Descend, Die, Repeat

HIGH Satisfying, fast-paced combat.

LOW There isn’t a lot of unique content.

WTF What happened to my hands before I got here?


TRANSCRIPT:

Hi Everyone! Eugene Sax here with another review from Gamecritics.com

From NullPointer games comes Into The Pit — A roguelike first-person shooter with the speed of classic shooters wrapped in a gritty classic aesthetic. Players take the role of a mystic roaming the land and searching for rumors of dark magic. After getting a letter, players head into a small town rumored to have evil lurking beneath it. When they arrive, the town keeper begs them to help save the town from the evil below. Players will use runes to open different areas of this pit and descend to fight off demons and evil beings.

At the start of each run, players will get a passive power-up and two weapons — one for each hand. Each level will have four rooms players must complete to unlock the next level.

Most rooms will be combat arenas where players must defeat enemies. After clearing one, players will also get an upgrade. Upgrades can give the player’s weapons buffs like elemental effects, increased range, an increased critical chance, or general upgrades to the player like increased health or defense.

Besides these earned upgrades, some rooms offer resources that can be used between runs to buy or upgrade power ups and keys that unlock different areas, while other resources will be useful in the current run with things like luck runes that make rare power ups appear more often.

Every four rooms unlocks a fifth which contains a boss that must be defeated to complete the run.

Once I dug into the game, the gritty aesthetic, satisfying movement and the kinetic energy of shooting demonic foes hooked me. The enemy designs are gloriously grotesque, and each one plays into the area that the players are currently in. Spiders and poison mushroom demons for the plagued forest, rabid rats and bulky pirates for the corrupted docks, and tree creatures and specters from the petrified forest — each realm has its own unique flair to keep things interesting.

Sadly despite a strong start, Into the Pit didn’t keep me hooked. While there is a lot of style on display, there’s not a ton of content — players will see almost all of the combat arenas in two or three runs.

Also, while the combat is fast paced and kinetic, I took a lot of cheap shots from enemies placed in blind corners where it’s near-impossible for the player to avoid them before getting hit in the face.

The abilities and extra powers that players can buy between runs are fine, but the ones players get right from the start are superior — there’s not much motivation to experiment with the other ones.

Another issue I had is that players can only progress by finding specific rooms in each run to rescue villagers. As more villagers are rescued, players will be able to open more shops and offer the player new runes that let them get to the other areas of the campaign. This means players will see a lot of the same rooms over and over again, in varying combinations, for a good portion of the game as they try to find the necessary villagers needed to move on.

I have a great fondness for roguelikes, but this one puts me in a weird place. Mechanically, Into The Pit is a welcome throwback to classic FPS games with the added twist of randomized elements to keep things interesting. However, the pool of random elements is too shallow and there are not enough interesting combinations to keep all but the most dedicated players interested.

For me: Into The Pit gets a 6.5 out of 10.


Disclosures: This game is developed by Nullpointer games, and published by Humble Games, and it is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 14 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the multiple runs of the game were completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, Into the Pit is rated T for Violence and Blood. Players will be using magical weapons shot from their hands to fight demons, who will have spurts of blood come out of them when hit before dissolving into ash once they are killed. All of the demons will be coming at the player with claws, talons, and magic of their own. Not for the younger kids, but not extremely gory.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All information is displayed through text, but text size is not resizable. The sound provides ambiance, but is not necessary to play. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: The game does offer fully remappable controls.

Eugene Sax
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AJ Small
AJ Small(@aj-small)
1 month ago

Agree about the shallowness – it was too soon that I saw repeat scenarios