Power-ups in 2D platformers

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This is a description of power-ups that frequently appear in 2D platformers. For the purposes of this article, a "power-up" refers to something that directly alters player mechanics. For example, something that changes the way the player moves or how much damage an attack causes as opposed to collectible or consumable items like money or keys.

Movement Power-ups

Power-ups in this category affect the player's movement. In addition to giving the player more control, movement power-ups are frequently used as a lock-and-key system to prevent players from reaching areas of the map too early.

Power-up Description Examples
Ceiling Grab The player is able to latch onto the ceiling, and, in some cases, crawl along it. Blaster Master has a power-up which lets you drive along the ceiling. Metroid II: Return of Samus and later games feature a spider ball which let you roll along the ceiling. Grant Danasty has this ability in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. This is a power-up in Robot Wants Fishy.
Dash The player is able to perform a short dash which allows them to avoid an attack or reach something in time. This could also be considered a defensive power-up, but it more directly relates to movement. In several Castlevania games you are able to dash backward or forward.
Double Jump In addition to jumping off the ground, the player may also jump a second time while in the air. This allows the player to make it across wider gaps and reach higher ledges. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, as well as many other titles in the series, often feature an artifact that grants double jumping. Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts gives it to the player right from the get-go.
Flight The player is allowed to fly, either temporarily or permanently. Various games handle this differently. In Super Mario Bros. 3 the player can fly for a short time when wearing the raccoon or tanooki suit. Super Mario World has multiple types of flight with the feather, P balloon, blue Yoshi, and Yoshi wings. In the Castlevania: Dracula's Curse introduces Alacurd's ability to turn into a bat which shows up in later games. In Blaster Master, although the power-up is called "hover" it actually allows you to gain vertical lift for awhile. The Kirby games let the player fly when they've inhaled air.
High Jump The length of time a player remains in a vertical ascent when jumping increases. This allow the player to jump across wider gaps and reach higher ledges. Unlike the very similar Double Jump, a high jump doesn't award a much control because a player's jump has to be made in a single high arc rather than multiple smaller arcs. All of the 2D Metroid games feature a high jump. Super Mario Bros. 2 has it built-in for Luigi. In the Commander Keen games, the player has a pogo stick which allows for a high jump. In the DuckTales games, the player can use their cane to jump higher than normal.
Hover The player can hover in the air, either for a limited time, or indefinitely. This allows the player to pass over large gaps. This is similar to Flight, but the player can't make a vertical ascent and similar to Long Jump, but the player doesn't arc through the air. In Super Mario Bros. 2 the princess can hover jump by default.
Ledge Hang The player can hang from a ledge it they connect with it near the floor. This allows them to reach the other side of wide gaps where they would otherwise fall. This ability is built into Metroid Fusion, but a power-up in Metroid: Zero Mission. It's also a built-in ability in Prince of Persia.
Long Jump The player can make a long-distance leap to clear wide chasms. A long jump is similar to Hover, except that the player still arcs through the air. In Robot Wants Kitty, the player can get a rocket pack that grants long jump capabilities. When the player has the Run power-up in Super Metroid, and in subsequent titles, they perform a long jump when they jump while running.
Narrow Slide The player is able to crouch down or slide under a narrow gap in a wall. This is a default ability in Mega Man III and subsequent games. It's a power-up in several Castlevania titles. In the Metroid games it's granted with the morph ball.
Run The player can run at an accelerated speed. This is similar to a Dash, but it lasts much longer. In the Super Mario Bros. games, this is built-in. In Super Metroid, and later titles in the franchise, this is a power-up.
Swim The player is able to move around freely in water both horizontally and vertically. This can also be a Hazard Immunity if the player would otherwise die when they touch water. In Wonder Boy In Monster World, the trident lets the player swim under water. In the Super Mario Bros. series, you can always swim, but in Super Mario Bros. 3 there is a frog suit which grants improved swimming.
Wall Climb The player is able to climb along vertical walls to reach areas much higher than jumping would normally allow for. This is a power-up in Blaster Master and in several Metroid titles with the spider ball. It's an ability of Grant Danasty in 'Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. In Little Nemo: The Dream Master the purple lizard can climb walls.
Wall Jump When alongside a wall, the player may use the wall as a jumping off point and fling themselves away from it. This power-up often allows a vertical ascent when in a narrow pit. This is handled in many different ways across different games. In Ninja Gaiden, the player can latch onto a wall and jump off. In Super Metroid the player can jump away from a wall when falling into one. Super Win the Game lets the player slowly slide down a wall and jump off at their discretion.
Water Movement In those games which feature water, it is sometimes lethal or makes movement extremely difficult. This power-up allows the player to survive and move freely in water. This is different than Swimming which allows vertical movement through water and is often a Hazard Immunity. Super Metroid features the gravity suit which allows ease of movement in water. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a snorkel which prevent damage in water.

