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FROM BELOW - New NES Homebrew! [Complete]


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Download (or play in your browser) the latest build here! (ver. 1.0)

The Kraken cometh...

From the deepest trenches of the ocean, the Kraken has come to lay waste to your city!

The archers have slung every arrow.
The burning tar has run dry.
Every piece of military weaponry has been dispatch.

And yet... the Kraken moves forward, climbing the towering walls of your seaside fortress.

With no ammunition left, the city itself moves from a barricade, to a weapon!

The stones of the walls are broken off, and hurdled down at hideous creature. And it just might be enough to
slow it down till morning, when surely help will arrive...


Hi! I created my first Homebrew NES game, FROM BELOW

It a falling block puzzle game featuring:

  • Soft Drops
  • Hard Drops
  • Wall Kicks
  • T-Spins
  • Lock Delay
  • 3 modes of play:

Kraken Battle Mode

The signature mode of FROM BELOW. Battle the Kraken by clear lines across the onslaught of attacking Kraken Tentacles. The Tentacles push more blocks onto the screen every few seconds, forcing to act quickly, and strategize on an every changing board.


Classic Mode

The classic block falling mechanics you know and love without any new gimmicks. Modernize for 2020, with Hard Drops, Lock Delay, and more, making this (hopefully) the best feeling puzzle game on the NES!

Turn Based Kraken Battle Mode

Similar to "Kraken Battle Mode", but instead of the Kraken attacking every few seconds, it advances its tentacle every time you drop a piece. Make every move count, as this move favors slow, deliberate play!

main_018.png.a3f83f30d629bee82beb463e609ff51a.png main_019.png.64b38f6b832fafd83ec4059ca8835b9f.png main_020.png.3b9e41dcdb6f03ef5c0ec81baf17a592.png main_021.png.9ce13a53f05c26f6c686c7519fcb9304.png main_025.png.c20ff8b5c2d1aaa2d6d7f98bf0514cbf.png main_022.png.2aa50f054a1ec6eec3cfd5602814692d.png



Edited by matthughson
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3 minutes ago, Deadeye said:

 I think you said you were planning a physical release in the future.  Is that correct?

I'm thinking about it. I might do a super limited, handmade, run of this version once it's done (say 20 copies), and then if I ever get around to adding multiplayer some day, I would probably do a more serious release for that.

You think there is a market for it?

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58 minutes ago, Deadeye said:

People like Tetris

Never heard of it. ☠️

2 minutes ago, Scrobins said:

Welcome @matthughson! Glad to see you here on VGS. I’ve been following your twitter posts excitedly.

Thanks! Who are you on Twitter?



Edited by matthughson
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Update Week 7!


As the game finishes it's 7th week of development, I am officially calling FROM BELOW Feature Complete. This means no more new features will go in the game, and all effort will be focused on making what is in the game perfect!

With that in mind, I need your help beta-testing the hell out of this thing! Button mashing! Power cycling! Hacking! Cheating! Anything you can do to try and break the game!

If you are interested in helping, you can just reply to this thread with your feedback/bugs, or join me on Discord for real-time responses to your questions and feedback:


With that out of the way, here is the change log for this week (latest ROM is attached below):

Version 2020.07.11 Beta 1


  •  Added "Score" to all modes.
  • Game always goes to options screen from start screen.
  • Allow player to choose starting level (hold A to jump extra 10 levels).
  • Remove ability to choose "modern" blocks. Not fun.
  • Added option to disable sound FX.
  • Add boot screen for credits. Removed credits from options menu.
  • Slowed down fade to make it feel less like a glitch.
  • Fast paced music near top.


  • Cannot trigger GAME OVER on level 29 - FIXED
  • Level speed resets after level 29 - FIXED (Halt level progress at level 29)
  • Pause music plays when turning off music in the option screen - FIXED
  • Some blocks are not using "Right-Handed Rotation" - FIXED
  • T block does not start facing "downwards" - FIXED



Edited by matthughson
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23 minutes ago, CMR said:

Awesome, with the drop patterns I'm getting, though, Kraken really doesn't have to do much.  I like it even if it isn' t Tetris.  👍

Drops are random, with a single attempt to avoid dupe (eg. if it gets the same block twice in a row, it will attempt to re-roll once).

Thanks for playing!

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On 7/15/2020 at 8:42 PM, guillavoie said:

Once completed, this game will make a great pick for the VGS Homebrew contest!

