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Temporary Platform
Dum-de-dum, de-dum, de- FUUUUUUUUU...

Jump on, jump off. Don't dilly-dally.
— The manual for Scaler

A Temporary Platform is an infamous variation of the Floating Platforms that exist primarily in 2D platform games, which can only be used for limited durations at a time. These come in a few distinct varieties:

  • Crumbling platforms appear solid at first, but once the player steps on top of one it will shake, sag, descend, (etc.) and after a few seconds disappear entirely — the player must locate the next safe footing, and fast. These usually have some kind of visual cue (cracks, etc.) to warn the player of their unstable nature, but not always. A Sub-Trope of this is the Fake Platform, which affords no warning or time for the player to leap off of it, instead immediately crumbling/falling/exploding/vanishing upon contact. Sometimes, the platform will inexplicably reform on its own, whether some time later, or when it goes offscreen (especially if it's necessary to prevent an Unwinnable situation where permanent disappearance of platforms would prevent you from reaching your goals.)

  • Non-timed variations of the above can also occur, such as platforms that only disappear after the player leaps off of it, or platforms that allow multiple uses before disappearing.

  • Timed platforms appear and disappear at specific intervals regardless of the player's movement or action; the player must synchronize their maneuvers to land on one when it appears, then jump off before it vanishes again. Usually, there will be safe footing nearby allowing the player to study these platforms at a distance before attempting to challenge them directly.

Sometimes you'll encounter these platforms one at a time, but in most cases they will be arranged in groups, forming some sequence or pattern which the player must navigate across (Indy Escape style) as the platforms disappear (and/or appear) around them; sequences like these can become very Nintendo Hard when they are stationed above a Bottomless Pit or Spikes Of Doom.


Examples:

