Alien Sun

Alien Sun is a homebrew game for the N64 by 9_nova where you play as a space explorer gathering crystals on a watery planet. It was made for the N64brew Game Jam 2023 and won 3rd place. Sell done!

You can download the game from the download page by using the password aresunsaliens, or though the Google Drive link. You can also check the source code on Github.

Alien Sun style and gameplay

Alien Sun is a 2D platformer where you play as a space miner who collects crystals as he explores each area. There isn’t much story besides what is told through the gameplay, so I’ll leave it at that.

There aren’t any enemies in the game besides these static mines that explode and damage you while flinging you around. This can be useful to get some big jumps in some occasions. Energy/health orbscan be obtained to survive for a bit more, but don’t contribute to the final score.

The game starts off in a space station in orbit where you only really have to move right in order to reach the exit hatch and jump out.

The game then starts properly one you hit the ground in a sort of half-cave half-scifi-outpost. This is where some of the game’s mechanics are introduced – jumping, button presses, energy balls, crystals and swimming.

The next area looks like some sort of ancient underwater ruins; it reminds me a bit of Labyrinth Zone in Sonic 1. This is where the puzzles really start to take shape.

Level 3 also has ruins, but these are much more decayed than the ones that came in the previous level. It is entirely underwater and covered in mines so moving around with care is a top priority.

The final level in Alien sun brings us a breath of fresh air – literally. We finally make our way back to the surface to find an area filled with elevated scaffolding and platforming challenges. There is an underwater section, but it’s pretty subdued.

And that’s the end of the game! The score screen shows some other characters that don’t appear elsewhere in the game as well as the score you got based on the amount of crystals you collected. I got 147 of them so I suppose that there are 150 in total.

‘Summer’ theme

There isn’t anything too explicit as to what would be summery about this game, but I would assume it is the overall ambience. The colour of the grass, trees, water, etc especially on the final stage do make it feel like the heat is pouring down. After all, your shadow is cast under an alien sun.

Update: Following off of the interview with 9_nova, he’s said that the relation to summer is that the objective is to fins a beach on which to hang out with your alien friends.


Alien Sun is made by 9_nova, who worked on the programming and music. Graphics were taken from royalty-free sources.

Review and conclusion

Alien Sun is a fun little game which does feel like it is more about atmosphere and exploration than it is about skill or speed. The environment is gorgeous and the music fits it perfectly, making it feel like a familiar yet alien world.

It’s not too challenging in the sense that it’s unlikely that you’ll die unless you’re extremely careless. There are plenty of health pickups and there are no bottomless pits.

What is the most irritating about the game is the controls. It does feel too slippery which becomes most evident in the final stage where you have to do a lot of precise platforming.

One other little thing that I found a little bit lacking was the lack of enemies or any major hazards. Looking through the game files, there are a bunch of assets for what look like various kinds of flora and fauna but they weren’t included. The game’s description says that it is “The beginnings of a 2D physics/puzzle platformer.”, meaning that it’s likely that it was cut out due to time constraints. Though the lack of enemies does help contribute to the atmosphere of loneliness and isolation.

If 9_nova decides to carry on with working on Alien Sun and add a bit more flair, open-endedness and polish up the controls a little bit, it can really end up being a great game.

Articles across the web

Alien Sun is a homebrew platform game by 9_nova where you explore a strange foreign planet in search for crystals.
Article published on N64 Squid


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