Pit People – Quick Game Review (Early Access)

Pit People – Quick Game Review (Early Access)
Pit People (PC [Reviewed], XBox One)
Developer: The Behemoth
Publisher: The Behemoth

Pit People is a strategy adventure game with turn-based combat brought to you by the developers who also made BattleBlock Theater and Castle Crashers. Pit People is a different genre of game than their previous games, but the character style and sense of humour is consistent in Pit People as well.

You create a team to with up to 6 characters on it, and battle against the enemies in turn based combat until one team is defeated or your objective is accomplished. I’ve been playing mostly on normal difficulty. I always heal to full health before each encounter, and so far I haven’t found the fights too challenging. I tried a mission on the insane difficulty, and if it wasn’t for my characters leveling up (to restore them to full hp) mid-combat, I would have died for sure. You can bring more than one of the same character type at a time, but the cupcakes don’t heal other cupcakes. If all of your characters die, you lose some gold and maybe some items, but there is no perma-death, so the game is forgiving in that sense.

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During your turn you lock in all of your moves at once before ending the turn. If you make a mistake with the move, you can always change it before you end your turn. You are given plenty of time to lock in your moves. The combat has some random factors, like dodging, crits, and most notably which target you actually hit. You have control over your team’s movement, but you have no say as to which target you will actually attack. For example: if you place a character in a hex that’s adjacent to multiple targets, your character can attack any of the available targets, and not necessarily the target you want. There is friendly fire with AE abilities, and you can accidentally heal enemies as well. 

You journey out from town to explore, or complete missions by driving around the map in a nitro-boosted wagon…that poops. There are enemies everywhere, but it’s nice that you can easily avoid combat by stunning them and running past if you want to. It’s a lot better than having to flee combat, since fleeing makes all of your characters take damage, and drops your items on the ground. 

You can play by yourself against the AI, or in two player co-op either online or locally. There is voice and text chat In co-op, so you can coordinate easier. Both you and your ally take your turns at the same time, and there are a lot more enemies to compensate for there being a second player. There is also an arena where you can battle against other players in 2v2 battles or compete for scores on the leaderboard against AI.

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In almost every battle, you have the option to recruit the last remaining enemy by capturing them with a net and cage. I think it’s awesome that you can capture any enemy you come across, and that it never fails to capture. It’s also neat that you get to keep all of the equipment that they are wearing when you are recruit them. Sometimes I wish I could capture more than one enemy per battle though. There are different species that have special abilities, and other species that can be equipped with gear. There are no skill points to allocate, but the equipment let’s you customize each character.

Pros:
  • the same Behemoth style and humour
  • lots of side quests to do, and some have their own mini stories to go with them
  • TONS of collectible items to find – most are purely cosmetic, while others have various combat stats, and you can also trade items with other players (I played for about 10 hours, and only got 9% complete)
  • the gameplay is fun, but it can get repetitive after a while (I still easily got my money’s worth)
  • voice acting for the narrative (Will Stamper, from BattleBlock Theater) is amazing, and the goofy made-up language with voice acting is rather entertaining at times
  • most of the sound effects are decent, and soundtrack is good, but it won’t appeal to everyone.
  • good looking unique and colourful environments that are all designed with hexes
  • awesome animations, and fantastic character customizations
  • keybindings are fully customizable, and there is full controller support

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Cons:
  • the game lacks a full-sized map that shows all the areas you’ve explored – since you can only have 2 active quests at a time, it would be nice to have a large map marking points of interest you’ve seen, but not yet completed
  • not much of the main story it available yet as expected in early access (but at least there are a lot of side quests available)
  • (nitpick) the clouds everywhere blocking vision while driving around is annoying
  • (nitpick) the randomness of which targets you actually hit can be a pain sometimes
  • (nitpick) it can sometimes be hard to tell which hexes you can’t walk on
  • (nitpick) when you are running through enemies avoiding combat the aggro sound is quite irritating (they should lower the radius that prompts the sound)
Conclusion:

If you’re hoping for story, there isn’t much in the way of a story campaign just yet, but there are still plenty of quests to do.  Playing against the AI as single player is fun, but it feels repetitive after a while. The co-op is enjoyable, but I wasn’t able to try the PvP since I got impatient waiting for it to pop. Overall, it’s a nicely polished turn-based strategy game that’s not too punishing, and it has an abundance of collectibles, and the sense of humour you would expect from a Behemoth title. I have no regrets with the purchase, and I look forward to more of the story being added.