Monday, May 6

Review: Pitfall Planet [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s no doubt about it, local co-op games are absolutely becoming one of the better-represented genres on the Switch across a variety of genres. One style of game they’ve been particularly popular in has been puzzlers. What’s typically interesting about this is that while the experience may be optimal with 2 players, someone with enough dexterity and determination can typically make them work solo as well. That’s the case for the latest title in this space, Pitfall Planet.

You’ll take control (alone, or with a friend) of a pair of robots who need to travel to a variety of locales and collect all of the shincy gold chunks in each level. What’s nice is that the types of challenges vary pretty wildly, sometimes taking on a more action-oriented hectic feel, sometimes purely puzzle solving, and sometimes requiring coordination as one person tries to distract enemies while the other rushes to grab everything. Your skills are relatively limited, being able to jump, grapple, and throw things or each other, but this also keeps things from being overwhelming in case you’re paired with a less dexterous partner.

If you decide to take on the challenge solo most of the time this isn’t a problem, though in the case of stages that turn up the heat and force you to move quickly it can be problematic. Since you control each robot with the right and left analog sticks and buttons to either side it takes some serious left/right brain work at times. When things get hectic I found that picking up the other robot and running to be the best solution to that issue rather than trying to control them both independently. This is consistent with other titles of this kind, making solo play very possible but sometimes aggravating when the degree of coordination needed gets cranked up a little.

Aside from the core stages/challenges there’s also an overworld with a little car you can drive around that doesn’t seem to have much purpose and there’s a diamond-like gem in each level to find. Granted, the reward for collecting these gems is just some silly hats but while some of them are out in the open, or in a challenging spot, many are plain out of sight hidden and if you want to find them you’ll just need to go into spaces that are obscured to stumble into them. I suppose they’re just a nice value-add, but would have liked more of them offering an added element of challenge rather than just being put somewhere you can’t see.

As a whole Pitfall Planet is a satisfying puzzle experience whether playing with a friend or taking it on by your lonesome self. Solo play isn’t without its challenges at times, so be warned if that’s your plan, but with some persistence and trying to be smart about how to approach things you can get through it. The action is generally simple but can be surprisingly varied in places and for the most part it’s a charming game from start to finish.

Score: 8

  • Can be enjoyed with a friend or solo
  • Mechanically simple enough that less experienced gamers should find it approachable
  • A good mix of stages that require more thought as well as those that have more action to them

  • If you’re going it solo you can expect some more hectic challenges to test your patience and coordination
  • The optional gems in some stages are cheaply put somewhere out of sight rather than consistently providing a value-added challenge