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Cart #thelair-0 | 2020-11-28 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Edit for 2017: The Lair has now been updated with 60 fps support and new pixelart, making it look and feel even better! I also tweaked the combo mechanics so it's easier and more fun to rack up big combos. Have fun!

If you'd like to support me and the game, you can also play and donate at on itch.io!

Controls: Arrow keys - for moving around, O - for stabbing things and controlling menus, X - for blocking things that try to stab you, hold O - for a super-charged attack, double tap direction - for dashing to safety.

So, this is The Lair, a PICO-8 fantasy beat'em up that I've been working on and tweeting about since forever. Try it and let me know what you think!

The whole game was made by two people: @gruber_music, who provided (you guessed it) the audio parts, and me, who provided... everything else ;).

Have fun!

P#26851 2016-08-13 13:21 ( Edited 2020-11-28 18:36)


HEY! Sort of a cross between Golden Axe and Ghosts and Goblins.

Very nicely done with the atmosphere, paralax scrolling, and introducing new enemies, as first you get just a few, then you're pummeled by those satan-dog things that puke stuff at you that costs you health, so you have to take those out pretty quick with the next fight(s) when you come up against them again. And throwing in potions to help out was also good as well.

Then those blue witch pains in the ass that rush you on the second stage--ack, one of them took away the last of my health in a fight.

Well done! Looking forward to seeing what comes up in the later levels.

P#26853 2016-08-13 14:51 ( Edited 2016-08-13 18:51)

Awesome! Been waiting for this one for a while! Turned out great, fantastic work, man!

P#26854 2016-08-13 15:12 ( Edited 2016-08-13 19:12)

Very good game. The mood is perfect with graph and music. The game play is good too. Maybe the dashes were starting a bit randomly if you altern left/right. In easy mode it was prety fun. Now that I know the enemies a bit more, I should try harder difficulty.

P#26855 2016-08-13 15:22 ( Edited 2016-08-13 19:22)

Thanks for all the kind words! Worked hard on this and there is nothing better than people playing it to make me think it's worth it :).

P#26861 2016-08-13 15:58 ( Edited 2016-08-13 19:58)

This is amazing! It plays really smoothly. The sprites are all very clear and give the game a consistent style, and the backgrounds are beautiful. It's not my kind of game, but I'm getting better as I play it, which really says something for the fairness as well!

P#26882 2016-08-14 00:07 ( Edited 2016-08-14 04:07)

Hey everyone, one request - can somebody with a Pocket CHIP try the game and tell me if it runs there?

I heard that it doesn't, but can't verify that as I don't have the hardware. If there are any obvious errors, I'd like to fix them cause I'd really like to see the game on a portable PICO-8 :).

P#26893 2016-08-14 06:08 ( Edited 2016-08-14 10:08)

Hi. I've been trying to play this game on my pocket chip but it doesn't work. It just won't load off splore

P#26899 2016-08-14 11:10 ( Edited 2016-08-14 15:10)

Holy shit this is the best!

P#26906 2016-08-14 12:45 ( Edited 2016-08-14 16:45)

The game is also up on Kongregate now - if you have an account there, a rating would help a lot :).


Yeah, with help from some people over at PICO-8 Slack I managed to figure out the problem.

PocketCHIP's PICO-8 is a different version, and counts Lua tokens differently - for some reason, it pegs The Lair at 10192/8192 tokens and refuses to run it. I'd love to help, but I'm at a loss - even if I had a PocketCHIP, getting rid of 2000 tokens is not realistic...

I hope a future update for the PocketCHIP will fix the issue by getting its maths to be consistent with the desktop versions.

P#26909 2016-08-14 14:21 ( Edited 2016-08-14 18:29)

That's a shame. I've played the desktop version and really enjoyed it, was hoping to play the pocket chip version at work! Here's hoping for an update!

P#26912 2016-08-14 15:29 ( Edited 2016-08-14 19:29)

Super fun!

P#26931 2016-08-15 05:22 ( Edited 2016-08-15 09:22)

Very nice. I love the splash fx when you pick up a potion and of course the death smoke

P#26941 2016-08-15 07:53 ( Edited 2016-08-15 11:53)

One question, the preview image does not match the title screen. What's up with that?

P#26942 2016-08-15 07:54 ( Edited 2016-08-15 11:54)

The actual title screen looks pretty weak when it's a static tiny 128x128 PNG on screen, so I used the thumbnail I did for itch.io and other sites in its place.

