No jumping

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In most platformers, the player proceeds from one ledge to the next by jumping. This makes it difficult to cast a character who physically cannot jump as the player character in such a game. So far, alternatives have included the following:

  • Ladders: Maps in Lode Runner and BurgerTime are filled with ladders, and the house in Home Alone for NES has stairs. Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle and Mr. Do's Castle use ladders or stairs as well. Some games let the player climb walls, which act the same as a ladder. Wario's Woods is centered around wall climbing, but it also allows a player carrying a stack of monster or bomb blocks to instantly climb to the top of the stack.
  • Elevators: Elevator Action has jumping, but it's a very minor part of gameplay used only to dodge slow 8-bit bullets. Replace the dodging mechanic with something else, such as L+direction dodging or rolling as seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and there is no need to jump.
  • Portable ladders: Several games let the player shoot a long object in some direction and then travel along that object. In Rod Land, this resembles a portable ladder. Other games treat it as shooting a grappling hook, such as Roc'n Rope, The Legend of Zelda series,[1] "Streemerz" from Action 52, and STREEMERZ: Super Strength Emergency Squad Zeta. A variant involves moving blocks around to make stairs, as seen in Babel no Tou and Block Dude.
  • Swinging: The player swings on some long object, moving more or less perpendicular to the object's hanging position. This may be an object that already exists, such as a rope to cross a pond. Pitfall! uses this on some screens (and jumping on others). But the coolest swinging is done with grappling hooks that the player shoots to make a rope that the player swings on Spider-Man style, as seen in Bionic Commando.
  • Trampolines or springboards: Mappy and its clone Tasmania Story use a trampoline as a ladder. The column above the trampoline has no platforms above it, and a player falls onto the trampoline and moves left or right to leave the column. Pipi & Bibis (arcade), released as Whoopee! in some markets, is an NSFW single-screen platformer that uses both not-quite-Mappy-style trampolines and Elevator Action-style stairs. A trampoline in some other games, such as Frank N Stein (for ZX Spectrum) and BLiP (for iPhone), launches a character that walks over it.
  • Catapult: Potential energy is stored in something and converted into a force launching the player up. This could be a "tree-buchet" storing energy in the tension of a flexible tree, which is so easy a monkey could do it.[2][3] Or it could be a partially inflated air bag that transfers the motion of an object dropped from above, as seen in this video of a blob jump.
  • Team: One character in the player's party can jump, and he runs around getting the lifts and ladders ready for the other characters. The Lost Vikings is the canonical example. Another involves the climber and builder abilities in Lemmings.

Combined with jumping

Some games have a combination of jumping and one of the above techniques:

  • Ladders have been combined with jumping for as long as games have had jumping, namely since Donkey Kong.
  • Datasoft's Goonies has jumping, but not useful for serious platforming.
  • Spellevator and Hotel Mario combine elevators with jumping to dodge enemies.
  • Trampolines have been boosting jumps since Super Mario Bros. Several Sonic the Hedgehog games have pinball-themed levels made of a wide variety of trampolines.
  • Rockin' Kats, Umihara Kawase, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl (tether recovery) have the grappling hook.
  • Sonic has seesaws with a weight on one side, which catapult the hedgehog on the other side when they land.
  • In Nintendo's 3D Zelda games, Link automatically jumps at the edge of each platform. This acts sort of like an invisible trampoline, but it's presented as jumping.


  1. 14 - 6 = Hookshot according to DS Brain Age "Art Academy" in 06:33.66 by Ryuto (submission; YouTube)
  2. Stephen Messenger. "Monkeys Catapult Themselves Out of Primate Research Institute". TreeHugger, 2010-07-07. Accessed 2012-09-25.
  3. K. Montagne. "5 Of The Greatest Escape Artists Ever (Were Animals)". Cracked, 2010-08-27. Accessed 2012-09-25.

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