Pit People closed beta: First impressions

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I’ve been playing the Pit People Beta for almost a week now, and I’ve got to say, at first I really didn’t enjoy it. I’d never played a game like it before, and I really had no idea what I was doing. But to my surprise, it gradually grew on me.

Pit People is the fourth game from The Behemoth, the studio behind Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theatre. The Behemoth has two goals when designing a new game: create something fun and create something different. And Pit People is their biggest and riskiest change yet. It’s described as a turn-based adventure game, and is much slower than their action orientated games of the past. You have a team of six-characters whom you move around a battlefield to fight other, even more bizarre enemies, ranging from wraiths to gnomes on flying toilets. It’s like one of those fantasy tabletop games, but with added toilet humour.

The great mystery is solved.

The great mystery is solved.

Speaking of toilet humour, The Behemoth’s humour and wackiness remains intact. If you loved the style of The Behemoth’s previous games, you’ll at least be laughing at Pit People. The jokes were what kept me wanting to play more, despite finding the first half hour monotonous. But once I managed to defend a cupcake from a gang of hitman chefs, I knew it was a game worth sticking to.

It’s fairly difficult to learn the ins and outs of Pit People in the beta, only the very basics are made clear, with many mechanics only described at random during the loading screens. But once I had a grasp on it, I actually started to enjoy the combat. I was still getting wrecked, but at least I knew why I was getting wrecked, and so I found the difficulty more rewarding than tedious. In that regard it’s probably like XCOM, which I haven’t played but now I’m thinking I should finally check it out while I wait for Pit People’s full release. That being said, after a few hours in the beta, I’m not sure what else the game will offer players, so here’s hoping The Behemoth have more eggs in their basket.

This almost makes sense in context.

This almost makes sense in context.

Pit People’s strategies involve fighter-types, equipment, and positioning of fighters in battle. Most battles have you on a small and constrictive arena, but a few are much more expansive. The beta’s final battle during the main questline was an all-out siege on a castle, which included breaking down walls and dodging mortar fire. It was awe-inspiring when I first saw it, and took me a couple of tries to successfully complete, but I felt triumphant boarding that spaceship and being thrown back to Earth by the giant space bear.

Yeah, you read that correctly.

Pit People is still relatively early in development, (The Behemoth is notorious for their long development cycles). It’s still rough in a lot of areas; some of the cutscenes weren’t even animated yet! But it’s a beta, and that’s a good thing. I hope the studio manages to learn what it needs from the beta because there’s still potential for a great game, or a very plain one.

Pit People’s closed beta is currently running on Xbox One. Registration is still open for the Steam beta on September 28th.

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