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Springs, Springs Everywhere

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"The trampolines lining this ring are perfect for super-high jumps... But you know what they say—the higher you jump, the harder you fall!"
Biff regarding Spring Stadium, ARMS

In many platform games, there is one common object that is rather rare in Real Life (except around swimming pools): springboards.

Springboards appeared in video games during the early 1980s. During the early days of this trope, it was common for springboards to only activate when pressing the jump button at exact and hard to tell timing, leading to mistimed jumps in form of Fake Difficulty. Then developers could figure out that it was just better for springboards to have either consistent bounce height or just holding down the jump button would have sufficed to gain more height. Later, in some games, the bouncing potential of a springboards could be increased when landing on them with a Ground Pound when available.

Springboards remain a very common element in platforming games but they also appear frequently in less grounded first-person shooters. Their default and most well-known form looks like a plate with one or multiple spring attached to the bottom. In Real Life, plates on a spring are used to soften the impact of things falling objects instead of bouncing things upwards. However, springboards can take many forms, sometimes more practical but sometimes much more bizarre. For subtropes with own pages we have:

Other more commonly found items that act as springboards are:

  • Specialized jump boost related objects such as Jump Pads and Trampolines, the former being common in first-person shooters.
  • Balloons. These are usually single-use.
  • Furniture and household objects such as couches, beds (waterbeds and otherwise), awnings, cloth balconies, beach parasols and tires.
  • Flora. Most commonly Flowers and sometimes Canopies.
  • Geyser steam bursts as long as they don't damage the player.
  • Oversized Pinball Bumpers
  • Solid Clouds in case they have the ability to bounce the player.

See also Goomba Springboard, where enemies act as springs. Spring Coil is for when the springs are on a character's person.

Examples of classic springboards in video games:

  • 30XX features springboards on two springs in Dustria. These can be also diagonally placed.
  • Astra And The New Constellation has springboards as one of the main ways to reach higher places. Slamming onto a springboard results a higher bounce.
  • Bible Adventures features springboards in its Baby Moses game.
  • Battletoads has springboards in final level during the tower climb. Their launch speed is rather low.
  • Bubble and Squeak: The game has springs that look like the ones from the early Sonic the Hedgehog games. They can also be picked up and carried.
  • Captain Dynamo features springs in every level, which are needed as levels are vertically oriented.
  • Celeste features wooden boards on a spring that launch the player. Jumping on them not only resets air dashes but also doesn't count as landing.
  • Fourth Stage of Circus Charlie springboards that need to be dodged while riding on a horse. Consecutive bounces give more points.
  • Springboards appear in Felix the Cat NES game in bonus areas.
  • Springboards appear frequently in The Flash on the Sega Master System.
  • A few standard-looking springboards appear in Gimmick! (1992) in fifth and sixth level. They give Gimmick extra jump height.
  • Goblin Sword has player-launching springboards. You encounter your first one in the second level.
  • Gravity Circuit: Springboards in this game act with a slight delay, activating about a second after a player has stepped on them.
  • A Hat in Time: Wooden springboards with metal coils make an appearance from time to time. How high they send Hat Kid varies per springboard.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit series has a lot of springboards. They've even shown in animated cutscenes. Usually the color of the springboard indicated how high they will launch the player.
  • Kalevania has pushable springboards that give the player fairly modest airlift.
  • In Karoshi, features classic springboards that can often lead to a quick death. Due to nature of the game, that's what player needs to do.
  • Classic coiled springboards appear in Kid Niki games.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has coiled springboards. They can occasionally be found scattered all over the world. They can be carried around but must be activated manually to launch things (like Link himself) high up in the air.
  • The Lost Vikings has them in numerous places. In the first game, 2 out of 3 characters cannot jump on their own so springboards are one of the main ways for them to gain vertical height.
  • Some of the levels in the Mega Man (Classic) series have a lot of springs. Examples are Plant Man's stage and, obviously, Spring Man's stage as well as Bounce Man's stage. And when there aren't any, you can use Rush Coil.
  • Milon's Secret Castle features wooden springboards that transport Milton a several tiles up in the air.
  • Konami's Noah's Ark has springboards that appear starting from South American levels. They are most common in Antarctican levels. They have slight delay before launching Noah high in the air.
  • Nuts & Milk has springboards as one of the most common stage elements. Player needs to press jump button on them at the right time so Milk's jump height is doubled on them.
  • McKids springboards of a shape of a brown rectangle on a black rectangle. Their launch height is about a screen tall.
  • There were bouncy platforms in the first LittleBigPlanet game, but they didn't always work. In the future, the games always stuck to the Bounce Pads, which were much easier to use, and not buggy.
  • Portal 2 introduces two different springs:
    • Aerial Faith Plates are giant springloaded panels that propel any object on them great distances. For the more intricate puzzles, you have to utilize them in series for truly spectacular jumps.
    • Repulsion Gel transforms floors and walls into jump pads wherever you spray it. In some levels, it's possible for the player to experience what it would be like to be a pinball projectile.
  • Purple has springboards in several places, especially boss fortresses. The Level Goals are even big green springboards that propel the player high above the screen.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl springs are an optional item in the 'build your own stage' mode, so it's possible to build a stage entirely out of springs.
  • In King Of Cards campaign in Shovel Knight, classic springboards are featured in Pridemoor Keep levels. These behave as expected.
  • Springboards are common throughout Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, especially in the bonus stages, which take place in Wackyland.
  • Springboards are a staple stage element in Sonic the Hedgehog games, starting from Sonic the Hedgehog. Springs are all over the place and immediately launch the player in the direction their pad points to; red springs propel the player faster and farther than the yellow ones. They're so iconic to the franchise that Sonic's recovery move in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is to spawn one such spring under him.
  • Speedy Gonzales features springboards in various shapes and sizes throughout the game.
  • Spelunky
    • Area 3 has springs hidden inside the ground.
    • One release of a beta version accidentally included a hotkey function that created such a springboard in front of the player, presumably for playtesting. This version was pulled shortly after discovery.
  • Sunday Funday/Menace Beach has some springboards which can easily lead to quick death.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series has them starting from the first Super Mario Bros game. In many games, springboards can also be carried.
    • Taken to the extreme in Super Mario Galaxy, in which Mario himself is turned into a spring a couple of places.
    • There's also a level in Bowser's Inside Story where fat is used as a springboard.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush:
      • In Parkour War, players must use a series of Mushroom Trampolines to carry three jewels to the top of a small platforming stage before anyone else does. Once the player takes a jewel to the top of the stage, they must then return to the bottom to grab another one, while still uncontrollably bouncing on the trampolines.
      • Silver Lining has the players bounce around a small level covered with Bouncy Clouds where they must collect as many coins as they can.
  • Super Widget has springboards that help Widget to reach higher places.
  • Tomb Raider II has these in very few levels and are needed to reach other high areas. Approaching a springboard the wrong way can get you seriously hurt or possibly wind flinging yourself to instant death.
  • Toxic Crusaders NES game has springboards in the final level, over bottomless pit. Player needs to press jump at the right time or the spring will not give any boost.
  • Virtual Boy Wario Land, being a 2½D game, has spring-loaded jump pads that transport Wario between the front layer and back layer. There are also springs that likewise catapult watermelons into the background.
  • Wonder Boy and Adventure Island have springboards all over the place. Bonus stages center around jumping from springboard to springboard.

