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Cart #meteormayhem-0 | 2022-04-19 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Can you escape the storm?

This is my second major project and first game for the PICO-8; an arcade shooter where you dodge and shoot meteors and try to survive long enough to escape the storm. Get enough points and you can buy upgrades for your next game.

Here is a screenshot of the stats from the end of my first complete playthrough.


(These instructions can also be found on the title screen)

Try to survive the meteor storm as long as possible.
Every 10 seconds you survive is 10 pts
Dodge meteors for 10 pts, or blast them for 200 pts!

Use ⬅️➡️⬆️⬇️ to move
This spends your green bars
to recharge (100 pts)
Run out and you can't move!

Use ❎🅾️ to blast
This spends your red bars
to recharge (100 pts)
Run out and you can't blast!

Getting hit by a meteor will spend your purple bars
to recharge (100 pts)
Get hit without one and it's GAME OVER!

If all of your bars are at least partially full, you may
for 200 pts
These will give you
which will refill the next bar you empty

Pts may be spent at the end of a game to purchase upgrades.

Good luck!

P#110496 2022-04-19 16:02 ( Edited 2022-04-19 16:42)


This is neat. The motion of the meteors at different speeds is compelling. The large ship sprite with its tilting motion is appropriate to the design, and the different thrust rockets are a nice touch. Gold star.

However, most of the upgrades feel like red herrings. The star powerups are so effective, what really matters is buying the 3 upgrades that improve the effectiveness of shields, and then you can pretty much perpetually keep all bars full.

Although I'm not sure how to get the green gift box indicated on the upper right of your endgame screenshot.

By ignoring the +1 upgrades, I could afford the 3 shield effectiveness upgrades going into the 4th game:

Stars are plentiful, some of the time.

By this point I'm perpetually taking damage, but the shields last long enough to keep picking up stars.

In the end game statistics, I've seen almost none of the regular powerups. On the first 3 runs, almost no time passed between running out of stars and running out of life.

I think a few adjustments to your powerup and upgrade system could take this from a good game to a great game. I'm not fully sure how to achieve that, but a few suggestions you could experiment with:

  1. Have the powerups that keep you alive give zero money, and then add separate powerups that give money. This makes the player face some choices.
  2. Color the meteors to indicate which (if any) powerup they will drop when destroyed, giving the player further choices to respond to. (Possibly make this an upgrade to buy, so the game isn't too visually confusing on when starting out.) (Or do the blue dots indicate something like this already?)
  3. Show all upgrades on the upgrade menu, graying out the ones you can't afford. This will help show if it's worth buying now, or saving up for one of the fancier things.
  4. Make the background stars a single color gradient: dark blue-light blue-cyan-white, or dark red-light red-orange-yellow-white. Doesn't affect gameplay, but makes it more visually cohesive.
P#110534 2022-04-20 01:33

@Cowirrie Thanks for the notes! I will keep these in mind if/when I make an update. I admit finding the right balance for upgrades was tricky and could still use some tweaking. I like the idea of making the shields worth less or no points so that there is more incentive to go for the fuel and blaster also.

There are some upgrades I had ideas for but didn't implement; something that indicates whether a meteor has a drop is a good idea, but will require some reworking as right now this isn't determined until the meteor is destroyed. I also thought about having an upgrade that increases the chances of meteors having drops.

P#110536 2022-04-20 02:09

Blasted 36 meteors. Reminds me of one of the levels in Apple ]['s SNEAKERS. Let's see if I can find that.


Gold star for your Black Rock Shooter !

P#110541 2022-04-20 03:01

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