Activision just released the 1982 video game Pitfall! for iOS, in recognition of the game's 30th Anniversary. Pitfall Was the second biggest selling game for the Atari 2600 when it was released, and was one of the first games I bought. I've played it more times than I can remember. In fact, I still have the original game and console. So when I saw this in the App Store I grabbed it immediately, and set about reliving my childhood.
When I launched the app, the first things to greet me were the classic 8-bit graphics and the original games soundtrack. I'm not ashamed to admit that I peed my pants a little. Then the game suddenly shifted, and Pitfall Harry transformed into a 3D adventurer being taunted by a tiny monkey while running away from a volcano. My next reaction was just like that many of you probably had. This game looks an awful lot like Temple Run.
I've played Temple Run, and I like it. Some bloggers are saying Pitfall isn't original due to the similarities between the two games. But this is nothing like the numerous clones trading off Temple Run's popularity. It's trading off Temple Run's popularity and 1980s' nostalgia. Completely different. Ultimately, similarities aside, the big question is whether the app is any good.
In my assessment, the answer is yes. There's enough variety and subtle differences from similar games to make it interesting. The app has multi-perspective viewing, which constantly shifts, and the a ability to earn checkpoints like the original, so you don't have to start over from the beginning every time. The vines, pits, snakes, and scorpions are also back. I could play it for hours, and I probably will. The app is 99 cents in the App Store and is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The Verge questions the apps reliance on in app purchases to speed up game play, so that is something to be aware of. For example, those checkpoints you earn require in-game currency to use them. You can collect “treasure” in the game to buy them, or skip that step and pay real money. In this respect it's like real money to get them, or just collect “treasure” use them. You can play without them, but the game does nag you after a while. In my opinion, Pitfall is a pretty cheap time machine. Now if you'll excuse me, Benson is on.
I've posted some screen shots of Harry in action below. The guys over at Touch Arcade also have a great review showing off some of the game play.