  • The console version of the video game of The Film of the Book of A Series of Unfortunate Events has a level that consists almost entirely of these and more open air than you can shake a stick at.
  • The Mario franchise is replete with all varieties:
    • The Donut Lifts from Super Mario Bros. 3 (and subsequent games) fall after a couple of seconds of Mario standing on them. There are moving platforms on rails, some of which are on open-ended tracks that allow the platform to fall off at the end.
    • The original Super Mario Bros. has pairs of platforms, each connected to a cable strung over a pair of pulleys. As the side you stay on descends, the other side rises, but if one side rises too far, both platforms will fall into the bottomless expanse below. If the platforms fall off, you get 1000 points.
    • Super Mario Galaxy may not have Donut Lifts, but it has a good share of Temporary Platforms itself. Several puzzles feature green checkered platforms that start to shrink and disappear after landing on them. It also featured similar tiles found in all three Bowser levels that get smashed to pieces upon contact just right before fighting Bowser.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 also had Beat Blocks, which blinked in and out of existence in time with the music. The Prankster Comet challenge for that galaxy was very much Nintendo Hard, even with a checkpoint and Yoshi's flutter jump to assist the player.
    • Super Mario World has both temporary platforms with a countdown of four seconds or less as well as Donut Lifts that start to drop as soon as you step on them. Romhackers love both types.
    • Most 2D Mario games since Super Mario Bros. 3 have coins that turn into temporary platforms when you step on a P Switch.
  • A lovingly Nintendo Hard staple of the Mega Man series. Almost every game includes a few screens where blocks appear and disappear in a set pattern.
    • The longest such sequence is in Heat Man's stage in 2, which spans several screens (above a lethal Lava Pit and then a Bottomless Pit). Most people don't even bother with the platforms, instead flying across with the Item-2, an early version of the Rush Jet.
    • In Magnet Man's stage of 3, one sequence includes a magnet on the opposite side threatening to pull you off into the Bottomless Pit below.
    • In the final level of Mega Man & Bass, a particular set of disappearing blocks alternates between two nearly identical patterns. As a rather cruel trick, the sole difference between them is that the second pattern is missing the final block you'd need to use to reach a ladder, meaning a hasty player will plummet into the spikes below if they observed the blocks forming once and then tried to traverse them on the second appearance.
    • As well as Plug Man's stage from 9, where the patterns are different if you're playing on the harder ("Hero" or "Superhero") difficulty levels.
    • Sheep Man's stage in 10 included not only the staple timed platforms (with different patterns for each difficulty level), but color-coded blocks that blink and disappear after stepping on them, and platforms that have to be energized by running on nearby conveyors.
    • The fan game Mega Man Unlimited goes ahead and makes a Robot Master based on those blocks. So of course his stage is packed wth them.
    • Another series staple are the Count Bombs - platforms with timers displaying how much time you have to use them before they explode.
    • Guts Man's infamous stage from the very first game involves a sequence of moving platforms affixed to rails that, despite clearly advertising when they are or aren't solid, sending so many players to their deaths from the very outset of the level that they almost single-handedly earned the game its Nintendo Hard reputation. In Mega Man Powered Up you can at least play as Guts Man and give him a taste of his own terrible platforms.
    • Gyro Man's stage in 5 features a bridge composed entirely of platforms that fall after a second of walking across them.
    • Chill Man's stage in 10 features ice blocks that, crack the first time you strike them, then disappear quickly after being struck a second time. You can, however, walk across them fine.
    • The Mega Man X series often has platforms supported by smoking, malfunctioning jets, letting you know they won't hold your weight for long. Just to make your life a living hell, the fourth Zero stage in X5 has disappearing blocks over a Bottomless Pit and is nearly three screens long. No memorizing, just move and hope you're fast enough not to die. If you're playing as X, you can just fly over it. Play as Zero, and better hope your reflexes are good.
    • The Mega Man Zero series naturally picks up the torch, since it's much more Nintendo Hard than the X series was. For bonus points, the first game in the series adds them in a section straight after two minibosses, and while thankfully not over a bottomless pit, is sitting is above a platform filled with enemies. And the invisible blocks shoot at you (or rather they shoot down in unhelpful places). Remember that this game has a ranking system that penalizes you for taking damage and dying.
    • In his commentary for Bob and George Dave Anez admits that he always uses Rush to fly over those platforms.
    • The Lifts of Doom in Spark Man's stage with Bottomless Pits below and Spikes Of Doom above.
    • Trapdoor platforms in Shadow Man's stage and parts of Wily's Castle.
    • In the final dungeon in Mega Man Legends 2 there are red tiles that will crack and break if you stand on them for too long of a period of time. Roll constantly warns you that "the floor's weak."
    • Mega Man ZX has one in the Bonus Dungeon leading to the Bonus Boss. For bonus points, the ceiling and floor of the disappearing platforms hallway are also spiked, and once you beat said Bonus Boss, you have to travel the hallway in reverse to get back to the Save Point. Have fun!
  • Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle has these in the Miragia level. Accurate to its name, this level has platforms that fade in and out of existence. Solid for about five seconds, intangible for another five, repeat. Hilariously, you can cling to the edge of such platforms and remain there while it fades out of existence, so long as you don't attempt to climb up until it is solid again. The game also has "unstable" floating platforms that start falling out of the sky once you stay on them for a second — but they stay solid and only fall a certain distance (enough to force you to go back and redo a puzzle, but not enough to kill you unless the level designer specifically put a tarpit or flames before the end of their travel).
