Pit People is a fast-paced, turn-based strategy game by The Behemoth (Castle Crashers, BattleBlock Theater) where you work to build the ultimate teams to battle foes and win sweet loot, or to be extremely and unfairly challenged in The Pit. It’s also, according to Production Coordinator Ian Moreno, “The story of four tragically unique characters who come together in a quest through an apocalyptic wasteland.”
While Pit People has seen beta testing over the past 6 months and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from it’s demo at PAX East 2016, it has been officially released for early access on Steam and Xbox One as of January 13th, 2017.
The game starts out with a familiar and snarky narrator who introduces us to a stubby, and mostly mustache, man by the name of Horatio. He is simply “a humble blueberry farmer” who finds himself facing a “spicy” situation. The narrators words, not mine.
The game then opens into a tutorial mode to teach each player the basics, without too much hand-holding down the line. You quickly are surrounded by a small army of hooded, bearded baddies that wish to “take your house and eat your delicious child”. Again, his words, not mine.
As you learn the ropes to defeat these helms (helmet wearing dudes), you progress to a castle up the road as the bear-blood storm worsens. Inside you find a mallet-wielding princess by the name of Pipistrella, who joins your party after her fathers untimely (and quite recent) death. And as the humble blueberry farmer you are, the narrator insists that you give her all your blueberries.
As Pit People is currently released as an early access title, the story mode is currently in an unfinished state and is easily completed within an hours time. However, with addicting, turn-based game play, sarcastic dialogue, and a huge catalog of both enemies to battle (and recruit) and items to customize your heroes, you’ll find yourself spending countless hours in game trying to.. Well, catch ’em all.
The game has a variety of different characters you can encounter, battle and recruit, such as cupcakes with magical and delicious healing powers (His name is Gluten and he’s absolutely adorable), vampires, wraiths, pixies, mushrooms, spidaurs, and so much more.
The way loot works in game is also quite unique compared to other games. Each item you receive falls into a special category or tier. This category or tier provides each item with the same stats (weight, attack, defense, etc.). So you don’t have to constantly worry about an item being ugly but powerful. In fact, the art style almost encourages you to make your characters as goofy looking as possible.
If you already own other titles from The Behemoth, upon purchasing Pit People and completing the introduction quest you will also receive special DLC, free of charge, which provides you with several of the knights from Castle Crashers (Red, Green, Blue and Orange), as well as several special unlocks from BattleBlock Theater.
Both the art and the game mechanics are polished from start to finish, leaving Pit People feeling very close to a fully released title. The Behemoth certainly has a unique style, and confirmed in a recent AMA on Reddit that some of the style is intentional to give a multiverse feeling (The Behemoth Universe) for their games. While you can expect some cameos from time to time within different games that they have produced, it is worth noting that most is simply a nod for hardcore fans.
The music, narratives and sound effects within Pit People blend effortlessly with the environment. The Behemoth deserves major kudos here for creating a soundtrack that will have you grooving for hours as you explore the bear-blood filled world in search of new recruits and quests to complete for its’ inhabitants.
Pit People has been under development for 3 years as the title ‘Game 4’ but was still able to win 4 awards without an official release. In 2014, it took home Editor’s Choice from PAX Prime on Destructoid.com, and in 2015 it took home 3 more awards from Destructoid.com, Curse.com, and SideQuesting.com.
The Behemoth estimates to have the full game ready for release within 2-12 months, which should provide a steady stream of content and updates for at least the next year. Two things are for certain, we cannot wait to play more of the story mode as soon as it’s released and we will purchase 10 Gluten plushies as soon as they are available.
The game is currently available for purchase as an early access title on Steam, and a game preview on Xbox One for $14.99. The Behemoth has confirmed that the price will go up to $19.99 when the game is released in full.