Pitfall brings back old game glories

Spoiler alert! For a mere dollar, Pitfall is full out action packed fun. But polish your skills thoroughly because if you don't, it will cost a lot of money to get those level-up upgrades. Four Stars.


Before there was Lara Croft, in all of her 3DD digital beauty, back when character's were square pixels with a single pixel square head, there was Pitfall, an 8-bit jumping and swinging wonder. But no one remembers Pitfall because, well, Lara Croft was Lara Croft and she was unforgettable even before she was Angelina Jolie.1

Activision has revived Pitfall as a fully rendered game for the iPad for the remarkably low price of a dollar. The game mode is familiar. You run, jump, collect treasure and avoid getting killed. You can capture and ride leopards to speed you on your way.

Pitfalls is a modern upgrade of a very old console game by Activision. We're talking Atari era here. You have to react at the right instant or it's death and back to the beginning. Will this character make his leap, or did he wait too long?

As a reminder of the game's origins, each launch replays the ancient 8-bit large pixel graphics that many players will no longer remember.

The running and jumping is a lot of fun as well. I don't really need to spell the formula out. You collect treasure and avoid pitfalls until you die. Then the game resets (or at least resets to the last checkpoint). Unlike many of the games, the terrain changes slightly with each reset. The pitfalls themselves don't change, just which ones you see and in what order and location. You can't simply win a level by muscle memory.

The pitfalls get more challenging the further in you get, as does the terrain. Once you master jumping and sliding you will face snakes and spiders. You can buy potions and tokens to extend your life and enhance abilities, but those can be costly.

No one will be surprised when the game takes you to the game store to entice you to buy healing potions, speed and other enhancements to make it easier to make it to the next checkpoint. Nor should it surprise you that many of them are one time use only that have to be repurchased. But you should be able to master the game without them.

You can also buy additional clothing and gear, another common feature in adventure games. Unfortunately, you also have to purchase tokens to restart the game from check points achieved. This is the main reason I knocked the game down from five to four stars. You can earn the coins to purchase gift shop items but you have to rack up thousands of silver bars, and that requires a lot of game play.

Graphics are exceptional and the game navigation is first rate. You maneuver by tilting and swiping and the game is one of the most
responsive I've played on iPad. I never had the game fail to react or overreact, but you have to be precise. A diagonal swipe or swiping up then down can produce unexpected results.

Jenny Manytoes rates Pitfall

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Pitfall. It's fun and frenetic, and would be a five star game if you didn't have to buy the checkpoint resets.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System


Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she's in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she's very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it's okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don't think I need to explain this one.

1There are a few of us who thought the role should have gone to Rhona Mitra, who was one of the artist models for the character, especially because when she spoke with a English accent, it didn't sound as terrible as Angelina Jolie's accent. This may be because Rhona Mitra was, in fact, English. How bad was Angelina Jolie's attempt at an English accent? In the list of all time bad accents hers was topped only by Kevin Costner as Robin Hood and Uma Thurman as Emma Peel.back

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day.
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Arcade Games, Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Pitfall brings back old game glories

  1. cartoonmick says:

    The art work is the best part of it.
    If I could draw like that, I’d get into the industry.
    In the meantime, I’ll just keep drawing cartoons for my blog.

  2. topiclessbar says:

    I absolutely remember Pitfall! It rocked! By far my favorite game as a kid – I can recall how tense I would get when leaping from one alligator’s head to the next. Happy to hear it’s back. : )

    And, of course, congratulations to you on getting Freshly Pressed!

  3. I was just telling my daughter about Pitfall. I had an Atari 2600 and this was one of my favorite games, along with Qbert.

  4. vanbraman says:

    I remember the original Pitfall, it was great at the time.

  5. kollshi17 says:

    thank you

  6. I loved Pitfall back in the day. I need to ask my mom where the console is. I need to introduce my kids to the joys of 8-bit games.

  7. I vaguely remember having a computer game called Pitfall where you were actually falling down a pit and had to dodge various single pixel square objects on the way to the bottom. I can’t recall what happened if you actually made it all the way down….

  8. GG says:

    hi… i have played this game before. I still missed it. Haha things changes but sometimes old games still have their charm.

  9. Pingback: A semana em Frames #13 « Feed by Frames

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