I am not good at strategy games, and I’m generally not a fan of them. I’m just not that patient; I don’t take the time to figure out what I’m going to do before acting. But there have been strategy games I’ve enjoyed, like Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fates. I enjoy these games despite the strategy gameplay, not because of it. And I figured the same would be the case with Pit People. Developed by The Behemoth, the studio behind the all time classic Castle Crashers and the flash-hit-turned-indie-extraordinaire Alien Hominid, I knew I could at least count on humor to keep things interesting with this game.
And yes, there is plenty of it. The game begins with a sinister narrator explaining that the once normal world of Pit People was forever altered when a giant six-armed bear creature hit the planet, breaking it into conveniently hexagonal pieces. The narrator, itself some sort of giant bear creature, tells us the story of Horatio and his allies as they fight to save a kingdom from the evils of this world. All throughout, the narrator sets out to stop Horatio, sometimes succeeding but usually failing. There’s not too much to the basic plot, but it’s enough to bring players into the world.
In terms of gameplay, there is an overworld that features various mission locations and one-off battles. Players can navigate the overworld freely, but when battles start, the game resembles Fire Emblem. There are different types of units with different types of weapons, each of which have their own benefits. For example, a hammer or mace will do more damage to an enemy wearing a helmet, but a sword and shield allow a character to protect allies from incoming arrows. You need to be clever, but it never gets too demanding. The only real issue for me is in the presentation; it always seems like there’s a lot going on and it can be a bit difficult to keep track.
Though the game is in Early Access, there’s plenty of content and variety. You can capture enemy units to round out your forces, and unlock new appearances and weapons as you go. There are also a number of different play modes; you can play alone or co-op, follow the story, participate in tournaments, roam the map, etc. This freedom can, again, get a bit overwhelming at times, but it is impressive how much there is to do in the game. The character designs are pretty entertaining as well, which makes fighting different enemies feel worthwhile.
Ultimately it’s the humor rather than the gameplay that will sell Pit People. Fans of the developer’s other games will find a lot to like here, even though it currently lacks the polish of something like Castle Crashers. It will be interesting to see if things are streamlined closer to the game’s full release, but for now, Pit People is worth a try if you want a strategy game that doesn’t take itself serious
This preview is based on an early access copy of the game provided by the publisher.