Hell Pie was one of those games where I tried the demo and was interested to see more thanks to the platforming. Outside of the Super Mario series, this might be one of my favorite 3D platformers, although it certainly doesn't come with the family-friendly reputation of its peers.
You play as Nate who runs Hell’s “Bad Taste” department. When Satan demands a pie for their birthday, it’s up to you to scour four areas in order to find the nastiest ingredients around. Aiding you is the cherub Nugget who is attached to Nate’s horn and acts as both weapon and free-range grapple point.
The main movement mechanic in the game is swinging. Using Nugget, you can launch Nate around the level. You can also double-jump and dash. At the start, you can only swing one time, but finding cherub food will allow you to upgrade to get more swings and movement tech. The movement of Hell Pie is what attracted me to this game, and surprisingly, I think this is one of the best 3D platformers I’ve played from a moment-to-moment standpoint. This is one of those games that feels very speed runner friendly, as there are many sequence breaks and skips you can perform with enough swing upgrades. Each stage has its own unique gimmicks and there are boss fights to deal with as well.
Each hub is full of collectibles and separate stages where you can find the ingredients; get enough, and you’ll unlock the next world. Additional upgrades come from activating goat shrines by killing goats hidden throughout the stages. The horns serve to get past specific obstacles to open new areas or find secrets.
All this sounds great, but Hell Pie does come with a few devilish caveats.
Hell Pie draws similarities to the cult classic Conker’s Bad Fur Day in how it is not aimed at children. There is a lot of gross-out humor (especially with the ingredients you’re collecting) and strong language. I don’t particularly care for gross-out humor, but I’m not bothered by it.
The more pressing issue is that at the moment there are a number of bugs both large and small in the game. I ran into several cases where it felt like the game was not recognizing my inputs. At one point the camera refused to work, and I lost the ability to move properly, and even a complete soft lock during a boss. The developers have said that they are working on a patch to fix the bugs, but that was not available at the time I was playing it.
In terms of level design and platforming gameplay, Hell Pie does feel like a greatest hits collection of obstacles and stages we’ve seen before. For fans looking to go for 100%, there are a lot of collectibles to find in each one of the major hubs. If you’re hoping to see a non-Mario 3D platformer do something completely unique, Hell Pie is not that kind of game.
A Horny Experience
All-in-all, I’m impressed with Hell Pie. I don’t know if the developers worked on a 3D platformer before, but this is one of the better platformers I’ve seen in the indie space for some time. If you don’t mind the humor, and hopefully those bugs will get fixed, this is a treat for fans of platforming where it’s just fun to move around the world.
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