ZZ Gunner

ZZ Gunner (also spelt ZZGUNNER) is a homebrew game for the Nintendo 64 made by Ryzee119 and released on 07 December 2021. In it, you play as a space marine that lost control of his ship and has to defeat the robots that took over it. It was made for the 2021 64brew game jam.

You can download the ROM from the download page for this homebrew game by using the password controltheship or see the source code on Github and download from Drive.

ZZ Gunner style and gameplay

Style & Story

You have lost control of your ship, it has been overrun by aliens! You must enable the self-defense system!

Make your way to the bridge to re-enable it, unfortunately the ship has gone into lockdown!

You must control 3 pads on each floor to get to the next stage!

This is a sci-fi game that takes place on a space ship. It uses 2D sprite graphics which the author says comes from a public library.


ZZ Gunner is a top-down shooter with separate controls for the character’s movement and targeting, reminiscent of games like Robotron 64 except in an explorable level rather than a fixed area. The controls for the D pad, joystick and C buttons can be set at the beginning of the game to either movement or aim.

You move around a maze looking for five switches which need to be activated to open a stairwell to the next level. There are five levels in total including a final boss level and there are many enemy robots scattered throughout each one of them. I found the amount of damage each one can take somewhat inconsistent, but I think it ranges between three and six bullets to take a robot down. The boss takes a lot more, no idea how much though.

There are some items scattered throughout the levels: spread guns, machine guns, health packs and hidden bonus trophies.

Dying respawns you at the beginning of the stage with full health with your progress intact. However, the game keeps count of your deaths until it’s complete.


There are three kinds of enemies. They all have the same sprite but behave slightly differently.

The first two you encounter are large robot aliens that shoot either single shots or spread shots.

Then there is the final boss. He has the same sprite but enlarged to fit the whole screen. It has two main attacks: a wide spread and a bullet stream.

‘Control’ theme

There isn’t a much of an official explanation, but from what I can infer from the Readme, the theme’s interpretation was that the player is trying to regain control of the ship after it has been overrun by alien robots.


ZZ Gunner was designed and programmed by Ryzee119, using some 3rd party assets.

Review and conclusion

Playing through ZZ Gunner was quite fun. At first it’s a bit daunting not knowing where everything is, but the general structure is fairly easy to get the hang of after a minute or two.

The robots are challenging to deal with, particularly the ones with spread shots. They all shoot at you as soon as you appear in range so a lot of the game is either tip-toeing around to not get caught in the blast or running away looking for a gap between shots.

You have to move very far back in order to dodge all the bullets in a spread shot without taking damage, which makes the game a lot more tedious than it needs to. There’s also no post-hit invincibility so it’s possible to die in an instant if you’re caught between two enemies.

Besides that, the game is fairly balanced in terms of health pickups and weapon upgrades. If you just want to reach the end, dying isn’t too punishing – just a minor setback.

In terms of length, I think it sits just right for the amount of assets the game has. More levels would be just mean more monotonous mazes so there would need to be different alien types to spice things up if the game were to be longer.

I don’t think I encountered any bugs when playing. But if I had to nitpick, the character does jitter around a bit when re-aiming. It’s a bit distracting but not game-breaking.

Overall, ZZ Gunner sets out what it means to do: be a fun short game that is an entertaining way to spend a few minutes with just the right amount of stress.

Articles across the web

ZZ Gunner is a N64 homebrew game by Ryzee119 where you have to remove an alien robot menace which controls your spaceship.
Article published on N64 Squid


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