It seems like every time a challenging game is released the argument over difficulty starts again. This time it was Cuphead, and developers arguing regarding whether high difficulty is a feature or limiting. Extreme difficulty by itself is never good, but difficulty does have an important purpose.
This week’s Dissecting Design focuses on Snake Pass and how it effectively used subjective difficulty to design a world for multiple skill levels. I talked about how the game offers fair challenges for beginners, experts and master players, and what that meant for the level design.
Subjective difficulty is not for every game, and it does present some unique downsides along with a few criticisms of Snake Pass that I talked about.