Game Review: Hell Pie

Rare’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the N64 is a huge fan favourite, even now over 20 years later. It was a cute-looking platformer that was rude, violent, full of bad language, pop culture references and more. Conker’s certainly wasn’t your average cute platformer For two decades, fans have wanted a sequel and Rare have never delivered. Developer Sluggerfly and publisher Headup Games have answered that call with Hell Pie. Not a Conker’s sequel, but more of a spiritual successor this is clearly influenced by Rare’s classic and very adult title.

Hell Pie is an obscene 3D platformer that takes bad taste to the next level! The game sees you grab the horns of Nate, the ‘Demon of Bad Taste. He is given the honorable task of gathering the disgusting ingredients for Satan’s infamous birthday pie. To do so, Nate must venture out into the overworld and do whatever it takes to ensure those ingredients are secured in time, or there’ll be hell to pay!”

As that blurb says, this is ‘an obscene 3D platformer that takes bad taste to the next level’ and yup… it certainly does that and then some. Hell Pie makes Conker’s Bad Fur Day look like an episode of Peppa Pig. Playing as Nate the demon, you are tasked with finding the ingredients to make a pie for the Devil’s birthday, that’s the entire plot. This really is a loving throwback to a certain style of platformer from that mid-90s to the early 2000s period. You know the ones I mean, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and of course, Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Simple plots, a basic story told within 3D levels/worlds that are crammed with lots of platforming action and plenty of things to collect along the way.

HELL PIE SCREEN 1

Where to start with Hell Pie? I really don’t know, how about the fact that your sidekick, a cherub called Nugget (who works as a grappling hook/swing/weapon), is naked and you can see his tiny cock? No, I wasn’t looking, that’s just how you are introduced to him. Yup, that pretty much should let you know the type of game you are getting here. Adult content from start to finish… but with a level of puerile and outright silliness. Do you want a serious platformer with a deep and evolving story? You’re not going to get that here. What you will get here is fart gags, used tampons as a food ingredient and more blood and gore then you’d see if you watched Peter Jackson’s Braindead on repeat for 48 hours.

The way the game works is that it is split into a number of semi-open world hubs and each of those hubs is themed. You can explore the hubs, talk to NPCs, find collectables and even a few of the ingredients that you need for Satan’s birthday pie. The hubs also contain levels for some classic mid-90s styled 3D platforming action and the odd boss fight too. The levels in these hubs really can be very, very tasteless. Just to give you a couple of examples. One level is based in a sewer, because of course it is. The main enemies that you face are literal shits, actual pieces of poo… that are dressed in (basically) SS Nazi uniforms. Another level takes place inside a whale, this whale is still alive too. Oh, and the local residents have set up an exclusive restaurant inside the whale where its patrons eat it alive from the indie. Bearing in mind, those are two of the tamest examples in the game and only from the first hub too. That’s before I get into a slaughterhouse that turns humans into food. So, SS Nazi poo monsters and eating a live whale from the inside is the standard of bad taste the game is boasting about.

HELL PIE SCREEN 3

Nate and Nugget work well together and both have several upgrades. Nate has various skills to use via his demon horns and as you progress through the level, you obtain new horns/powers by pulling the horns off cute unicorn baby things. Your standard set of horns works as a kind of compass that points out places of interest, NPCs, etc. Very helpful for when you are exploring one of the game’s hubs. Others horns will allow Nate to run fast, fly and add many more abilities.

Nugget, who is permanently chained to Nate, is pretty limited, at first. You can use him as a grappling hook and swing over larger gaps, but only once and you need to set foot on the ground to recharge the use. Or you swing him around to be used as a weapon, which is very handy for smacking Nazi poo monsters. You can find tins of candy meat (I think it is made from puppy dogs) that Nugget likes to eat, find enough and you can buy upgrades for your little friend. Additional swings before needing to reset, improve your wall climbing, unlock new attacks… make Nugget fart. You’ll be searching every corner of the hubs and levels to upgrade your little cherub as much as possible.

The world that you find yourself in can be pretty interactive too. There are things to play around with that make no difference to the game, they are just fun. One of the first things you can interact with is a photocopier and when you do, it spits out endless pieces of paper with crudely drawn dicks on them. The kind of ones that you used to draw in the back of your school books complete with droplets of spunk shooting out. This is the level of crass humour you are dealing with folks. Or maybe you’ll find a nice desk chair and spin yourself around in it… just because you can. There is plenty of stuff like this that doesn’t affect the game in any way and is just there to make you laugh.

HELL PIE SCREEN 4

Hell Pie is definitely not for the prudish and those easily offended. If this had been released in the 90s,  Jack Thompson would’ve had a heart attack. Farting, shit references, vomiting, nudity, blood and gore, etc No stone in the obscenity garden is left unturned. The actual platforming action is very solid and I really enjoyed using Nugget to swing around the levels and explore as much as I could. As I write this review, I am only 48% into the game and have not made it to the end credits yet. So I can’t tell you how long it takes to beat this one and can only say that I’ve spent a good 10-odd hours already though, mainly because I’ve been laughing and exploring the hubs way too much.

I did come across a few bugs though. One had me defeat a boss, only for the game not to progress and it just kept me stuck in the arena where the fight was. I had to reset the game and defeat the boss again, it worked fine the second time. Other bugs had me getting stuck in scenery and with another one, I fell off a ledge to my doom, only the game didn’t count it as a death and I became stuck at the bottom of an inescapable chasm. I’m sure these bugs will be ironed out with patches I hope they will be.

HELL PIE SCREEN 2

£20 is how much this slice of disgustingly obscene pie is going to cost you and you really do get a lot of game for your money. There is plenty to see and do, lots to collect, unlockable costumes, a good progression and upgrade system and much more. The thing about the 3D platformer is that it a genre that I don’t have a lot of love for, I just prefer my platforming to be 2D. However, I did find Hell Pie really enjoyable. I love a good fart gag and Hell Pie is crammed with that type of humour. Film references, such as a funny Scarface one where you have to shotgun enemies who have taken over this game’s version of Tony Montana’s mansion. If you are a fan of the 3D platformer and are looking for an itch that needs scratching, left by the absence of a Conker’s Bad Fur Day 2, get a copy of Hell Pie and be humorously offended.