Hate to disappoint you, but I actually didn’t work on this game – this is a level I made as a work test for another school I applied to. It was made in Tiled, a software for making levels in 2D. The tileset is taken directly from the third Zelda game, which was released on Super Nintendo. It was a good practice in learning that program and using someone else’s tileset. Here, I explain my design process, where the player in a beginner dungeon is carefully taught each feature of the it, in a progressively harder difficulty curve. It mixes combat and puzzles with exploration to not bore the player by being too repetitive.
Room A. It begins easily, by encounters with the easiest enemies, one by one. You get the chance to use pots and discover they can hide something in them. The last pot has a heart in it since a beginner may have been attacked by the enemies once or twice.
Room B. Here, the player will meet both enemies at the same time. But since Popo (the blue/red worm creature) is slow and there are two pots in front of Rat, the player can turn right and easily attack them one at a time, with or without pot. Another option is to escape by pressing the button which is there, which will have the stairs which lead to the next section, appear.
The player will fight another Rat and has hopefully seen Spike Trap, which constantly moves up and down here. If the player ignores the stairs and continue to the right, he/she will see another Spike Trap, Rat and Popo. There are a few more pots and a locked door here. The player will reach a ledge and a chest. The player will find the key which is needed to proceed. The player will have to return to the stairs.
After a few familiar enemies and a pot with a heart, the player will find the chest with the key which is needed to lock up the locked door. Spike Trap’s and Rat’s placements are a bit tighter, which will demand the player to be more careful than before.
Room C. This room is very simple and is there to show the player he/she can interact with certain blocks. There is nothing else in the room, and the player will be locked inside, which will force the player to interact with the block to move on. If the player pushes the block, the doors will open.
Room D. In the last room, there are several enemies and it is tight. Also, there is another locked door and a key to find for it. There are two pots. One of them has a heart, the other hides a button. If the player pushes the button, a chest with the key appears. The player can now reach the second floor.
Room E. Right when the player comes in, he/she will see it’s possible to go either left or right. A small hint is a couple of pots in the shape of an arrow, which indicate it’s best to start there. After a Popo enemy and some blocks, the player will encounter the Soldier enemy for the first time. To the right is a Rat enemy and some pots, of which one has a heart. On the bridge which follows, the player can see the Bow Soldier enemy for the first time, which stand beneath and to the left of the bridge. Then there are a Soldier and a Spike Trap (side-scrolling) to the left. Since there is nothing else there, the player can escape to the right, where there are four more blocks and another Spike Trap (also side-scrolling), and stairs going down. There are two Popos and two pots waiting here. After going under the bridge, you’ll encounter a Bow Soldier. Since the player has seen him before when walking over the bridge, he/she can be helped by knowing the movement and attack patterns of the enemy. One of the pots next to the enemy has a heart in it.
If the player continue through the door, a few more enemies and four blocks will be found. The fourth block is shining. Aha! Perhaps this is related to the fourth block the player passed by in the former part of the room. Perhaps it is also connected to the locked door which is also here? The player goes back and pushes the fourth block in the right part of the room. In typical Zelda manner, a jingle is heard. Something has happened, but exactly what is not known at the moment. The player continues back and can now see a chest next to the Soldier and Spike Trap he/she possibly ignored previously. The player will have to fight Soldier, or try to empty the chest and run. Here, you find the key to the door in the left part of the room.
Had the player gone to the left first, then he/she had to face a Soldier alone, with several pots to fight with, of which two of them holding hearts. Before the player had jumped down the ledge, perhaps he/she would have seen the enemies below. Since Bow Soldier is already encountered there, there is no big surprise facing him again on the other side, though the close placement can be a bit risky. Other than that, the left route only means some backtracking. The player has already received the hint that the fourth block can be pushed by then.
Room F. Here, the player will once again face all enemies he/she has met thus far. Some blocks cannot be pushed, as they are grouped together. The pots have rupies and hearts in them. The player needs to defeat all enemies. After that is done, both doors to the next room is opened.
Room G. If the player goes upwards, he/she will face a few enemies. There are eight pots. One of them, the second one on the left side, has a button underneath it. If you push it, a jingle is heard again. But you see no changes. There are thus far no stairs to the upper floor, so you continue right.
Here, you’ll pass by the locked door to the boss, and there are also some enemies and blocks. Since you pushed the button on the left side, you can now also push the correspondent (second on the left) block. Then another jingle is heard. If you continue down you’ll find nothing, so you go back.
Then you’ll see some stairs and two Soldiers and Bow Soldiers. When these are defeated, a button is revealed. If you push it, the mini-boss Sword Soldier appears. He also needs to be defeated. To your aid, there are pots with hearts in them on the left and right side. When Sword Soldier is defeated, the big chest with the key to Floor 3 where the boss awaits, is revealed.
In this room, you had to do everything you’ve been taught in the earlier rooms of this dungeon – press hidden buttons, push blocks, defeat enemies and find keys.
For this room, I was thinking of two variations.
- The boss rushes around in the room. Inside, there are four buttons and a Spike Trap, which unlike the others stand still. The player cannot harm the boss with his/her sword. When the player pushes any of the four buttons, the Spike Trap will move in the correspondent direction (the button to the left will have the Spike Trap move left and so on). The goal for the player is to hit the boss with Spike Trap. When so has happened, Spike Trap will automatically move to the closest wall. This is because the player shouldn’t be able to repeat the attack right away.
- In the other variant, there is no Spike Trap, but the buttons are still there. As in the previous variant, you cannot harm the boss with your sword, but instead of using the Spike Trap, pots will appear when you push a button. The three closest dark blue plates on the floor will get two pots and one randomly generated enemy spawned upon them then. You cannot push another button until the enemy (as in not the boss) is defeated. The pots are used to attack the boss and also randomly include hearts and rupies.