Zarc Attack
Based in Portugal

Release date:

PC - Steam
Nintendo Switch



Navigate a huge alien infested spaceship to find it's last human survivors in Exophobia, a retro-inspired fast-paced action first person shooter with metroidvania progression. Upgrade your alien weapon to unlock new areas to explore and become more powerful and resourceful in combat with exciting abilites. Fast reflexes, clever movement and learning enemy behavior is key to successfully eliminate the unforgiving hordes of aliens, including menacing bosses, and discover the truth behind the massacre.


Born in Ludum Dare 33 in August 2015, Exophobia, then called "The Red Planet", became an interesting weekend experiment for José in using 3D with Game Maker Studio 1.4 and storytelling in a first person game. The end result was not fun or polished, and even impossible to beat, but it standed out visually due to the restricted palette with red and blue combination, octopus alien designs and nostalgic genre, which helped made it José's most downloaded game jam game. José had never been a fan of FPS games and making 3D games was all new to him, but once his life allowed him to make games professionally on its own, giving new life to this retro FPS project seemed to be the most viable option. He envisioned a more complex version of the original project and adding his own inspirations to the genre lead to creating a product that was both nostalgic and authentic. Moved by this challenge and after some years of figuring out life, Exophobia was born and began full production in October 2019, reworked from scratch in Game Maker Studio 2, with the vision of creating an FPS game that would be fun and unmissable for the author and all players who like action games in general like him.


  • Intense, fast-paced and strategic combat, with movement options like dashing. 3 different powerups can be discovered on the map changing the way the game is played.
  • Intriguing aesthetic reminescent of retro games that founded the genre, with a slight twist. Low resolution clean and crisp pixel art and a limited palette of 8 colors of blue and red, representing cold metal and hot blood.
  • Heart-pumping danceable electronic music to go along with the intense fights.
  • Exploration and key-door mechanics given by the weapon upgrades,similar to the metroidvania genre.The player also becomes more powerful and resourceful with new abilities in combat.
  • 20 enemies with their own behaviours, 5 completely distinct boss fights that change the pace of the game and 4 spaceship floors to explore, each with their own style, theme and obstacles.
  • Optional additional lore for fans that want to take on the hardest challenges in optional rooms and explore the spaceship to the fullest.


Console Announcement Trailer YouTube

Announcement Trailer YouTube


download all screenshots & photos as .zip (5MB)


Awards & Recognition

  • "Most Antecipated Portuguese Game Nominee at Moshbit Awards" Azores, November 4, 2020
  • "Finalist of Festival du Film Fantastique de Strasbourg's Indie Game Contest" Strasbourg, October 1, 2020
  • "LoadingZone Spotlight Award" Lisbon, November 24, 2019
  • "Finalist of Indie X Selection" Lisbon, November 14, 2019

Steam Page
Exophobia on Steam https:.

Exophobia Credits

José Castanheira
Designer, Programmer and Artist

Pedro J. Costa

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks