From Shiftup comes two games featuring their cute tanuki mascot, Ponta. People all over the world have become familiar with the tanuki, an easygoing, shapeshifting raccoon-like creature which frequently appears in Japanese folklore and popular culture such as Studio Ghibli's Pom Poko or Super Mario Brothers 3.
First up is Gold Leaf, a simple Flash based platform game. Each level contains a number of leaves; after collecting one, another leaf somewhere in the level will turn gold. You can collect the leaves in any order, but collecting enough gold leaves will lead to a big bonus at the end of the level. Press the [spacebar] and you will transform into a balloon, floating up until you press spacebar again to turn back. Move with the [left] and [right] keys. Jump by pressing [up] and, as in Mario 3, attempting to jump while you're descending will wag your tanuki tail and slow your fall. With only 10 levels and no way to lose (each level is timed, but running out of time will only prevent you from getting extra points) Gold Leaf isn't difficult, but the imprecise collision detection with certain walls can be frustrating.
In the Java Kaleidoscope click either side of the screen to rotate the entire level 90 degrees and attempt to drop Ponta in the exit hole. Wicked foxes, red blocks and Ponta are all affected by gravity and touching a fox or being crushed by a block will cost you a life. Fortunately the foxes can also be destroyed by the red blocks and, despite not being able to move on his own, Ponta isn't completely defenseless; grabbing a leaf marked with an A will turn him into a fox smashingly invulnerable Jizo Statue, while a leaf marked with a B will turn Ponta into a balloon and cause him to float instead of falling. In later levels you'll find yellow blocks, which turn into a fox on the rotation after you first come into contact with them, and tombs, which emit flying ghosts. The 15 levels of Kaleidoscope should keep you busy a bit longer than Gold Leaf, especially if you enjoy it enough to try Kaleidoscope Hard.
All of the work on Shiftup could stand a bit more depth, but if you've played through the above and still want Ponta you're in luck; although I'm partial to the two featured here he appears in four other games on the site. Try Pong Pong Ponta, Float Jewel, Ponta's Quest and Stray Janis for more.