The Behemoth's distinct brand of humour is back although this time around, it's within an SRPG instead of an action game.
That's right; the makers of the classic games Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers, and BattleBlock Theater have made a turn-based strategy RPG. As a huge fan of both The Behemoth and SRPGs, this combo definitely piqued my interest at first and upon playing it; I must say that it's one of the most unique entries in the genre that I've ever seen. You command your small army of characters to move within a hexagon-based battle map then once you're happy with where everyone moved, you hold a button then watch them automatically fight. After the enemies take their turn, you move your chums again and so on and so on until one party claims victory. It's interesting that you only command characters to move and don't select what actions they should take nor which foes they should target. This results in a simplistic formula that's easy to understand even for genre newcomers.
Seeing as this is a game by The Behemoth, Pit People is brimming with their unique humour. You start by playing as a blueberry farmer named Horatio on a planet that a space bear has collided with. This bear is the epitome of evil as all he wants is bloodshed and chaos. Upon seeing him kill his son, Horatio goes on a journey to seek revenge. Soon into his adventure, he meets a princess named Pipistrella, a Spanish soldier known as Sofia, and a living cupcake who goes by Gluten. From then on, you can capture enemies via nets and cages which allows you to recruit them to your party. Regularly changing your lineup of fighters and seeing what each unit is capable of is a ton of fun, especially when you consider just how ridiculous some of these beings are. From listening to the goofy spoken gibberish and the drunken English-speaking space bear to observing the silly story sequences, it's hard not to laugh while playing Pit People.
Pit People can either be played solo or cooperatively with a friend. The latter makes the gameplay so much more enjoyable although it does multiply both the ally and enemy count by two so battles usually last much longer. I've never played a turn-based strategy game with a pal before but it works beautifully here as it provides chaotic fast-paced good times. There's a lot to do in Pit People, too. In the hub city alone, you can enable an insane difficulty if you find the battles are too easy, cooperate online if you don't have a local chum to play with, purchase nifty weapons and mercenaries at the marquette, optimize your party and their equipment, and challenge AI or online opponents via The Pit itself. When you're ready to explore the world, you can select either a story or side quest to complete. As you're roaming around the world map in your caravan, you'll encounter foes, find bonus missions, and perhaps discover a few secrets.
I should discuss Pit People's downsides before wrapping up this review. As a big fan of SRPGs, I'm a little disappointed how automatic Pit People plays. Merely moving your party members then watching them do whatever they want made me feel like I was missing out on commanding them to gang up on specific foes, perform cool abilities, and such. It made the overall gameplay less satisfying than it could have been. Along the same lines, the gameplay loop of setting up your party then venturing to complete quests became repetitive quite early on. The story missions helped with this a bit as they usually involve multiple battles and imaginative scenarios but the meat of the gameplay still gets tedious rather quickly. Finally, the menus are pretty confusing at first. You'll get used to them eventually but when you're just starting the adventure, figuring out how to optimize your party can be a fairly significant hurdle to overcome.
Pit People is a must-have game for its humour alone. Even though its gameplay doesn't live up to many other SRPGs, the fact that you'll be laughing as you cooperate with a friend makes it one of the most enjoyable and memorable entries in the genre.
- + Simple fast-paced hexagon-based strategy gameplay that you can enjoy with a friend
- + Absolutely hilarious throughout
- + Loads of things to see and do
- - Gameplay feels a bit too automatic, especially if you're a turn-based SRPG fan
- - Unintuitive menus take a while to learn
- - The gameplay loop gets repetitive early on