Nick Capron - 2013-07-16
Available for: PC
Published by: Kerberos
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Do you enjoy rogue-likes? How about science fiction? Then you might want to do yourself a favour and read more about Sword of the Stars: The Pit.

Welcome to Arbuda IV, hope you enjoy dying horribly!

Sword of the Stars: The Pit, takes place on the planet of Arbuda IV, which is an retirement colony for war veterans within the Sword of the Stars universe.

A terrible plague has broken out on Arbuda IV, and unfortunately, this plague has no known cure. Being the team player you are, you make the decision to explore an abandoned alien facility known as “the pit” in hopes of discovering a cure to the planetary plague. What's the worst that could happen?

This is about the extent of the story within SotS: The Pit, but hey, it works well for setting up an fun, unique, rouge-like game with just a couple of flaws.

A quick disclaimer!

After recently being introduced to the rouge-likes from a few simple games on my phone, then transitioning to games like Dungeons of Dredmor and FTL, I have developed a fondness for the genre. Unfortunately my experience with these games is quite light. This is important, as the science fiction setting, combined with the modern/future weapons used in The Pit was new to me, and made playing the game quite enjoyable.

Going deep

The Pit, like most rogue-likes, is all about navigating a vast, deep dungeon while gathering equipment, learning skills and killing monsters. As you progress through The Pit, you will increase your skills such as lock-picking, computers, mechanical, and more. You can use these skills to open doors, hack computers, and repair broken machines, and each successful attempt to do so will increase your associated skill. If you can imagine fallout, remade as a rouge-like, it would be similar to what The Pit offers.

I love how the game implements field of vision. You are enabled to see the majority of the map except the area directly behind you. This leads to some tense situations where you may be in a firefight with numerous hostiles in front of you, but if you back is turned to a long hallway or another room, you are quite vulnerable to a sneak attack. Trust me, when your deep in The Pit, hanging onto life, this adds a ton of tension.

Like most rogue-likes, you will need to find food along the way to keep yourself alive. Basic food items can be found easily, but with recipes you can combine ingredients to make better meals.

I wish the game featured a a mini map, but the game does include an on-screen map available at a push of a button.

Do you like loot?

A great feature of The Pit is the vast number of items and weapons included within the game. The Pit's weapon selection spans across a number of class types such as melee weapons, pistols, rifles, assault weapons, grenades, and more. Ammo is actually quite limited, this really makes you think about weapon selection as you battle your way though the game. Weapons will also break after continued usage, but items can be found to repair your damaged weapons. Besides its arsenal, The Pit includes items to help increase your abilities, and armour to equip to protect yourself.

The Pit includes a crafting system as well. Garbage items you discover during your adventure can be combined to create weapons, items, or food to help your quest to reach the bottom of the pit. Personally, after playing for more then 10 hours I have yet to find a complete recipe from honest means within the game. Yes, I could go on-line and find them, but I feel that is cheating and I wish the game to provided me with an easier, honest way to obtain them.

My hand's are cramping up!

I found the games controls to be a bit more hassling then they should be. By no means are they bad, but a better control interface would have been appreciated. For example, it would of been nice to be able to control more actions with the mouse or via on-screen buttons. It gets annoying having to continuously hammer the g key to pick up loot from fallen monsters, instead of having the ability to right click on the ground to simply pick them up.

The Graphics/Art

The Pit's graphics are a real mixed bag. Unfortunately the Character models and their animations look pretty amateurish. On the other hand, the art for monsters and environments are OK, and the various portraits of items and weapons are actually pretty decent. It would of been nice to have better art assets, but it doesn't ruin the game by any means. The overall quality does make the Pit's ten dollar full price a bit tougher to swallow although.

Should I buy it:

I purchased the game during a steam 50% off sale for five bucks, which is a great price for this game. To justify The Pit's ten dollar regular price, I would have expected better graphics and features out of the game. If you are a real keener, feel free to jump in for full price, otherwise, wait for a sale on this one.


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