Five Islands

Level designer

Concept

Five Island is a level for a canceled DLC-pack for the game Skylar and Plux: Adventure on Clover Island, a 3D platformer in the same vein as Jak and Daxter and banjo Kazooie. The focus of this level is discovery. The player must get to three different islands and push a button at each to unlock a door that the player must go to and pass through to complete the level. The player can visit the islands in different orders and the challenge for the player comes from figuring out how and in what order the islands should be visited to get the shortest time possible.

The player should discover new routes when playing through the level and should want retry and once more to try another route. The player should feel clever for finding new paths. The level is set in the tropical theme to create a cozy and inviting feeling so that the player feels welcomed and want to replay the level.

To avoid confusion and the player feeling lost each island have distinguishable features that make them memorable and immediately identifiable. The player should be able to look at an island and clearly remember if he/she have visited that island previously. This is important when having multiple routes between each island and allowing the player to visit them in different orders.

Walkthrough by bullet points

1. Players start with a vista over the level. All islands, including the end with the door, is clearly visible.

2. Simple platforming with a jump and a swing node to the first button. The player is shown the button and door at the same time to establish relationship between buttons and doors

3. Simple platforming to the second island

4. Upon pressing the second button the player sees the third island

5. A swing node and some mushrooms jumps around the third island takes the player to the last button

6. The player presses the button and sees a short cut-scene where the doors open

7. The player needs to decide to go to the door back over either the first island or the second.

8. The player goes over wither of the island with either a mushroom or a floating platform

9. The player goes to the door from the first island with a jump or from the third island with a swing-node

10. The player finishes the level with celebratory confetti and a fanfare!

The player might follow the easy green path on their first play trough. On continues playthrough, they might find the moderately difficult yellow shortcuts and start experimenting in what order the buttons are activated. To master the level the player must find and navigate the hard red paths.

Although the level there are hidden paths that the player can take. For example, the player can go from the first island to the third with the help of a floating platform that goes under a waterfall. All these paths are to encourage and reward exploration and discovery.

The pacing of this level heavily depends on which route the player takes. The main paths begin slows and becomes more hectic and fast with each Island. Each button gives the player a small breading room to overlook the level and figure out where to go next before moving on to the next challenge.

The main path is over all easy and an average player should be able to finish the level in the first try. The hidden paths vary in difficulty between moderately difficult to very hard.

Key areas

Windmill Island

The Windmill Island is the first Island the player encounter after the start island. The Island contains a windmill with rotating wings. On the middle of the Island is the first button. When the player presses it they also clearly see a lamp on the metal port on the Village island turn green.

Clocktower Island

The Clocktower island is the second island the player encounters on the main path. It has a bunch of houses that cling to the sides of the rocks over the water and on top of cliffs. A  clocktower rises above the other houses on the Islands.

Overgrown Island

The overgrown Island have once been populated but is now abandoned. The old houses and the island is now overgrown by trees, vines, and bouncy mushrooms. The flora is thriving thanks to the many waterfalls that pour down from a spring.  An abandoned watermill is still rotating in one of the streams and gives the island an idea of the islands picturesque past. 

Village Island

The Village island consists of many houses that are placed around an open square with a small inviting well. A big metal door seals the player off from access and the players need to open it to finish the level