I think something that'd improve this game a lot would be having multiple height levels, levels that's layered. You could have a rule like this:'
- Enemies can't pass ramps.
- You can pass ramps.
- You can walk off ledges, but you can't jump, so you can do down but not up at some places.
Look up the YaruFPS engine in my signature, it's a 3D collisions engine you might find useful. Note that the ramps are actually elevators, so they only work with the player and not enemies. There's no 3D editor, but there's a method you can use; design levels in "slices" of equal width in the room editor (using a placeholder background to see where a slice begin or end) and then you can put the level together like this: just put this code in the Room Creation Code.
z = (x div 1024)*32
x = x mod 1024
Here each chunk has a "height" of 32 and a "width" of 1024, so you should use a 1024x32 pix white-frame-on-black-background background for the chunk grid. (Tip: make the left/right lines of the grid background white, but make the horizontal top/bottom lines DARK GRAY - otherwise your eyes will hurt after a while of designing levels)
That is exactly the approach I used in Fire Tears, in fact.
I'd like some variety in this game; maze games easily end up as easy and repetitive. Suggestions:
- Nancy should have a healthbar (or more precisely, a Zelda-style heart gauge). Touching an enemy results in knockback in the direction your back is (which lets you place Ledge Bat enemies that knock you down into instant-death pits if you jump over the pit at the wrong time and hit them). After landing again you are temporarily invincible for a short while (say, 3-4 seconds).
You could start out with 3 hearts, and then by finding enough rare items (Heart-piece-style stuff) that's hidden in secret areas, you could get more hearts (up to say 7-10 at most). You still lose them all at Game Over, though, so be careful!
- I'd like a system where you get a Password / Pass Symbol Setup that can be used to get to new worlds. They would ONLY transfer the level progress, not your hearts, but at least you can continue a world you've reached even if you run out of lives.
- Nancy should be able to pick up crates, bombs, and other stuff not nailed to the ground. They could be used as platforms, for instance you could hurl some boxes into water or lava to be able to pass there, and they can also be used to attack enemies. Enemies don't die forever, though, they just get stunned and harmless a while, so you gotta hurry. Also, enemies can easily destroy stuff you NEED to clear the level, so you gotta think before attacking them.
- Bombs can also be used to break bombable walls. Not all bombable walls are obviously bombable, so sometimes you gotta see the wall from another foothold to notice the cracks in it.
- Death pits. The green greens level should use plain pits or maybe water (Nancy can't swim) while all levels who can get away with it should use lava. It's also pretty with animated level parts, so lava and water is better than plain pits.
- Decorations: we want variety in the levels, not just Isometric Kirby/Sonic-n-Flicky-style grids. You should add some pixelated love to the textures so that they look like ancient stone grids with nicks and cuts in them (aka, draw some random pixels on them in a slightly darker and a slightly whiter shade of their color, and maybe make the edges more obvious), and it'd also be nice with some texture variety. E.g. have some walls with runes or glyphs on them, have windows with curtains, etc.
Also try to have some Mode7 sprite decorations here and there; pot plants, furniture, flamingos... all kind of stuff.