The team over at the Toronto based Bonfire Games are the perfect example of overachievers. They have just released their award winning game Pitfall Planet, while most of the crew are still studying at university. Let’s hope this success doesn’t go to their heads, and they’re able to complete their degrees and avoid being sucked into the rock star lifestyle, at least for now.
Pitfall Planet is a co-op puzzle adventure for two players. There’s no single player mode, this one’s couch co-op only. The game is set on a long forgotten mining world. You and a friend take control of two astronaut robots that recently crash-landed on this distant planet. The two of you must navigate subterranean caverns, while solving puzzles and collecting fuel to power your spaceship, so that you may both return home. Pitfall Planet is a mix of 2-D and 3-D level design that will surely appease both old-school and modern gamers.
Solving the planet’s puzzles and collecting the fuel requires teamwork. Many situations involve throwing your partner across a void to an adjacent platform, where they will activate a switch to raise a bridge, so that you can join them. The astrobots also possess grapple hooks for reaching objects and an alternate method for retrieving a partner. Choose your partner carefully, so that you don’t wind up playing with a sadist who wants nothing more than to hurl you into lava or a seemingly bottomless pit (the exact reason why I avoid co-op). Or if you’re the sadist, then this game might be for you.
Pitfall Planet features over 40 levels, set across caverns, mines, lava pits and the planet’s surface operates as a hub world. There are a variety of enemies and boss battles to overcome, and vehicles to ride. A dune buggy is available for roaming the surface, which is full of treasure and secrets. Each level also features hidden gems, which can be used to pimp out your bot with hats and costumes. Bowler hats anyone?
Bonfire Games are on to something special here. The charming aesthetic and humour should appeal to most gamers, and it’s nice to see a co-op game that’s not about shooting. Others seem to agree, as Pitfall Planet was awarded first place in Level Up 2015 (a Toronto student games showcase), and nominated for Best Student Game in the Independent Games Festival 2016. Pitfall Planet is available now on Steam for both PC and MAC.
Michael Vane is a freelance writer who once spent hours attempting to reach the end of the classic platformer Pitfall, before googling it and discovering that’s not how the game works. Go say hi on Twitter @DrVane