When it comes to using mobile games as cross-platform titles, Activision is one of the most energetic traditional game publishers around. Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, which has recently been published on both PC and console, is the latest example of this phenomenon. And it's not stopping here: Sumea has been contracted to develop three new mobile games along the same lines.
The Lost Expedition, the first of the three Pitfall titles, is set in the jungle. The two others, which will cover Pitfall Harry's travails on a glacier and through a cave network, are to follow in April and May, respectively. If you have experience with any of Sumea's platformers, you probably know their reputation for making excellent--if somewhat short--games.
Well, the trend has failed. Pitfall: TLE is much larger than any Sumea platformer to date, boasting 16 levels. In addition, gameplay lasts even longer due to the difficulty levels, which goes above and beyond your average platformer. Fortunately, the challenges never reach a frustrating level--The Lost Expedition is just hard enough to motivate you to bring your platforming "A" game.
Pitfall: TLE has a clear Sumea-ish feel to it, although it feels more original than many of their previous titles, which tend to borrow a lot from each other. The game's protagonist is the intrepid Pitfall Harry, who is looking for a legendary artifact that is guarded by a giant monkey. His journey features everything that such doughty adventurers are used to encountering, from swamp crocs to hostile natives to huge, blood-sucking mosquitoes.
Harry's control is straightforward and smooth: You can use the D pad or the numerical buttons to move him around, while 5 is reserved for your offensive arsenal of punches and rock throwing. Both of these methods of attack produce a lethal result for the party on the receiving end. To Harry's consternation, the angry natives keep coming back no matter how many times you bop them; if you tarry too long in a spot you've cleared of baddies they regenerate for another throw-down, so it pays to keep moving.
Harry is quite an agile adventurer--which is a very good thing, as you have to climb and swing on vines, swim through swamps, activate platforms and generally pull all sorts of maneuvers to progress through the game. The opening musical tune is pretty catchy, if short, and the rest of the journey is spent in silence. Pitfall's graphics are not as overtly cute and colorful as Sumea's other platformers, but they are sharp.
Pitfall: TLE is a great title. This first chapter of the mobile Pitfall saga made me want to play the next two as well, which is always a good sign. Better still, if you have the PC or console version of Pitfall, you can unlock cheat codes for them in this mobile version!