Top-down Particles is a particle system completely separate from GM's standard clunky particle system. Top-Down Particles allows you to have professional quality beautiful particles in your game. It's very easy to set up and use, and the fully-featured example will show you how to use the entire system.
You can download the demo for this system here: http://www.filedropper.com/partsystemexample
Everything you would need to manage the system is included inside the scripts, so don't worry. But please note that this particle system is for top-down games, not platformers, so I cannot guarantee it will give you optimal results in a platform game.
And don't even worry about speed! Although this system is object-based, creating 25-50 particles at a time won't hurt the game's FPS in the slightest. Creating 1000 particles in one frame only reduced the FPS about 50%. Try the demo out and see for yourself!
Side notes/Specs: This system uses surfaces, so consult your desired platform's rules with surfaces before purchasing. Fully tested with Windows and Windows(YYC) -- Both work perfectly