Pitfall! Review

For gamers of a certain age, the name Pitfall! is remembered with reverence. Designer David Crane’s classic Atari 2600 game not only kickstarted a generation of gamers, but single-handedly created the side-scrolling adventure genre. Activision apparently doesn’t share that reverence. Instead of resurrecting the name to create a modern-era side-scrolling platformer worthy of the name, they’ve released a blatant retread of Temple Run with a hefty focus on getting players to keep shelling out real cash.

Head for the hills.

As far as endless running games go, Pitfall! has some decent stuff going for it. The graphics are excellent. The game has a somewhat primitive, yet sharp and colorful look, and the soundtrack is quite good. The controls remain exactly the same as Temple Run. Swipe up to jump, down to slide, and left or right to turn. There’s also a whip attack for taking care of pesky bad things like poisonous snakes.

While the levels are basically random, there are definite zones of the jungle to explore. Unfortunately, getting to them is an exercise in micro-transaction frustration. Pitfall! supports checkpoints, which is nice, but to unlock a checkpoint requires coins. Worse, to actually use a checkpoint requires a different sort of coin. As expected, acquiring either type of coin through gameplay takes a long time, but simply spending real money to get more is quick!

Engage in some light mining.

The game offers power-ups in its store as well, but the whole focus on micro transactions takes a lot away from whatever qualities the game has. While the presentation is excellent and the gameplay is solid if completely uninspired, the only real nod to the original classic is the opening sequence before the game starts.

Activision has rebooted Pitfall! several times over the years– there were excellent 16-bit releases, for instance. The iOS version of the game just feels like a blatant and desperate attempt to cash in on the name and suck players into an obnoxious micro-transaction scheme. For a mindless running game, it’s not horrible, but there’s also not even a shred of creativity here. Pitfall Harry deserved better.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.stalder Anthony Stalder

    The best auto-runner on IOS yet. Utterly pretentious review, blinded by some misplaced sense of “historical significance”. Have had it for months, never bought any IAP. This review is utter horsesh*t, as seems to increasingly be the case on STP. c’m'on guys, you’re smarter than this.