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Pit People Beta

November 26, 2016

Adventure, Action, Blueberries, and the sweet soothing voice of William Stamper. All of these are included in The Behemoth’s new Strategy game, Pit People, similar to games like Fire Emblem. I was one of the lucky few chosen to get accepted into the beta. We’ll call this a first look, shall we. There will be no review score, as the game is not final.

Before we look into the review of Pit People, a history lesson of The Behemoth as a whole. Before the company took off Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin created a popular flash game called Alien Hominid. The game was hosted on, at the time, a popular content hub called Newgrounds. John Baez approached the two to make the game for consoles. After making their decision, the Behemoth was born, and released the game on consoles.

Work on the game started soon after the release of Battleblock Theater’s port on Steam. With the artistic talents of Dan Paladin, programming skill of Tom Fulp, and the soothing voice of William Stamper, (and other unnamed employees, but they’re still cool), the game was nicknamed “Game 4” in development.

With the history out of the way, let’s dive right into the plot. Lemme throw a disclaimer in here, there will be spoilers.

Right off the bat, you are thrown into the role of Horatio, a valiant blueberry farmer, defending his home from a bandit raid. Following the events of Battleblock Theater, there is bear blood raining from the sky, emerald colored to be specific. The rain destroys Horatio’s home, taking his son with it.

Horatio defeats the bandits and moves onto a castle owned by Princess Pipistrella. He teams up with her and fights another group of Bandits. The duo attempt to save Pipistrella’s father, but it ultimately results in his demise. The two move to the game’s main town, The Arena.

There, they meet Yosef, a demiclops (like a demigod but with cyclops). Horatio and Yosef join souls, and Yosef joins the party. After recruiting a full team, the team tackles the Bandit’s stronghold. The bandits escape on a shuttle, which the team hijacks after revealing the leader to be a bird in a mask. It’s then when a giant space bear, voiced by none other than Stamper, grabs the shuttle.

The bear reveals that Horatio’s son is indeed alive, and is being help captive. After a hilarious exchange, the bear throws the shuttle, directly hitting The Arena, but not damaging anything. That’s it for story in the Beta. This is when spoilers end.

Any game produced by The Behemoth has a special charm to it, and this game takes the cake for one of the most entertaining and humor filled writing. For example, in the middle of a battle with stereotypical school jock, A character named Sofia crashes her ship into a shore, and claims the land in the name of Spain. Just the display of this small part explains that each character has a personality to them, and that makes the game that much more entertaining.

A great example of this, Dave the Leopard Master, is a character you can take a baby leopard to. He has no clue why they call him Dave the Leopard Master, as he does not like leopards, and proceeds to give you money to leave.

A complaint about it though, is that dialogue can be a bit over repeated in the instance of randomly generated characters, so it’s not that unique.

If you’ve been keeping up with the continuity from Battleblock Theater, the plot just the first mission is a huge reveal. If you haven’t play Battleblock Theater, then do so, its an experience that you will love if you love The Behemoth (as you should).

The art style is done by none other than Dan Paladin, in his iconic style. Each character is drawn unique, and yes I wrote drawn, because mostly everything was drawn digitally. This adds so much more to the experience, as it’s not just copy pasted models or sprites.

It’s undeniable that I love The Behemoth’s game art style. It has held up for over a decade now, and I love every second looking at beautiful man birds and tiny headed cyclopes.

Pit People’s Soundtrack is out there, but it’s far from bad. From quirky songs, to funky songs, to rocking tunes, and soothing notes, this game has it all. Most of the music is sectioned off, but what I sampled left me wanting more, and that’s what a beta should be doing.

From what I’ve sampled, I have no complaints regarding the soundtrack. I found myself humming along to the world map and town theme a lot.

The game play is what makes this game stick out. The Behemoth tries to hit a completely different genre each game. Alien hominid was a Run and Gun, Castle crashers was a Beat ‘Em Up, and Battleblock Theater was a somewhat new genre with what they deemed “Co-Optional Platformer.” Pit People is a Strategy game.

Strategy games usually progress in turns, with there being elements of, you guessed it, strategy. On the world map you travel to new locations, but in combat in Pit People, you move units to different tiles, if at all, in your standby phase, and automatically attack enemy units.

The game’s biggest comparison is Fire Emblem, a Strategy game developed by Nintendo that’s been going on since before I was born, which is a long time. How combat flows is also very similar to Fire Emblem.

Swords grant an increase to speed, movement tiles, and attack speed, but struggle against helmet wielding enemies. Maces grant more damage against helmet users, but attack slower and have less movement. Axes allow you to stun from afar, but struggle against armored enemies. Healers heal allies but cannot attack enemies.

Every combat style has drawbacks and strengths, but hero mode can grant one ally a huge increase to their attributes and help overcome these weaknesses. However, the weaknesses are inherent to the weapon type, not if you’re a hero, so you’ll still take more damage from a mace to the helmet.

Recruiting new characters is rather simple. You buy a cage, single them out in combat, and capture them in said cage. It doesn’t end there, however, as you need to drive them all the way back to the arena to recruit hem, which is a drag since you have limited inventory.

The game play, however, is not hindered by this one simple nitpick. How the game plays is one I truly enjoy, combat feels fluent, simple, and easy to pick up. Traveling the world map is never boring, it’s full of a variety of different areas to explore, like Randal’s Discount Orphanisms.

Pit People’s Beta turned out to be one of the first betas I participated in, and I loved every second of it. It showed me what a beta can do to make me want more, while keeping me from unlocking the whole experience, until the games final release.

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