The splashes are kind of funny, since to save some space they are the same as damage shockwaves used by stonemen and the blue projectiles - just with damage turned off. Was looking for a way to make picking up potions have the right feel while not using more than 10 extra tokens :).

P#26948 2016-08-15 10:58 ( Edited 2016-08-15 14:58)

This is amazing krajzeg. My new favorite pico8 game, no doubt.

P#27018 2016-08-17 08:47 ( Edited 2016-08-17 12:47)

Delighted to hear that :).

Meanwhile, the game is vying for a spot in the weekly/monthly best games contest over at Kongregate. If anybody has an account there and would like to help out with a rating, I'd be very grateful - every rating counts! :)

P#27028 2016-08-17 13:00 ( Edited 2016-08-17 17:00)

This is just great fun game great graphics en the effects are just great...

very impresive game for this little machine. I real must buy Pico-8 tile :)

P#27034 2016-08-17 16:55 ( Edited 2016-08-17 20:55)

Excellent piece! :D

P#27180 2016-08-21 19:04 ( Edited 2016-08-21 23:04)

Evil Ham
MashMan The Masher

P#28134 2016-09-07 07:38 ( Edited 2016-09-07 11:38)

This is such a good game though. It has scrolling parallax and such excellent fights

P#28135 2016-09-07 07:39 ( Edited 2016-09-07 11:39)

Quite a good battler ! Something you might add could be where if the player lingers to long in a spot, an arrow with text appears. "Go >>"

If the player does not heed this warning, then a fire wheel appears from behind to mow down the player. I think they've done something like this in many battler games.

In Double Dragon for the NES, once you've beaten all the attackers in an area, the game shows a thumb pointing to the right and a chime sounds to remind you to keep moving forward.

P#28154 2016-09-07 11:55 ( Edited 2016-09-07 15:56)

Hi! I want to play this game on Pocket CHIP, but it simply don't run. Anyone else can test if this is a problem or just me? :(

P#28474 2016-09-13 18:16 ( Edited 2016-09-13 22:16)


You are not the first person who wrote to mention having compatibility problems with running PICO on Pocket CHIP compared to Windows or Online play with certain carts.

I had this with GFA-Basic years ago. Drove me batty to try and get it to work right. Hopefully there will be a solution and the situation resolved soon.

P#28475 2016-09-13 18:39 ( Edited 2016-09-13 22:39)

felipegve: Unfortunately, Pocket CHIP PICO-8 has differences in how it counts cartridge sizes, so it thinks Lair is 10000+ code tokens (which makes it 2k over the limit) and rejects the cartridge.

That's not something I can fix on my end, unfortunately - maybe a future PICO-8 update for the CHIP (if such a thing is possible) will fix that.

P#28500 2016-09-14 09:22 ( Edited 2016-09-14 13:22)

Shame, wanted to play this on my PC!

P#28504 2016-09-14 12:24 ( Edited 2016-09-14 16:24)

So so good.. nicely done!

P#28507 2016-09-14 13:38 ( Edited 2016-09-14 17:38)

I keep playing this it's so good. Especially how each enemy doesn't have the one strategy to defeat it , but a couple of them that you need to be familiar with and adjust on the fly depending on the numbers and position.
It makes the fights feel reactive and fresh. Much bigger games fail to pull this off , so you should feel proud of this @krajzeg.
Also I hope you like my list of terrible names for the monsters

P#28538 2016-09-15 01:59 ( Edited 2016-09-15 05:59)

> Also I hope you like my list of terrible names for the monsters

The DARK CHAIRMAN approves of your list.

Thanks for the kind words! Trying to make the enemies distinct in their feel and the strategies needed was one of my goals for the game, and I'm glad I managed to pull it off :). I hope to be able to work on a bigger version of the game somewhere down the road.

P#28600 2016-09-16 10:39 ( Edited 2016-09-16 14:39)

Really impressive for a pico 8 game, heck a really good game either way! Great job, hope you continue on making great games!

P#29804 2016-10-01 14:07 ( Edited 2016-10-01 18:07)

Wow impressive. Very well done sir.

P#29843 2016-10-02 18:39 ( Edited 2016-10-02 22:39)

aaand finally completed it in on hard. Still got hell and nightmare to go..

P#32134 2016-11-01 05:59 ( Edited 2016-11-01 09:59)

The parallax scrolling is outstanding, sir.

P#32380 2016-11-10 11:58 ( Edited 2016-11-10 16:58)

Very nice game. Great job!