Examples of other objects that function as springboards:

  • Alfonzos Arctic Adventure: The seal served this purpose in the game. It holds a club that will launch the Player Character upward if they step on it.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures has spring-like gelatin clouds in Happy Fun Candy Time and actual tits in Beat It and Eat It. The latter follow you as you go through the stage for perpetual bounce action.
    The Nerd: Gah! The tits! They're following me around!
  • Ato: There are spring boards in the gain that can be jumped on to gain air.
  • Ayo the Clown: Many objects, like giant balloons and frogs, can be bounced on.
  • Beacon of Hope has bouncy balls. Oddly enough given that Beacon is a desk lamp, the balls aren't textured to look like the one from Luxo Jr..
  • Biomechanical Toy has springboards in assorted areas, with a smooth mushroom-shaped platform atop each, which allows the player to reach higher levels.
  • Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa had spiral notebook binding.
  • Bug has a different type of spring for each level (sometimes, a level may have two kinds!)
    • Insectia had mushrooms, and rather stiff-looking leaves that jutted out off walls.
    • Reptilia had mini-geysers and bones that sprung up when jumped on.
    • Splot had swamp gas geysers.
    • Quaria used beach balls.
    • The Burrubs had icy geysers, leaves (like Insectia), and for some reason, mushrooms.
    • Arachnia had gas vents, Cobweb Trampolines, as well as mushrooms (don't ask)
  • Bzzzt has Floating Platforms that emit steam which launches the robot into the air like a springboard.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day includes buxom sunflowers you can bounce on to a higher platform.
  • Crash Bandicoot
    • Nearly every game include trampoline crates (in both breakable and unbreakable varieties) that will launch Crash into the air if he lands on them. They're also occasionally used as obstacles, either by placing a Nitro Crate above them that will explode if you get bounced into it, or by having an Iron Crate bouncing on it that will squish you if you get caught under it.
    • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time: Cortex has a ray gun that allows him to turn enemies into bouncy platforms. Given Cortex's poor jumping, utilizing this ability is often the only way to proceed.
  • Usually cloth balconies, but also cobwebs, some baskets, and cheese wheels in the Sly Cooper games. And the cheese wheels are second only to actual catapults in terms of force applied.
  • In Decap Attack, arrow blocks act as springboards. Most of them launch the player diagonally sideways while others launch the player straight upwards.
  • Tires in Donkey Kong Country, some of which can be rolled around.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has various items that bounce the player around: Awnings, fruit, flowers, balloons.
  • DUSK features jump pads that work on both the player and enemies. How far up they launch the player varies per springboard.
  • Season 5 of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout introduces bouncy lilypad-shaped drums that can launch players up high if they jump on top of them. These are found in many of Season 5's levels, most notably Lily Leapers, which requires players to traverse an entire gauntlet of these.
  • In Fashion Police Squad, the objects that bounce player in the air are indicated by slightly bluish green color. Player-launching objects include the awnings, parasols, beds and rubber boats.
  • Flink had spring-loaded lily pads.
  • The Floor is Jelly had, not counting the actual game world itself, floating lotuses in the sunrise area that acted like these. Unlike when bouncing on the ground itself, landing on these lotuses always bounced you up to a fixed height, regardless if you're still holding the jump button.
  • Half-Life: Starting on the Surface Tension level, organic craters start appearing in Black Mesa. When you step on one, it emits a stream of gas that propels you upwards. They're a vital part of several jumping puzzles later on, and even necessary to defeat the Final Boss.
  • Umbrellas in A Hat in Time act as springboards. Wires and lines also double as springboards.
  • In Holy Umbrella, you get to bounce off round bumpers with faces.
  • Couches in the Home Alone 2 Lost In New York game make the player bounce.
