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Cart #ggaughan_picodefender_1-1 | 2021-02-26 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Pico Defender

A remake of the Williams classic.


  • Up/Down
  • Left/Right
  • X to fire
  • Z for smart bomb
  • X+Z for hyperspace

How to play

Blast Alien Ships

Blast landers carrying humanoids before they mutate. Catch falling humanoids - 500 points; Return them to surface - 500 points. Bonus for surviving humanoids after each alien wave. If all the humanoids are successfully abducted, the entire planet will explode in a blinding flash!

Hyperspace - Warp To Another Quadrant - Caution

Smart Bomb - Destroys Enemies On Screen

Bonus Ship and Smart Bomb every 10,000 Points


For hyperspace, press and hold down fire and then press the smart bomb key.

To stop the screen flashing during effects and turn off the rapid colour cycling, go to the pause menu and use the "toggle flashing" option.

Original controls ("alt keys")

The Defender arcade machine had an up/down joystick and a 'thrust' button to move in the ship's facing direction. A separate 'reverse' button flipped the ship's direction. To experience similar controls, go to the pause menu and use the "toggle alt keys" option. When toggled, the right-key is thrust and the left-key is used for the reverse button, which might take some getting used to and is best used with a keyboard, but gives a more authentic experience. Think of up/down/right for moving your ship along and treat the left-key separately, for the occasional direction flip.


Code: Greg Gaughan

Audio: Martha

Also on itch.io: https://ggaughan.itch.io/pico-defender

P#87968 2021-02-21 11:58 ( Edited 2021-02-26 18:45)


Awesome port, but I'm not with you regarding the controls. You got used to it, but it's too awkward on a keyboard and downright unplayable with a joypad (plus you just can't physically press up+down).

I'd suggest left/right thrust. Since the arcade every port just did that and it just works.
And maybe a quick combo left/right/left/right for warp would feel somewhat natural.

Great work, just fix the controls (as options maybe) and it's ACE!

P#87971 2021-02-21 13:04

Thanks. I'll see if I can free up some tokens and add an option for the left/right movement. I think the quick combo might be done by accident so perhaps fire then bomb together for hyperspace.

P#87981 2021-02-21 18:06

Great game! The controls are hard though and going backwards in the map is basically impossible

P#88067 2021-02-23 18:01

Thanks. I'm on it - I have some spare tokens and should be releasing an update this weekend.

P#88081 2021-02-24 00:40
:: debo

On keyboard I found the controls to be fine. The aesthetic is just perfect!!!! This is so great!

P#88101 2021-02-24 14:12

Thanks all for the feedback. The version 1.01 just uploaded defaults to a left/right control.

If you've grown used to the original controls you can choose "toggle alt keys" from the options menu (and it will save your choice).

P#88211 2021-02-26 18:48

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