P#32410 2016-11-12 06:40 ( Edited 2016-11-12 11:40)

impressive game Thanks mate! (finished easy mode)

P#34325 2016-12-27 18:47 ( Edited 2016-12-27 23:47)

God I love this game. This is a real retro feel with quality polish.

How many different looking levels are there? I couldn't get past the first :)

I always play games on the hardest, non-nightmare type difficulty. The reasoning is at the hardest, the game is at its "best" and you get the full experience, it's not holding back on you. Nightmare difficulty settings (and they should make themselves known as such, which your game does!) are a more "insane" level of difficulty for people who've already completed the game.

P#37844 2017-02-26 08:23 ( Edited 2017-02-26 13:23)

This remains my 10yo son's favorite PICO-8 game. He's gotten really good at it, and regularly invites me to watch him show his stuff in (insert insane difficulty mode). "Dad, I'm rank B now!"

Good job!

P#37911 2017-02-27 23:19 ( Edited 2017-02-28 04:19)

@timelime: That's wonderful to hear. I'm never more happy than when my games appeal to children :)

P#43169 2017-08-11 09:20 ( Edited 2017-08-11 13:20)

@krajzeg Did you shorten all the function names by hand or did you use some sort of compilation tool? I want to look at how everything was coded but it's impossible to read when the functions have 2 character names. I'm not complaining, just curious to know if there's a more readable version of the source.

Love the game btw

P#43271 2017-08-15 16:40 ( Edited 2017-08-15 20:40)

It's an automated minifier, a very rough Python script I wrote myself. I have to use it for my big PICO-8 projects (Dank Tomb, this one) so that they fit under the compressed limit for cart size. Without minification, they are both about 60% too large to fit in the PNG format.

The unminified source for this (and all my other PICO-8 stuff) is available on my Patreon.

P#43317 2017-08-17 08:00 ( Edited 2017-08-17 12:00)

Just supported you on itch.io , new game build is interesting. Grannys seem to bounce back way further and shielding need to be way more online with attack to work and fail if multiple attacks at same time?

P#44744 2017-09-29 01:37 ( Edited 2017-09-29 05:37)

Thanks for your (considerable) support!

After the 60fps update, the shield protects against exactly one attack - once the attack connects, your shield drops until you press the button again. You get bounced back further though, so there is some time to avoid the next attack.

My intention was to add a better rhythm to using the shield, and prevent tanking behind it against big groups of enemies (which was a boring but effective tactic).

The wraiths (grannys ;) do bounce further. Originally, it was because I forgot to tweak a constant during the 30fps->60fps refactor. But I liked what it did (making them harder to pin down), so I did not bring their "weight" all the way to how they behaved at 30fps.

The one other change in the 60fps build is a new combo timer. It resets not only when you hit something, but alsho when you block a hit with your shield, letting you get higher combo counts more easily.

P#44747 2017-09-29 04:56 ( Edited 2017-09-29 08:56)

Wait.. You mean the original version wasn't smooth? j/k.

P#44751 2017-09-29 11:57 ( Edited 2017-09-29 15:57)

It was smooth. But not in a silky fashion.

P#44762 2017-09-29 17:37 ( Edited 2017-09-29 21:37)

I like how staying behind the shield with a big mob of dudes poking at it, and just waiting until there is an opening is no longer a valid tactic. I was felt cheap when I resorted to it and think it forces better play without it

P#44843 2017-10-01 23:34 ( Edited 2017-10-02 03:34)

Bumping a well-deserved cart. And Scrap, I need all the help I can get in this game so I rather like the shield ability.

P#58014 2018-10-16 14:27 ( Edited 2018-10-16 18:27)

This is fantastic! Super fun and looks gorgeous!

P#61042 2019-01-20 19:05

@krajzeg, this is incredible! Is your Patreon closed for business? I would love to see the unminified cart, I have an idea for a river rafting game which I imagined would have a parallax effect similar to what you use here, but I've been having difficulty finding a good reference for how to achieve it before just now!

P#77160 2020-05-25 06:18

@ridgekuhn The Patreon is gone, yes - but I uploaded the source .p8 and the minified cart to the games itch.io page, so you can get them from there :)
Good luck with the rafting game!

P#77171 2020-05-25 14:28 ( Edited 2020-05-25 14:29)

Wow, thanks so much for doing that today! I just made a contribution on itch and am looking forward to taking a look at it soon!

P#77190 2020-05-25 20:36

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