  • Yoshi's Island has blocks with a number printed on them. When you step on a platform of this type, the number is decreased by one, and when it hits zero, the platform explodes. The Donut Lifts also appear in this game.
  • Mutant Mudds for the 3DS has these very frequently.
  • Donkey Kong Country has dropping platforms, and a Gimmick Level ("Tanked-up Trouble") with a moving platform that will fall if you dodn't keep it constantly fueled up. There is another level, "Platform Peril", that consists almost exclusively of various moving platforms that shake and fall after a certain distance.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns has many varieties of temporary platforms, and Nintendo Hard sequences like the aptly-named "Platform Panic", where the level terrain appears only at close range, then shakes and starts falling when the player touches it.
  • Most Kirby games noticeably avert this — the ability of unaided flight'll do that. However, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards gave Kirby a limit on his flying ability, and so threw in a few Temporary Platforms here and there.
  • The old Namco videogame Mappy (originally for arcade) has trampolines that can only be bounced on three times in a row before breaking; if a solid platform or nothing was below, you would lose a life. Later levels have true Temporary Platforms worked inside normal platforms—including one on a platform with only one survivable way off.
  • The Metroid universe generally prefers Fake Platforms over true Temporary Platforms. Floor tiles that crumble underneath Samus's weight were frequently used to create corridors that required a Speed Booster dash to traverse.
    • In Super Metroid there were also grapple points that would disappear a few seconds after latching onto them with the Grapple Beam.
    • In Metroid Prime, temporary platforms appeared precisely once: in Phendrana Canyon, where the Scan visor clearly warned that they were unstable.
    • In Metroid Prime 3, the Ice Missiles can be used to create temporary frozen platforms of Fuel Gel, a liquid found virtually everywhere on the planet Bryyo. This applies to pools of the gel (a small circular platform appears and then melts shortly after), and gel-falls (the entire flow freezes).
  • Jak and Daxter is littered with these, namely in more "ruined" areas. Came to an interesting point in Jak 3 Renegade when (during a tutorial stage) you have to slow down time just to be able to cross the platform.
  • Prince of Persia has loose floor tiles that dislodge and fall moments after the Prince character ran across them. Nearby vibrations (from you jumping up and down, for instance) will cause them to shake a little, allowing the player to identify them from a distance. They are useful on occasion for making running jumps off, and permanently holding down Pressure Plates where they landed. They can also be dislodged by jumping from underneath, to access secret parts of levels, though standing below falling ones will hurt you if you don't duck. In the sequel Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, they can kill Mooks and destroy potions.
    • Interquel Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands features two types of temporary platform, firstly the ability to pause water to turn it into something you can grab onto, and then later remaking formerly existing platforms reappear with the power of memory. This can quickly cause Damn You, Muscle Memory rage during sections where you have to use both at once, turning one off to jump through something that would otherwise block your way to a platform you just turned on with the other ability...
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has no end of Temporary Platforms, usually situated near Spikes Of Doom. Since it's a Platform Hell pastiche of NES games, it takes the disappearing blocks from Heat Man's stage in Mega Man 2 to new heights of frustration, as the player must use Jump Physics to stay on a single block that teleports around over a spiked floor.
    • And in a spiked room just below the start of the game, once you've memorized the platform's pattern, the pattern changes as you start jumping across, with you falling into the spikes below when the next platform doesn't appear where you expected it to.
    • In the Mega Man level, there's a few unlabeled blocks that drop the moment you step on them, and then one inexplicable block which shoots upwards as soon as you touch it, hurtling you into a spiked ceiling.
  • Also seen in Naruto: The Broken Bond. Can be both in water (annoying as if you sink, you go back to the last part of land you were on) and in the air (again annoying, as usually spikes fill the area underneath).
  • In Devil May Cry, if you return to the bridge you crossed to claim the Pride of Lion at the start of Level Three, it's risen from the ocean (having collapsed as you crossed it), but in pieces. These pieces fall as you jump on them, and don't respawn unless you fall into the ocean (which makes you repeat the fight from Level Two, then boots you back to the start of the bridge). You can either jump across both ways without retracing steps, or cross once, claim the Blue Orb Piece, and leap into the sea for a quick way back.
  • Devil May Cry 4 has several in the jungle chapter when playing as Nero. Instead of using the "disappear a while after being touched" scheme, however, those have a schedule of their own.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has these. Super Castlevania IV has the crumbling platform variety. Some of the games, such as Super Castlevania IV, have trapdoor platforms.
  • Crash Bandicoot has tons of these, combined in every way possible with floating platforms that alternate in and out of existence on their own.
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger has temporary platforms in all three games of the series. There are two sorts: ones that operate on a timer, and ones that vanish about a second after you stand on them.
