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Which 2D plattformer has the deepest combat mechanics?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Martin_H, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Which games in a similar perspective as Doorkickers: Action Squad have the deepest combat mechanics? With "deep" I mean, lots of choices to make and possibilities/combos to explore. The combat system should lead to a great variety of ways to describe how you could take down your foes in meaningfully different ways. To clarify I don't consider a great number of regular firearms "meaningfully different", but melee vs firearm is different enough. I'm also looking for interesting interactions with the environment like flipping tables, hiding in shadows, breaching through walls, causing gas leaks, kicking down doors, etc.. I'm looking for a combat system that has more states than just alive/stunned/dead. I'm interested in games that allow for things like sneaking up on an enemy, threatening them with a gun to surrender, taking them as a human shield, and throwing them against another enemy to knock them out both, and things like that. A lot of 3D stealth games like MGS:V and Splinter Cell support such features, but I can't think of a 2D plattformer that does. I'd also be interested in seeing an implementation of "Arkham style combat" in the 2D pixelart realm.

    Here is a screenshot of the kind of game I'm talking about:

     
  2. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Not a genre I know much about, but is this very different from top down perspective as well? Could games like that more or less use similar systems?
     
  3. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I think they are pretty different because (at least in games that have a somewhat realistic theme) in the top down games it is easier to have interesting variety in spatial relations of different characters to each other. Topdown it's easier to create depth from movement and enemy positions, sidescrolling it's easier to communicate information about more nuanced states that characters are in. Topdown the silhouettes are much harder to read and it's harder to see the difference between an enemy that is aiming, reloading, or stunned. Also easier to see whether or not they carry special equipment.
     
  4. Red-Owl-Games

    Red-Owl-Games

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    Your description immediately reminded me of "Mark of the Ninja" (Steam link, warning: gore) which I believe taps into that space of more nuanced states you described. However, it's a stealth game, not so much focused on combat. (from what I can tell from the video's, I haven't played the game)

    A game I have played that I enjoyed a lot is Deadbolt (Steam link) which is mostly about make split-second decisions and "abusing" how enemies detect you. What I think is interesting about this game is that it just does a few things well instead of offering a plethora of options (even different options such as melee vs. ranged combat) Might be worth considering taking that approach for your game as well. ;)

    It might be interesting to look at arena fighting games as references too, as they are specifically created to have these "deep" mechanics so players can use them to outwit their opponents. (though I suppose they may be focused more around rock-paper-scissors-esque mindgames)

    Continuing with the fighting games: you might want to think about aerial combat, as this allows you to move hitboxes of both the player and the opponent into a bigger physical space, which should give more options for player expression.

    Good luck with your project!
     
  5. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Thanks a lot for the great suggestions! I haven't played Mark of the Ninja yet, but it looks very promising. One reviewer writes this:
    I really like stealth games, so I'll pick this up in the next sale probably.

    Deadbolt is a good game too, I already played it for a couple of hours but wasn't able to progress past the twin vampire mission and stopped there. Maybe I should start again from the beginning and try to "git gud" and finish the game. It is somewhat close to what I'm looking for, but I'm interested in having a little more breadth of "play your way" for combat and less focus on firearms.

    With arena fighting games are you thinking of something like Street Fighter etc. or something like Soldat?



    We used to play Soldat a lot at LAN parties but in terms of tone and atmosphere I think this aerial combat moves the game into a direction I'm not as interested in.
     
  6. polemical

    polemical

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    Crash Commando! :D In the PS3 days when it had tons of online players I spent a lot of time playing that. Good selection of weapons (machine gun, shotgun, rockets, sniper rifle, grenades, mines, sticky C4 you throw at whatever/whoever and hit the detonator whenever.. including throwing around several then setting them all off at once), weapons to use in the environment (turrets), vehicles to jump in and out of and drive around (jeeps, tanks), jetpacks to move up and down in the world, several characters to choose from with unique taunts.. official trailer:
     
  7. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe the videos don't do the game justice, but to me it looks like it doesn't offer the room for creativity in combat that I'm looking for. I'm looking for something closer to the possibility-space of MGS:V etc., but in a 2D plattformer perspective. Here's an example of what I mean in MGS:V



    Playing some of these stealth games can be very artful and entertaining to watch. I think this is where good gamedesign and good marketing intersect if you look at the millions of views that such videos get.
    I'm not aware of any 2D plattformer game that comes close to this kind of freedom, so it may very well not exist. That's part of the reason why I'm interested in the first place.

    Gunpoint is something I considered giving as an example because it certainly has the right design philosophy regarding creativity, but the interactions you're using are less visceral than I'm looking for. A lot of the depth of that game lies in rewiring electronic triggers and systems and that's rather abstract. I'm looking more for the boots on the ground and hands on interactions that you directly perform with your character.
     
  8. Red-Owl-Games

    Red-Owl-Games

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    Ah! I should have been more clear. I meant games like Street Fighter, Tekken, Super Smash Bros: they do exactly what you described with different states, but they also play with hitboxes, so players have different moves with different hitboxes, but then you can also move your own hitbox in and out of way's harm. I thought it would be interesting for your game to compare those types of games and what they do to add skill and expression to combat!
     
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