Pitfall! (universal) from Activision Games is a modern update to the classic Atari 2600 platformer of yesteryear. An interesting take on the endless runner genre, it’s definitely an entertaining update to an oft-forgotten gaming relic.
For those unfamiliar with the original, Pitfall! hit Atari consoles back in 1982, a simple platforming title about a treasure hunter named Pitfall Harry. The similarities to Indiana Jones were obvious, but the game became a monster, spawning sequels, a 1980′s animated cartoon, and numerous sequels and re-releases across systems over the last twenty years. In fact, Pitfall! is second only to Pac-Man for the best selling Atari game of all-time.
However, this version of Pitfall! is clearly not the sprite-based game from the 1980s – Activision went back to the drawing table, and have redefined the game for a new generation of mobile gamers, creating a Temple Run-like endless runner, with all the requisite power-ups, coin-collecting, and high-score chasing one might expect. To move, players swipe up to jump and down to slide, using the accelerometer to tilt and control him on the path. There’s also the ability to tap and use Harry’s whip to take out snakes and other objects.
What I didn’t expect was for the game to be this fun. Pitfall! isn’t just a game with Pitfall Harry and the licesnced title, but a cartoonish re-imagination of the adventure. Through 20 different level segments, players will swipe and tilt to control Harry over and around obstacles from multiple camera angles. The camera work alone gives the game a different feel, moving between the typical 3rd-person perspective and wider angles that give a lot more perspective to the game’s lush level designs.
Pitfall! also features a really cool checkpoint system that allows players to start or re-spawn at certain meter markers they’ve reached throughout the game, using one of the game’s multiple consumable currencies. This can keep the game from getting boring by having to start at the same place every time, although it would be nice to just have a level select screen instead of more currencies. Plus where’s the option to buy the original Pitfall with earned currency? I think that would really top off the game’s package.
But with its vibrant Retina graphics and fun bits of personality – Pitfall Harry only has a few things to say, unfortunately - Pitfall! is an enjoyable endless runner, with lots of high-speed, jungle traversing action. A definite purchase for endless fans, or anyone who’s got a nostalgic side for the old Pitfall!.