Have you ever wanted to play a Super Smash Bros-style game on an authentic NES console? Well, thanks to indie developer Sylvain Gadrat, that just might be possible soon. Super Tilt Bro is an 8-bit Smash-style game that just got a new trailer. It's currently in open alpha on Itch.io.
What is Super Tilt Bro?
According to Gadrat, Super Tilt Bro is a "demake of the Super Smash Bros series compatible with the good old Nintendo Entertainment System from the 1980s". It's a fairly stripped-back project, featuring only two characters right now and a handful of stages. It is, however, a fully-functioning NES game with online play thanks to special NES cartridges with a Wi-Fi chip installed in them. You can't get these cartridges right now - Gadrat says they're in "very early alpha" - but you can play online using the ROM version or the browser version. Check out the trailer for Super Tilt Bro, crafted by Daria Zhuravleva, right here:
The way in which Gadrat implemented netcode into an NES game is painstaking and very nerdy, so if you're interested in reading about it, you can do so right here. Essentially, Super Tilt Bro is using a very clever system based on guessing to determine what inputs have been made, but it's far more complex and involved than that, of course. Suffice it to say that Super Tilt Bro's netcode should be able to sustain an online game between two players, which is pretty darn impressive for an NES title.
Gameplay-wise, Super Tilt Bro is pretty much what you'd expect: it's a NES version of Super Smash Bros, with most of the core mechanics translated to NES-style graphics and gameplay. Right now, there are two characters available in Super Tilt Bro: Ogre3D mascot Sinbad and Krita figurehead Kiki. They both have fully-fledged unique movesets; Kiki can draw platforms to recover from falls and Sinbad's scimitar gives him unmatched offensive capabilities. Given that Kiki was added fairly recently, Gadrat is likely looking to add even more characters to the project, so watch this space.
How can I play Super Tilt Bro?
Right now, Super Tilt Bro is available as an NES ROM on the Itch.io page, as well as an embedded game within your browser window. If you want to play the game on an NES and you have the requisite skills, you can try to homebrew a cartridge yourself using this label and a printable instruction manual. Be aware, though, that you won't be able to play the game online using a homebrew cart (unless, of course, you've also managed to jerry-rig a Wi-Fi chip into the cartridge yourself). Both of these assets - the label and the manual - are from the game's v1.0 release, and a lot of things have changed since then, so you might simply want to wait for the official cartridge release.
In the meantime, you can check out Super Tilt Bro on Itch.io, where you can also donate to the project if you'd like. It's being offered on a name-your-price basis, so you can pay whatever you like for it. You'll get a NES ROM for your trouble. We're not sure yet when Gadrat is planning to sell Wi-Fi-enabled NES cartridges for Super Tilt Bro, so watch this space.
Have you played Super Tilt Bro? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!