I am writing a game in which you can't "die" and the levels aren't puzzles as such, but better stategies/skills will lead to better times and scores.
So I'm thinking of a game dynamic that is simply "beat the clock".
The player would need to complete the level within the given time in order to progress. On failure, the player can simply restart the level and try again (I think the days of making the player go all the way back to the beginning went the way of coin-op arcade games, since the player can "save" between levels).
Once the level is complete, do you think the player should be prompted to see if they want to try the level again to get a better score ? I think a per-level high score list would be very nice here, but a bit impractical ?
Another issue I have is character progression. For example, if one level has an item that will help the player in a later level, and the player gets to the later level and decides they need that item from the earlier level, can they go back ? Do they need to do the in-between levels again ?
I am looking for ways to allow the game to be played along the lines of "I just want to get to the end" but also for high scores, to give it replay value, but do I just sum the score from the levels and call that result ? ie. does the player have to play 30-50 levels just to try to beat their personal best ?
If I have per-level high scores, should I restict items to a particular level, to keep everything "fair".
Or should I just re-work the gameplay to avoid timed-levels.
Map screens are your friend. A nice easy way to let the player replay any level they've unlocked so far.