Items add some interesting variety to combat, encourage movement, and allow for some interesting battlefield control opportunities. They also allow players to do things they normally couldn't, due to balance issues. The mechanics of items create another interesting situation: the ability to knock items out of your opponents hands and take them for yourself is priceless. Finally, items allow us to include references to games that otherwise wouldn't get included in Indie Brawl.
On the other hand, items add more randomness, and benefit some characters more than others. Fighting game purists won't like their inclusion. The option to turn items off (either a specific item or items as a whole) is a necessity.
All items can be picked up by pressing the attack button, and you can only carry one item at a time. I can think of five different categories of items for Indie Brawl:
-Healing: Heals you when you pick it up.
-Effect: Pick it up, and it instantly gives your character a temporary buff, or causes some instant effect on the battlefield.
-Single Use: Pick it up to carry it around. Press the attack button at any time to use the item, which could have any number of effects.
-Thrown: Pick it up to carry it around. Press the attack button at any time to throw it. Its trajectory is based off of directional input.
-TIGBox: When thrown, summons an indie character that executes a few attacks, and then disappears. Normally, support characters can't be attacked.
You'll notice that I didn't include weapons in that list. There are two reasons for this. First, it requires more effort from the spriters, without much gain. Secondly, this homogenizes the characters' move lists, leaving each character less unique.
Sea Loaf (Aquaria)- Restores an insignificant amount of health.
Health Pack (Liero)- Restores a moderate amount of health.
Life Toast (The Underside)- Restores a large amount of health.
Golden Arrow (Jumper)- Grants the character the ability to triple jump.
Sea Cake (Aquaria)- Grants regeneration.
Spicy Roll (Aquaria)- The character is surrounded by small bursts of flame.
Hot Soup (Aquaria)- Boosts the character's speed and jumping ability.
Umbrella (Knytt Stories)- When picked up, it attaches itself to your back. It makes your jumping floatier.
Nanoblast (Iji)- All attacks cause an explosion, causing damage and knockback over an area.
Hologram (Knytt Stories)- Creates a duplicate of the character if on solid ground. The character can't be damaged until the duplicate is attacked.
Owl (Rescue the Beagles)- A fairly strong projectile.
Axe (Banana Nababa)- Thrown in an arc, it does great damage.
Rocket Propelled Chainsaw (Cortex Command)- A projectile that tears through enemies.
Ball (Within a Deep Forest)- An incredibly bouncy thrown item. Can hit multiple times.
Goo Ball (World of Goo)- Stuns anything it hits by wrapping it in gooey strands.
Blue Cube (Lyle in Cube Sector)- A basic thrown item.
Green Cube (Lyle in Cube Sector)- Similar to a blue cube, but it can be picked up again after it is used.
Red Cube (Lyle in Cube Sector)- An explosive thrown item.
Yellow Cube (Lyle in Cube Sector)- Releases another item when destroyed.
Sticky Bomb (Spelunky)- Explodes after a short amount of time. Sticks to whatever character or platform it hits.
Hell B-Ball (Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden)- A bouncy item that explodes on impact with a character.
Armadillo (Armadillo Run)- A thrown item that rolls along the ground and moves through characters.
Electro Mine (Death Worm): Once it lands, it creates a field around itself in a circle, clearly visible. Any enemy moving within this field takes a small amount of damage every step.
Potion of Inversion (Mage Guild): When thrown, if it hits a player, it either heals or deals damage proportional to the character's health. A character with high health takes damage, and one with low health is healed.
Grasshopper (Liero)- A bomb that bounces around and explodes several times, before disappearing.
Golden Idol (Spelunky)- An average thrown item. When picked up, a boulder drops down from above, damaging everything in the way.
Crystal Skull (Spelunky)- When first picked up, it summons a ghost that slowly moves towards its target. If the skull is thrown at another character, or another character picks it up, the ghost changes its target to the new character. If the ghost reaches its target, it deals a lot of damage and disappears.
Crab (Cortex Command)- Walks around slowly. Can be used as a weak thrown weapon. After it lands on the ground, it goes on a short rampage, moving faster and damaging those it runs into.
TIGBox- Summons one of these characters
Clot Crystal (Fantastic Blood Boy) - cannot be picked up or used, but simply floats in the air and drops a number of items. If a player approaches it, it will zoom away from them and bounce off walls before coming to a stop again.
Invincible Burger (The Underside) - Sits on the ground and cannot be picked up. Instead, when a player presses A near it, they will take a bite from it and regenerate an amount of health. After a while the burger disappears.
Purple Cube (Lyle in Cube Sector) - Sits on the ground for a certain amount of time. Characters can draw an infinite number of Blue Cubes from it.