In 1977, a young boy watches helplessly as his brother is kidnapped by a strange alien creature. He sets out to look for him, soon finding himself transported to a derelict space station crawling with broken robots and insectoid monsters. His journey plays out as a puzzle-platformer, in which he must gather special powers – including telekinesis and weightlessness – in order to overcome obstacles and enemies.
Despite an interesting premise, Pitiri 1977 falters significantly in its execution. The core gameplay is patronisingly easy, especially in its puzzles, which largely amount simply to discerning which power the game wants you to use and using it. Any minor challenge that is found is quickly undermined by sign-posts and computer monitors dotted around the levels which often simply tell you the solutions. The abilities at your command are never used in any interesting way, with some barely used at all beyond their initial introduction.
To make matters worse, the game’s controls are unnecessarily awkward and unintuitive, especially in the selecting of powers, making the moment-to-moment action feel like a chore. The combination of unambitious concepts with poor implementation makes the whole game feel hugely underwhelming. It’s reinforced by a shockingly short length – it’s barely an hour long.
Issues like this could have been mitigated by strong story and atmosphere, but unfortunately the game fails to impress in those areas too. It tries for charming retro-sci-fi, but its few interesting ideas are undone by cringe-worthy dialogue and an uneven pace. Characters are unlikeable and the short length doesn’t give the story room to grow, leading its twisting and overly grand ending to feel completely unearned.
There’s just not enough to Pitiri 1977. It manages that rare trick of both outstaying its welcome and ending far too abruptly. It feels like a demo or test piece for a larger, more fully-realised game, rather than a complete product in its own right. Even given its low price, it’s sorely lacking.