That would be amazing!!

2 hours ago, CMR said:

I made it to level 14.  I like the dynamic the Kraken adds to the game.  It's simple but effective.

Thanks! That's exactly what I was hoping for; don't mess too much with a winning formula!

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Update Week 8!

Thanks to everyone who has helped test the game, and logged bugs! This build includes fixes for every bug logged so far, so if nothing major comes out of this version, it just may become the final build of the game!

In addition to a number of bug fixes, I also created an Itch.io page for From Below: https://mhughson.itch.io/from-below

It includes a version of the game playable in the browser, which I have detailed how to do here: http://www.matthughson.com/2020/07/17/nesdev-embedding-an-emulator-on-itch-io/

Here's the change log:

Version 2020.07.17 Beta 2

* High Score tracking across all game modes. Note: There is now save game; this is only tracked per session.

* Lock delay is too long on mid levels (6+) - FIXED
* Game Over often shows incorrect block sprites - FIXED
* Game Over is triggered later than it should be - FIXED (now triggers the moment a new block is blocked)
* Minor block layout issues - FIXED
* Minor Nametable issues  - FIXED
* Text is hard to read on CRT (contrast issues) - FIXED (need to test on real CRT, rather than just simulation)
* Next block vanishes during line clear - FIXED



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Update Week 9!

It looked like I was about to call this game finished, when suddenly the From Below Discord got a big influx of Classic Tetris players. 

This weeks changes are mostly focused on high skill level, Classic Mode, play. The Classic Tetris players who joined the Discord, pointed out a bunch of issues with the game that made the long term success of the game questionable. Almost all of the feedback so far has been addressed in this patch.

For more casual players, the game will appear mostly unchanged (hopefully).

Download or play in your browser over on itch.io!

Version 2020.07.24 Beta 3

* Added spawn delay (ARE) of 5 Frames. Reduced lock delay by 5 frames to account for it (now 15 frames).
* Added option to disable hard drops, as well as moving it to HOLD UP (2 frames) rather than TAP UP (1 frame).
* Added "quick reset" via A+B+SELECT+START. Goes back to title screen, rather than full restart.
* Added "Kill Screen". Every level after 29 adds an unbreakable row up to level 40 (covering half the play area).
* Level counter displays beyond Level 29.

* Sound test screen has major graphical issues - FIXED (new screen added)
* When starting on level 12+, game will level up when when reaching level 11, rather than passing level that player started on. - FIXED
* S and Z pieces do not rotate properly - FIXED (uses proper right hand rotation)
* After quitting to main menu, and starting a new game, the previous game's "next block" is briefly seen. - FIXED
* If player changes modes on the same frame that the PUSH START flashes, it will overrun the vram buffer causing visual glitches. - FIXED


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  • 3 weeks later...

 Update Week 11!

This release has been a little delayed because I wanted to give the player feedback from Beta 3 a chance to settle. It seems to have done that, and baring any significant bugs being found, this may end up being the final version of the game!

Thanks to everyone that provided feedback and helped track down bugs! Huge thanks to Muunas and Fiskbit who helped track down a really nasty sprite flicker issue when the game was run on real hardware!

Version 2020.08.09 Beta 4


  • Added 2 second delay prior to beginning of match.
  • Allow players to start on Level 29 by [redacted].
  • Sound Test mode is now unlocked with Konami Code on main menu (rather than just A+START).
  • Hard drop setting how comes in 3 versions: Off, Tap (instant) and Hold (2 frame delay).


  • Kill Screen Skull not cleared after restarting game - FIXED
  • Game ends when a piece is placed off top of screen - FIXED (only ends when new piece can't spawn)
  • Graphical corruption from Game Over text writing to the side of the game board - FIXED
  • Numerous issues with wall kicks - FIXED
  • Soft drop is 1 frame too slow (every 3 frames but should be every 2 frames) - FIXED
  • Frames over-budget causing sprites to flicker - FIXED

Download or play in your browser over on itch.io!


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  • 1 month later...

I am getting very close to a limited physical release of From Below!


(prototype prints. these will change before release a bit)

To make it a little easier for people who are really interested, I have created a mailing list, which I will use to notify people when the sales go live (so that you don't have to check a bunch of different places).



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  • The title was changed to FROM BELOW - New NES Homebrew! PRE-PREORDER NOW AVAILABLE
  • 1 month later...
  • The title was changed to FROM BELOW - New NES Homebrew! [Complete]

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