Originally developed for PC by Panda Indie Studio, Eastasiasoft has just released Pity Pit for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch. Described as “a procedural 2D platformer about digging blocks, crafting powerful tools & dangerous bombs”, we tried out the PS4 version.
As the game boots up, it wastes no time in letting us know this is a retro-inspired experience. Not only does the display area switch to a traditional 4:3 image even on a widescreen TV, it also rocks visuals that are reminiscent of the Spectrum ZX era of games. There’s a story about the dwarf Oratio and his wife Gwendoline who gets kidnapped by the Devil and taken down a pit, but as with many of these old games it’s all about gameplay with very little narrative to be seen.
Instead, you’re armed with a pickaxe and have to make your way down a cave by knocking away blocks, evading bad guys and triggering bombs without getting caught in the blast zone. Besides your pickaxe you can also fire guns (while in mid-air) or throw bombs (which you throw upwards and then come down), but you’ll need to pick up the necessary items to either get or buy these special attack options.
Pity Pit doesn’t do much handholding and a run can be over within seconds, but as you learn more about enemy behavior and how to use your weapons to defend yourself, things start to click. There are only five levels, but they’re randomly generated for replay value and on most runs I still hit a wall around the third level or so.
This is challenging title, but it has a trophy list that is not hard to complete and mostly just takes perseverance. In theory you can just stay on level 1 and grind out everything that way over the course of many deaths, so it’s a bit of a shame that they’re not tied to actually making it past certain levels. Then again, trophy collectors won’t complain.
Certainly a simple game in nature that’s tough to master, Pity Pit is a short diversion that’s fun to play but will struggle to hold your attention in the long run. Trying to get to the bottom of the pit while avoiding the dangers that lurk within and the cave-in that constantly closes in on you from above is addictive, but once you get to your Gwendoline there’s little reason to try it all over again – especially because you’ll have already unlocked all the associated trophies by then. Still, at a budget price, that’s more than enough for some.