Portals SNES





Development time


Team size


  • The player can launch two types of balls using the same button.
  • The second ball can only be launched if the first one has already been launched.
  • The first ball has more of an arc, and can be frozen in place at any time by releasing the launch button.

A prototype exploring the possibilities of a portal mechanic in a 2D platformer.

The idea was to have player be able to launch one target portal, freeze it in place, and then launch another portal, which acts as a gateway to the first ball. Both portals are spheres with physics attributes like gravity and bounce, allowing for several interesting solutions to traversing the level.

Upon creation, the balls launch using impulse, in the direction that the player is currently facing.

If you're not content with the placement of your portals, you can also remove the currently placed portals and start over.


  • Small gaps

The immediate implications for level design using this mechanic was to make small gaps that the player couldn't walk through. This way the player is forced to launch a portal exit into the gap and then teleport though to it.

  • Verticality

Another challenge the player could overcome using the portals in different ways was vertical traversal. Either by stacking objects vertically using the portals, or by launching a portal high up.

  • Placing platforms to avoid landing on dangers

For example teleporting an object down a well before jumping in, or placing an object in the middle of a river in order to be able to jump across.

  • "Speed run" approaches

The emergent nature of this mechanic also became apparent as testers soon used them in ways that weren't intended. For example by climbing a tall wall using only the portals and some great timing.


The teleportation from one portal to the other allows both the player character or interactable objects in the world to be teleported, enabling the player to either move objects to for example use as a platform, or to teleport herself into a new area. If the player is standing on top of an interactable object, both the object and the player character will be teleported, allowing the player a swift way to bring objects with her throughout the level.