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Simple 2D Platformer Design Elements

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I have never completed a game 100%. <background> I've been wanting to develop a 2d side scolling platformer in XNA for a while now, and I have a relatively complicated game (read: some harder than simple design features, such as 360 degree aiming, edge grabbing, long story that needs fleshing out, crap load of graphics, etc..) in mind that I would love to develop in the near future. The problem is, I can see this taking a while. As a means to an end, I have decided to first create a really simple 2d platformer, in the vein of Mario, if only just to complete a game. I have already created my tile engine with collision detection and resolution, 45 deg slopes, sprite animatations, scrolling background, input, and a menu system. Pretty simple, but enough to start creating something simple. Ok, so now I have an engine to build a simple game. But I want to publish the game on Xbox Live Community Games when it launches, so unfortunately, people are going to have to pay for it to play it. </background> What I'm hoping you may be able to help me with is to provide me with some simple ideas to put in to the platformer game. I've settled on the player character being a Penguin, named Pengu (genius, I know, but easy enough to draw). Would you prefer, say, to kill enemies by jumping on them, or perhaps punching them? Should I have swimming levels? What do you prefer in your platformers? Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Any reason in particular you didn't post this in the Design Forum?

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Nope, wasn't till after I posted that I realised I'd posted in the wrong forums. Happy for a mod to move it.

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I want him to kill enemies by back-flipping and smacking them with his feet.

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Throw snowballs at enemies; maybe if you hold down the throw button you could roll a bigger snowball to the size of a small boulder, which could then snowball to an even bigger size if it rolls down on a downhill slope.

Maybe he can make snowmen allies to which will accompany you and slap enemies with their twig-arms.

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Backflipping is feasible, as it's just rotating a frame and adding an exit frame.

Only problem with snowballs is that it restricts all my levels to snow based levels. Unless I can reasonably explain how Pengu carries large amounts of unrefrigerated snow around. I do like the idea of being able to create allies though, with some simple follow AI and twig slapping attacks. It might however make the game too easy in parts, so I'd have to up the amount of enemies on screen when Pengu can create allies.

[Edited by - Mr Explody on October 13, 2008 6:55:06 PM]

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Maybe rather than have them do slap attacks, make them copy whatever you do, sort of like the Options in the Gradius series. But that would only work best if they are throwing snowballs too.

Or you could use your snowmen to be stepping stones to solve certain puzzles in levels.

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In fact, the backflip PLUS flipper slapping. I just have this great noise in my head of the flipper connecting.

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