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Roguelike FPS Pit Of Doom delves into early access

I still reckon that Sword Of The Stars: The Pit is one of the more underrated roguelikes. Wonky at launch, but through many patches and expansions it grew into something pleasantly System Shock-ish. Pit Of Doom is effectively a first-person remake, launched into early access today and latest in Kerberos’ series of spinoffs from their Sword Of The Stars strategy setting. It’s a real-time dungeon crawler – you explore a procedural sci-fi labyrinth, level and loot, shoot weird alien monsters and try to avoid a seemingly inevitable death. Some early gameplay clips lie below.

Right now, Pit Of Doom is in very early access, so unless you’re a major fan of the original 2D, turn-based version, you might want to hold off. Performance is wonky, the UI is threadbare (there’s no mouse invert option, which is maddening for me), and for some reason looking up and down is far slower than turning – annoying as the game contains both flying and ground-crawling monsters. There’s some geometry clipping errors, and voice-clips repeat far too often. That said, I can see potential in the bit I’ve played so far; Kerberos provided me with a preview key to poke at.

It’s nice to see some familiar creatures from the Sword Of The Stars universe up close, even if I am just shooting them in the face. The all-consuming marsupial lizard-rats – the Zuul – are somewhat more intimidating when they’re in your face, trying to chew it off. I also like the physicality of some of the interaction animations, such as prying open damaged lockers or cracking open crates, although those animations do grow a bit too familiar after a while. Right now it feels a lot like that early, wonky version of The Pit, but in 3D. Here’s hoping it’ll grow like its predecessor.

Kerberos are pretty honest about Pit Of Doom being a long way from launch. There’s at least six months left to go until it leaves early access, and maybe up to a full year. Right now the game contains the “minimum features” – three basic character classes, a thirty floor dungeon, a bunch of monsters and loot, although no final floor or boss yet. The final game should include co-op for up to four players, a crafting system and a wider range of environments. I’m personally hoping for more use of 3D space, as the current levels are as flat as an office building.

Pit Of Doom is out now in early access, here on Steam. It costs £7.19/€8.19/$9.99 now, but Kerberos reckon that the price will increase over time as the game grows.

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Dominic Tarason

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