Featherlight

Featherlight is a Nintendo 64 homebrew game by Team Early Birds and released on 09 December 2021. It’s an incomplete game where you jump around platforms in a 2D environment. This game was made for the 64brew game jam 2021.

You can download the ROM and source code from the download page for Featherlight by using the password earlybirdfeather or see the source code on Github and download from Drive.

The game glitches out when run on N64 hardware. When run on an emulator, it requires fairly specific settings. I got it working on Project 64 2.3 with angrylion’s RDP Plus r7 plugin, with Graphis HLE disabled like so:

Featherlight Style and Gameplay

Featherlight takes place in a somewhat undescribable setting. There are platforms floating in the sky, inexplicable girders, doorless red brick buildings and even the random mailbox strewn about.

The game sports an 8-bit style with bright and distinct colours. There’s only a few unique tiles used within the available level so there’s a lot of repetition with big chunks of the same colour.

The gameplay is fairly straightforward; it’s a 2D platformer. The interesting thing about it is that the character has a wall jump ability that resembles that of games like Ninja Gaiden or Super Meat Boy.

Given that this game is incomplete, it’s hard to really comment on what it could have been

‘Control’ theme

The theme of control instantly brings to mind all the twitchier platformers I’ve come to enjoy recently and so we decided on one of those. The main two influences I mostly say were the Donkey Kong Country games and 2D Metroid.

Besides that, the plot back during the “way way too ambitious for a 2-month project” days involved someone rolling in and taking over the country and your job was to take him out.

Lepidotós

Credits

Featherlight was developed by Team Early Birds which consists of YoshiMaster96 and lepidotós. It’s not clear what each of the members worked on.

Review and conclusion

Featherlight is an unfinished game, so it’s hard to give it a proper review without mentioning what it was intended to be.

The game was developed and tested using the Project 64 emulator so when it came time to try it out on real hardware, there was a large undetected bug which made the sprites and background appear glitchy on the screen. Though, this is better than it was originally since the different platform made the game fail to boot at all. There is a version of Featherlight called “hardware fixed” but it seems to work just the same for me.

The graphics are a bit unintuitive in the sense that it’s hard to tell what you can and can’t jump on. The only objects with any kind of opacity are the dirt/grass tiles and the girders. The very solid-looking brick buildings do not interact with the character at all.

The gameplay itself isn’t bad for what it is. I feel like the character’s jump is a tiny bit delayed and the jump is a bit floaty but that’s about it. You do have two special skills though, a wall jump and a ledge climb. These do make it a bit more interesting as you can try to do a bit of acrobatics, but the level design doesn’t really lend itself to do much with it.

Featherlight is a nice and basic little game, but I’d like to see what it ends up becoming if Team Early Bird ends up completing it.

Articles across the web

Featherlight is an incomplete N64 homebrew game by Team Early Bird in which you play through a platforming level with a few tricks.
Article published on N64 Squid

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