If you remember back far enough, you’ll remember Nintendo created a version of Breath of the Wild in 8-bit form. It looked very similar to the original Legend of Zelda and featured a large open world. This video was from the Game Developers Conference earlier this year.
Fast forward to today and we have a fully playable version of this game, free for download. The game is available for download on itchio for free, but you can choose to pay whatever you want. The game isn’t very demanding so you should be able to play it on just about any PC. It isn’t actually what we saw in the video but it is instead a recreation of what we saw. The game was built using Game Maker, which is a program which allows users to make games for PC, mobile phones and consoles. A free trial can be found on its website.
The game starts out with no real directions on what to do. You start in a cave, pick up your sword, push a rock to leave to cave and away you go. Winter Drake, the developer of Breath of the NES, gave additional details to Kotaku about the direction the game is going in.
This project is still in its early stages…I’ll be adding more areas with distinct elements and atmospheres, puzzle elements for dungeons, and lots of ways to creatively kill enemies. I don’t feel the need to be bound to BOTW’s exact structure. For example, one of the original items in the game is a ‘Byoki Berry,’ which the game tells you is poisonous to humans. However, if you drop a Byoki berry near some Octorocks, they’ll flock to it ignoring everything else, allowing you to trap them, kill them, or sneak by.
The game already gives you the ability to cut grass, chop down trees and even light things on fire. The game has a surprising amount of freedom despite being an 8-bit game. Enemies also hit pretty hard so it remains faithful to Breath of the Wild in that way. A welcome addition is the ability to deflect arrows with your shield just by facing your enemy, much like you were able to do in older titles like A Link to the Past.
Nintendo has a history of shutting down fan games that use their characters so you may not have much time to download this game so get it while you can. Pokemon Uranium and AM2R come to mind as two recent games Nintendo shut down. You may even remember No Mario’s Sky, a No Man’s Sky parody. Apparently No Mario’s Sky was made in just three days so a ton of time wasn’t wasted with that game in particular as opposed to longer projects.
For what it’s worth, Winter Drake said they would just continue development with original characters if Nintendo comes after them, according to the interview with Kotaku.
When a lot of people hear about this project, they jump to worrying about a cease and desist from Nintendo. While I’m going to stay hardworking on Breath of the NES for as long as I can, if Nintendo asks me to stop using their IP, I do plan to continue development with my own original characters. I’m having way too much fun creating this world to just give up.
Time will tell what happens to the game but, as of now, it appears Breath of the NES is off to a good start with a bright future. We’ll definitely keep a close eye on where this game goes and keep you updated when new features become available.