Pitfall Planet promises cute robots, fun couch co-op gaming and a vast array of puzzles that’ll have you and a friend either working together or screaming at each other. Having crash landed on a planet in a galaxy far, far away, two robots must collect enough ore in order to fuel their trip home and escape the planet whose history is […]
Pitfall Planet promises cute robots, fun couch co-op gaming and a vast array of puzzles that’ll have you and a friend either working together or screaming at each other. Having crash landed on a planet in a galaxy far, far away, two robots must collect enough ore in order to fuel their trip home and escape the planet whose history is yet to be uncovered. What Pitfall Planet promises, it delivers and then some. This game takes from well-known puzzle platformers and injects a whole new level of originality, avoiding the tropes of indie puzzle platformers ultimately setting it apart from the massive competition.
The Nintendo Switch boasts flexibility in the way you game and has a heavy emphasis on multiplayer gaming. Brining couch co-op back into the limelight the Nintendo Switch e-store has been flooded with games, some of which support this such as Snipperclips and some that do not. Pitfall Planet takes advantage of this couch co-op flexibility and creates a fun, sometimes anxiety filled experience for two friends, lovers or even family members to enjoy.
Working together, you must each control an adorable little robot, solving simple to highly convoluted puzzles and avoiding enemies at all costs. However, the fun doesn’t end there. There are a number of collectibles, including hidden gems on every level that can be used to buy, wait for it, hats. Yes, hats for your robots to make them even cuter than before. For a smaller, indie title, the addition of accessories and a reason to find those hidden collectibles on each level invests you further into our little robot friends and their story. As well has hidden collectibles, levels will have other hard-to-reach objects that will build on the story and give meaning to the level’s environment.
The game’s environments and characters are all vibrant and colourful in a low-poly style, which adds to the cuteness that surrounds your two robots. The various colour schemes and environment layouts add to the mood and feel of each level, keeping a heavy sci-fi theme throughout the game. Sometimes you get a well-lit, beautifully coloured level where you spend half the time marvelling in the art style. Other times, it can be very, very hard to see. With the vast mix of level styles, types of puzzles and colour schemes no level is the same, with each new level bringing something fresh to the game. One problem with the minimal design, is that it can be easy to miss extra content. Given, this content is supposed to be hidden and fun to find, but some indication of what you can interact with would go a long way.
Where some indie games lose out on narrative, trying to overcome the lacklustre storyline with flash and puzzles, Pitfall Planet emphasises its story. The story of your two robot friends becomes the main drive to progress through each level, world and puzzle. You gain an emotional attachment to your little robot friends as you desperately try to help them find a way off the alien planet. Not only does the narrative push your objectives, it also dives deep into a mysterious lore and history of the alien planet. Discover what happened to what seems to be an abandoned planet and why the enemies roam the worlds.
In terms of the mechanics, the simple controls and interesting physics puzzles allow for a nice combination of easy character controls and interesting environment interaction. Whilst the move set is simple, sometimes I would find the movement slightly clunky resulting in failing a specific area, resetting the entire level. Whilst this is a prominent negative, with careful adaption and knowledge of the controls I was able to continue without too many rage filled moments. Despite the negatives, the movement, use of the grapple and holding objects are all animated in a quirky, fun way, adding to the adorable vibe your two robot buddies give off. There is an especial cuteness in the way our robot pals teeter over high ledges. Sure, sometimes this makes you slip off the edge and die, but it was cute, so we can forgive that.
Pitfall Planet boasts entertaining gameplay, beautiful design and frustratingly fun puzzles, however, this is far from my favourite part of the game. The soundtrack and audio design wrap this perfectly crafted indie title and launches it to a whole new level. No game is complete without good audio design and a decent soundtrack, but Pitfall Planet takes these two elements and kicks it up a notch. The soundtrack for this game is outstanding, sublime and truly original. Composed by Keith Ryan O’Rourke, the ingeniously conceived mix of electronic and instrumental sounds come together to create fun, quirky sci-fi sound that complements the game. Each song is crafted specifically for the area, pace of gameplay and style of level allowing for deeper immersion into the game and story.
When it comes to the audio design, this game gets down into the nitty gritty details providing for a well-rounded and whole audio experience. Simple details such as the sound being muffled when you run over sand or splashed from a puddle add to the world building and immersion.
Bringing this game which was originally only available on Steam to a portable console allows a whole new demographic to enjoy them game, especially with the wide range of audience the Nintendo Switch has. With the multiplayer aspect being a heavy sell for this title, it’s the perfect replayable companion for your Nintendo Switch.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience playing Planet Pitfall on the Nintendo Switch. The heavy narrative, inventive puzzles and adorable characters all come together to create a brilliant little indie game that will have you and your friends hooked. The consistent narrative pushes you to complete every level, no matter how difficult it may be. The colourful, well designed low-poly art style intertwined with an outstanding soundtrack fully immerses you and your friends into this masterly crafted indie title.