What is SOLAR DESCENT?
SOLAR DESCENT is a WIP action-adventure game (playable tech demo available below) for the Playdate handheld console in the vein of classic The Legend of Zelda games combined with modern ideas found in e.g. Dark Souls and Hollow Knight.
SOLAR DESCENT features real-time combat, two attack buttons, on the fly switching of abilities, clever combat integration of the crank, elaborate menus and map systems.
- Explore the world and dungeons to gain new abilities
- Fight monsters and bosses
- Solve puzzles and navigate through traps and obstacles
- Use abilities to progress and discover new areas
- Find and equip relics to enhance your abilities
- Use XP to upgrade your stats
Despite being made in Pulp, a simple but heavily limited game engine for uncomplicated adventure games, SOLAR DESCENT manages to squeeze a lot of gamey gameplay into a tiny, yellow package.
What is the Playdate?
The Playdate is a handheld game console made by Panic. It was released in 2022 and features a crisp black and white screen, clicky D-pad and face buttons and a crank. All crammed into a tiny, yellow shell designed by Teenage Engineering.
Find out more about the Playdate here.
Don't have a Playdate?
Don't have a niche handheld game console you haven't heard about? Don't want to wait for months/a year for your console to ship?
You're not out of luck. The Playdate SDK dev tools come with a simulator/emulator. Download and install the SDK for free. Find and open the simulator app. Drag the .pdx to the simulator to play. Connect a controller to your computer and substitute the crank with an analog stick.
Find out more about the Playdate SDK dev tools here.
State of Demo
The demo features a starting area, starting dungeon, few test rooms and an additional full fledged combat oriented dungeon.
I've been focusing on making a playable version without game breaking bugs. Animations and SFX are lacking or missing and there is currently only half of a song in the game (I quickly jotted down a few notes on the computer and transposed half of them to test the music tool in Pulp).
Changelog v0.31 (Released 231010):
- Fix: Game now checks for save data version. If incompatible with current game version, "Continue" won't be an option.
- Fix: Reloading a game and talking to Umbriel in his room would crash the game. Now fixed.
Changelog v0.30 (Released 231005):
- New: Added a starting area and dungeon.
- New: Added a proper dialogue system.
- Tweak: Raised AP regenerated.
- Tweak: Lowered speed required to make a crank turn register.
- Tweak: Polish, e.g. proper boss animations and basic scripted cutscenes.
- Fix: Spinning disc hazards cannot be manipulated by bomb, fire and blasts.
- ... and lots of under the hood additions reserved for the full game. :)
Known Bugs in v0.31
- If max AP is upgraded, you might not be able to recharge AP to the new max. (Fixed in dev build)
- None...? :)
: Use sub weapon
: Use main weapon
: Dock to enter menu
: Undock to exit menu
: Crank one turn to enter a cranking state. While in cranking state:
- Crank clockwise to refill stamina
- Crank counter clockwise to use flask charges to restore HP
- Press or to switch sub weapon
Doing anything in Pulp that wasn't explicitly intended requires extensive fool proofing and failsafe fallbacks to ensure the game doesn't break, soft lock or worse. If you encounter wonky behaviour or game breaking bugs, please let me know.
Have fun! If you like what you're seeing, leave a few encouraging words to keep me motivated.