As mentioned in a previous review, there have been a ton of “retro” games developed recently that wear their inspiration on their sleeves. Some of them find new and refreshing ways to make gamers feel like they are playing a classic game from 30 or more years ago, but with modernized or improved mechanics. Others just feel like a carbon copy that are trying to capitalize on those classic games without bringing any real innovation to the table. Developer Panda Indie Studio’s Pity Pit lies somewhere in the middle of the two.
Looking and playing like a mashup of Dig Dug and Downwell, Pity Pit tasks you with navigating through five randomly generated mine levels in an attempt to rescue your kidnapped wife. Playing as a dwarf named Oratio, you’re you’ll have access to a standard pickaxe and other tools. Resources and upgrades can be found along the way to combat the increasingly difficult levels. And with the mine caving in from the top, forced quickness adds to the challenge. But is it worth the time and the challenge?
Even though the gameplay is derivative, the art style is unique and has its own charm. There isn’t much to say in the way of music, but the most common musical motif sounds like a section of the chorus from Poker Face by Lady Gaga, which is cool for the Little Monsters out there. And for trophy hunters, this is an extremely easy Platinum (I got it in less than 9 minutes).
The game is short and shallow. More depth with power ups, the ability to level up from one playthrough to the next, and with those additions more levels would give this one more staying power. The enemies are annoying and they have too much health. Avoidance tends to be the best approach, but with such narrow alleyways, it’s not always an option.
Pity Pit doesn’t feel innovative, and it doesn’t seem to try to. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more features such as permanent upgrades to provide more enjoyment. With such a short campaign and easily achievable achievements, replayability is very low. With a base price of $4.99 though, maybe it’s cheap enough to be worth it for some.