These are my and my son’s thoughts on Behemoth’s Pit People, based on the September 2016 closed XBOX One Beta (my son was given a key for it so we all got to play). Ohhh, and our thoughts are happy thoughts. I don’t know who these people are at Behemoth, but I love them. As my son said, “It’s as if they got in my brain and made the game based on what they found.” (At the end of this post is a gameplay video with commentary by the both of us.)
Unlike Behemoth’s previous platformer (a type of game I don’t like and won’t bother playing) Battleblock Theater, Pit People is a turned-based strategy game (Behemoth describes it as “face-paced, turn-based, co-op adventure”). And it’s a very entertaining one. Behemoth games have always been the *ultimate* in quirkiness, cuteness, and in-game humor. So while I haven’t played their past games (I’m now definitely going to give Castle Crashers Remastered, a five-star “2D arcade adventure” game on XBOX One*, a go), I loved watching my son play Battleblock Theater because it was so refreshingly quirky and funny (it is bloodier than Pit People seems to be–a plus for the new game). Only Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare comes close.
But could Pit People be awarded “Game of the Year” by anyone (there are many groups and publishers that give the honor)? Maybe not, as the award seems to always go to big money-makers by big developers, and Behemoth is a small independent developer. Perusing video game awards given in the past, I’m amazed The Behemoth has never won any. Maybe they just aren’t “serious” enough . . . But Pit People could be a game-changer, right? I hope so.
Anyway, about the game. You start with a couple of characters and quickly get a couple more, but have to recruit more in order to move on to the main quest. After that, you can keep recruiting and are given the option to build many teams. Since the game is in Beta, I don’t know if the numbers of things will remain the same, but your in-game book provides stats and they currently say: 55 areas/sites to find, 1003 unlockable items, and 94 quests. The number of quests is not the reality, as far as I can tell, since all but the main quest line quests can be done over (many times), and they get harder. A pleasant surprise: when I failed a quest and went back to it, the enemy characters actually moved into different positions from the first play-through.
As usual, the story and narration in the game are superb. A giant bear, basically a Satan figure (your battle sign is a haloed and winged happy face, your enemy is a horned red face), has crashed to earth and caused havoc, raining down big liquidy globs of green bear blood. As you travel about to accomplish quests (main, sub-, and found) or to explore and fight random enemies, you encounter all kinds of weird and funny lands (“Cavity Falls,” filled with goodies, the “Lair of Lady Ladylegs,” filled with . . . a large lady spider thing, and so on) populated by wacky enemies (bulgy-eyed unicorns, slug women (Gorgons), giant troll mothers . . .). There are “famous fries” throwing sticks, swords made of dentures, swordfish, and toilet brushes (not together, mind you), and strange shields made of bacon, luggage, pain-reliever capsules—you name it, even a celery stalk helmet. There is a ton of entertaining dialogue throughout the game that is both written-out and, instead of standard voice-overs, verbalized as gibberish. The different characters have different types of voices, adding to the humor and “outside-my-own-world” effect of the game.
This latest Behemoth game happily features player co-op mode as well as player vs player and player vs AI in the PIT. We haven’t tried the co-op yet, but playing in the PIT can be fun and quite rewarding. When playing against AI in the “Unfair Co-op,” which is HARD and meant to be UNFAIR, the point isn’t so much to win as to gain things, like exclusive loot and experience points. Did I mention that there are cupcake healers in the game? No? They lob their frosting at you for your yummy refreshment; my favorite cupcake has orange frosting and a decorative skull. I know what I want for Christmas now, IF Pit People is released that soon (no word on its release date yet).
* It isn’t only available on XBOX One, but it has a five-star rating there.