A downloadable game


Escapepion is a short vertical shooting game for the Playdate.

It came about when the subject of the old arcade game Exerion came up on a video about SG-1000 games I was watching a few weeks ago, which had me wondering if I could get something that had a similar terrain effect working on the Playdate. I was pretty much just going to leave things there, but then I contracted Covid and found myself needing something to do for a week whilst I tried to avoid coughing up a lung.

I'm basically just saying that there was about a week and half of work involved in this. Mostly whilst I was ill.


The game features three exciting modes:-

ESCAPE MISSION - the standard mode.  Shoot things, don't die, the usual kind of vertical shooting stuff. You only get one life, though. Takes about 5 minutes to clear if you know what you are doing, but as always with these things, that's the trick.

ENDURANCE - An infinite mode in which the game will throw wave after wave of ships at you. It's randomised using a fixed seed, so it should theoretically prove the same experience every time for those of you who want to challenge just how far you can go.

DAILY - Like Endurance, but it uses the current date as part of the random number generation. Also you can only play each day once. Good luck!


D-Pad - Move your ship one of eight luxurious directions.

B - Hold this down to shoot. Probably a good idea.

A - Hold this down to make your ship move a little slower. Useful for navigating tricky situations!

No crank controls on this one, though I guess that means it'll work perfectly fine on the Playdate emulator for those who don't have the hardware but feel like downloading the SDK anyway.

Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)


Escapepion.pdx.zip 1 MB


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Hands down the best shmup on Playdate. I clearly have a lot of work to do to actually get good at the game but the art, animation and performance is eons above any other attempt to make a shmup.

I truly am impressed by this release! Will definitely see if I can fully complete the escape. :D


I have to admit, I still die to the bit with the laser satellites on occasion as well.

Hiya, you need to increment the build number in your pdxinfo for sideload updating to work properly. Otherwise... Good game!



Thanks for the heads-up. I've corrected and checked it's sideloading as an update correctly through the Playdate site now. Guess I should have a think about automating that in my release build scripts in the future.

This game is great! Definitely the best shmup on Playdate so far, and certainly the most complete. The graphics are top-notch. I would totally pay for a sequel/longer version with more stages and lives/checkpoints/powerups. (Like, $9.99 for a version with 5 levels or so)

I personally think the enemies have too much health -- I think with more enemies with less health each (and more firepower for the player) you could get some REALLY exciting action going on. Also, if you die during the boss, the boss music continues playing when you restart the game and the playdate crashes.

As it is it works great as a memorizer/puzzle kind of shooter, but I think you've got the framework for something amazing here.


Thanks for the feedback - I genuinely really appreciate it (and also the bug report - I've uploaded a corrected build for that).

You are probably right about the amount of health the enemies have being a little on the high side - I was actually have pretty serious performance issues on actual hardware for a lot of the development of this until I figured out that localising the Trig maths functions would cut down the CPU usage by literally 40%, so I ended up dropping the number of spawns and nudging the HP up a little. It gets a little hard to figure out if you have the balance right with this stuff once you've played through it enough to autopilot through it due to knowing where things are going to spawn. Live and learn, I guess - as it is, I've actually got pretty significant overhead for throwing more on screen at once now.

I'm not too sure if I'm going to do much else with this one at this point - I'm already feeling a little bad that I put my other project to the side for long enough to work on this one, and I'd probably need to come up with at least another 4-5 enemy types and a couple of extra background visual gimmicks (plus some new bosses), and maybe some actual powerups, for me to consider it as being worthwhile. It's certainly something I've been thinking about, but I do have some other stuff to try and finish before looking into it.

Thanks for the reply! 

Yeah, I've also found that a lot of playdate optimization is simply not using any of the provided functions in the C library...  ^^;

Really excited to see what you come up with next. And thank you for the updated build! This game definitely needs some more promotion.

The sense of speed with the scrolling...fantastic.  And that stress-inducing soundtrack is perfect!  Love it!


Thanks for the kind words - I really appreciate it!