STAFF REVIEW of Hell Pie (Xbox One)

Monday, August 1, 2022.
by Adam Dileva

Hell Pie Box art Do you miss the days of classic 3D platforming? Do you also have the sense of humor akin to a 12 year old? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you might want to check out Hell Pie, an obscene 3D platformer that heavily relies on its humor and crudeness to make you laugh. Developed by Sluggerfly, Hell Pie may looks cute from its initial screenshots, but rest assured, this is an M-rated game for very good reason. Clearly having some inspiration from Conker’s Bad Fur Day when it comes to its humor, Hell Pie takes it up a notch even further, being borderline gross and obscene, and I couldn’t stop laughing or smirking throughout. I normally keep my reviews PG, but given the content, I feel that would be a disservice to Hell Pie’s essence, so there may be some colorful language below.

Humor can only carry a game so far though, so if the gameplay and mechanics don’t hold up on its own, then it’ll simply be forgotten. Thankfully that isn’t the case here, as you have a quite decent 3D platformer, creative levels, and movement feels like it flows smoothly once you get the hang of using your chained angel, Nugget, to air jump, swing and get around the vast levels. Yes, you read that right, your angel that’s chained to you. I told you this was going to be out there.

You know how there’s seven deadly sins right? Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride? Well, turns out that there’s actually an eighth, Bad Taste, represented by the small statured demon, Nate, whom you’ll be playing through this obscene adventure. Nate is clearly not taken very seriously in Hell, stuck to a desk job. Sitting in his office the phone rings one day.

Turns out it was none other than Satan himself, instructing his chef to make him a special pie for his birthday. Looks like Satan got the wrong number though and called you by mistake, so it’s obviously your job to make this happen for Satan, or else. You aren’t a cook though, so you head to meet the actual chef, informing him of your task. He’ll bake the pie for you but he doesn’t have the grotesque ingredients, so this task falls on Nate to travel to the overworld to get them in time for Satan’s party.

While quite a tall order for such a short demon, thankfully you aren’t alone, as you’ll have Nugget alongside you, an angel that’s chained to one of your horns so he can’t get away, essentially being your grappling hook and weapon as you swing him around at enemies. Nate and Nugget will explore a handful of disgusting worlds, battle even grosser enemies and swing and jump to their destinations by any means possible while meeting a unique cast of characters along the way.

Again, Hell Pie is deceptively cute looking from the outside, but once you start seeing its content and violence, it’s quite obscene. The core gameplay comes from the 3D platforming as you explore each of the overworlds as you look for those coveted ingredients for Satan. The earlier levels are quite basic and simple in layout, eventually becoming more involved and spread out, requiring more finesse when it comes to your actual platforming skills.

This is where Nugget comes into play, your partner that you keep chained to you at all times, used as your air anchor, grapple hook and weapon. I know, it’s absurd to use a fat little angel with wings as a weapon and hostage, but I told you Hell Pie was M-rated. Nate can jump, double jump and dash, but that will only get him so far when you need to traverse vertically or across huge chasms of death. Nugget is how you can anchor yourself midair to swing and reach greater heights; he is an angel with wings after all. While the movement may not be as smooth as say Spider-Man, once you get a feel for Hell Pie’s physics and limitations, it feels great being able to reach areas via a shortcut because you know just how to swing to make those gaps.

While you’ll be able to use Nugget as an air anchor once in the beginning, search around the levels for some Candymeat and you can upgrade and improve Nuggets skillsets, allowing for even more options when it comes to traversal. While levels will be designed in a way that you’re generally meant to go in a linear and intended path, the freeform 3D platforming and your skills with Nugget can allow you to basically cross levels in almost any way you wish. With some upgrades, Nugget can then be used for more air anchors, other attack moves or even health upgrades. By the final world you should be able to easily traverse Nate around with ease to get anywhere you can see.

As you explore the levels you’ll constantly come across these little purple blobs, as this is the currency you collect throughout. Nate can use these to buy outfits for himself and Nugget. Do these outfits do anything to change the gameplay? Absolutely not. Did I want to collect all the money to buy them all? I sure did. There’s something hilarious dressing the duo up in suits in one level and a BDSM ‘gimp’ outfit the next. There’s a decent amount to unlock and find along the way and at one point I was even gambling my money to try and hit a jackpot to purchase more outfits. Some are quite out there and unique, always good for a laugh.

Aside from currency and cans of Candymeat to collect, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for baby unicorns and golden cats. These tiny unicorns aren’t just to add another type of collectable either, as these are what you’ll use, well... sacrifice, to gain new horns for Nate which equate to new abilities. Yes, you’ll be sacrificing baby unicorns to further improve Nate’s own abilities. While simply sacrificing would be bad enough, Hell Pie has you spamming a button to literally rip the horns out of their heads, thus killing them, to sacrifice to gain these new powers. I told you this game was over the top.

These new horns will allow Nate to run quicker by boosting, maybe charging up for a powerful dash that allows him to break through barred up cages or boxes, and more. I thought that collecting all of these would have been necessary to progress through most of the game, but they don’t seem to be unless you want to collect everything Hell Pie has to offer.

While there were some minor bugs here and there, as well as some annoying camera issues getting stuck or showing an awkward angle, nothing was a deal-breaker overall. The most annoying bug I had was having to use a valve that was invisible on the ground and then wouldn’t be placed where I had to bring it, but simply restarting at my last checkpoint fixed this.

Filled with tons of crude humor, pop culture references and a ton of grossness, there’s nothing quite like taking on some German turds only to collect the used tampon ingredient needed for Satan's pie. Yes, you read that right, I told you Hell Pie was obscene and edgy. Even though your playthrough will take roughly 8-10 hours or so, more if you want to collect everything, I really don’t want to spoil much of the worlds, enemies, situations and jokes, as that’s what kept me hooked wanting to play, more so than the actual gameplay itself.

There’s a surprising amount of bright colors and palettes being used and the art direction is fantastic. Sure some will question the content, like having naked overweight slobs in a feces filled sewer, but each level is quite distinct in its design. Animations, especially for the platforming, is smooth, and together with the great level design makes for a satisfying experience. Audio, while decent, isn’t at the same level, mostly due to the lack of any voice acting. Sure there’s some speech bubbles and the overall sounds are adequate, but no voiced dialogue brought down the experience just a little for myself.

Hell Pie is absolutely over the top with attempting to be purposely obscene and gross, and it succeeds at doing so. While its core gameplay as a 3D platformer is worth the play alone, your enjoyment will lie in how adolescent your sense of humor is. I’m a twelve year old at heart, so of course I laugh at farts, fighting Nazi turds and other taboo topics. While the shock value wears off in the later half, thankfully Hell Pie can fall back on its solid platforming gameplay, simply being a fun game at its core. If you need a cheap laugh and want to just have some fun, Hell Pie is the disgusting and obscene game you might have been looking for.

**Hell Pie was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 6.5 / 10


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