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Cart #hovergulch-8 | 2021-06-27 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

You are a futuristic hovercar developed by the trillionaire owner of a stagnant maze-racing circuit. He has loaded you up with special powers so you can embarrass all the league's other cars.

How to Play

  • You must spin out rival cars by ramming them, catching them in your boost trail, or spinning another car into them.

  • Spin out the required number of cars on each level to unlock the checkered flag. Grab the flag to advance.

  • You are invincible while using your powers but vulnerable while you are not. Walls never hurt you, thanks to advanced bouncing science.

  • All your special powers always trigger at the same time. This consumes gel because nothing is truly free.

  • If you run out of lives or gel, the game is over... until you are brave enough to restart.

  • After you clear a level, your leftover gel will convert to flex, which is like a kind of score that measures how hard you have flexed in Hover Gulch.

Keyboard controls

  • Arrow keys to turn
  • X to boost speed, engage your ram, and become invincible, all at the same time
  • Z to skip scenes you've seen before
  • Enter to pause (and to quick-restart)


  • As a hovercar, you have to complete your turn rotation before you start moving in the new direction. It's just how hovercars work, especially in the future. (Try turning a little on the early side)

  • There's a way to get one extra life per level, but it's risky.

  • There's an even bigger secret, but it's very risky.


Audio, code, design, graphics, and writing by me, Rob Dubbin.

Thanks to RALLY-X, Rocket League, Alfonzo's Bowling Challenge, and One Must Fall: 2097 for inspiring Hover Gulch in various ways. Thanks to Bennett Foddy for inspiring the project in the first place with a well-timed homework assignment even though I was not his student. Thanks to zep for pico-8 and especially for "The Search for Cosy Design Spaces", a perfect conference talk that should be on the next Golden Record.

Thanks to Kittenm4ster, Cabledragon, Michael Cook, seleb, and 8 Bit Caaz for sharing their secrets of the Fisher-Yates shuffle, ZSPR zoomed-sprite rendering, cellular-automata cave generation, token-saving, and camera-easing, respectively.

Thanks to the pico-8 community for all the brilliant work: games, tweetcarts, and the 100,000 small tricks I looked up on here while making this.

Thanks to everyone who I can remember playtesting this over various points in its history: 0xcafed00d, Adam Miller, Alexander King, Andy Dubbin, Asher Vollmer, Augustus Heagerty, Bennett Foddy, Bijan Stephen, Chris Xu, Colleen Macklin, Dylan Saunders, Frank Lantz, Fred Benenson, Garrett Miller, Greg Wohlwend, Kevin Cancienne, [email protected] Boch, Nick Sylvester, Patrick McHale, Pen Ward, Sarah Pavis, Sean Vanaman, Stacy-Marie Ishmael, TC Sottek, Xalavier Nelson Jr., and Zach Gage.

Thanks to Sandy Allen for pretty much everything else.

Thanks for checking it out

My finest flex is 398 -- see ya on the road!

P#93788 2021-06-21 19:26 ( Edited 2021-06-27 03:50)


Very nice, really unique concept, love the trashtalk! :D

It's also pretty difficult since the opposing cars seem to move quite unpredictably, but you kind of learn to factor that in over time. 398 is an impressive flex though, haha!

P#93845 2021-06-22 10:09

Sweet game! love all the extra touches, dialogue, etc. haven't beaten it yet, but was cool to take it for a spin :)

P#98120 2021-10-02 10:10

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