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Bizarro strategy-RPG Pit People launches next week

Hexy beast

The Behemoth have charted a very strange course through the games industry. A small studio established by Flash-hub Newgrounds' founders, they followed up their Metal Slug-esque Alien Hominid with Castle Crashers, a bright and breezy brawler. Next up was co-op platformer Battleblock Theater, a logical enough progression. I'm still not sure why they opted to make the direct sequel a hex-grid, turn-based strategy RPG, but I'm glad that they did.

After over a year in Early Access, Pit People is due for release, and will officially be 100% complete and ready to consume on March 2nd.

Cover image for YouTube video

Quite bafflingly, Pit People is a direct sequel to the events of Battleblock Theater. In the course of escaping from your technicolor cat-prison in that game, you inadvertently caused the end of the world by shooting down a giant six-armed space bear, which collided with Earth, infecting the already strange world with its mutagenic green blood. Cue the Weirdpocalypse.

Not to say that the space bear is dead, of course. He's alive, well and still quite cranky about the whole getting shot incident, so he whiles away the time by tormenting the strange little mutant people on the planet below, bombastically narrating their fates. Battleblock's Will Stamper returns to ham things up to 11 in this role as you'd expect, and from what I've played of the current early access version, he carries it pretty well, although perhaps doesn't get as much speaking time as I would have liked.

As with their previous games, Pit People can be played both co-operatively or online against strangers. Mechanically, it's a strange little thing, with combat actions being performed automatically, while movement happens simultaneously as both teams scramble around the board. There are some odd and offbeat units as well, with your very first healer being a sentient cupcake that scoops out chunks of its own delicious body (at the cost of health), catapulting them to heal allies in the front lines. I could elaborate further here, but Brendan has saved me the trouble by sharing his extended pre-review thoughts on the game here.

The release version of the game will feature a reworked world map, finally-complete cutscenes (many of them at present are just scruffy animatics, which is strangely adorable), the conclusion of the weird main story arc and the addition of another 15 sidequests, as well as a slew of improvements, quality of life tweaks and more. The Behemoth aren't ready to release the full change-log yet, but say it'll be their longest by far for the game.

The final version of Pit People will be out on Steam next Friday, and if their Early Access store panel is to be believed, may be accompanied by a price increase from its current £11/$15.

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Pit People

Xbox One, PC

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Dominic Tarason