If I’m being honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of the platform genre. Whilst whizzing through levels on Sonic was a buzz, I tend to fall apart when it comes to the intricate jumping. So why make a platform game? Infact this was my second platformer prototype, released the day after Squeebles!
So what do I like about the Invertical concept then? For starters the actual platform elements will remain simple. Unlike Squeebles I don’t want players restarting the level over and over. Instead players can go at their own pace and take their time in trying to find a route to the bonus items and should they make a mistake half way through they are unlikely to die & restart, just a bit of a set back. Of course the game is much more than just an easy going platformer. What makes the game rather original is that there are two different types of platforms and you can only land/walk on one type at a time, signified by colour. When your character is white, they land on the white platforms and when they invert to black they’ll fall through and land on the black.
The prototype only really shows the basics of what this can do, requiring the player to switch colour to progress. Long term I’d look to build larger levels with different routes, encouraging the player to explore the level and try to find all of the bonus items. Not only that but levels will require hunting for keys / keycards. I did contemplate having it so that changing colour would drop any black / white items but I’m unsure on that if I’m being honest.
There is still one thing that I’m a little on the fence about and that is enemies. With Simon, the main character, being a peaceful chap I don’t want you to be able to kill enemies but having a moving hazard would add to the gameplay. Most likely is that you need to either jump to avoid enemies or change colour to avoid contact. It could be quite fun having the player trying to jump through a mass of enemies, changing their colour to avoid them then changing back to land on the platform.
The final thing that I’m going to need to tackle is visuals. Obviously being black, white & grey is a little dull, plus the coloured items that I’ve added in the prototype don’t really help matters so much. I think that the best approach is to convert all neutral assets to grey but then have designs on the backgrounds and platforms rather than plain blocks. At first I gave the platforms a more “brick like” texture when they were enabled for collision and plain when you’d pass through but thought it didn’t make sense contextually to have the environment change with the player. However perhaps I should have kept the brick sprite rather than the plain one!
Well I hope you agree with some of my ramblings on here and I’m always open for suggestions. The same applies to other designs. After all a good designer isn’t the one with the best ideas, its the one who can listen, incorporate and build on other people’s ideas (plus filter out the crap ones!).
Invertical is up for consideration as my next game. Vote for it here.