The story in Pitfall Planet is about a crew of astronauts aboard an intergalactic spacecraft flying through deep space. Suddenly, the cruiser flies straight into an asteroid field, causing terrible damage to their ship. In a fit of panic, the two remaining astronauts decide to use the ship’s escape module to fly down to the closest planet.
They successfully land their escape pod on the planet’s surface. The rest of the ship isn’t so lucky and crashes into the side of a large mountain.
With little hope of escape, for now, the astronauts proceed to the crash site to see what’s left of their ship and figure out a solution to escape this hostile world.
The Gameplay in Pitfall Planet mainly focused on local cooperate play. You can play in single-player, but later puzzles may prove to be difficult and frustrating.
When you begin playing Pitfall Planet, you find that you have direct control over our two astronauts. Blue and red, the same colour as Joy-Cons. The controls are straightforward to get to grips with, and you shouldn’t have any issue with them. There are only four things your little critters can do, which is: walk with the analogue sticks, pick-up items with triggers, drop items with bumper buttons, and throw stuff by holding triggers and then releasing. Pretty standard stuff, but each Joy-Con will control one of the astronauts simultaneously, making it an entirely unique experience.
My first thought when playing was how interesting the concept was. After a few levels and my first boss encounter, I soon realised that playing single-player wasn’t the best way to play this title and I would have to find someone real to play with.
Controlling made easy!
Though I mentioned the controls above, there is little more to it than simply walking about and occasionally throwing your friends into molten lava. This is a puzzle-like adventure, after all. The left analogue stick controls one of your astronauts while the right analogue controls the other one. You pick each other up with the ZL/ZR triggers and throw your fellow astronauts to a certain ledge or place by pressing the button a second time. This is a great way to move your characters over obstacles or high ledges, as your characters don’t have the ability to jump.
You can also place boxes or your ally down with the L/R bumpers for careful placement of certain objects. This is great to use in conjunction with boxes, placing them in areas where your characters can lift themselves up to reach new areas.
Picking each other up to overcome obstacles is not only useful but sometimes it’s the best way to move both your characters at the same time to avoid hazards.
Your main goal is to restore your ship’s power so you can revive the other astronauts that are currently in stasis on your ship. The ship requires a certain amount of energy to bring its systems back online, though. The only way you can achieve this goal is to find crystals scattered around multiple locations on the planet’s surface.
When you begin the game, you start in a hub world where you’ll have access to multiple levels that are scattered about the planet’s surface. Successfully completing areas will unlock further locations and more levels for you to complete. Your main ship is located near the middle of the map and it’s here where you can access the inside of your ship.
You can spend gems that are found in levels and secret areas on silly hats and costumes. The more you restore the power, the more areas of the ship will be unlocked.
To make moving around the hub area easier, there is a little red rover that ether player can enter and drive around, making navigation more convenient. As you move to each new location, you will enter a small area with multiple levels in each. Your main goal here is to solve puzzles, collect golden crystals and find one of the secret gems that are hidden away in each new level.
Each level requires cooperation to complete successfully. All the golden crystals are required to open the exit lift, and if your co-op partner dies for some reason before you open the lift, you’ll have to restart the level again. Most levels require your two characters to survive, so be prepared to restart levels a lot if you make mistakes or an enemy kills one of your astronauts.
However, if you do manage to retrieve all the crystals, the lift will open, and you can still exit the level even though your partner has been killed. But don’t worry, when you start the next level, your partner will be good as new again.
Solo or Co-op!
You can play the game in single-player mode if you wish, but it will become quite difficult on some of the later levels where each character has done multiple tasks. This can be quite difficult unless you’re able to do two things at once. It’s like trying to pat your head while rubbing your tummy: difficult.
While some may be able to complete later levels, the best option and more enjoyable way to play Pitfall Planet is to play with a friend or family member. Playing with a real person will make tasks a lot easier to overcome, and I personally prefer playing it with someone else than going it alone.
Each level is like a miniature diorama and within this little cube, you’re tasked with collecting all of the golden crystals and finding a secret blue gem hidden somewhere within the level. You also need to try and complete each level as quickly as possible. I just found some levels tedious to play and some puzzles felt uninspiring to get through.
The first boss encounter was a nightmare before I could find real teammate play with, as it requires one player to distract a monster bug while the other must pick up rockets and throw them behind the creature.
It became frustrating and quite difficult to play. I did do it after several attempts, but I stopped enjoying the concept and just wanted to play as a lone survivor. I also got quite fatigued playing Pitfall Planet after a few hours in single-player. However…
After finding an individual who plays games, I re-entered Pitfall Planet with a new zest for life. The game became a lot more enjoyable with a friend and working as a team became second nature. We laughed and I cried as my friend thought it be funny to throw me into pits, lava and in the way of enemies’ paths! Don’t worry, I got him back, too!
I saw a ray of light playing in local multiplayer with a friend, and the game as a whole became a lot more enjoyable because of it. Sadly, the experience isn’t a long one and just as the fun was starting, I realised that it was all over. Again, if I had been playing in single-player, the length could have been easily increased due to some difficult situations I had to go through, but the game definitely shines with a co-op buddy.
The audio in Pitfall Planet is pleasant to listen to. A lot of upbeat songs play during your playthrough that is quite catchy to listen to. I especially liked the hub area music. The sound effects aren’t bad either, lots of bleeps and bloop from our little astronauts as you go about your adventure.
Visuals & Performance
The visuals in Pitfall Planet are rather lovely. Each area has its own environmental effects like little fireflies hovering around or rays of your flashlight as it illuminates the darkness.
Each area looks like its own little diorama which I very much like. Characters have a lot of personality and are rather cute too as you see them wobble about. Performance has been great, and I’ve not experienced any issues to speak of. The game also supports screenshots and video capture.
Priced at £12.99 GBP, this is a decent co-op puzzle adventure. I’d recommend playing with others, though, as playing by yourself can get pretty tedious after a while, and it’s not the longest of titles. I would have preferred a price point around £8.99 GBP.
Unlockable hats, costumes
Local co-op is where it’s at
Puzzles, boss encounters.
Single-player can become tedious.