    • In the Sega Genesis Home Alone game, Kevin can collect and drop tires to use as temporary springboards. As above, couches are also present.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has springboards hidden in couches, many of them placed directly below spiked ceilings.
  • "Launchers" in Jumper series are green (or one-time use orange) coloured blocks with upward-pointing arrow on them that shoot Ogmo upwards when he walks or lands on them. Jumper Three uses actual springboards.
  • Kickle Cubicle has loads of springs, but they can't be jumped on because it isn't a Platform Game. Instead, their job is to reflect blocks pushed towards them.
  • Kid Chameleon's rubber blocks.
  • Baba buds in The Legend of Zelda are plants that will shoot Link up in the air.
  • A few springboards can be found in the second installment of LocoRoco, particularly in Chapo-Wahr area where they take in form of a elastic girder.
  • Blue flowers in Lone Fungus launch the player diagonally up in the air.
  • Nebs 'n Debs: There are some sort of object, presumably some kind of an alien flora, that launches Debs upward should she jump on it.
  • LostWinds has plants that need to be watered. Once they have grown, you can use them to launch yourself high up in the air.
  • Ninjish Guy In Low Res World: There are boxes that serve this function in the game. They have an arrow on them, and a plunger on their top that's the part you jump on.
  • Panic Porcupine features many objects that launch the player on contact. The most common of them are round extending bumps but other objects like balls and bumpers can also launch the player.
  • The Pedestrian (2020) had a square with a line slightly above it. Jumping on that line shoots the Player Character upward.
  • Pizza Pop!: Trampolines are used to launch the player up the screen.
  • Pizza Vs. Skeletons:
    • The "bounce/crush the skulls" levels are set on a line of marshmallow-looking platforms that bounce the pizza and the skulls upward (moreso for the pizza if it Ground Pounds them.
    • The "skiing" levels sometimes have the pizza bounce off a large orange platform.
    • The "bouncing on brains" levels have large brains for the pizza to bounce on, of course.
  • Bounce pads are all over Quake III: Arena.
  • Rad Rodgers: A Justified Trope given Rad's situation, but there are springs upon which Rad's able to jump.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic games normally have strange spring things all around, in one case it being an enemy that hides like normal ground spikes until it picks up its head and shoots at you but its spikes are bouncy. Some of the mid-series games features lever springs that don't bounce you nearly as high as red or yellow springs but are intended for short vaults.
    • Mushrooms and clouds can act as springs in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and they appear frequently.
    • The oddest example of a unconventional spring was the whole floor of the Sonic the Hedgehog CD Wacky Workbench zone.
  • Sunset Overdrive has many things scattered about that act like springboards, like cars, tents, and upward-facing air conditioning vents.
  • In Super Widget, clouds and bumpers act as springs.
  • The Smurfs (1994): Certain plants act as springs that Smurf can jump from to reach high ledges or to escape from underground passages.
  • Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos has mousetraps (which you'd expect to be harmful but aren't) in the Green Hill Zone stage. Later stages have mushrooms and bear bellies.
  • In Theta vs Pi 7, you had trampolines at the end of most levels you needed to use to get the level exit. King Pi also became one of these in the final fight once he turned into an ally.
  • Train Your Minibot: If you land on the tab of a soda can, it'll launch you upward. However, it only works once.
  • Tamarin: The Player Character can unlock springboards by acquiring them from the hedgehog.
  • High-tech jump pads are present in many areas of Turbo Overkill, allowing more vertical mobility. One of the levels also features geysers that have the same function.
  • In Toree 2, lawn chairs can be used as springboards.
  • ULTRAKILL series introduces jump pads starting from layer 2. In addition to the player, jump pads also launch enemies (expect lots of screaming Husks) and even projectiles into the air.
  • Jump pads in the Unreal series. Became more common starting from Unreal Tournament 2003.
  • Whizz has several kinds of things to bounce up high on, including round spring pads, trampolines and crazy castles.