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· written by Juha Paananen

The Best Obstacles For a Sidescrolling Game Summarized For You

Sidescrolling games have long been a popular form of entertainment among gamers. Whether it’s the classic Super Mario Brothers or more modern sidescrollers like Ori and the Blind Forest, these games captivate players with their intense action and thrilling obstacles.

But what makes a sidescroller genuinely great?

To answer this question, we’ve compiled a list of the top sidescrolling game obstacles along with some tips to make your game more fun! From beginner game design to advanced games, if you want your sidescrolling game to raise eyebrows, pay close attention.

What is a sidescroller game?

Sidescroller games are 2D platformers where the player character moves from left to right, usually navigating a variety of obstacles and enemies. The goal of sidescrollers is typically to reach the end of each level while avoiding or fighting enemies and hazards along the way.

Some of the most common sidescrolling game obstacles include platforms and ladders, enemies and bosses, environmental hazards like spikes and lava, triggers and switches that open secret paths, and gimmicks like air streams or magnets. in another article we describe how to make a sidescrolling platformer game.

Here are some examples of popular sidescroller games: Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Cave Story.

The best sidescrolling game obstacles

Now that we know what sidescrolling games are all about, let’s take a look at the best obstacle ideas for sidescrollers:

Platforms and ladders

sidescroller game platform and ladders obstacle

As one of the more basic (yet essential) obstacles on the list, platforms, and ladders are a must-have for sidescrolling games. Whether they’re standard, crumbling, or even disappearing platforms, these obstacles give players a chance to climb up and over ledges as well as jump across chasms. Don't hesitate to use the essentials!

Enemies and bosses

sidescroller game enemies bosses obstacle

No sidescroller is complete without enemies! As enemies come in all shapes and sizes, it’s essential to create ones that fit with your game’s theme. Additionally, consider including some unique boss battles along with the regular enemies – these can provide a great way to spice things up each level.

Environmental hazards

Fire pits, spikes, lava pools – you name it! Environmental hazards like these can add extra danger to your sidescrolling game obstacles. Hazards force players to think strategically and act quickly in order to avoid death. They also create opportunities for some truly epic-level designs!

Triggers and switches

Adding triggers, switches, or other objects that must be activated in order to progress can give sidescrolling games an extra layer of depth. These obstacles often involve completing a puzzle or maneuvering through a tricky obstacle course – perfect for the more experienced players out there.

Secret areas and hidden objects

sidescroller game secret areas obstacle

Who doesn’t love a good secret area? Including secret areas with hidden collectibles can give sidescrollers more replayability and reward players who take their time to explore every nook and cranny. Secret items like coins, power-ups, or even special weapons can help bring your sidescroller to life. These pair well with the triggers and switches mentioned above.

Double jumps and jump pads

sidescroller game double jump obstacle

Allowing players the ability to double jump can spice up your game in an unimaginable way. It allows for significant variation in the design of levels and the way players approach obstacles. Along the same lines, adding jump pads can take sidescrollers… to a whole new level as it allows for near-endless platforming possibilities.

Moving walls

Adding moving walls to sidescrollers is an awesome way to add an extra element of challenge. This obstacle requires players to think quickly and move with the wall in order to get past it. Moving walls also create an opportunity for some seriously cool level designs!

Conveyor belts

Adding conveyor belts can add an extra layer of challenge to sidescrolling game obstacles. Conveyor belts require players to time their jumps and movements carefully to progress. This obstacle is perfect for sidescrollers that want to introduce increasingly difficult levels!

The bottom line

2D video games are a classic form of entertainment. Sidescrolling game obstacles add an extra layer of challenge for players in these games. From platforms & ladders to conveyor belts and secret areas, sidescrollers offer endless opportunities for creativity in game design.

Whether you’re looking to create something simple or complex, these obstacle ideas should help get your creative juices flowing. With the right tools and some practice, anyone can make their own sidescrolling masterpiece!

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