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Cart #bunbunsamurai-12 | 2023-11-17 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA



The Hero, weary of fighting in the endless wars fueled by squabbling nobility, wanders across a countryside overridden by bandits and wild ronin. He hopes only to return to the peaceful village he once called home. Wherever he goes, he protects the weak and helpless, leaving no evil unbloodied.


  • Movement - Directional buttons.
  • Attack - Press direction and [O] button.

Attacking and Combos

  • Killing an enemy grants the Hero Prestige.
  • Enemies are not killed by direct attacks - only by knocking them into other enemies or objects. Knocking an enemy into more enemies or objects causes a combo chain worth more Prestige for each impact.
  • After an attack, the Hero must recover for a moment before another attack can be performed. He will raise his sword when he is ready to attack again.
  • If only one enemy remains, the Hero can kill them with a direct attack (Final Strike).


  • The Hero can take two hits before dying.
  • If the Hero finishes a season undamaged, bonus Prestige is granted.


Enemies seek to kill the Hero.

  • As years pass, new enemy types appear and more enemies roam the countryside at once.
  • Enemies that are impacted but not killed grow angrier, increasing their movement and attack speed until they settle down.

Enemy Types

  • Orange Bandit - (Year 1) - Wanders randomly. Will strike if the Hero is nearby.
  • Yellow Ronin - (Year 1) - Seeks the Hero, striking if he is nearby.
  • Pink Ronin - (Year 2) - Throws daggers at the Hero.
  • Red Bandit - (Year 3) - Wanders until the Hero is near, then lights his bomb and chases the Hero. Explodes if hit, so indirect attacks are best.
  • Grey Boss - (Year 7) - Seeks the Hero speedily. Can only be killed with a Final Strike at the end of a level.


Villagers wear green clothing, and run in panic through the countryside.

  • If touched, the villager will be saved, granting Prestige.
  • Villagers that have been bumped into grow more upset, and are worth less points until they settle down.
  • If a villager is killed by an enemy, the Hero loses Prestige.


A variety of objects can be found across the countryside.

  • White Hazard Spikes - Damage the Hero.
  • Chests, rocks, and vases - Can be kicked into enemies, or used to damage enemies that are kicked into them. Some objects break when impacted.
  • Melons - Regenerate the Hero's lost health, as well as giving Prestige.

Difficulty Levels

Difficulty Level can be adjusted on the title menu.

  • Easy - Enemies only damage Hero during their attack animation.
  • Normal - Enemy touches now also deal damage to Hero.
  • Hard - Hero can only take one hit before being defeated.
  • Insane - If a villager is killed, the Hero is defeated.

Rush Mode

Each Difficulty Level can be played in Standard Mode, or Rush Mode. In Rush Mode, the Hero only has a set amount of time to defeat the enemies in each season. Separate High Scores are saved for Rush Mode.

Version History

1.3a [Save Games Reset]

  • Changed score internally to use smaller numbers, to make sure very high scores don't overrun pico-8 integer limit.
  • Added bonus prestige for reaching Home, to ensure returns Home have higher prestige score than base runs.
  • Changed dagger graphics back to arrows
  • Added more sounds and polished others.


  • Removed penalty to movement speed and recovery when injured, as it was subtle and just felt like lag or delay to the normal pacing feel.
  • Removed short ramp up time on movement, for more reactive controls
  • Slightly increased invulnerability time after taking damage.
  • Adjusted colors for indoor daytime maps.
  • Added some more sound effects (in progress)


  • Added Rush Mode for each Difficulty Level. In Rush Mode, the Hero only has a set amount of time to defeat the enemies in each season.
  • Invalidated save data, due to restructuring saves to accommodate Rush Mode saves for each Difficulty Level.


  • Changed Hero's movement so that he immediately stops after directional input is released, making for more precise controls.
  • Added a new Enemy Type - Grey Boss (Chance to spawn starting in year 7, can only be killed by a final strike at the end of a level).
  • Reduced the amount of enemies and villagers that are added per year, to make it easier to reach later years and make progression feel like less of a slog.
  • Increased the size of Melon collision to make it easier to grab on the go.
  • Lowered Indoor Chance from 50% to 25%, giving the Hero more room to breathe.
  • Lowered Weather Chance from 50% to 25%, making it more of a unique event.
  • Removed Weather and Indoor areas from Year 1, so players get to see all the clean levels before adding complexity.
  • Removed Lightning Flashes from the rain Weather type, as it can be irritating visually and spends a fair amount of tokens for a rare event.
  • Fixed a bug where thrown daggers could hit flying enemies, causing a combo interrupt.


  • Fixed a bug where unbreakable objects in a combo chain would reset the chain, instead of just not counting as part of the combo.


  • Added a proper end game screen, allowing the Hero to return home.
  • Added per-difficulty level high scores, which are now shown on page 3 of info screen.
    • Removed bonus score per enemy kill from difficulty setting.
    • Cleared previous versions high scores (balance and compatibility requirement)
  • Hazards now have the same wider collision that enemies do when checking against flying enemy impacts.
    • Hazards and enemies retain their smaller collision when checking against player touch.
  • Added more gameplay info to the info screens.
  • Object now get bloodied when enemies are killed against them.
  • Fixed thrown daggers causing "stumbled into death" ending instead of "slain in combat".


