Getting Lost in Non-Linear Level Design

Frostilyte Writes

This may come as a surprise to some based on my recent opinions of Nintendo, but growing up, Metroid was one of my favourite franchises. I have a soft spot for sci-fi, but what really made it special was the game’s structure. Up until Metroid, every game I played was linear, and sent me directly to the next level after finishing the one I was on. By contrast, Metroid oriented its levels into a complex maze. This ultimately meant players would occasionally need to double back through previously explored areas to move forward in the game. Conceptually this sounds terribly annoying, but the lack of linearity gave the game world a real sense of place that other titles lacked.

While Metroid was my introduction to non-linearity, truthfully, it wasn’t the best example of it. In the majority of cases, Metroid games are designed with an intended order of events…

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