Rock hard

Bless any game where my first half hour or so is spent thinking “does this even have a level two?” as I once more smack into a passing bad guy, ending my game. Pity Pit is brutal like that.

Gosh, it’s compulsive though.

If you’re looking for an easy comparison, it’s Mr Driller meets Downwell as imagined for the Commodore 64 except the Commodore 64 is your modern device. Also, it hates you.

It’s all about digging down. Get to the bottom of a stage, start a new one. Along the way the player will encounter different kinds of blocks – some requiring multiple smacks with the pickaxe to clear, some requiring bombs, some the player is unable to dig through. Naturally enough, there’s a small menagerie of enemies to avoid en route and a copious amount of different rocks and coins to collect for points. All the time, a rockfall threatens to crush the player should they take too long.

It is a difficult game and that difficulty is defiantly home computer difficult. It’s the exact sort of difficulty I’d expect to find in a 1988 budget game – which is to say, precisely up my street. I can see how anyone expecting the springy bullet ballet fluidity of Downwell might be in for a shock here because, well, that’s just not this videogame.

What it cribs from Downwell is predominantly structural, the rest is rigid, controlled, convincingly 8 bit. And yes, that does mean the occasional moment that feels unfair! It isn’t unfair, just sometimes it’s nice to blame the videogame instead of my own crappiness. One of those “this videogame needs a referee” things.

I’m not sure how much longevity there is here but I loaded it up earlier to have a quick go, just to see what it was like really, and five hours later I still find myself going back for a quick go. And yes, there is a level two! Level three on the other hand? Well. I just don’t know…

I bought it aaaages ago for the PS4 and never got round to giving it a go but today, I’ve been playing it on Switch. Other formats are available.