Minimalist thrilling shoot 'em up game with minimalist art style

pygame, shmup, maze, ai-challenges, arcade-game
pip install brutalmaze==0.9.3


Brutal Maze

Brutal Maze is a thrilling shoot 'em up game with minimalist art style.

The game features a trigon trapped in an infinite maze. As our hero tries to escape, the maze's border turns into aggressive squares trying to stop him. Your job is to help the trigon fight against those evil squares and find a way out (if there is any). Be aware that the more get killed, the more will show up and our hero will get weaker when wounded.

Brutal Maze has a few notable features:

  • Being highly portable.
  • Auto-generated and infinite maze. [0]
  • No binary data for drawing.
  • Enemies with special abilities: stun, poison, camo, etc.
  • Somewhat a realistic physic and logic system.
  • Resizable game window in-game.
  • Easily customizable via INI file format.
  • Recordable in JSON (some kind of silent screencast).
  • Remote control through TCP/IP socket (can be used in AI researching).


Brutal Maze is written in Python and is compatible version 3.6 and above. The installation procedure should be as simple as follows:

  • Install Python and pip. Make sure the directory for Python scripts is in your $PATH.
  • Open Terminal or Command Prompt and run pip install --user brutalmaze.

For more information, see Installation page from Brutal Maze wiki.

After installation, you can launch the game by running the command brutalmaze. Below are the default bindings, which can be configured as shown in the next section:

New game.
Toggle pause.
Toggle mute.
Move left.
Move right.
Move up.
Move down.
Left Mouse
Long-range attack.
Right Mouse
Close-range attack, also dodge from bullets.

Additionally, Brutal Maze also supports touch-friendly control. In this mode, touches on different grid (empty, wall, enemy, hero) send different signals (to guide the hero to either move or attack, or start new game). Albeit it is implemented using mouse button up event, touch control is not a solution for mouse-only input, but an attempt to support mobile GNU/Linux distribution such as postmarketOS, i.e. it's meant to be played using two thumbs :-)


Brutal Maze supports both configuration file and command-line options. Apparently, while settings for graphics, sound and socket server can be set either in the config file or using CLI, keyboard and mouse bindings are limited to configuration file only.

Settings are read in the following order:

  1. Default configuration [1]
  2. System-wide configuration file [2]
  3. Local configuration file [2]
  4. Manually set configuration file [3]
  5. Command-line arguments

Later-read preferences will override previous ones.

Remote control

If you enable the socket server [4], Brutal Maze will no longer accept direct input from your mouse or keyboard, but wait for a client to connect. Details about I/O format are explained carefully in Remote control wiki page.

Game recording

Either game played by human or client script can be recorded to JSON format. This can be enabled by setting the output directory to a non-empty string [5]. Recordings can be played on the repo's Github Page which the above screenshot is linked to.


Brutal Maze's source code and its icon are released under GNU Affero General Public License version 3 or later. This means if you run a modified program on a server and let other users communicate with it there, your server must also allow them to download the source code corresponding to the modified version running there.

This project also uses Tango color palette and several sound effects, whose authors and licenses are listed in Credits wiki page.

[0] Broken on vanilla pygame on GNU/Linux. For workarounds, see issue #11.
[1] This can be copied to desired location by brutalmaze --write-config PATH. brutalmaze --write-config alone will print the file to stdout.
[2] (1, 2) These will be listed as fallback config in the help message (brutalmaze --help). See wiki for more info.
[3] If specified by brutalmaze --config PATH.
[4] This can be done by either editing option Enable in section Server in the configuration file, or launching Brutal Maze using brutalmaze --server.
[5] brutalmaze --record-dir DIR. Navigate to wiki to see more options.