The game is a 2D brawler with depth movement in the vein of Golden Axe, Final Fight, Castle Crashers etc. Characters and environment are all 2d sprites as well. I've had no real issue setting up collision between characters to take the depth into account either.
However, it's just not a proper brawler without higher ground to jump to and pits to throw the enemy into, and that is where I run into a bit of an issue with how best to implement it.
I considered making the collision boxes for the level in the 3D space and having the sprites just translate the z movement of their game object into y movement of the visual component, but I don't particularly like that approach because it feels difficult to work with for doing the level design of matching 3D colliders to a drawn backdrop and placing objects in there.
Any suggestions for a design that is the 2D first, so to speak? Ideally being able to "paint" height levels and pits in the 2D design wise. If it matters, I'm working in unity with a primarily 2d space (though involving the third dimension here will be necessary), but I think the base design problem would be fairly engine/language agnostic.