  • Adjusted spawn rates for villagers and enemies over the years so there's fewer base enemies, making for faster early gameplay and less slog just to get to new enemy types.
  • Added bonus score for killing enemies based on difficulty level, so harder difficulties have higher potential scores
  • Swapped the rules for Hard and Hell difficulties, so Hard is now 1 hit death for Hero, and Hell adds game over for a villager getting killed.
  • Added high score saving
  • Added second page of Help screen, showing basic combat rules and difficulty settings information
  • Added some placeholder music cues
  • Fixed a bug where starting a level with camera shake active could cause bad object positions


  • Added first pass Help screen.


  • Adjusted color schemes, added title screen, called out impacts and score text more clearly
P#136245 2023-10-22 18:11 ( Edited 2023-11-17 03:25)

Post-Release Comments

This cart is so great, I love the variation and progress!

P#137039 2023-11-06 20:26

@CrownDeluxe thanks for playing! Glad you enjoyed it!

P#137073 2023-11-07 13:42

How many years do I have to complete to return to the village?

P#137183 2023-11-09 19:55

Only made it to second winter but I'm gonna improve it for sure! Normal is pretty nice but found hell exciting due to the constant chance to die.

P#137189 2023-11-09 21:29

@CrownDeluxe you return home at the start of the 10th year, so it’s kind of a high score chasing game cause lemme tell you reaching level 10 is pretty intense!

P#137230 2023-11-10 14:36

@Achie72 Thanks so much for playing and sharing! As I noted on the Reddit thread, I’ll look into allowing disabling of lightning for you!

P#137231 2023-11-10 14:37 ( Edited 2023-11-10 14:37)

What makes game really hardis you have possiblity to stop infront of enemy 1pixel left than enemy kick your ass boom. your head is sliced to face bomber mouse i had to reach year 3, but that happen rarely

there's no health bat, i can't figure out how much health left

P#137233 2023-11-10 15:09 ( Edited 2023-11-10 15:33)

@OWD5238 Yeah a lot of the game is about learning the exact distance of your attack, the time delay between attacks, and the distance at which enemies and objects will be knocked by impacts.

One thing I do to try to help is your attacks have a larger collision buffer than your touch, so you have a little room to avoid those “I just barely missed the guy” encounters, but it’s still really tight.

As for health, in modes below Hard you have 2 health points. You’ll know if you’ve lost one because you now have a blood trail behind you. You recover health by eating food, but you also recover to full after each level. Hope that clears up why I avoided including a HUD that would clutter the screen.

P#137242 2023-11-10 19:28

5600 in easy mode, well ten year is too much. who the hell will do that

P#137245 2023-11-10 20:51

Uploaded a new version that improves controls to be more precise, makes progression overall faster (fewer total enemies & villagers per level), adjust Weather and Indoor chances, and adds a new enemy type - the Grey Boss.

See the Version History for more information. I think this is a big improvement to the game's overall feel and flow, though I might have reduced the chaos a little too much. Curious what people think!

P#137289 2023-11-11 20:55

This is easily my most-played pico-8 game, other than celeste. I love the movement, the satisfaction of combos, and multiple factors that limit the player but at the same time can be used to kill enemies (spikes, rocks, and even villagers). I also enjoy the music as well! Clean and indicative japanese style intro.

Was able to reach year 5 (who the heck can get to year 10 lol) in normal mode, working on hard and hell mode. Really enjoyed it so far - Well I am trying to recall if there's something in this game that I didn't like for 30 seconds and I couldn't come up with anything lol.

Nice work!

P#137346 2023-11-13 01:18

@WIIASD Thanks so much, that's very kind of you to say! Glad you enjoy the game -- I still have fun playing it every time I'm testing something new, so that's always a good sign.

I'm not sure who will ever get to Year 10 -- I've left it high like that so it can be a long running challenge. One of the previous games I made, Lil' Space Rangers, I thought no one would ever beat, but someone did within a month, so we'll see! :D

If you want a separate challenge, I've just added Rush Mode for each difficulty level. It's a timed mode where you have to beat each season before a timer runs out. Now THAT mode I'm REALLY not sure anyone will ever beat. But it provides a different type of gameplay, so I think it'll be a fun challenge!

Keep on slicin'!

P#137349 2023-11-13 03:04

@tmirobot - Rush mode is a bit spicy!! It does really change the way you play the game. It makes me play it in a blind panic and the villagers often don't survive now. But a very welcome mode for a short frantic experience.

P#137414 2023-11-14 10:49

@phil Yeah, at first I was going to add a time bonus for completing seasons quickly, but I didn’t want to encourage that behavior in standard mode so I separated it out into Rush Mode. It really is a different experience.

Strangely enough, the very first time I tested it (with 25 second timer) I got reeeeaaally far into the years on hard mode. I think because I wasn’t trying to line up super good combos, was just killing everything around immediately. Sometimes you fill up too much of the screen or get in tight corners trying to focus on score I think.

P#137424 2023-11-14 14:00

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