"With platform games, only playing the difficult parts can really take it out of you. It feels good to play parts that you can breeze through as well."
Even funnier if you consider the fact that it was hard to breathe
in the previous zone.
Sometimes in a video game you'll notice that the learning curve is more of a learning zigzag: you may find yourself in a level harder than you were expecting, followed by a level that is significantly easier. A logical application of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil
would say that the two levels should appear the other way around.
A cynical explanation would be that the levels are out of order
due to poor testing or time constraints in production. A more charitable one is that the easier level is a Breather Level, allowing the player to recover from the previous, more challenging encounter and (should they be a feature of the game) stock up on extra lives for the further challenges ahead. The aim may be to extend the tension over a larger part of the game, by opting to stretch and relax the tension rather than let it build up continually. Games from the arcade era explicitly put in bonus levels for this purpose.
Sometimes, a Breather Level exists to teach the player new skills that later, non-Breather Levels, will test the player on.
Compare the TV equivalent, the Breather Episode
. The Breather Boss
might be found in this kind of level... but on the other hand That One Boss
might be there to balance out the drop in the level's overall difficulty. When there are quite a few Breather Levels between harder ones, you'll get Schizophrenic Difficulty
. Contrast That One Level