Hello all, this is My First PICO-8 Game™︎ and therefore My First BBS Cart Upload™︎™︎, hopefully I've done it right.
Unchecked-8 is a slight twist on the classic spike-jumping, maze exploration platformer. There are simply 10 stars to collect. Once you figure out how it works, I estimate it takes 15-30 minutes?
I wanted to dive into PICO-8, make something reasonably small, and actually release it - so I chose a remake/demake of my own short game Unchecked (previously existed in Flash and Basic). I like this so much it's now the canonical version of this game!
I first put it up on itch.io, because it had some HTML player customizations and also to hide My First P8/Lua Code™︎™︎™︎
but now, with a minor update to the game, and the 0.2.3 release of P8 (with Lucky Draw!) I wanted to share it on the BBS :)
Also wow! The mechanics are pretty interesting, and seem like they would open up for pretty good level design tbh. The graphics are pretty simple, which i have no problems with, and this is really cool for first pico 8 game! (even though you just ported an old game of yours to p8 haha)
@SmellyFishstiks - Thanks! Two possible inspirations were Braid (time affected by distance from the placed ring) and Terry Cavanagh's Fountain (Flash game, no longer playable?) a top-down explorer where the farther you wander from the central fountain, I think you lost more health or stamina.
@ThaCuber - Right, the graphics were intentionally simple to limit the scope. Same with the music, the last thing I added. (I love tossing around trademark symbols.)
@ZadGhoul - Obrigado! I hope some people get all 10 stars. I know which one I consider most difficult...
@OCISGRAT - Thanks!
@HouseinTheTrees - Yeah, that's the ext_cmd that sets the window title text. It works in the compiled binaries. And in the HTML player it does not display an error. Only in this BBS upload(???)
@touk "I know which one I consider most difficult..."
This was my second playthrough, the first took 34 minutes. Might be doable in ~6 minutes? Didn't record it, so it's hard to say exactly how much time I lost.
Also, speaking of errors in this bbs version—if you stand still for a little bit, a phantom of the player appears at the top of the screen sometimes. It doesn't seem to affect anything.
@hahhah42 Nice job!! I think you're the first person to confirm getting all 10/10. Fast time on the replay, too.
I don't know my best time, but it's around 4.5-5.5 minutes. Of course I know all the stars and have practiced all the jumps so much.
Actually, a few other jumps/blocks/spikes have been edited since the original Flash/Basic version to make the platforming slightly easier. Because tough jumps aren't supposed to be the focus here!
@touk, your games are surprisingly complex and well thought out. I've never played a game like this one before. You have my star.
For those confused, hitting the circle is a save-spot, but when you do it becomes sort of like an energy black hole. You cannot jump in the room you touched it, and depending upon how far (in rooms) you are to to it, your energy to jump increases more and more.
The challenge is when you need to jump a particular height to avoid ceiling spikes, then creating this "black hole" becomes a requirement to make sure you have just the right energy level for your jump to get past certain obstacles.
The other challenge is you need to "die" in certain instances to warp back to your last saved spot - so that also adds to the challenge and complexity of the game.
Your goal is to grab all the stars. If you do not move for a moment you will see a ghost appear above you showing your current height in jumping, showing you if your strength is too high or too little to achieve your goal.
@BrightBlackHole Yeah, that sort of spike stand is possible. I don't think it breaks the game in any effective way. (If somebody uses that to bypass something, I'd love to see it!) I leaned toward the spike collision being more lenient than aggressive/pixel-perfect.
@dw817 Good summary, I hope you like any future games I make too.
Regarding the spike-edge trick, the first time I played I spent some time trying to use it to get to that one star we discussed above. I got into the room before it using the trick, but then your jump is too high to use it again because the spikes you can use are at the same height in both rooms. So I gave up on it.
The hunched appearance of the protagonist seems fitting for the trouble the poor creature has getting around. There's a lot of personality in those pixels.
Completed it for the first time in 21 minutes, so I think your estimate is good. Are the counters on the right the number of switches and the number of jumps? It would be interesting to see what the optimum route through the game to minimise either of those is, although I'm not about to work it out.
Most of the levels seemed fair, but I died a lot to these particular spikes, even if I tried to carefully step right just enough to avoid them.
If you have any tokens to spare, would it be possible to have known star rooms remain on the map, even if you blank the others each time you hit a switch? I think that would be good for hinting at which stars remain, while keeping the challenge.
@Cowirrie I posted a speedrun above that had 7 checkpoints & 103 jumps. Looking back at it from a min jumps perspective, I'm pretty sure you could shave at least 6 jumps while following essentially the same route, so it could go down to at least 97. There's a couple other spots I'm not certain about, but still mid 90s either way.
That was the most efficient route I could find, so I don't expect there'd be an alternate route that takes fewer jumps. But I've been wrong about that sort of thing before.
@Cowirrie Great feedback! Thanks!
Yes, the end stats are Time, Deaths, Checkpoints Hit, and Jumps. I doubt a single run can optimize all 4 stats. For example, intentionally deaths can trim off some time.
Those spikes are probably my #2 biggest annoyance in the game, but unlike my #1 (see @hahhah42 earlier post), they don't pose any unique challenge. They're basically a speedbump to slow you down for no reason. ... Maybe I'll remove those in the small update in progress!
- I tried a few functional variations of the mini-map and I liked this the best. BUT I do like your suggestion of always showing known stars. Should be plenty of tokens left to add that. (And it's my first P8/Lua game, so it's not even efficiently coded.)
@hahhah42 's route is probably optimal. The world is only 8x4 rooms and somewhat linear, so there aren't too many possibilities.
Here's a secret for everyone: if you hold X+O for ~3 seconds you can toggle Debug Mode which shows your game stats in realtime.
I've uploaded a new version 8.2 with a few improvements:
- minimap now marks any rooms that have known stars (cycling white dots)
- the jump height indicator "ghost" now flashes if your jump will go above the screen
- removed one spike block that was not interesting, just annoying (cc @Cowirrie)
- removed another spike block (purely visual)
- prevent the "set_title" warning when playing on the BBS
I chose to keep as-is the hardest checkpoint jump, sort of the final boss in this game, the one @hahhah42 mentioned earlier under a Hidden tag. Sorry >:)
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