What Are Some Differences Between Nonlinear Gameplay & Linear?
A game world or level can be either nonlinear gameplay or linear. A game that consists of linear levels only offers the player one route that they can take through that particular level.
In games that are made up of nonlinear gameplay, players may have to choose between multiple paths and might also have to go back and re-visit locations where they've already been.
As with some game elements, the linear level game design is not an absolute. Whilst the nonlinear level can often offer the player the freedom to backtrack and explore, there can also be set sequences of challenges for him to face, and solve before he completes that particular level.
In nonlinear games where the player has to confront his challenges in a certain fixed order, he will often be given different approaches for him to achieve his objectives. The more linear type game will require the player to complete each level in a particular fixed sequence so that he can win.
The capability to repeat, skip, or even to choose between different levels, makes this game type less linear. An example of this albeit an earlier one, is with the Super Mario Bros. game, where the player can access warp zones & thus skip many of the games other levels.
A videogame that has nonlinear gameplay, will present its players with a variety of challenges which can be completed in a variety of different sequences. Each player involved can only see some of the upcoming challenges that are possible. These challenges, do not have to be played in any set order.
By the same token, if playing a video game that has linear gameplay, the player's challenges will all be configured in fixed sequence: each player sees each challenge, and also views them in the exact same order.
Nonlinear gameplay allows for greater freedom for the player than does the linear game. For example with the nonlinear game the player may be offered multiple sequences where they can finish the game.
It could be they have a choice of subplots or side-quests, or simply different paths to the finishing line. Both types of games are different in what is permitted. Always choose wisely when selecting that game, once started, that's it!