I'm creating a game with a heavy focus on exploration, though I'm at a bit of a loss for healing.
The problem is that I don't like the idea of enemies randomly dropping health, as this usually results in grinding when at low health and not near any healing stations(Metroid, Axiom Verge), and I don't want to copy the Soul/Focus system from Hollow Knight(Combat system has already been stolen by me :3), but Hollow Knight is the only game I've played with a focus on exploration that made healing interesting.
I've also thought of auto-regeneration, however that can easily lead to the player cowarding during a boss fight while they heal, and that would break the flow of the gameplay.
I've also considered something like striking a foe heals 1/8th of a health point, however this leads to the player feeling less tense after they take a gain 1/8th which will keep them from dying if they get hit again, and it makes the game feel like its all offense and little defense.
I've also though about an items approach where the player has to eat something or drink something to heal, however this doesn't really encourage healing as once you run out of items, you can no longer heal until you get some more(Legend of Zelda).
I've also though about no healing at all, however I noticed that when exploring and then you take a dumb hit before a hard boss, or a dumb hit before the boss gets hard(cough Cuphead cough), the player will just either commit suicide or run back to a healing station.
What can I do to make healing interesting, and not break the flow of gameplay?
This is a 2D platformer, and jumping is really important in the combat.