The lights are on
The Behemoth, makers of Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theatre’s latest game may departs from the studio’s established action roots in favor of hex-based strategy. However, its absurdist humor and impressive art is unchanged.
Behemoth’s Game 4 (which is not the final name) begins when a gigantic space bear crashes into a planet, forcing basically every aspect of the world to go insane. Elements from alternate time periods and dimensions are starting merging in bizarre ways. I got the chance to sit down with the game’s artist and designer Dan Paladin, as he walked me through what is in store for his latest title.
In my demo, my hero is a father with a wife and child in front of their house when a group of cannibals come by saying they want to eat them. The child and mother run inside and combat begins. It’s a simple matter of placing your hero where they will be most effective. Starting out, I had a shield and a sword. The shield is great for blocking arrows, meaning I am safe from the archers. I focus my attention on those without long-range weaponry. I place my hero in front of them and let the combat happen. In Game 4, you don’t select from a series of attacks, or even select who you want to fight. It’s all about making sure everyone is placed appropriately. If there are two enemies connected to your grid space for example, you don’t pick which one to attack. Your hero just attacks maybe one of them, maybe both. It’s random.
For its PAX showing, The Behemoth constructed these giant arcade controllers. Pulling the lever shaped like a Y confirmed the end of your turn.
The battle raged on, and suddenly green bear blood poured from the sky, destroying my home and family, as well as the majority of cannibals. When the remaining enemies saw they were going to lose the battle, they start saying they were just kidding about eating me. It's too late though, I killed them.
It sounds like a dreary way to open a game, but any tone of seriousness was quickly washed away when narrator Will Stamper began describing what was happening. Paladin’s friend and former roommate, Stamper, voiced the narrator in BattleBlock Theatre, and he serves a similar role here by adding strange, comedic commentary to everything happening.
Stamper’s voice is the only one in English. The voices of the characters come through as gibberish. When Stamper began saying my hero quickly got over the death of his family and the destruction of his home, it was clear my hero disagreed, even if I didn’t understand what he was saying. Stamper’s voice shouted back saying this is how the story goes regardless of what the hero thinks.
As I made my way along the open map, obscured by the fog of war, I found a button that let me poop. Paladin said the pooping is so you can prevent yourself from getting lost and mark previously visited positions. Paladin said they considered bread crumbs, but that wouldn’t make sense because they would get eaten by wildlife. Plus, wouldn’t you want to follow in the footsteps of someone who is clearly eating well and having regular bowel movements?
I found a town and met a woman who joined my party as a fighter. The narrator insinuates that the hero is attracted to her, even though the hero continues to argue that he is not over the death of his family.
For more on The Behemoth's new game and Paladin's history with Xbox Live, head to page two.
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