Mt. Magnet

Mt. Magnet introduces the Magnet Block to players. It is one of the first levels of World 2. Since World 1 introduced the player to the Ghost, Spring, and Gum Blocks, World 2 will continue adding to the player’s repertoire by adding the Speed, Magnet, and Platform Blocks. World 3 will finally introduce the Gravity and Box Blocks, while World 4 will routinely use all of them for the final challenges before the end of the game.

In order to focus on the player learning the ins and outs of switching magnet polarity, I opted to not put any enemies whatsoever in the level, allowing them to focus on the tasks at hand.

The final challenge – the spiked platform near the end of the level – has two separate ways to cross it; the way shown in the video (repelling over it), or, to get the coins underneath, the player can carry the box from earlier with them and use it as a shield against the spikes as they attract up from beneath.

Spookum Woods

Spookum Woods is a level designed primarily to reinforce Spring Block concepts and introduce the Spookum, a ghostly version of the Ballums that have been our enemies up to this point.

Spookums work like any other spawn-from-the-side-of-the-screen enemy. They despawn once they get far enough from the edge of the camera’s view. While they were originally envisioned just as simple enemies, I added in the functionality of them carrying boxes to make puzzles more interesting.

Collapsing Castle

Collapsing Castle is the intended 6th level of Phantom Block (though because of the map system, players can access it as early as their third level). It’s a bit experimental; I’ve tried a different fare from my usual sidescroller zones.

Because the Gum Block’s utility is limited in areas with little height, I’ve decided that levels including it will be a bit more freeform. This has great level design potential when combined with other blocks such as the Weight or Magnet Blocks; I can imagine creating a Castlevania-esque huge level where the main challenge is getting more powers and using them to traverse the zone.

Here, that idea is represented in getting the Spring Block. The player can’t progress unless the crate is on the green switch, but since players can’t grab crates with the Use key unless they’re on the ground, there’s no way to pick up the box and move it. The Spring Block bounces the crate into the air so the player can catch it, but serves relatively little use afterwards – it can be used to bounce the player onto the blocks right above the checkpoint, but it has no other real use.

The main focus of the zone is teaching the player about the Collapsing Blocks and Para-Ballums (in this video, with the simple Ballum sprite because the Para-Ballum sprite isn’t completed yet), the main challenges in the area. I tried to give the player plenty of opportunities to learn them individually in safe and unsafe contexts before they’re combined for the final challenge.

For more clever players, there’s a way to skip the second half of the level – but I’ll leave that up to you to find.

-Michael