Abstraction Games delivers a co-op puzzle adventure in Pitfall Planet, and it may just be the addition to your game catalogue you didn’t know you needed.
Featuring the most lovable pair of robots since Wall-E and Eve, Pitfall Planet takes place in a vibrant and colourful mining world that contains a wide variety of threats and challenges. In a way that perfectly compliments the Switch and its joy-cons, players take control of both robots that find themselves stranded on this unknown planet full of subterranean caves with the challenge of solving an array of puzzles to collect ore for their ship.
To overcome the challenges, incredibly similar to those you would find in the Lego series, players must work cooperatively to gather as much ore as possible and escape the ruined planet. These adorable robots are well equipped to handle the task that befalls them, each has a grapple hook that allows them to pick up objects or even each other, whether that’s to progress in a level or into the lava for giggles.
Pitfall Planet offers a variety of puzzles in its levels that emphasise and encourage team work. One particular enthralling moment was having to use one robot as bait to attract enemies, clearing a path for the other to make a quick dash for some ore. It gave a sense of adrenaline I didn’t expect from a puzzle game. There are a few levels that up the pressure and are bound to give you sweaty palms – think ‘Boulder Dash’ in Crash Bandicoot (Yes, that intense!). Many of the levels presented are not achievable alone, so if one perishes to an underground critter or unending crevice then it will suggest a restart – no lone soldiers in this adventure. That said, the game is playable with a single-player controlling both bots, but it is a different experience entirely, like trying to write with both hands at once.
Pitfall Planet isn’t likely to win any awards for its basic art style, and with the majority of the bot’s ventures being underground, the terrain becomes very familiar quite early on. This is matched by repetitive sound design that seems very doom and gloom. In spite of this I was pleased to experience a smooth performance in both handheld and docked modes as well as minimal loading screens throughout.
The game does extend its content by adding a hidden gem on each level which can be traded in for a fancy hat, as if these little bots weren’t cute enough already.
Pitfall Planet offers repetition and so with that comes a lack of longevity and replay value. Credit where it is due, it works so perfectly in co-op with the Switch that you would think it was designed specifically for Nintendo’s console. Whilst unlikely to be on many Game of the Year lists, it has an excellent difficulty curve providing plenty of challenge and reward, it’s one of the rare examples of a game built for co-op. Whether you go solo or with friends and family, you are guaranteed as much frustration as you are fun and laughter.
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