Donsol for PICO-8

Published 2023-06-12

This is a PICO-8 port of Donsol by John Eternal and Hundred Rabbits, a dungeon-crawler game built around a deck of 54 cards.

RND Software thanks you for selecting Donsol for the PICO-8 system. Please read these instructions before starting for maximum enjoyment of this game.

After a long evening of playing cards at the local tavern, you head off home to get some sleep, but something goes wrong. You suddenly find yourself trapped in a nightmarish dungeon, which is infested with fiends, monsters and wicked witches intent on making sure you stay trapped in the dungeon forever. As you suddenly seem unable to find any exits, your amulet warns you that a strong curse has been placed on the dungeon by these same monsters. Armed only with your trusty dagger, will you be able to eliminate all the monsters, dispel the curse that prevents you from leaving and exit the dungeon, or will you suffer the wrath of the Donsols?

It's clear that as long as the dungeon is cursed, it will be impossible to leave it. Since the best way to break a curse is to destroy the creature that cast it, the only way out is to completely purge the dungeon of evil. Luckily, the dungeon isn't just inhabited with dark and fiendish monsters -- you can clearly see helpful shields, healing potions and mages shining with red light. Use them carefully to stay alive while clearing the dungeon and you will surely find your way out!

This is a single-player game. Only use the controller connected to Control Port 1.

In addition, if you have a PICO-8 Mouse or compatible device, you can plug it into the Expansion Port. The moment you click a mouse button, the game will display a mouse cursor. It will be red when the cursor is over an interactable object and gray otherwise. To interact, use the left, right or middle mouse button. If you want to use the regular controller again, just press the Circle Button or the Cross Button, and mouse controls will be disabled.

After you turn on the game, you will see the title screen. Here, you can select the difficulty level for the game by using the left and right directions on the D-Button and pressing the Circle Button to select. Alternatively, you can choose the "CREDITS" option to see the names of the people responsible for making the game.

On this screen, you see your current status, the cards comprising the current room of the dungeon and the last status message. Your task is to clear the dungeon by flipping all 54 cards of the deck. To do that, use the left and right directions on the D-Button to select a card and then press the Circle Button to flip it. Different cards have different effects:

The spades(♠) and clubs(♣) are the dungeon's monsters. When you flip them, they will attack you, dealing damage equal to their value. If you survive the attack, you defeat the monster.

(Every time you flip any card, your XP value goes up by one. When it reaches 54, this means that there are no cards left in the dungeon and you win the game.)

The diamonds (♦) are shields and helpful red mages. When you flip them, you equip the shield (or recruit the mage) to provide defense from monster attacks. When a monster attacks you, the shield will reduce the amount of damage you take by its own value. If the monster is weaker than the shield's defense, their attack will not hurt you at all!

However, there's a catch. After a monster hits you while shielded, your protection will weaken and will be unable to withstand attacks from equal or stronger monsters without breaking and leaving you unguarded. To prevent that, be sure to attack stronger monsters before weaker ones!

When you flip a diamond card while already protected, you replace the old card's protection with the new card's. You can't hold two shields at once, and the red mages' defensive spells don't work when you have a shield.

(The "durability" and "defense" values in the HUD display the maximum attack your protection can withstand and the amount of damage it can repel. For example, if it says "8/6", that means you will not lose 6 health points when attacked by monsters of strength 8 or less. If there's only one number, then your protection has not yet been touched. For example, "10" means you have a Large Shield capable of avoiding 10 points of damage from any monster.)

The hearts (♥) are potions and helpful white mages. When you flip them, you will consume the potion (or ask for help) and they will restore an amount of health equal to their value.

However, there's another catch. The potions' and mages' restorative magic doesn't like being overused, and if you try to use two or more heart cards in a row, the latter ones will do nothing. An hourglass symbol above the health meter will warn you if healing up is useless.

(No matter what, you can't have more than 21 health points.)

The two joker (🃏) cards are Donsols -- extremely powerful monsters that rule this dungeon. In fact, they are so strong, that meeting them without an untouched shield is sure to end your journey once and for all! Be extremely cautious in rooms with them.

If you feel like you can't deal with the room you're in, you may want to try running away from it. To do that, use the up or down directions on the D-Button so that the "Run" button is selected, and then press the Circle Button.

The curse of the dungeon may have made it very hard to navigate, but sometimes you still have the opportunity to quickly escape into a different room with a new set of cards in it. The flipped cards will not reappear, but you will still have to deal with the rest eventually -- hopefully with better equipment and in better health.

The situations in which you can escape depend on your difficulty level:

Luckily, the dungeon's curse only gains its full power once you've interacted with any of its inhabitants. If you haven't attacked any monsters, equipped any defense or healed yourself up (i.e. your XP is 0), you can always run from rooms. Use this to find a starting room that lets you survive the dungeon more easily.

Pressing the Pause Button at any time will open the Pause Menu with the following options:

Use the up and down directions on the D-Button to select an option and press either the Cross Button, the Circle Button or the Pause Button to select the item you want.

A PICO-8 cartridge is a delicate electronic device and must be handled carefully. Please abide by the following rules to make sure the cartridge lasts as long as possible:

RND Software and Lexaloffle Games are not liable for damage caused to the game cartridge or the PICO-8 system if these rules are violated or if the damage is caused by abusing the game or the system.

On the title screen, use the left and right directions to pick the difficulty level.

On the title screen, use this button to start the game.

On the title screen, clicking on the left or right part of the screen is used to select the difficulty level. Clicking in the middle of the screen is used to start the game.

Your health points

Your shield's durability (if available) and defense

Your experience (number of cards flipped)

"Run" / "Restart" button

Name of currently selected card

A flipped card

An unselected card

A selected card and its cursor

If your shield breaks, you receive the full damage of the attack. That's why it's better to have a weak shield that hasn't been touched by monsters than a strong one that already has low durability.

If you've defeated all monsters in a room and you see potions and shields you don't need, it's best to run away from that room. That way, those shields and potions may find themselves useful later!

Do not expose the cartridge to extreme temperatures.

Do not try to dismantle or break apart the cartridge.