Hello, I am currently finalizing the concept phase of my upcoming project, and I aim to make it an open world side scroller.
I have been trying to wrap my head around how this can be done and so far the only great game that makes you feel you're in a huge world in a side scroller is Metroid on the NES, or any metroidvania type game really.
However that idea seems to only work with environments that contain rooms, such as caves, dungeons, etc. Whereas my game is taken place only outdoors.
My plan for the game to feel nonlinear for its side scrolling nature is to have branching paths where at a certain point in a layout, the player will see that they can tap up on the controls to enter a new area. The problem here is that this seems to be known as a confusing game mechanic for a side scroller because it can be confusing to get a sense of where the player is after doing so. A crude example, but Friday the 13th on the NES uses this mechanic I'm talking about, although not executed very well.
So I'm wondering if anyone knows any good games that have pulled this off successfully? I'm not too sure how to explain it very well but it's basically a normal side scroller whereas you can not only enter new areas from going along the x axis, but from the y axis as well (when there's an indicator like an arrow or something). Thanks!
Edit: to clarify, I'm not talking about going up a ladder when I refer to the y axis, I mean like the player can see what's on the horizon and go there when they are able to. I would say it's similar (or possibly exactly alike) to pressing up in front of an entrance to a building and you go to the new area.