Wow, such a great game!
A short, challenging soulslike with metroidvania elements. Made in PICO 8 by Abhi Sundu.
Controls (Explained in-game)
- Left/Right arrow to move
- double-tap left/right to roll (invincible while rolling)
- Z or C to jump
- X to attack
- Hold up arrow to view current stats
- Down arrow to use healing flask
If you have trouble with a boss, you can try level grinding on some basic enemies to increase your health and stamina. You can also search for the 3 optional "elite" enemies that increase your sword damage when slain.
Click download now to get access to the following files:
Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.
Wow amazing game! I had a lot of fun, I also liked the special enemies a lot because they give upgrades so there is a strong sense of progression when I can kill things faster. The only problem I had with it is that the game I played right before this has z as jump and x as attack so that messed me up sometimes because the controls are the opposite, but that's a me problem, not a game problem.
The bosses are so much fun! Would love to see more!
Beautiful game and graphics and fights and stuffs in general nice job.
10/10 elden ring but awesome
Please keep making pico-8 games like this, you make such good games
nice little game, loved it!
Wish only that it was longer.
didnt find it too hard though, beat the bosses at the second try.
Thanks for playing, I wish I could have made it longer haha, ran out of space in Pico 8!
these games are impressive!
Once again time to get my ass beaten. I'm prepared. I'm hyped. You could even say I'm overconfident. Same as last time, writing as I'm going!
First off the bat, music is so nice, it sets the mode very nicely. A bit wonky with the volume of the bass, it would be nice to have it just a bit more consistent. Nice to see you playing with it though!
Not super fond of the jump, it's a bit too snappy for my taste. It's a taste thing though. I like jumps which are more dynamic, where you really can control yourself.
Nice first boss! Also nice that you heal up at the checkpoint, I feel that darksoulsieness oozing from it. It's a nice way to do it though, something where you have to survive a little longer that usually. A bit weak of a finished sound, didn't really feel like I actually just beat a boss.
That zombie walk though.
The background sharing a colour with the character is a nice touch, it just looks cool.
Player hitbox feels very very large, also I bonk the cieling with head, and then ran into the pit three times before I killed the first golden enemy.
Second boss done, the switch to calm music is a bit jarring. Also I just realized that the stamina actually matter, I can't just buttonmash my way to victory as I usually do.
No transition between the screens are a bit confusing, just a lil pan would be nice, to keep you from getting disoriented.
"Time to beat up this random old guy". OK THIS IS AMAZING. I love that the character said exactly what I was thinking. I don't care what is on the end, I just want to beat this shit out of everything until I get to the end. I'm not playing this because I want to be rewarded, I'm playing this to get beaten into bits, and then come back and get beaten some more. Also explaining that there is a top is very nice. INSTANT SECOND PHASE YEEEEES. Alright I'm loving this. This is actually incredible. And I got him. I actually got him.
All in all that was probably around 10 - 15 minutes that I actually played. And this is not the peak of what you have done, sure, but this was a really cool quick game. I'm guessing that this was a fun "alrighty let's try some new stuff", and I think you did an awesome job. Everything is a bit unpolished, and could have felt a bit better, but I love that this is experimenting with the "formula" that's been with all the other games. I'm forgiving all the jank in this though, it's just something different, it's rare that I feel this intrigued(?) by a game. I can't put it to words but there is something special here. I guess congratulations? You have really come far since I first played Dreams of D4rk, and you are keeping me hooked as hell for whatever will be released next. It's really inspiring. Thanks!
Hello! Thanks for stopping by, love reading these.
The bass volume was something I had a lot of trouble with; I felt like I really wanted to be able to smoothly fade the notes out but I wasn't good enough at pico 8 production to get that to happen, so I just stuffed extra notes there with varying volumes, definitely not an elegant solution haha.
The jump / bonking on ceilings is also a bit of jank that I wish I had the tokens to fix. Glad it didn't take away from the experience too much. Room transitions was also on my "nice to have" list of features if I had the tokens for it, it definitely feels a bit jarring to go from room to room without any visual feedback.
