With mobile games, the saying, “you get what you pay for,” often rings true. Players who demand interesting stories, stunning graphics, and challenging gameplay will end up paying for it in one way or another. There are freemium games that tout themselves as costing nothing, but are almost impossible to play without micro-transactions. Though not unheard of, an Android action game that is fun and actually “free” is often hard to find. Ketchapp’s The Pit is a great example of how to do it right.
The gameplay consists of guiding your character across an auto-scrolling gauntlet of pain until they eventually smash into something and die. You collect coins on every run, and can eventually use them to unlock different characters with new appearances and adorable sound effects. The controls are nothing fancy: Hold down to slide under things, tap to jump, double tap to double jump. But because the obstacles randomly generate each time, the levels keep you on your toes. You might find yourself jumping over spikes and sliding under a ledge only to pop up and leap over an approaching buzz saw.
The real star of this game is the artwork and design. While the theme of monsters falling into spike pits or running into laser wires is kind of violent, the aesthetic is always cute and nonthreatening, even down to the pink buzz saws. And even though your monster (or dinosaur, or space alien) is constantly in deadly peril, the music remains happy and upbeat. The smooth artwork and dreamy color palette give the game a very polished feel.
There isn’t much happening in the way of a plot… unless you stop to consider the larger implications behind why a bunch of cute monsters are putting themselves in harm’s way to earn money to buy their friends out of little boxes. But for this minimalist title, the objective of ‘run or die’ is enough to satisfy.
As I mentioned, this is a free game, so it’s not surprising that parts of it contain advertisements. After you die, you sometimes have to click out of an ad to continue. There is also occasionally an option to watch previews for other games in exchange for additional coins. While you can pay to remove these ads, the ads themselves are not intrusive enough that this feels in any way exploitative.
The Pit is gorgeous and addictive, and frankly I’m a little surprised that it’s available for free. If you want to play a good Android action game but you’re strapped for cash, give it a try.
Is it Hardcore?
The Pit’s sleek design and constantly changing levels make for a fun and addictive Android action game.