How to Master a Platformer

Platforming is a genre that lies at the very heart of gaming. Platformers were some of the first games as well as some of the most popular. Mario the mascot of Nintendo got his start in the platforming game Jumpman where you had to get over obstacles to rescue Pauline from DK. This has instilled a deep love for the genre into gamers. As of this year, we have seen a reemergence of the genre with the Crash remaster and Yooka Laylee being released for a console. If you’re like some of us though you may have some frustrations with getting to the next platform.

The Problem With Platforming

Platforming games can be some of the simplest and most difficult games at the same time. The objective is simply to get from point A to point B, but this is often the end of simplicity for these games. This is because the developer has made a sea full of sharks in between the beginning and the end and you have to follow a supremely exact pattern in order to cross the water and not get eaten. That’s not a joke either there have been many levels like this where you have to perfectly get over a swarm of enemies and most gamers hate it.

A lot of the time a platformer can feel impossible to complete. Many popular games have infamous boss battles and levels that are way harder than they should be. This causes a lot of players to just stop playing these games and possibly never even complete them. Then there is the other side of the scale where a platformer is boringly easy or familiar and make their players lose interest due to the lack of challenge. Sadly, many games have failed to find a good middle ground between the two causing even popular franchises like Crash to have gamers giving up due to one small part of a level.

While you may think these levels are impossible the developers make sure they are completely beatable by using math and testers. Every level is beatable you just have to figure out the trick to it. Sadly, for most of us, we have jobs and don’t have time to spend hours on figuring out the perfect timing of each jump. This has made it so the genre has gone quiet several times as most people didn’t want to waste their money on a game they could never beat. It seems at times as only the Mario series has been able to make it long term in the platforming world.

Tips For Making it Through

To successfully make it through a platformer there are a few different techniques you can use depending on which works best for you. The first of these techniques is to find the rhythm of the game. Every level has a sort of rhythm when you are running through it. Much like learning the keys in a song you can learn when to jump with muscle memory. This will help with speed running stages and calculate what will come next. Each level generally follows a pattern in a platformer and as you progress in the level it uses the same tricks over and over again just in a different order.

Next, always remain calm and I know this sounds hard, but it’s worth it. The more worked up you get with a game the more your brain will go into fight mode. This means you will be quicker to react to things and in a game that requires patience, this can be troublesome. While platformers are about reaction time they are also about the timing of the reaction time. If you jump too early or too late then you’re going to have to restart the level. Never take the game too seriously and you may find that you get a lot harder than when you are actually trying.

Third, if you get mad then walk away. This isn’t just good advice for cooling down after an argument its great advice for playing tough games as well. When you get worked up it makes it harder to concentrate and your palms may even get sweaty. This will cause your grip and reaction time to waiver and can make you even worse than you were when the challenge started. To overcome this turn off the game and take a shower. When you come back you will have calmed down and probably find you’re much better at overcoming the obstacle you were having so much trouble with moments ago.

Some Platformers Just Suck

Sadly some platformers just plain suck. Bad design combined with bad controls make some of the indie ones just unbearable. If you find yourself playing one of these games do yourself a favor and just walk away. While the challenge is a very rewarding thing to overcome many of these games will be nothing, but challenges and a total waste of your time and effort. To spot these games always look up gameplay before purchase and check out reviews to see how other users are feeling.

Jessica has been working with the gaming industry for about two years now. She enjoys playing quirky Japanese games and learning about the newest trivia in the industry. When not working with games you may find her chilling with her naked cat Prince Noko... he's pretty cool we guess.