Pitfall Harry comes to iPhone and iPad in this latest Pitfall adventure that sees the classic Indy inspired hero attempting to escape a raging volcano. Looking forward to an intricate platform game? You are going to be disappointed here, as this is yet another Temple Run clone.
Before you get depressed, however, this turns out to be a mighty fine Temple Run clone, or ‘free runner’ as it is described by Activision. Yes, that may not make up for the disappointment of this not being a Pitfall game in the classic sense, but what is here is certainly better than the majority of clones, and it feels far more expansive than the original Temple Run.
Well, maybe ‘expansive’ is too strong a word, as you are still running down predefined corridors, swiping in different directions to get Harry to jump, duck as dodge as he automatically runs along. You can tap the screen to whip at enemies such as snakes and scorpions, and there are various items you can find around the stages that can help you out, such as a jaguar to ride on the back of, giving you temporary invincibility, and a minecart to help you through the mines.
The game also allows you to choose extra, minor routes to take, such as the wooden walkways in the first area and various different paths you can ignore or take as you speed past them. This does give the impression of freedom, even if there really is none. You will always find the levels change at the same point every time, so the different routes you take have little effect.
There are some really fun sections, such as a motorbike level, but you are going to have to really work to get to these. The game doesn’t force you to start from the very beginning every time, but is does have a very obscure and confusing checkpoint system, based on macaw symbols that you can either collect or buy with diamonds and ingots that you either earn or have to buy with an IAP.
Yes, you guessed it, even on this game, which you have to pay for, IAP’s are needed to really proceed very far. Sure, you can ignore them and restart time and again, but I would think that most people will need to spend some real money as the handing out of diamonds by the game gets more and more infrequent as time goes by.
It is a shame that Activision couldn’t have just created a game with checkpoints that you can use again and again. That is the way videogames have worked for twenty odd years, but it seems that every part of a game is now looked at as a way to squeeze money from gamers nowadays. iOS gamers do seem to reluctantly accept this as a fact of life, but can you imagine if Nintendo stated charging people for using checkpoints in Mario games?
That out of the way, the game does a lot right. I love the cel shaded graphical style, the cinematic moments, straight out of Indiana Jones movies, are thrilling and the whole package reeks of quality.
It is a shame this isn’t a ‘true’ Pitfall game, and it is a shame about the amount of IAP’s in a paid game, but this is still really good fun, and a great alternative to the more staid and simple Temple Run.