On the final boss: When I make games I usually have a moment in my head that serves as the "seed" for the whole game; basically a moment that I use to build the rest of the game around. For this game, the final boss cutscene where he asks you why you're climbing was that 'moment', and the rest of the game kind of just emerged from that seed. Glad that moment felt good, it's my favorite part. Also the phase skip to phase 2 is something I'm really glad I added; multiple commenters have mentioned it being a nice QoL thing, so glad you found that helpful!
This game was definitely just a small side experiment, basically: "What if I made a soulslike but was literally unable to engage in feature creep (using pico 8 restrictions)" and this is what spawned from that. A decent amount of jank remains in the game partially due to some token restrictions, and partially due to poor planning on my part. Thanks a ton for playing and for all the feedback and kind words!
Very noice :)
great game a good challenge the only thing I truly wish was there is a nice end scene pixel art of you and the final boss looking down the mountain with maybe your level, death count, kill count, and time and also more gameplay was nice but the amount their is turns out to be fine because it takes a while to learn the boss patterns but still a really great game bravo
Hahaha it would've been great to have a scene at the end with Akarsh and the player looking down from the mountain. A stats screen would've been nice too, thanks for the ideas. Glad you liked the game, thanks for playing!
This game is really fun to play and I like how the boss fights have different attacks that still feel similar to other bosses so that you can react to them easier. I wanted to see how far I could level up and got to level 10, but the game ran out of memory, lol.
Thanks for playing! Some of my friends ran into that issue as well when they were level grinding, I'm not sure why that happens but I'll see if I can fix it. Sorry for the issue haha!
What an excellent game! The feeling of powering up was great (double jump, and the moment when I can kill a bat in one hit :) ) and the bosses all felt characterful even in such a tiny pixel resolution. You do a great job, in this and planet dark, of including cutscenes and phases that add a lot to a small game. When fighting the final boss, I really appreciated that it would "skip" you to the second phase if you had already gotten there, it felt like the game was respecting my time.
A bit of criticism because you seem like someone who takes that well: some of the platforming felt a bit finicky (for instance, getting bopped on the head by the ceiling which made me fall, or the roll timing feeling off). It was also hard to *feel* the stakes when I was at low health. One thing you might be able to take from Hollow Knight is the vignette effect at low health. I know it's hard making something in Pico 8 so I don't hold any of that against the game, but they are some spots I feel could be improved.
Thanks for making this!
 forgot to say - great music and sfx!
Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! I'm glad you liked the progression, it was fun to tune the health numbers such that it would take fewer and fewer hits to beat the basic enemies. Glad you liked the cutscenes too!
I totally agree on the platforming, there's definitely a couple rooms where bonking on the ceiling is really common and clunky-feeling. Some kind of indicator for being low on health is also a good idea, both for game feel and for information clarity (it's tough to tell when you're low on health unless you keep checking the top left, which takes you out of the action).
Thanks for playing, I really appreciate the comment!
Such good game. Holds up when compared to Planet D4RK.
wish there were more
Nice job, I really liked the boss battles. The final boss was pretty challenging for me. However the non-boss sections felt pretty easy and not too interesting. I would've liked some more tricky platforming/fighting sections between bosses to round out the experience, this would also fit well with the themes expressed in the ending.
Thanks for the feedback, I totally agree. I developed the boss battles first and then used my remaining tokens to squeeze what I could out of the in-between sections, but they definitely ended up feeling a bit more like filler.
Glad you liked the bosses, those were the most fun part of the game to make. Thanks for playing!
good game, the ending is sad tho love it
loved this game
Man, this is amazing. I love the cute tiny pixel art. Boss 's anticipation circle is 200IQ, extremely noticiable even the character sprites are tiny. Love the second phase of the final boss. I made a sekiro inspired game before and I wanted to make it with Metroidvania element too. Your approach is so well thought. Give my game PixelSamurai a try.
