Porter / Jump Porter

words manifested by: AJ Johnson

A game by Shin Izumi for PC, Mac, and iOS, originally released in 2016.
Porter is a precision platformer starring a green circular fellow who must make his way through 20 increasingly dangerous environments as quickly as possible. The game offers a no-frills presentation, with only a pulsating title screen and a quick explanation of the controls before the player is sent into action. The visuals are presented in a multi-shade “greenscale” with a grainy CRT-style filter and curved edges, whereas the mobile version – which is known as Jump Porter – has a crisp presentation.

Porter (assuming this is the character’s name) comes equipped with a 3x variable jump and a high running speed. In addition, he sticks to any walls that he runs into, making it quite challenging to control the character in tight quarters, since his inertia-driven run is hard to stop and he gets stuck when coming in contact with most vertical surfaces. The only way to disconnect from a wall is to jump away from it.

These somewhat quirky controls may seem cumbersome at first – especially in the opening tutorial room – but they feature heavily in the player’s strategies for dealing with tough platforming environments. Since the player generally needs to move forward as quickly as possible, his high speed and slow turnaround time require that he charge forward and react quickly to oncoming obstacles. In addition, sticking to walls and sliding down is a very slow process, encouraging players to drop down quickly instead of slowly descending.

Porter sticks to most vertical surfaces and is able to jump straight up walls, or triangle jump his way up narrow shafts. This allows him to reach almost any point in the environment, but he must do so carefully as most levels are packed with saw blades, spikes, and other dangers that will kill him instantly.

In addition, there are numerous traps, all of which operate extremely quickly, leaving the player with less than a second to properly react. These include skull blocks that jut spikes outward a moment after they are touched. These are dangerous on their own, but even more so when placed along vertical shafts or in long rows surrounded by other obstacles.

More difficult to spot are deadly short-range lasers that give players a brief moment to realize they’re being targeted (accompanied by a high-pitched grinding sound) before frying them right in their face holes. Lasers are often tucked along the floor, so their presence is not always immediately apparent, but they can also appear on walls or ceilings. A second type of laser is capable of spinning around and firing in any direction, letting off a barrage of shots that force the player to keep moving or meet a quick end.

Later levels feature rocket-firing robots that shoot in a straight line, as well as blocks that fire directly at the player with loose-tracking homing missiles. In these areas, players must activate exploding blocks, which begin counting down when the player touches them. Since they take a few seconds to detonate, players must activate them and continue dodging rockets while waiting for them to explode.

In addition to these detonating blocks, there are a number of crumbling blocks that the player must run across, as well as the occasional moving platform, and these elements are sometimes used in conjunction. For instance, one environmental puzzle sees the player walking across a moving platform that is hovering over a bed of spikes and bumping back and forth against an exploding block. By detonating this block, the player is able to ride across the spikes – dodging some lasers along the way – to reach a switch block on the far side of the room, which opens up a route to the exit back on the other side of the spikes.

Switch blocks are used to alternate certain blocks between solid and transparent and these are used in a number of instances to create platforms for the player to run across, but they can also be used to block lasers and incoming missiles. Other unique environmental navigation tools come in the form teleporters that warp the player around the area, and trampoline blocks that let the player bounce between rows of spikes, and holding the JUMP button allows for a higher bounce.

The game offers 20 levels, each of which is designed to be completed in under 30 seconds (and far less once you know what you’re doing). Each level has a timer, and once you complete the game, you are able to access any previously-visited level to shoot for a better time, although there is no additional reward for this, nor are there any leaderboards. Skilled players should expect to finish the game in a single sitting.

In addition to accessing previously visited levels, the player is also given access to Hard Mode. This mode features the same level layouts but with an increased number of obstacles, requiring much more precise movement on the part of the player in order to survive. Most levels are not appreciably more difficult than the later levels in Normal Mode, so skilled players should be able to make progress fairly quickly. Completing a level in Hard Mode adds the word “congratulations” above the time for the course, but Hard Mode does not have its own dedicated timer, so only the overall best time is recorded.

The end-game screen for Porter shows “kass-stwa” as the developer, while the shop page for the mobile version – known as Jump Porter – shows Shin Izumi. In any case, the developer is based in Japan, and the game was created using GameMaker Studio.