Modern Platformers, A little too pretty?


New member
Jun 8, 2010
So here's my current bugbear. Due to Nintendo's sudden relapse into platformers (eg. New Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's...thing ) I've found myself in a platforming frenzy. Any old-school (or retro gamer) knows the feeling when you feel a need to speed through long progressions of floating islands. Dodging strange traps, stomping stranger enemies, and endlessly progressing at breakneck speed towards some unknown goal. However, this excellent feeling does not come through in at least two of the games I mentioned earlier (haven't played Kirby's newest cunningly disguised hardcore game yet.) Whenever I pick up a controller for Nintendo's newest little slice'o'the'80s, I realize what's wrong. It looks too pretty.
Hear me out, I have absolutely nothing against awesome graphics. What I do have something against is sloppy controls. In both of those platformers, the characters almost have to wind up to jump. I guess it's hard to convey with words, but imagine if every time you pulled the R trigger to shoot a bullet in (insert FPS) there was a split second delay before it actually fired. You'd notice. These extra little "windup" frames cause that same effect (ironically, to me FPS games a lot better response in their jumping.) It happens when the characters land too, they "land" in such a way that it's almost hard to tell when they are ready to jump again. Mario does a little soft-shoe routine and Donkey Kong "slams" into the ground, thus shaving precious seconds off of ones jump window for the next obstacle. This all combines to create a sort of icey effect where one thinks that they need to correct when they do not. This is of course, compared to ye olde plateformares which had your character's sprite alter and instantly spring into the air, only to land like a bag of cement and not move at all.
Looking back over the post I realize that this all seems pretty silly, who cares if some random guy doesn't like the "newfangled" mechanics? and in all fairness I thought I was alone too until my woefully-deprived-of-games mother picked up the DS version of NSMB and told me that she agreed with me (though she hasn't played a mario game since SMB3 when I got it) So I ask you Escapist, do you think this is a problem, or simply the marching on of game mechanics and we should learn to give our platforming avatars a little more notice before casting them over the next bottomless pit?

Also, I know I only mentioned Nintendo games, it's simply where I notice it the most, and please don't refer me to the latest Xbox live indie title as I'm perfectly aware that platformers to exist that do not do the aforementioned issue, it's simply the big ones.