Hell Pie Review
Most 3D platformers stick to conventions: bright and colorful worlds with wholesome, wide-eyed inhabitants. While the majority reside in this area, there are a select few that warp these ideals. Taking influence from titles such as Psychonauts and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Hell Pie is a grotesque adventure that chews up and spits out the cutesy design that lingers in the genre. Will this repugnant platformer tickle your taste buds or make you feel a little queasy?
Set in hell itself, you play as the ‘Demon of Bat Taste’, Nate. It’s the most important day of the calendar year, Satan’s birthday. To make it that extra bit special, you must scour the environment and gather a range of peculiar ingredients to make a repulsive pie. As this is no ordinary dessert, you will have to collect unsanitary items such as turd-covered tampons and corpses to make the delicacy. Throughout, the humor is purposefully obscene and immature, which is refreshing for the genre. While the writing is a little inconsistent, it still manages to muster a bunch of laughs that will please fans of black and gross-out comedy.
The Odd Couple
At your side is the bare-bottomed, misshapen cupid, Nugget. Together, you can traverse environments and fight foes to reach your objective. Linked through a chain, you can use the angel to swing mid-air to reach far-off platforms. With a double jump and dash ability too, Nate is nimble and able to combine skills to evade a range of hazards. The dynamic grapple is an excellent addition but it’s not enough to save the loose platform mechanics. Travel can be a chore. Nate struggles to interact with elements of the environment which adds frustration when you attempt to maneuver through more complex areas. This also isn’t helped by the camera which seems to fight you at inopportune times.
Throughout areas, a litany of foes wander. To clear these pests, you can simply knock them down with a swing of your pal. Combat is quite basic and lacks any real oomph. You can grab grenade plants and throw these but more often than not, you will just pummel the one button. There are some segments that add variety, such as a third-person shooter section but these are few and far between. Enemies fall into standard tropes with creatures that slither across the ground and some that shoot from above. Often, animations of foes would halt as they stutter towards you. This seems to happen for entire runs and would only reset upon death.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Bosses in Hell Pie are absurd in the best way possible. Ridiculous and humorous, they are gigantic in size which emphasizes their silliness. While your opponents are original, the fight itself is anticlimactic. Phases progress but don’t dither too far away from previous attacks which makes them a relatively simple encounter. I did experience issues with one boss in particular where its next phase wouldn’t activate. Even when dying in the sequence, this wouldn’t initiate the next segment. To progress, I had to completely close the game down. While this may not affect everyone, there do seem to be random bugs that hinder the experience.
Each hub world houses an array of collectibles, which rewards exploration. Find enough items and can upgrade your skills to improve your health, your swing and much more. With your horn ability, you can see the general location of items to help direct you. You can also unlock other abilities with items that are buried within the world. Portals to traditional levels are inside the open area and are the highlight of the game. In one stage you travel through the innards of a whale while harpoons pierce its skin and form the platforms to reach your target. Although brutal, it’s an innovative way to structure a level.
Hell Pie is a vile platformer that struggles to nail the landing. Certain segments beam with ingenuity to create some fun and exciting moments, however, an array of bugs, inconsistent mechanics and an overall lack of polish make the game a lackluster experience. It’s great to see 3D platformers aimed at an older audience and even though it does manage to stir that feeling of nostalgia, it relies too heavily on games of the era which makes Hell Pie feel dated.
*** A PlayStation 5 key provided by the publisher ***
- Some Interesting Level Designs
- Mature Content
- Lacks Polish
- Camera Issues