Pit People is the latest game from indie developers, The Behemoth, creators of Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid and BattleBlock Theater. It’s currently available on Steam early access and from what I’ve seen so far, it could end up being pretty special. It’s witty, charming and a lot of fun.
The humour is the main reason I’ve been enjoying my time with Pit People. The Behemoth have a habit of crafting quirky, lovable worlds and characters and the ones on show here are no different. The basic premise is that a giant bear has crashed into the Earth, causing chaos and bringing the planet to the edge of apocalypse. The real story begins when a lowly blueberry farmer, “Horatio” and his son are attacked by a gang of cannibals. If this allsounds a bit ridiculous, don’t worry, things only get weirder from there. What follows is an insane odyssey across a world chock full of colourful nutters.
The actual gameplay is nowhere near as “out there” as the narrative. It’s a fairly standard tactical affair, where positioning and movement are everything, however, it’s lent depth by the variety of characters and their special abilities. The characters you start with are fairly standard, you have your tank, your damage dealers, and your healer, but later in the game, the options available to you really start to diversify in interesting ways. There’s a vampire who can fly around the battlefield and heal himself by landing hits. There’s a ghost-squid that can take control of enemy minions, and there’s a spider lady that can ensnare foes in her webbing. These are only a few examples, the composition of your party is entirely up to you and there are so many wacky combinations for you to try out.
Gathering these characters together is (surprisingly) Pokemon-esque. You capture them with a net, assuming you brought one along, once they are the last enemy standing. I ended up determined to capture at least one of every enemy type and had a lot of fun while doing so. With the number of characters, quests, and items to discover, Pit People ought to go down well with the completionist crowd.
You can also customise individual characters to a significant degree. You can deck out your fighters with a combination of swords, guns, shields, nets, bombs and so much more. Most weapons have abilities attached to them and so the synergies and strategies are there just waiting to be discovered. The extent to which you can tailor your party to suit your specific style is really rather impressive. You can also outfit each of your pit people with whatever crazy clothes you can get your hands on. You want to go into battle wearing a saucepan on your head and wielding a lollipop? Pit People has you covered.
Pit People places a fairly heavy emphasis upon multiplayer. You can do PvP in the pit, or you can join forces with another player and fight alongside another party. It’s a lot of fun to go through the game with another player, it somehow makes everything even funnier, but I would like to see a some more nuanced concepts added to the multiplayer, it;’s kind of basic as it is.
You take a risk when you buy early access, but Pit People is one of the safest bets to have come along in quite some time. The developers have a superb track record, there’s already a good amount of content and communication between The Behemoth and the players has been excellent. There is a clear roadmap laid out for what this game is going to become in the future. In some ways it’s a shame this needs to be highlighted, but this is early access done right. This is not a bug-ridden, low-effort attempt to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash.
Pit People is available on Steam early access for £10.99 or $14.99.
I was born in Oxford in 1998 and have been gaming for almost my entire life. I want to see this industry evolve as a storytelling medium and deliver experiences that stay with people. Interactivity is a narrative device that only games can employ, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it can take us.