Homebrew has always been a vital part of retro gaming, and the ZX Spectrum homebrew game scene is one of the most thriving and prolific communities.
ZX Spectrum homebrew games are independently developed games that are created by amateur developers (and also professionals!), often as a hobby. These games are programmed using BASIC or machine code and can be downloaded or purchased online.
Despite the Spectrum being discontinued in 1992 when the final Amstrad manufactured models of the Spectrum +2 were rolled off the production line, the homebrew community still thrives today. Developers are creating new games, remakes of classics, and even mods for existing games.
Castlevania – Spectral Interlude
Blending RPG elements with action-platformer gameplay, this enthralling journey takes you through 150+ screens as you search for sacred relics and battle Dracula. Master new abilities, like double jump and teleportation, by defeating formidable bosses.
With no lives, dying transports you to the last checkpoint, replenishing health and ammo. Immerse yourself in hours of captivating gameplay, mesmerizing graphics, and classic Castlevania tunes that echo throughout your adventure.
Travel Through Time Volume 1: Northern Lights
Embark on a thrilling amateur racing career set in 1950s Sweden, spanning four decades of automotive history. Experience diverse racing styles, night races, and varying weather conditions. Designed for 128K systems, enjoy vibrant loading screens, a dynamic AY theme tune, and the choice of OST CD or chip sound.
The game’s unique, textured cartoon-noir art style captivates with intricate detail, speed, and fluidity of movement, achieving an impressive 25 FPS on the Spectrum. Immerse yourself in this innovative racing journey that combines performance and graphical prowess.
Seraphima is a 2023 ZX Spectrum homebrew game from Zosya, which already has a stellar reputation for amazing-looking modern Spectrum games. Seraphima is no exception to this reputation and was developed as part of the Yandex Retro Games Battle v3.
Guardians and Marauders have coexisted secretly on Earth. Guardians protect life, while Marauders hunt them. Their eternal struggle maintains equilibrium. However, as Serafima emerges as the last Guardian, Earth’s fate becomes uncertain. Determined to preserve the planet, Serafima courageously battles her adversaries to ensure their defeat and Earth’s salvation.
An incredible-looking game and one that you must play immediately!
Roboprobe/48 is designed for the modest 48k Spectrums but doesn’t make any compromises with its playability! You assume the role of a repair droid working to prevent a sabotaged space station from crashing into a planet.
Crafted using the excellent Arcade Designer, Roboprobe/48 challenges you to collect parts, accumulate points, and avoid taking excessive damage from enemies and spikes throughout the ship. While the game is relatively easy to conquer, it is certainly a quality homebrew game and worth a download.
Ooze: The Escape
In Ooze: The Escape, you assume the role of a semi-sentient glob of protoplasm caught in a precarious situation. Despite its unconventional protagonist, the game offers innovative mechanics that refresh the classic arcade formula.
Delve deep into an uncharted planet, navigating through industrial facilities, maintenance corridors, and rocky caverns that form its core.
With captivating mechanics, stunning artwork, and a well-balanced difficulty level, this game is a must-play for ZX Spectrum enthusiasts. Highly recommended!
In a fascinating blend of genres, Angels see Kira and Rika, two interstellar heroines serving their sentences on Earth by fighting crime. While the narrative is straightforward, it unravels through captivating cutscenes that deserve attention.
As the game progresses, you transition to vertical shooting levels, reminiscent of Light Force, albeit with simpler graphics and less challenge. The gameplay continues to alternate between the two genres, really mixing things up and keeping it relatively fresh.
Like many Zosya games, it’s visually ambitious and certainly is a standout Spectrum homebrew game.
Aliens: Neoplasma is an exceptional platformer that is a stand-out Spectrum homebrew title, captivating you with its crisp, smooth animation and action-packed sequences.
Encounter Gigeresque aliens, facehuggers, and intense battles that showcase superb graphics and animation. Imagine the exploration of Metroid mixed with the game Alien 3, then you’re close to what Aliens: Neoplasma is delivering on the modest Speccy!
Aliens: Neoplasma is a visually stunning platform adventure that reveals its secrets progressively and will keep you hooked for hours.
Mighty Final Fight
In this quirky spinoff from Final Fight, players take control of miniaturized versions of the main characters, embarking on a daring rescue mission through Metro City to save Haggar’s abducted daughter.
Throughout each level, players encounter three vibrant stages teeming with exquisitely designed backgrounds, delightfully animated characters, and meticulous attention to detail.
Boasting exceptional graphics, sound, and gameplay, this game would have undoubtedly been hailed as an all-time classic had it graced the ZX Spectrum back in its heyday.
Space Monsters Meet The Hardy
This action-packed platformer boasts superb graphics, sound, and gameplay in a thrilling race against the clock. Armed with a laser, you cautiously navigate deadly enemies and treacherous traps.
The game involves locating and neutralizing the chief space monster concealed within the labyrinthine levels. Special elevators, activated by distinct keys, connect these levels and are heavily guarded by menacing creatures, all whilst encountering a wide range of obstacles—from seemingly innocuous obstructions to lethal hazards that prove fatal upon contact. Time is of the essence, so act swiftly!
Rival Gangs EXT
Rival Gangs EXT, designed for 128K Spectrums, is an immersive top-down, open-world sandbox game inspired by the original top-down GTA series. Forge your own path—either by gaining influence and control through completing missions for your gang or by choosing a more aggressive approach.
The EXT edition boasts more than 20 missions, an array of new weapons and frenetic combat, significantly enhanced AI, novel rewards, a variety of endings, and substantial map upgrades.
Another shiny example of what the ZX Spectrum homebrew community has to offer. Download a playable demo or purchase the full game via the below button.
Speccy Soccer is a fantastic reimagining of the 16-bit classic, Sensible Soccer, but for 128K Spectrums.
With an impressive roster of 120 authentic teams, Speccy Soccer offers an unrivaled soccer experience. The game ensures that no detail is left out, with realistic fouls, throw-ins, and corner kicks to keep you on your toes. Master the art of passing and dribbling to outsmart your opponents, and utilize well-timed tackles to regain possession.
Match Day 2 needs to watch out because Speccy Soccer certainly is in the running for the best football game on the ZX Spectrum!
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).