Gamemaker has been responsible for many of Eastasiasoft’s latest releases but Pity Pit is one of the better examples of what good gameplay mechanics can do to your game. Pity Pit is a smash-up of two games – Downwell and Dig Dug. It is made for the hardcore platform gamers among us and will provide a short but fun challenge.
You play as Oratio who sees his wife kidnapped before him by a demon who jumps down a mine. Oratio gives chase and that’s where you take over. Oratio comes with a trusty pickaxe to mine rocks to keep going south. You’ll need to work quickly as the mine is collapsing in on you from above. Different rocks are stronger than others so require more hits to crack and others may need to have a bomb placed instead to set off a chain reaction to clear your path. This is the dig-dug aspect of the game.
The downwell aspect is that you will be constantly moving down… as enemies and traps will keep moving up towards you. Some enemies you jump on but others require avoidance instead as its easier to do this than tackle them. There is a chirpy worm that homes in on you so you have to move quickly to outrun it, dig passed it and then be safe. Where it becomes challenging is that you only have two hits before you die at the start so one wrong move usually kills you off as you’ll likely be trapped and lose both lives.
Pity Pit has five levels and each time you play they are randomly generated. The difficulty comes in more of the same thing rather than new challenges and that is where the main fault with Pity Pit comes to the fore. You’ll have seen most of what it has to offer in the first couple of minutes. The boredom is accentuated by a lack of colour palette changes or musical changes either. After the initial learning curve, its about honing your skills and dealing with larger numbers of the same thing, coming at you faster. There’s nothing wrong with that to a point but it feels a little lazy on the level design front when the random generation can make things insanely hard for you. Sometimes it throws several munchy worms at you with a huge layer of bomb blocks to clear and you can’t help but lose lives.
To combat that, a lot of rocks you mine can be sold for upgrades in the shop at the end of each level on your run. You can buy extra lives or upgrade your pixaxe, bombs or other inventory items which you’ll rarely use. It feels like there should have been something more impactful here with the upgrades but they only last for your current run and rarely can you feel a bit difference.
Ultimately, Pity Pit has a lot of initial promise but runs out of steam too quickly. It needed a few more tricks to be a must purchase but fans of hardcore platformers and retro arcade games will still find a bit of fun to be had here.
Some great thoughts let down by a lack of progression from the initial five minutes.
Character feels arcadey.
Good mash up of games and mechanics.
Lack of any progression makes the great initial ideas feel stale.
Shows everything it has to offer almost immediately.
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