How to Make a Great 2D Platformer

Here's a very basic 2D platformer that is quite boring. You collect the coins on the left and then you die on the red block. In this article we will see how to improve this game, step by step, to make it better.

Better Player

First, let's focus on the player. For now it's just a static square, but we can make it better by adding some simple animations. For example: tilt the sprite when moving backward or forward, add an idle animation to look like the square is breathing, and add some dust when he falls on the ground.

The difference is quite subtle, but now the white square seems alive, which makes the game more interesting.

Better Coins

The yellow coins instantly disappear when they are taken, and this is dull. Let's change that with a smooth animation where the coins will scale down and move upward very quickly before completely disappearing.

As you can see above, it is now much more satisfying to take the coins.

Better Death

When the player dies by touching the red square, he simply reappears at the top of the screen. That doesn't really look like "dying" to me. Instead, when the player dies, two things should happen: the player explode with some particle effects, and the screen starts to shake.

This new death version has more impact, and that makes the game a lot more dynamic and punchy.

Better Sounds

Finally we will add some sound effects. This is a must have for most video games because it increase immersion. And this time you can actually play the game by using the arrow keys.

To play the game: click here.

This is just 4 basic sound effects, but it makes a big difference.

Conclusion

The first version of the game was boring, but the last example above is a lot more interesting. Yet both are actually the same game, except for a few effects that don't change the gameplay at all. The next step is to create some interesting levels, and this would become a real game.

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