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Though Pitfall! for iPhone and iPad shares its namesake with the classic 1982 Atari game, this 30th anniversary "remake" bears little resemblance to its predecessor. It is, through and through, an infinite runner -- a style of game popularized by fantastic titles like Canabalt and last year's hit, Temple Run. Pitfall! doesn’t push any boundaries or blow away expectations, but it is bigger, flashier, and bolder than others of its kind.
In case you’ve not encountered one, infinite runners typically follow this premise: your avatar sprints along a route, and using taps and swipes, you guide him or her past deadly obstructions. Pitfall! introduces a simple combat mechanic to the mix, but other than that addition and some fancy on-the-fly camera angle swaps, it’s par for the course.
As you maneuver Pitfall Harry over lava pits and under rocky outcroppings, you’ll collect currency, which is used to level up your character and purchase upgrades. For example, Harry uses a golden talisman to summon and ride a jaguar that barrels past enemies; spend enough hard-earned dough and the ride lasts even longer. Pursuing these upgrades make repeat runs feel purposeful.
Of course, you can always pop open your wallet and pay to get ahead. The store prices for gem bags are quite reasonable, though, and a small purchase will yield benefits across several runs. There are leaderboards, too, but in a game where progress can be paid for -- with tokens that let you start off at checkpoints thousands of meters ahead of others -- competition quickly becomes a charade of itself.
The bottom line. While the reliance on in-app purchases is disappointing, Pitfall's attractive visuals and solid gameplay make it one of the App Store's best runners.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Beautiful art. Swipe and tilt controls feel responsive and quick. In-app purchases aren't a ripoff.
In-app purchases make leaderboards trivial. Very little new gameplay brought to the table.