There are few gaming companies who for over a decade can still produce content from their heart. Games that are uniquely vibrant, that can immediately warp you through a nostalgia hole back a decade. Back in 2002, a San Diego company founded by Dan Paladin, John Baez, and Tom Fulp called The Behemoth produced the Newgrounds.com sensation Alien Hominid that most twenty-something or others remember fondly as an escape from high school computer tech classes.
After releasing a retail version of the game on the GameCube in 2004, they produced the massive success Castle Crashers in 2008, without ever losing their signature art style, charm, or wit. Fourteen years later after Alien Hominid changed flash gaming forever, the veiled Game 4 has been given the name Pit People. And boy howdy, does it look like everything you would want from a Behemoth title.
You could do a lot worse than to watch this short trailer, but it might leave you befuddled at what exactly you are witnessing. It is my recommendation, then, that you put a little time aside and watch the opening twenty minutes of the game below. It’s funny, it’s got interesting gameplay, and more than anything, it immerses you into the twisted, delicious world that is uniquely Behemoth:
Let’s recap: A giant, six-armed space bear who bleeds radioactive green blood has crashed into your home world and your planet has not adapted well. Voiced by Will Stamper, the snarky, maniacal narrator guides the player’s blueberry-farmer-turned-champion Horatio as he wades through raining acid blood and wandering bandits with gruesome malice.
A departure from the usual side-scrolling hack-and-slash style, Pit People features turn-based strategy where you command your party to move around a hexagon-tiled map to defeat mongrels, cupcakes, and other bizarre enemies. Mechanically, the game has depth; your units are equipped with a multitude of weapons and armor that affect your decision making. So far, there are shields that, when positioned correctly, can block incoming artillery fire, hammers that do bonus damaged to enemies with helmets, and characters who excel in both melee and ranged combat.
The game also boasts RPG elements such as individualized party attributes. Through leveling up by defeating enemies and completing world quests, your characters can increase their health, movement, carrying capacity, melee or ranged damage, static defense, blocking, and dodging. Your choices of party composition and individualized roles create a diverse experience for the player, allowing you to make your tactics uniquely yours.
Unique races exist in the game that can have various effects on the battlefield. For instance, the aforementioned Spiduar can entangle enemies with webs and batter them with kicks, as well as defend cupcake riders as they sling healing globules at your allies. Terrifying, furious monstrosities called hair trolls flip enemy units over their head, rearranging the battlefield like an interior decorator. From vampires to zombies, each distinct class of unit adds different elements of attack that earn some consideration before you deploy your adventuring group. And each unit absolutely drips with that signature style and comedy that Behemoth produces.
If you love centaur-like spiders with funny hats, there are a wealth of options for customized appearances of your party. You can unlock different hair styles, weapons, or clothing to take your zombie troop from goofy to hilarious. Showing up in battle arenas with a legion of hair trolls wearing party hats tells your opponent hey, buddy, does this look like a game to you?
Pit People does not yet have a release date, but you can sign up for the Xbox One closed beta with a tentative release in August, which you can sign up for here. The game will sport a full single player campaign, two player online and local co-op, and two vs. two local and online arena battles. The Steam closed beta has been said to follow soon after its counterpart releases, so stay tuned for more information for when you can order your cyclops to swing a missile into a poor, unexpected barbarians face.
Oh Behemoth, you haven’t missed a beat.