1 Screen Platformer

A game by Return to Adventure Mountain for PC and Mac, originally released in 2019.
1 Screen Platformer is – as it says on the tin – a single screen platformer. The entire game takes place within a single persistent environment, allowing the player to zoom out to see all of the action at once, or zoom in for a more practical scrolling platformer experience. You take control of one of four interstellar bounty hunters as they seek out the golden skull of an elder god buried deep within the temple of Guthra-dun. As with all ancient temples, the place is filled with spikes, booby traps, pools of lava, and other dangers to thwart the efforts of tomb raiding space cowboys.

The single screen system is very similar to that employed by the Platformance series, namely Platformance: Castle Pain and Platformance: Temple Death. In this series, the player is able to zoom out to see the entire game world, zoom in for up-close action, or make use of a medium-level zoom to see more of his surroundings. In these games, playing fully zoomed out is next to impossible, so doing so is more about seeing the entirety of the game world and the presence of the untiring ghost that continuously chases you. That said, the Platformance games made more use of the medium zoom function to help the player avoid dangers, and the games favored designs that had the player tracing over his own path multiple times to deal with dangers in different ways.

1 Screen Platformer offers tightly-wrapped level design to make the most of its single screen confines, but there’s only one overlap point in the environment, which comes from a revolving ring of platforms at the center of the temple. There is no gameplay advantage to zooming out the camera and no obstacles that require the use of the zoom feature. What makes this game unique, however, are its four playable characters, each with different level objectives, and some with new abilities.

The first playable character is Nadia Stormhammer, commander of the Geodesic Celestial Liberation Front antiquities wing, according to her profile, and her abilities and goals are the most simple. She has a 2x variable jump, which she uses to hop on platforms and dodge obstacles, with a goal of simply reaching the end of the level as quickly as possible without being killed. Along the way are torches that are lit by touching them, and getting killed returns the player to the most recently lit torch.

Next is Vez Rendoux, an anagram of “rendezvoux”, who has the ability to double jump, which makes environmental navigation a bit easier. When playing as this character, the level is filled with glowing orbs, and the only way to activate a checkpoint torch is to collect all of the glowing orbs leading up to it.

Subject X95c is a monstrous creature, and the subject of some sort of biological experiment. This creature also has a double jump, but she is unable to see anything but her immediate surroundings… apparently as a result of being designed to check for weaknesses in the temple’s defenses. The entire environment is filled in blackness that only disappears once X95c walks into the area, including falling into level hazards. As such, it’s best to play with the other characters first in order to become familiar with the layout of the environment.

The only way to complete the level with X95c is to clear 100% of the fog. If any fog remains when the player reaches the end of the level, it is highlighted in pink, and the player may backtrack, or pause the game and warp to any activated torch along the way.

Finally, there is The Royal Zombie King, who also has the ability to double jump, along with something called “gold lust”. Here, the player must run through the level collecting gold coins, and all of them must be picked up in order to complete the level. Getting killed causes you to drop 10 pieces of gold, but sometimes you can recover it, and there are often rubies (worth 10 gold) placed in hard-to-reach places to provide a bit of extra challenge. Unfortunately, the only way to unlock this character is to sign up for the developer’s mailing list.

Each of these four characters allows the player to tackle the environment in different ways, and each character is ranked on completion time and number of deaths at the end of the run, with a letter rank based on performance.

Level hazards include spike pits and pools of lava, along with crushing blocks, crumbling platforms, flame spouts, moving fireballs, and fast-moving laser pulses. The player is able to jump and climb ladders (and jump up ladders for extra speed), as well as ride on moving conveyor belts and moving platforms, while also making use of springboards that launch him into the air.

The entire game can be completed on a first attempt with all four characters in under an hour, with replay value added in competing for a higher ranking. The game also offers a harder difficulty mode which places the player in the same environment but with a drastic increase in the number of level hazards, as well as more complex flame spout patterns and faster moving fireballs to truly put the player’s platforming skills to the test.

Gun Miner DLC
In the year following the game’s release, the developer added a fifth playable character in the form of the Gun Miner, a mysterious individual who appears only in silhouette on the character select screen. The Gun Miner can perform a 2x variable jump and can a weapon called the Void Blaster to shoot to the left, right, up, or down at a short range, but they cannot shoot while jumping.

The Void Blaster essentially allows the player to break the game, as it has the ability to destroy most normal blocks. This lets the player create his own shortcuts through the level, bypassing certain obstacles altogether, but potentially creating problems for himself as he can also destroy objects that hold back level hazards. For instance, destroying a block my allow lasers to fire farther across the screen, or cause a patrolling block to move outside of its confined route.

It’s possible to put yourself in an unwinnable situation, but this is generally remedied by the fact you can warp to any activated checkpoint in the level, allowing you to take on challenges from a different direction. While you can use your weapon to walk straight to the final checkpoint, you must activate all checkpoints in order to complete the level.

The Gun Miner was added as a tease for the developer’s next game, called Gun Miner, where the titular character explores a procedurally generated world using the Void Blaster rifle. The game was also updated in the month prior to include a gift-collecting Christmas mode in addition to the Normal and Hard modes for each character.

1 Screen Platformer was created by an Arizona-based studio called Return to Adventure Mountain, headed by Chris Zukowski. Environment art for the game was created by Luis Zuno of Ansimuz Games, the studio behind Elliot Quest, with player character art by Michael Hussinger (Nova-111), character design and marketing art by Eric Hibbeler (Crashlands), and engine code by Rupeck Games (Caveblazers). The studio previously developed City Tuesday.