Love to see another game from you! <3
Thanks a ton for playing and for the comment! Glad the attack indicators were helpful, I always like using attack indicators to keep bosses as fair as possible.
I’ll check out PixelSamurai for sure, thanks for the recommendation!
I would like to ask how do you code for the boss behavior. Is it random or it depends on the player position? Cus I feel like the final boss has some combo behavior that is well designed.
Good question with a kind-of long answer:
The boss's attack patterns (groups of attacks) are all hard-coded, and always occur in the same order, so for example, the final boss phase 2 goes:
- (4 ground slams + 1 shockwave) x repeat this 3 times
- (Dash to the opposite side of the player, punch + shockwave) x repeat this 3 times
- Dash to 4 preset locations and shoot 2 projectiles
Then it repeats.
The individual attacks themselves depend on the player's position. For example, the boss's punch + shockwave attack will always be on the opposite side of the player (so if the boss is on your right, he will always dash to your left to punch and vice versa).
Similarly, for the ground slams, the boss picks your locations as the 'center' of the slams, and then spaces 3 or 4 (depending on phase 1 or 2) slams around you, clamping to the edges of the arena. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm always happy to talk about boss design.
love your approach! This is much better than my approach on boss fights.
I use the distance between player and boss to decide whether it is close range or long range. Then set up some parameters for close range attack A and close range attack B and randomly pick an close range attack state (A or B). I thought it might be more responsive to the player's action and the pattern will be different in every fight. But the issue with this approach is that sometimes the boss might repeat the same attack again and again,
I will combine your (groups of attacks) pattern with my close range long range approach. I believe my future boss fight game will be more challenging and fun.
My favorite combo is the punch + shockwave ! So well decided that knowing the player will roll to the boss's back and attack. And then the boss attack from above. Also appreciate your hard work with coding all the boss's attack pattern. Cant wait for your next game.
also I would like to ask if the dust effect is a particle effect or hand drawn animated sprite? It looks really cool.
One more thing, does the boss have a idle state that he doesnt attack for a short time.
The dust effects on explosions/slashes etc are particle effects (just circles that have a changing radius and velocity). Glad you liked the effects!
For the boss: After each attack pattern bosses have a "post attack" time where they wait for roughly 1-1.5 seconds before doing the next attack, but they don't have any explicit "idle" phase (the wait time is baked into the end of each attack).
Good game, the fights are decently balanced and the final boss is great. Nice ending too.
Thanks for playing (and for posting a video). That was a really clutch final fight you pulled off!
Like I said in Reddit... AWESOME!!!
Really really great game. Love the bosses. Every one of them had beautiful indicators for their attacks and no one felt unfair in any way. The difficulty curve was perfect as well. Loved how you built upon the mechanics of bosses. Once I reached the first ascender, all of his attacks seemed familiar enough for me to recognize what they might do. The level design outside of the bosses was nice as well and was a good rest between fights. I don't really have any qualms with this game. Just a small well-made game. I'll probably be trying this on mobile as well lol. Amazing work
Thanks a ton for the comment! I’m really glad you found the difficulty curve good, I was afraid the final boss would be too big of a spike.
Glad the familiarity between bosses felt good: the bosses build on each other’s mechanics partially because I needed to save tokens in pico8, so re-using attacks (like shockwaves and whatnot) helped a ton with saving code space, glad it also worked design wise.
Thanks for playing, always glad to hear from you!
Actually a lot more forgiving than Elden Ring, but feels well planned out and scoped. The optional Elites were a great element, and Akarsh is an amazing boss. Nothing felt time-wastey like in a lot of other masocore games, and it was fun to experiment with using/avoiding different aspects of the kit. Great weight to actions too. You're killing it, Abhi!
Thanks so much! I'm glad it didn't feel unforgiving. Glad you liked the elites too, I crammed those in at the very end to add some optional power-up content.
Glad you liked Akarsh! I love making boss battles, and he was a ton of fun to script together. In general I think the pico 8 restrictions helped a ton with keeping the game really focused in terms of scope.
Thanks a ton for playing and for the kind words!