Weapon Power-ups

Weapon power-ups alter how the player is able to attack enemies. These generally work by increasing a value which defines the player's weapon.

Power-up Description Examples
Auto Fire The player can simply hold down the fire button to shoot rather than need to press the button for each shot. Many shooters feature this either as a power-up or built-in. The Contra titles often feature a machine gun which gives this ability.
Damage Up The player's weapon does increased damage. In Blaster Master the player will get two damage increase power-ups. In Shinobi the player gets a gun which does more damage than the throwing star.
Fast Shot The projectiles the player shoots travel at an accelerated speed making it easier to hit enemies further away. Several Contra games have an "R" power-up which increases the speed of the player's bullets.
Long Range The player's weapon goes further than normal allowing the player to hit enemies that are more distant. In Bad Dudes the player can get nunchucks which increase their attack range. In Metroid the player can get the long beam. In Kid Icarus: Angel Land Story, the player can get a long bow.
Multi-Shot This allows the player to shoot more bullets than The level-based Castlevania games usually have a double or triple shot power-up which lets you have more special weapon out at once. Bionic Commando features the rapid fire device which lets you shoot a third bullet and also grants Auto Fire.
Rapid Fire The player's weapon produces projectiles at a faster rate. This allows the player to do more damage in less time. Most games in the Contra series have a machine gun which shoots at a rate faster than the normal rifle.
Shooting While many games have shooting as a built-in mechanic, some games require to player to earn a power-up in order to shoot a projectile. In the Super Mario Bros. games, shooting is earned by getting a fire flower.
Wide Shot The player's projectile grows in size or fractures into multiple shots and covers a wider area. This makes it easier to hit enemies. The Contra games feature a spray gun, but Super C also features a flame thrower that can be charged to a larger bullet. Starting with Mega Man III, you can charge your weapon into a larger bullet, but many of the enemy robot weapons feature a larger shot.

Defensive Power-ups

Defensive power-ups are those which allow to player to take less damage than normal or decrease the likelihood they will be hit in the first place.

Power-up Description Examples
Extra Hits Unlike extra lives, extra hits allow the player to sustain damage without setting them back as far as would dying. Players doing a speed run often purposely use an extra hit to bypass an enemy that would otherwise take a long time to defeat. Some games offer a single extra hit like the super mushroom in the Super Mario Bros. games or the barrier in Sonic the Hedgehog games. Bionic Commando has armor power-ups which give extra hits, but also awards extra hits for defeating enemies.
Hazard Immunity The player is now immune to a hazard that was previously deadly. In The Goonies games, the player can find items that make them immune to many of the game's hazards. In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night the player gets a spike breaker which makes them immune to spikes.
Invincibility The player is completely immune to all (or most) damage, usually only for a short period of time. and run past enemies as if they weren't there. In most games, the player will also kill the enemies they touch while invincible. The Super Mario Bros. games has the star, DuckTales has the magic coin, Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers has Zipper.