One of the oldest and most iconic styles of video games, platformers have a special spot in the hearts of many people. For most, the game type is what they think of when any mention of video games arises. It makes sense as platformers can tell a wide range of stories, mixing well with others. However, due to its age, there are some cliches across platformers that have just not grown as gracefully.
Needless to say, Reddit has noticed these cliches that were once necessary tools, but have lost their luster as the years passed. Of course, they have shared their frustrations with other Redditors as well.
Too Many Indie Games
In the 80s and 90s, platformers were video games, which is why they’re so visually iconic to the idea of video games. The reason they were so everywhere is that it was easy for a small team to make. In the decades since the heyday of platformers, this is why so many indie game studios have also made their games in this style.
Reddit user bluesoul complains about the prevalence of platformers in the indie scene. While it’s understandable why there are so many, it is still frustrating. The similarity in style between so many indie games can make a player bored. Gamers are hoping to see more platformers from major studios.
Not Enough 3D
Most platformers are side scrollers, which exist in only two dimensions. However, some of the greatest platformers of all time are 3D platformers. Redditor Red_Inferno wonders why there aren’t more of them.
Bigger numbers are always exciting, so it’s a shame when we have to settle for 2D instead of 3D. But 3D platformers take more work to make; they’re more complex in structure and assets needed. Also, the collectathon genre from the late ’90s killed the genre for many. This may be why major studios are unwilling to take a chance on them.
In a thread discussing what makes platformers satisfying, Reddit user atastyfire brings up a strong point. They talk about how games with slow respawn times are frustrating and can even be a killer in enjoying a platformer.
Platformers require precision movement, which is a hallmark of the style of games. However, it only becomes stressful without generous checkpoints to save progress. Not only can distance between checkpoints be frustrating but also the time it takes for them to reload after a failure. After all, that’s time a player isn’t playing a game.
Redditor SilkBot has issues with platforming classic Super Meat Boy. They acknowledge its legendary status, but they have a big issue. The floatiness of the jumps in the game ruins the experience. Floaty jumps are a problem with the many platformers.
In slower-paced platformers, it’s fine to have floating jumps. In quick, precision-based hardest platformers, however, it can be frustrating. The float, which is meant to be used for correcting jumps, can accidentally cause players to overcorrect. Nothing is worse than when a mechanic that’s supposed to help the player actually leads to their defeat.
Redditor Ch3mlab comments about the poor camera in the otherwise excellent platformer A Hat In Time. Ever since the inception of 3D platformers, there have been complaints about cameras. Super Mario 64‘s camera was infamously bad. Even today with analog camera control there are still frustrations.
Some fans have simply accepted it as being a part of the genre. For some, it’s too high of a hurdle to clear. Games nowadays offer hundreds of different camera options based on preference, but it’s unlikely that a game will always have the one you find comfortable. Hopefully, 3D platformers will find a camera that everyone can agree on.
As mentioned earlier, platforming is an old game style. It’s been iterated and developed over the years, spinning off into different styles and types. But Redditor KeepinItRealGuy thinks there are too many variations. They complain about how many of the best-regarded platformers aren’t true platformers.
They think that platformers should be entirely about progressing through platforms. If combat is featured, then it’s not a pure platformer anymore. Even sub-styles that people think of as platformers like Metroidvanias are considered to not be “true”. This is a bit of an extreme take, but it would be nice to see more simple platformers in the future.
This is another cliche that is often caused by limitations. Once again, seeing something over and over again can still be frustrating for players. Even if there’s an explanation, as a consumer it’s still annoying to look at samey products. Redditor FrankThePug complains about the prevalence of sprites in platformers.
It is true that sprite characters can be great. But a lot of sprite-based games go for a pseudo-8-bit look, emulating the NES. While the NES had the capacity for great visuals, on average they were lacking. It makes it somewhat tiring to see an aesthetic that can be created in Microsoft Paint over and over. Still, a lot of developers go for this look due to it being more cost-effective to make, especially in an indie studio.
Boring Hub Worlds
Video games seek to convince the player that its world is cohesive. Even if the world is obviously not real, part of the game’s job is to seem consistent and create rules that players will understand. This is why hub rooms where you access all the levels are inferior to world maps.
Reddit user CasualPerspective complains about the hub rooms used in Rayman Legends. They compare them unfavorably to the world map in its predecessor, Rayman Origins. While both are fantastic games, the world map shows players more of the world. It lets a player feel like they’re exploring, as opposed to just being dropped into missions.
Redditor SilkBot returns with more critiques. This is again directed at Super Meat Boy, but it applies to many different games. Again, it’s possible to make a good game with slippery inertia. But in games with precision platforming, it is frustrating.
Typically bad traction is reserved for ice levels in platformers like Mario; less friction, more penguins. But certain games will bring on the sliding when running quickly, such as Sonic the Hedgehog. The makes the player want to not run, but, paradoxically, these games often require running. This fundamental contradiction in game design can be extremely frustrating and require a high skill ceiling.
There are plenty of games that are considered classic platformers that are also quite difficult. It’s possibly a direct response to the perceived easiness of Super Mario platforming games. But a lot of them are extremely difficult, and not always in a very fair way. But Redditor stuntaneous puts their foot down, condemning highly regarded games for their “masochistic difficulty.”
Earlier frustrations expressed by other Redditors take issue with mechanics that make precision platforming difficult. At least, as far as Reddit is concerned, it’s a matter of complete perspective and taste whether it’s good or not. It may be platforming in its purest form, but it’s not for everyone and is frequently frustrating even for fans of the genre. That’s what Reddit has to say on the matter.
Next: 10 Frustrating Super Mario Cliches That Need To End, According To Reddit
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About The Author
James Potvin (23 Articles Published)
James W. Potvin is a freelance writer for Screen Rant. This is is his first professional writing job, but he’s been making infographics about nerd culture interests for years. In the past, James has worked in education. He loves video games, and his favorite is Kirby.