Review: Pitfall Planet – Nintendo Switch Version (2019)

Pitfall Planet started its life as a student project but has now transformed into a very inviting easy pick up and play game

Pitfall Planet started out as nothing more than a class project, but when its demo won ‘Best Overall Game’ at the Level Up Showcase, Bonfire Games committed to fleshing it out into a full game. Pitfall Planet is a platform puzzler that uses simplicity to its advantage and will put players’ teamwork to the test.

After their ship crashes on a mysterious planet in a faraway galaxy, two adorable little astrobots embark on a mission to refuel their ship. Their adventure takes them underground into deep mining caverns where they must work together to solve puzzles and collect gold and gems using their trusty grappling hooks. However, they soon realise that they are not alone down there and must face off against the aliens inhabiting the planet.

Pitfall Planet was originally released on PC to positive reviews, but the couch co-op style of gameplay seems much more fitting to the switch. Each astrobot is controlled by its own joy-con and while it is possible to play solo, to get the full experience of the game you definitely need to play with a friend. Controlling both bots yourself can get confusing and as the levels progress and become more difficult it becomes very hard to get the correct coordination to complete the level.

To fully complete a level, you must collect all of the gold scattered throughout, as well as a hidden gem, however the gem is not needed to move on to the next. It’s not quite as simple as collecting loot though, as you will encounter weight sensored buttons and unreachable ledges where you will need to help each other out. Each astrobot has a grappling hook which they can use to pick up objects and each other. By picking up your friend, you are able to throw them onto the high ledges and other seemingly out of reach places. However, the team work extends much further than that, as when danger is near you can help your friend by distracting the enemies while they collect. This is also an essential tactic when it comes to fighting bosses as they often leave their weak spot exposed. It’s worth noting that only one astrobot needs to reach the escape pod to complete a level, so sometimes you have to do the noble thing and sacrifice yourself.

The controls are very simple and are perfect for this type of gameplay. Everything about this game is straightforward and while the puzzles do take some thought and trial and error, they never feel too difficult and are always entertaining. Screenshots of the game definitely do not do it justice and having been designed by a group of art and design students, the art style is one of the best things about the game. It is very plain with nothing particularly fancy about it, but this along with the music, which is fitting to the game as a whole, really adds to the overall charm.

Pitfall Planet is an extremely charming game that has a lot going for it.  The team behind the game wanted to create something that was inviting and easy to pick up and play, which is exactly what they have achieved. If you’re looking for a fun game to play locally with a friend, Pitfall Planet comes highly recommended.

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