VGamingNews

Hell Pie

21 March, 2024 - 3:16 pm by
About 11 mins to read
Reviewed on: PS5

Since humans first sprang into existence, there have been many interpretations of what life could be like once we expire. The Catholic belief I grew up with told us that we’d be clad in all-white garbs, probably playing golf for eternity should our lives be deemed “Good.” This never sat well with me, as no priest or vicar would ever answer the question, “Are there video games in heaven?” The look of disdain that usually followed such an innocent question gave me all the answers I ever needed. While I’m not here to talk about what happens when our physical form craps out on us, I am here to talk about  Sluggerfly’s take on the afterlife, as presented in my new bible – Hell Pie.

Hell Pie throws us into the role of Nate, a lowly servant in Hell who works as a pencil pusher in the Bad Taste department of Sin Inc. The details of the little red demon’s job are thoroughly disregarded as Satan calls his line directly to order a pie for his birthday party, and when Nate tries to explain Beelzebub has the wrong number, he’s promptly put in his place. After speaking to Hell’s one and only chef it becomes clear that all the demons in Hell are prone to shirking responsibility, leaving the task of finding the ingredients for a truly awful birthday pie to the small red devil. 


At A Glance

Hell Pie

Positives

+ Perfectly sized 3D platformer
+ Crass and disgusting visuals
+ Humourous throughout

Negatives  

– Wonky camera
– Occasional control issues
– Glitches, bugs and crashes

Overall

7 /10

Played On

PS5

Also Available On

Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One

Find out about our scoring policy here.


After being truly stitched up by the demonic middle management of Hell, Nate sets off to pull the ingredients for Satan’s birthday pie in the first logical place one would go, the supermarket. Along with searching out the first few items on the shopping list, it’s also where Nate learns the ropes of Hell Pie’s 3D platforming mechanics. The game eases you in with the basics; jumping, double-jumping and dashing, as well as the key collectibles you’ll be picking up on your hellish pie-making mission. Nate quickly encounters a cherub who goes by the name of Nugget. This naÏve angel doesn’t realise that his sole purpose is to be Nate’s weapon-slash-tool to perform some of the key moves. The enslaved baby happens to be chained to Nate’s horn and can be used as either a flail-type weapon or as an air anchor, allowing you to swing between platforms. 

Whilst in the supermarket, Hell Pie gave me free rein to practice the various jump-dash-swing combos that are needed to succeed. Going wild in the aisles also gave the first glance at how to upgrade various skills. Giving Nugget what can only be described as cat food, opens up a neat skill tree that will unlock additional jumps, extra health, and eventually a fart button. There’s no reason behind the fart button, except to be childish and funny. And it was funny. Every. Single. Time.

Unfortunately, the supermarket came up short with the list of ingredients, meaning Nate and Nugget were sent out into the wider circles of Hell to hunt down the key items. Five areas gradually open up, four of which are large hub worlds that contain sub-levels to explore. To begin with, you’re presented with an open seaside resort complete with a whaling industry theme, before moving onto a gluttonous restaurant, and a level that puts the ‘jungle’ into Jungle Love. Each world is carefully considered and well put together, and in such a way that Hell Pie took me to an area but it was up to me to discover everything. Each of the four hubs didn’t feel so big that it would be impossible to find everything, nor were they small enough that everything was on Nate’s lap. To plagiarise Goldielocks, Hell Pie’s level design was “just right”, and even kept things fresh by eschewing the established platforming trope of each world having a boss fight waiting for you at the end of it, and focusing purely on the jump-swing-dash rhythm of platforming.

Throughout each level, you’re tasked with not only finding ingredients for the Dark Lord’s pastry but in true 3D platform style, a host of other items to help Nate on his merry way. These include lucky golden cats( which at first seem pointless, until you find the right door back at Sin Inc), and Unilambs. These little unicorn/lamb creatures are quite literally sacrificial lambs which Nate violently de-horns to gain upgrades of his own. The cutscene is deliberately gratuitous, with the cute cartoon lamb having its horn removed in such a way that it made me squirm every time it happened. Mercifully, there are only a handful of Unilamb upgrades available so this section can be quickly glossed over.

If a simpleton chained to a devil that’s on a quest to build a pie isn’t a big enough indicator that the game relies on humour, I don’t know what to tell you. The comedy weaved throughout Hell Pie can only be described as immature bordering on obscene, and I for one gobbled it up. The crafty script leans on both self-deprecating and self-defecating themes that the creators of South Park would be proud of. There are poo jokes, sex references and sendups galore that are peppered throughout the game. From the opening minutes where the sarcastic chef sends Nate on his ‘adventure’, to the closing moments, Hell Pie consistently delivered on drawing an immature titter out of my mouth. (Titter, hurhur.) The biggest laugh came from a section on the second level, where Nate and Nugget had to venture through an oversized restaurant to feed a snooty food critic. The setup starts like Ratatouille, with the seemingly untouchable reviewer that could cause the facility to shut down, but as events spiral it ends up turning into a Monty Python sketch.

The hilarity doesn’t stop at what’s being said by the characters, or how each scene works out, but with the visuals themselves. Sluggerfly has developed a game that looks as crude as the script; the first level for instance, features a sewage section that not only pays homage to Conker’s Bad Fur Day but actively pokes fun at Rare’s 2000 classic. Throughout Hell Pie you’ll encounter various enemies that range from nazi-style faeces that try to smother Nate based on sheer numbers,  to phallic scorpions trying to “sting” you. I was struck by how consistently the comedy spread throughout Hell Pie. Often in movies, books, or even video games, jokes are front-loaded so that a player experience’s everything that’s on offer before making it to the end. Hell Pie separates itself from the crowd by being consistent all the way through, leaving me smiling from ear to ear. When I experienced the game’s utterly unexpected ending, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a satisfying end to a genuinely funny experience.

Don’t get me wrong, Hell Pie isn’t for everyone. There will be some people who consider the game to be crass or disgusting, but the childish, immature nature of the game took me back to being a pre-teen laughing at “58008” on a calculator.  Hell Pie’s divisive scripting isn’t the only challenge, as a few technical issues distract from the experience. The bothersome camera gave me a headache from start to finish, by zooming so close to Nate, I could feel his breath coming through the screen. If I wasn’t looking up a fiery nose, the camera would snap in the opposite direction I wanted to go. This usually happened when lining up a swing across a giant gap, causing me to land Nate in a questionable river of brown goo. Other issues included button presses not registering at all, and the occasional glitch where I was forced to quit to the main menu. These issues reared their heads throughout the game, but thanks to a quick restart system, I quickly got used to the situation, leading me to think that perhaps Nate and Nugget just wanted to go for an early bath. 

Hell Pie manages to be one of those games in which the theme, humour and gameplay are consistent from start to finish. I never tired of the sarcastic comments from the NPCs, or Nugget’s daft commentary throughout the 17 hours it took to complete the platformer. It’s a shame that technical issues plague Hell Pie, with the primary culprit being the camera. Still, even with those issues, I’ve not experienced such a succinct platformer in a long while. There was not one point in Hell Pie where I felt the game suddenly jutted out of line, gave you too much to do, or fell flat in the comedy department. Even in the later levels, like when Nate and Nugget found themselves at the Pearly Gates, the platformer still felt the same game as when I first tapped the Cross button to begin the adventure.

In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review from Super Rare Games. A limited number of units may still be available.


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Our Rating
7