Review over on TouchArcade: Pitfall!
The original 1982 Pitfall! for the Atari 2600 apparently wasn't influenced by Raiders of the Lost Ark
- but obviously draws from the same inspiration. A jungle explorers encountering all sorts of creepy crawlies and obstacles, coded up by David Crane
At first glance, the new game seems like a knock-off of the current darling endless runner, Temple Run
which is unabashedly inspired by the opening scene in Raiders
. There are even screaming monkey sounds as you start running and coins to pick up. Fortunately, initial similarities fade quickly and you realize that while it's the same genre - and definitely inspired by Temple Run - it's a whole different game.
The game opens with a loading animation that's an homage to the orginal Pitfall!. Cute, but you can't skip it and it's terribly slow. They need to work on that aspect of the game. But this should be the first hint that this is a different beast that Temple Run. Unlike that game, the new Pitfall! expects you to play for extended periods of time, not just a few idle minutes. Once the loading animation has completed the actual game look is revealed as a 3D "cel shaded" environment. Once you set off running, other differences appear as the camera swings to the side for Mirror's Edge-style gameplay, then back to a follow-cam more like Temple Run.
The usual gestures are used - swipe up to jump, down to slide, tip the device to move to the edges of the path to pick up coins, swipe to the siides to turn when the path forks. Obstacles are the predictable trees and rocks, some of which must be jumped and others ducked under. The production values of the game are stellar - unlike Temple Run which quickly grows monotonous (and trance-inducing) with the same set of traps, Pitfall! mixes it up with fallen idols, spike pits, low bridges, and so forth.
Then it gets interesting. Your endless run occasionally takes you through a village where you can choose to run through the bamboo walkways instead of on the ground. Some pits have vines to swing over. The environment is animated, with lava bombs from an erupting volcano dropping into the path, trees falling in your way, and so forth. But that's not all...
Yes, there are creepy crawlies that get in your way. When you're outside, there are occasionally snakes on the path. Run over them and you'll be poisoned. Twice and you're dead. Fortunately, you're carrying a bullwhip (!) and can flick it out to take care of the slithery beasts. So although the original may not have been inspired by Indy, Pitfall Harry has learned a thing or two from the master.
I mentioned outside. After a few thousand meters your run takes you into an underground cavern where the obstacles change up - collapsing ceilings, scorpions, lava pits and so on. Make it far enough and you jump onto a mine car! (Hint: swipe sideways to take the forks and remember to duck!)
Once you make it through the mine sequence you'll be back outside. Cross some rickety bridges, and you'll find yourself on a motorcycle racing down a muddy unpaved road, trying to get around obstacles as your race continues.
That's as far as I've gotten so far, which is a good time to explain three other big departures from Temple Run. The first, as hinted above, is that while the exact path is randomly generated like Temple Run, there is a definite progression through things like the underground sequence, mine car, and motorcycle, that occur at certain distances from the start. Secondly, and thankfully, it is possible to restart from checkpoints rather than having to start from the beginning at each time.
Thirdly, however, restarts require using "Macaw Tokens" which must be purchased. And unlike Temple Run, where the power ups are a subtle addition to the game, in Pitfall! the achievements and store are much more blatant and frankly distracting.
I give it 4/5 stars so far.