Fans of the NES and retro-like platformer/puzzle games have new call to rejoice! Well, at least those fans that prefer their games to be punishingly difficult. New from Erik Rosenlund, animator (his skills as such on prominent display in his release trailer above) turned 8-bit video game developer, comes Slow Mole, a brand-new game for the NES.
Blending gorgeous levels, ominous, catchy music, and simple yet distinctive sprites makes this new release stand out aesthetically from other homebrew releases, furthermore the simple yet deeply challenging gameplay make this game very addictive. Of particular note is the checkpoint mechanic wherein the player must repeat previous screens after a failed attempt unless those screens were completed before the timer ran out. This is why the creator says, Slow Mole “…makes everyone a speedrunner.” And this holds up; this is truly a game that rewards mastery of each screen.
He first announced to patreons that he was working on 8-bit game design on April 10th of 2020, with first info on this particular game on September 19th of 2020. Betas were circulating the web in march of 2021, and now the full free game is complete and available for download. As anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of game development can attest, this is a pretty impressive clip for a new developer. The creator states that “[t]he game has been developed using asm6-assembly, NES Maker 4.1.5 and FamiTracker.” He did have some help on the project; he states that the “Music [is] by Linus Rosenlund [and that]… [a]dditional assembler coding and hardware design [was done] by Kristofer Thorell.” Regardless of the speed of development or the size of the team, the work here is excellent, and the game, from startup screen on to deep within the game, looks, sounds, and feels absolutely polished. In the game’s accompanying readme files, the creator also includes some thanks: “Many thanks to the developers of those tools and the communities at nesmakers.com and nesdev.com as well as all the amazing pioneers in the retrogaming homebrew scene, whose discoveries we’re building on.” This kind of thing is just frosting on the cake, but is always very nice to see from developers.
The game has been tested to work beautifully via emulation on a PC or mini consoles (like the NES Classic), FPGA consoles (like the MiSTer or Analogue’s NT Mini), as well as on real NES and Famicom hardware (via flashcarts such as the Everdrive N8 or retroUSB’s PowerPak).
He has also announced the upcoming release of Slow Mole+ on physical NES and Famicom cartridges. This release will include more secrets, more music, and more levels!
Stay tuned for news on ordering info as it becomes available, but for now, get that download, boot that game, and prepare for some glorious 8-bit frustration.