Pit People Review - Another Hit From Behemoth
With hilarious dialogue, addicting gameplay, and hundreds of creative quests, Pit People is most certainly a success, living up to the standards set by Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theatre.
Pit People is the latest release from indie developer Behemoth, tackling the strategy genre with their signature style. The company’s move from a 2.5D action game to a side-scrolling puzzle game to a top down strategy game shows they are willing to try new things with every release.
Story & Characters
In Pit People, players take control of Horatio, a man seeking to get his child back from a giant space bear. Horatio travels around the world fighting, looting, and capturing enemies in an attempt to strengthen his squad and save his son. The base story isn’t all that important, but the dialogue and situations that unfold are incredibly charming.
Once again, Will Stamper shines as the narrator in another Behemoth game, and is as hilarious as he was in BattleBlock Theatre. The bizarre conversations between him and the characters are hysterical, especially the way regular folk speak gibberish. It’s amusing to see the narrator do something awful to Horatio and then witness Horatio angrily respond with a string of made up words. This is even funnier considering that there is occasional coherency in these words, as certain things don’t sound like gibberish and sound slightly similar to English.
There are also a lot of small jokes in the world, characters, and dialogue. The game is mostly successful at making jokes anywhere it can, but it occasionally falters. The common poop jokes for instance were never very amusing.
Players travel around a modestly sized overworld and take bizarre quests from bizarre individuals. Either that or you can accept the story missions back at the hub and go along with the main content. No matter which route you go, these quests are incredibly creative, fun, and engaging. The most intriguing aspect of the game is that even the side missions feel as thought out as the main ones. The story quests do have a bit more style, but the alternative ones are just as well made.
When it comes to the actual combat, the player commands their characters to move to specific spots on the map. If they’re next to multiple enemies, they will randomly decide who they’re attacking.
For example, if you move Horatio to a spot where four enemies surround him, he will randomly choose which one to attack. This can be problematic, but it adds a layer of strategy because it forces you to move to spots where your character won’t be surrounded, allowing them to focus on a single individual at a time. This is also the case with bows and cannons, as it’ll randomly select people to shoot within range. Thankfully, the range on these characters is so unpredictable that you can usually move them into certain spots to target specific enemies.
Thankfully, the game gets even better with a friend. Certain titles only allow you to play portions with someone else, but all of Pit People is accessible with a friend. Not only that, but it’s balanced well for co-op. The game doesn’t get too easy or too hard during multiplayer, which mainly has to do with the level design. Sometimes, players focus on specific tasks that have them on different sides of the screen. Other times, both will be work together to take down a fearsome boss.
Customization & Leveling
When a battle is over, the player earns gold, armor, and weapons. This is where the game allows a lot of personal choice in how you build your character, as certain weapons have wildly different effects. For example, I’m personally addicted to an ice mortar that freezes enemies from a long range. It’s very different from any of the other ranged weapons, and possesses high utility for intense battles.
This customization system works incredibly well, especially when you add the many different enemies you can capture. Towards the end of a battle, you can capture the final enemy and put them in your squad. From pixies to spidaurs and giant cyclopes, any new member changes how the game plays entirely.
Putting a swordsman with high damage output on top of a spidaur with high defense creates a destructive nightmare. You can go even further with these additions by adding swift kobolds, regenerating zombies, unicorn snipers and more. The character customization and team member diversity creates a dynamic that makes Pit People feel fresh from the slightest change.
However, the big problem is that there’s not much incentive to keep any of your characters. Even if you get attached to a specific character, there aren’t any skill points or unlockable abilities to make characters feel unique. Everything about each character is too broad, as the customization solely relies on equipment anyone can equip, and this is even worse considering there’s a level up system.
This level system provides slight bonuses but doesn’t matter as much as it could. It would’ve been great to be able to choose how to build character’s stats or customize minor abilities. Having the game choose where those stat bonuses go isn’t any fun. Even then, leveling up is a great lifesaver in combat. If a team member is about to die, they can instantly heal to max HP upon reaching a new level. This mechanic saved many lives throughout my playthrough.
Overworld, Marquette, & Misc.
Unfortunately, the overworld is annoying to travel through. The obnoxious gas always blocks your view, making it genuinely uncomfortable to see. The world is also gridded, which seems visually contradicted by the smooth animations of the moving cart and walking enemies. It also makes shooting awkward when you’re auto-locked to a certain grid point and the enemy is moving normally throughout the grid. Additionally, the coins that you can find on your travels feel pointless, as they don’t provide enough incentive to collect.
When it comes to the Marquette, there’s not much there. You can purchase new party members for a large sum of money—which is not worth it—and you can buy a randomly assigned item on display. Aside from that, there’s the shop which allows you to only purchase practical items like a revive potion and a campfire, which heals all party members in the overworld.
Overall, the currency system could have a lot more to it. The only reasonable thing to purchase are these practical items which are dirt cheap, almost always causing the player to have a lot more money than they should. Similar to the level up issue, it would be interesting if additional abilities or special skins could be purchased. Pit People simply needs an additional incentive to spend money.
Throughout my first three hours or so, I used a keyboard and mouse to play. However, this became extremely obnoxious considering some of the controls. It was difficult to precisely select characters with a mouse wheel, as it would often go to the incorrect one. Not only that, but moving the cart felt robotic and hard to control. These are small issues, but it was enough to make me switch to a controller.
As the name suggests, you can also fight in The Pit. This is a combat oriented arena where you can battle other players or take on a tournament against NPCs. Fighting other players is a ton of fun, and going through the tournament provides many rewards for the victors. Even then, it’s pretty strange that The Pit isn’t as significant as the game title would suggest. It’s not a problem, just interesting to think about.
Visuals & Sound
Pit People takes on a classic Behemoth visual style with goofy humor embedded in its art and silly designs for its characters and world. This works very well for the most part, as certain hats and weapons are genuinely hilarious.
There’s nothing more amusing than using a trash can as a shield, throwing letter blocks at enemies, and attacking people with a stick of meat. The player can also travel to a giant toilet town, adopt a poop mascot, and give their cupcake medic a soldier’s cap. There’s nothing serious about the way the title is designed, and it’s a relief.
When it comes to its soundtrack, Behemoth impresses again with more bizarrely styled tracks. Some of the music seems genuinely experimental, using random sounds to put together a piece. Even with these tracks, the songs themselves sound great, creating intense, hilarious, or weird atmospheres when appropriate.
Pit People is amusing, addicting, and an absolute blast to play. It’s a strategy game full of content, with the studio’s twisted humor embedded in everything. Thanks to incredibly diverse quests, hundreds of customizable options, and incredibly funny dialogue, Pit People is another hit from Behemoth.
|Hilarious Dialogue||Annoying Overworld|
|Creative Quests||Bland Leveling System|
|Fun Capture System||Keyboard and Mouse|
|All Content Accessible With a Friend||Underdeveloped Marquette|