Lets get straight to the point with this review. If Mario 64 and Conkers Bad Fur Day met on a drunken night out and had a one night stand, Hell Pie would be the their bastard child. Developed by Sluggerfly and published by Headup, Hell Pie is advertised as an obscene 3D platformer that takes bad taste to the next level - and honestly, It's fantastic.
You take control of Nate, the un-respected Demon of the much overlooked eighth deadly sin, Bad Taste as he's ordered by Satan to ensure the chef in Hell has prepared his birthday pie as requested. After a quick tutorial that see's you making your way through the offices of Hell and down to the kitchen, you meet the chef (bare butt cheeks and all) who tells you he forgot to make it and needs your help. You're then sent on a mission to overworld to gather the ingredients needed to bake the infamous birthday pie, before there's hell to pay! Not long after meeting the chef and you're off to the super market to get a cherub pet slave, and it turns out this little, fat, baby trump cherub (called Nugget) is coming with you on your mission!
The most important aspect of a platformer is how traversing the areas feels and this is one of the highlights of Hell Pie. Platforming is super smooth and the controls are really responsive. You have the standard platfom game abilities to begin with but the additional way that little nugget affects gameplay by seamlessly being a weapon you can throw around to enabling you to effortlessly swing through the air with a mid air anchoring/grapple really adds to the overall experience.
The game also features a large amount of collectables and unlockables on top of the story related ingredients to keep you busy as you play. There are tins of Candymeat, which are used to upgrade Nuggets skill tree. Once you gather enough of them you get a variety of swing improvements (swing multiple times in a row) and extra abilities. Once you get fully upgraded you will end up having so much fun just swinging around the worlds, very much like how it feels when you fully level your agent up in Crackdown and get to easily reach new and hidden areas.
You can also collect a variety of cute little sheep which are used to unlock horn upgrades for Nate. To get these upgrades you brutally rip out their horns at a variety of altars. These horn upgrades allow you to access new areas/give you a reason to revisit areas as they give you super speed and wall breaking abilities. You are able to switch between your standard horns (that point out points of interest around you) for unlocked horns quickly via a wheel menu on the fly as you play. Without having to stop and go to a certain place to make the change this keeps the game pace up and doesn't ruin all the fun you will be having.
There are also other collectables such as golden lucky cats hidden around the levels and also plenty of coins that can be collected which can be used to purchase a variety of outfits for both Nate and Nugget (I mean, who doesn't want to have a fat, little cherub wearing a mankini?!).
The levels themselves are very creative too, the game features 4 big worlds for you to explore with smaller challenging platforming levels thrown in the mix. There are lots of hidden areas to find so its well worth taking the time to fully explore the worlds.
Graphically the game looks great. It's got a very bright art style with gruesomely interesting characters, lots of over the top violence, whilst always feeling like i was just playing a classic platformer like Banjo or Jak and Daxter. It's full of very crude humour, to the levels found in Conker (and if not even worse!) and whilst I know it will not be to everyone's tastes, I personally found it hilarious from start to finish. The only annoying part I found was the rate of repetition that nugget would repeat his dialogue, but prior to writing this review the dev's have already addressed this on social media and stated they will be working on a way to change the rate/turn off which is great! It's good to see such a responsive approach towards gamer feedback from a developer for a change.
Whilst the game is an absolute blast to play, that doesn't necessarily mean its perfect. The game isn't that long, clocking in around 10-12 hours in length. It also feels a little rough around the edges with a few graphical issues now and then. There were also lots of blocked of doors that really feel like they should lead somewhere and it gives you an impression that maybe it was scoped back in some areas for one reason or another. It doesn't spoil the game, but I enjoyed it so much I was left wanting more! Here's me praying to the Demons of Hell for a sequel or extra DLC in future!
Hell Pie is an absolute joy of a game to play. It brings back the feeling of playing classic platforming games in the golden years of Playstation 1/Playstation 2 whilst being refreshingly crude and unashamed at itself. It may not be as polished as bigger budget games, but the important things that matter are all there. The gameplay and movement feels fantastic, the worlds are bright, colourful and unique, and it's a real joy to play a game that feels like it hasn't been censored and is the original vision of the developers. If you love platformers then you're missing one of the best there has been in a long time if you don't give this game a try!
TOTAL SCORE: 9/10
Hell Pie was released onto the Xbox store on the 21st July 2022. The game is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. It supports smart delivery and is optimised for next gen! You can purchase the game HERE. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thank you for that!