  • Most Sonic the Hedgehog games have them, though the series isn't as fond of them as Mario. The first game enjoyed some Sega Hard Fake Difficulty in the Marble Zone, when the Temporary Platform and stable platform that moved up and down used the same sprite.
    • The Wii-exclusive Blue Wisp from Sonic Colors allows Sonic to temporarily turn blue rings into blocks and vice versa, similar to a P-switch.
  • Spelunky has temporary platforms in its third area. Oddly, while your character can not normally fall more than seven times his height without taking damage, the platform and your character fall at the same rate and you can "ride" it down to lower ground without taking damage.
  • Wario Land has platforms that appear and disappear. They visibly fade in and out though, so you can always tell how they are going to act. As a result they aren't really too difficult to cross.
  • In La-Mulana, many floating platforms start to crumble when you step on them.
  • Star Fox Adventures has a room you have to cross to get to the door. The middle of the room is tiled. Before you activate the switch, the tiles stay put, but the door is closed. You have to throw the switch to open it, but this also makes the tiles temporary; you can stay on them a couple of seconds before it starts to drop. Making matters worse, three gates come up. These drop and rise in a pattern. You can stand in the safe area before the tiles while waiting for the first to drop, but waiting for the second and third involves moving from tile to tile, hoping the gate would drop before you did.
  • One of the features of the stage builder in Super Smash Bros. Brawl are these - and odds are, if you know someone who has built stages there, they've built at least one heavily featuring them. They regenerate as well, which results in problems both ways - the platform might be missing when you're scrambling to get back up, and you also might have to deal with a platform appearing right where you were trying to go to save yourself.
  • One level in a lava-filled factory in Frogger 3D: He's Back! has numerous platforms that open up about four seconds after Frogger hopped on them, and sometimes faster. The level is appropriately titled Platform Madness.
  • The original Frogger has groups of turtles that periodically dive underwater, drowning you if you are still riding on their backs at the time.
  • There are a few of these in the Harry Potter games- Ones that disappear after you step on them (although if you have autojump on and keep your finger pressed on the forward key, you can get past them) and ones that fold in and out of the wall at intervals.
  • Bio Menace has these in a couple of levels. At least one set is not required to finish the level in which it appears.
  • The first Rayman game features many of these, also including one type of cloud platform. They only disappear temporarily, but while some just disappear for a few moments after you've stepped on them, others will disappear and reappear of their own accord, which can really cause you trouble if you don't notice it vanish and reappear by itself or time your leap correctly before you actually jump on it.
  • Jumper series feature two types of temporary platforms. One, coloured blue, falls shortly after Ogmo stands on it, but can still be used once it lands. The second one, red, crumbles instead of falling. It appears in Jumper Two Editor and Jumper Three.
  • Collapsing floor tiles in Tomb Raider are easily recognizable from a distance, but usually have fatal falls or spikes below them.
  • There are blocks which disappear after touched in Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy also adds blocks which appear and disappear on fixed intervals.
  • The Wii A Boy and His Blob has these. Unlike other versions of the trope, however, they can actually be beneficial: If you ride one while it's falling, you can safely survive falls that would normally prove fatal.
  • Bonk's Adventure has platforms that pull themselves apart horizontally when the player land on them.
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout has girder-like floating platforms that look as if they could move up or down, but instead disappear and reappear.
  • Fancy Pants Adventures has sand platforms in World 3, usually used to reach high places or to complete a timed challenge.
  • Roll Away contains Timed platforms, marked by their translucency, and Crumbling platforms, which implode as soon as the ball rolls or bounces over them.
  • Some platforms in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time start falling a second or two after you step on them.
  • In Spin Doctor, ring dots vanish forever once you let go of them.
  • Zool 2 has eggs which disappear as you run over them.
  • The main feature of area 2-D in Legend of Grey Moon. Here, cracked grey platforms form parts of "jump mazes" where the player must make a series of precise jumps in quick succession.
  • In The Legendary Axe II, some of the skull platforms in Stage 4 and normal blocks in Stage 6 crumble when stepped on.
  • Quack Shot has lots of dropping blocks, including bridges made of them.
  • Qwak has blocks that dissolve from the bottom up when players stand on them.
  • In Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures has the appearing and disappearing Death Blocks, which kill the player. There are also standard Mega Man style disappearing and breakaway blocks, as well as block snakes similar to Super Mario World.
  • Dont Look Back includes the collapsing variant in the lava cave section.
  • Alice: Madness Returns:
    • In Tundraful, there are a few platforms that descend when you land on them; staying will eventually see you lowered to the surface of the water, where you die (despite you being completely underwater later in the chapter).
    • Some parts of the 2D platforming sections in The Mysterious East have statue platforms that descend onto spikes if you stay on them too long.
  • 1001 Spikes has multiple breeds of this - Platforms that only stay active for a limited time after hitting a switch, and the classic Video Game/Megaman variety.
  • In Gruntz, there are two kids of bridges that fall into this: ones that will crumble shortly after being stepped on, and ones that appear and disappear in a predetermined pattern.


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