blog by rae

Try the Demo - Out Today!

Aug 31st, 2023   •   rowbot rally


My name’s rae (in case you missed it), and I’ve been working on a game for Playdate called RowBot Rally (in case you missed that)! Play as a bunny teaming up with a defective ‘RowBot’ to take down an evil corporation who’s monopolized the entire competitive rowing circuit - and hopefully, have some fun while doing it! I started working on this game in April, and since then there’s been lots of ups and downs (and sideways?!), but today I’ve finally got my first piece of Big News™ to share…

The demo’s out!

That’s right! Starting TODAY…you can try out a curated sampling of the first chunk of the game, for the low low price of…free! You can get through it pretty quick, but such is the nature of a demo. The demo includes the tutorial level (so you can get the hang of the controls), the first stage of the game, as well as the first two fully-animated cutscenes! Marvel and witness the glorious 1-bit goodness.

Of course, this demo is just a small piece of the full game, which I plan to launch later on, so stay tuned for that!

Heads up…

Since this demo’s coming out well before the final game, it should be noted that pretty much anything in this game’s subject to change in the time between now and then - so there might be some things that’ll get improved or changed, bugs that’ll be fixed, etc etc. That being said: if you notice any bugs, feel free to contact me with the support link on the main page! There’s also a dedicated contact for feedback, if you have any of that as well - if there’s something you expected to be some other way, or something you think just looks Weird, I wanna hear about it!

Also, do note that in this demo, none of your data will be saved - so that’s story progress, best times, etc. - this is partially a limitation of the bundle IDs (since the demo’s is different from the final game), and partly because I don’t really think it’s enough of the story to warrant keeping track of the player’s progress. If you manage to snag a new personal record, though, do show me! I’d love to see it.

One last thing to note: this demo doesn’t run quiiiiite at full-speed just yet when using the Mirror app. On a device, you should clock a consistent 30fps (if you don’t, let me know!!), but if you’re on Mirror, it’ll dip to somewhere around 29-28fps in-game. I plan to optimize with Mirror in mind for the full release, once I have all of the race mechanics built - it’s an important step towards accessibility and just plain comfort, so I’d really like for my game to function with as well as it does without. If you wanna clock your FPS speed right now, here’s a Row Tip™: hold B and press A on the title screen to toggle a counter in the corner. Neat!

What about the full game?

Well, this game’s proving tougher to get out the door than I expected (fun fact: this demo is coming out on my initial projected release date for the entire game! How’s that for an underestimation?) - that, combined with some other stuff I’m busy hammering out during this last chunk of the year, means I don’t have any specific release date in mind yet. If I can manage it, I’d liiike to gun for a release somewhere in the first half of 2024? It could release earlier – could release later! I genuinely do not know, and my past track record is advising me to not make a guess.

If you wanna keep track on updates as I have ‘em, you can follow me on Mastodon! There, I post the cool stuff - large strides I’ve taken with the code, or the art, some fun tip I found and promptly implemented, or whatever-else. If you wanna get into the real nitty-gritty, mostly-off-topic, the TRUE development experience; then you can follow the dev-log currently in-progress in the Playdate Squad Discord! If neither of those speak to you and you only want the REALLY big stuff - well I’ll post those right here on the itch.io page (you are here)! These kindsa posts should only really happen when there’s a new public release of the game, or somethin’ really important just happened.


Alright, that’s all I’ve got to say! Get out there and try out that demo, and let me know what you think! I wanna thank everyone who’s been rooting for me throughout this whole experience so far - this is the first proper game that I’ve made, and it’s been super inspiring to see people I see as role models goin’ “oh yeah this game’s swag as fuck” and offering real good advice…but I’ll save the real sappiness for the postmortem.

Anyway, go enjoy that demo, and until next time: Sea ya later!

Download RowBot Rally DEMO