing 4 tokens to implement this solution.
I need more time to look at this. However I can’t guarantee progress within the next month (the code is really packed).

P#93425 2021-06-13 17:30

No worries! I'm just being very careful, hehe. I found the talisman!

I hear ya on token saving!!! Have you already learned the technique where you can turn {0,1,2,3,4} into SPLIT"0,1,2,3,4" ??? that one saved me a TON of tokens on my last big PICO-8 project. Trade off of course is chars and you can hit a limit there too, but I think folks typically hit token limit a lot sooner than the char limit or compression limit.

for v in all(x) do
P#93429 2021-06-13 18:17 ( Edited 2021-06-13 18:21)

I didn’t know of this trick. I will look into it. Thanks.
I will tell you when the update is ready.

P#93430 2021-06-13 18:43

Ok. I tried the trick. I gained enough tokens to be able to implement your minor query.

The cart has been updated: when you have a saved game, the cart shows "continue" option.

Warning: since I uploaded the cart, I don't know what happens to your saved game if you play in browser. In any case, explicitly use continue the first time you run the game with the new cart and tell me if your saved game still exists after the cart updload

Have a nice game.

P#93432 2021-06-13 19:17 ( Edited 2021-06-13 19:21)

I tested on my end a browser based game.
A previously saved game is erased when a new cart is uploaded by the programmer…

P#93433 2021-06-13 19:41 ( Edited 2021-06-13 19:42)

well don't worry about it too much just for one user haha, I'm having a great time with your game! :) I'll be sure to back up the game data first.

P#93445 2021-06-14 02:53 ( Edited 2021-06-14 02:53)

I think you put in the new feature cause it defaulted to continue for me but my saved game is just fine, it was not erased. Maybe that only happens for browser player, and maybe it is a bug (in the pico-8 web player)? It was fine in PICO-8 itself!

P#93498 2021-06-15 01:34 ( Edited 2021-06-15 01:34)

I found a minor cosmetic bug. When I level up my spell to > 9, the spell level does not fit on the spell icon.

P#93500 2021-06-15 02:00 ( Edited 2021-06-15 02:00)

I have corrected the cosmetic bug and uploaded the cart.

P#93571 2021-06-15 20:48

I completed the game! I enjoyed it very much, definitely among my favorite RPGs on the system. I might re-play it at some point with one of the other character classes.

P#93582 2021-06-16 00:17 ( Edited 2021-06-16 00:24)

Can you tell me how many days in game you took and what was the type of demon lord ?
As for replay, monsters, demon lord and talisman are randomized each time you start a new game.
So each new game will be a discovery.
Thank you for playing the game.

P#93589 2021-06-16 05:09

I won on day 304, and the demon lord was a devil of type STR. :)

BTW I really like the slowly scrolling clouds on the horizon.

P#93604 2021-06-16 14:02 ( Edited 2021-06-16 14:03)

Just a small BUG:
When you choose continue from the main menu but don't have a save game yet, you get an error.
Maybe you could check for an existing save game on boot and only show that entry when there is one.

P#126076 2023-02-20 08:52

[Please log in to post a comment]

Follow Lexaloffle:          
Generated 2023-03-22 23:19:42 | 0.063s | Q:66