A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games
August 4, 2006
Page 29 of 31
The results of the analysed data are summarised as follows:
big head-to-body ratio on a character is likely to increase the
probability of it becoming memorable to a large audience.
the player a power-up almost immediately is likely to increase
immediate player enjoyment and perhaps your review scores.
tropical environment, jungle or any other excuse to display lush, rich
colour compositions is a popular choice for any first level.
allow players to see their character – and a good amount of what lies
ahead - you need to make the character between a 5th or 6th of the
screen high if in a 2D game or side-on scrolling view. If your game is
full 3D, it is advisable to add a look-around button and the ability to
zoom out as far as possible with the default camera angle set so the
character’s height fills a 6th of the screen.
software cameras in platform games are still largely imperfect when the
player changes direction quickly or jumps from room corners - thus this
feature could benefit from more R+D time in all cases.
flow and smooth transitions between and throughout all moves is a
popular design choice throughout all games.
- The majority of the critically acclaimed titles and
the most successful ones choose to use as few buttons as possible for
movement and action. Median average of maximum buttons used was three.
current generation of games choose the newer reward system of token
quotient activated bonuses. They also tend to favour rewarding the
desire to explore over a player’s overall gameplay skill and
terms of gameplay variety within the first ten minutes, the 2D games
were the most varied in gameplay types. Being as they are the all-time
best sellers, that may be a clue as to how we can recapture the
astronomical sales figures of past. Most of the varied gameplay in the
2D games also grants reward, whereas in the newer game, there is less
reward – with none in some cases – per minor task accomplished.
tutorials are non-existent in the early generation games analysed. Only
the latest games – 3D ones - contain them.
- *All* platform games have input-sensitive control – even the ones that were released with digital controls.
- Most popular pick-up types are: Finance, Extra Life, Power-up and Hit-point-up.
- A unique power-up system is a great way to add further distinction to your game.
power-ups per level for puzzle-based platform games, was four. Jak and
Daxter is the only action-based platform game and contains between 4
and 15 per stage.
- Game ending rewards that promote replayability in any shape or form are a popular choice throughout.
upgrades are used in many varied ways throughout the analysed titles,
and when used, they have proved successful in their execution.
most of the games, Hazards early on regularly consist of floor
touch/kill hazards, a few Kill-zones and enemies that have a part of
their body protected. Hurt-hazards are also common and in the current
generation of platform games a surrounding area of water or empty space
where your character can be drowned or instantly killed is the common
are being weeded out in favour of Token collection. This has also
introduced unlockable bonuses relative to your total collected
quotient. Exploration and patience rewards are now being favoured over
skill based rewards.
HTR area exploration bonuses consist of Quota tokens, Extra lives,
large chunks of Finance, Portals to a bonus level and Platform
recurring pick-up bonus is the granting of an Extra life for every 100
finance tokens collected. Interestingly, a lot of the games use finance
as a dual-property pick-up – mainly having finance double up as a
hit-point-up or as a Quota Token to grant entry into a Bonus area.
most popular bonus for completing levels is an Extra life. This is
often subject to meeting a certain score or quota condition. The other
popular reward, which is standard throughout all games, is gifted
access to newer levels in the game. The games explored herein, do not
show any other similarities in regards to level-end rewards, but their
individual takes are very interesting – particularly SMB3’s roulette
block, Sonic Adventure’s A-Life feature and Crash Bandicoot’s immensely
tough to achieve box-smash bonus.
types present in the first ten minutes are often rewarded with finance
or token bonuses upon completion – at least in the best sellers. The
only exception where around 40% of tasks are without financial or token
reward is Mario Sunshine.
games analysed contain the following: Finance collection, Jumping over
Kill-zones - aka bottomless pits - Breaking open containers and jumping
over moving floor hazards.
majority of the games contained HTR areas that contained rewards
relative to the level of player skill required to reach the area.
games use finance as a key to enter bonus rounds. The key is often a
set quotient requirement, Example: Sonic 2 requires 50 rings are in
player possession to enter the bonus round and Rayman’s bonus entry
quotient requirement changes as the game progresses.
gameplay is favoured over puzzle-based gameplay in initial stages, with
puzzles only appearing later in the game, or exclusively in bonus levels