PREVIEW: Diabolical Pitch (Xbox Spring Showcase 2012)
What do you get what you cross Suda 51 and family favourite Kinect?
The most unfamily friendly Kinect game ever created, that’s what.
Yep, moan no more, Kinect Naysayers. No longer can we say that Microsoft’s motion-tracking software is simply for families and those oh-so-casual gamers. Born from the bizarre and, quite frankly, twisted masters of horror Grasshopper Manufacture Inc, Diabolical Pitch is one of those games that is exactly what it says on the tin. Well. Kind of.
Look, you’re going to have to bear with me on this on, right? The moment I start describing the game you’re going to think I’m having some weird-ass acid flashback. Just hang on in there; this preview might not ever make sense, but I promise – it’s the game, not my writing.
The first part’s easy enough: announced a few years back as the mysterious Codename D (remember that?), this is GMI’s unique interpretation of the classic pitching carnival game. A former formidable baseball pitcher with, er, an inexplicably bionic arm, your yet-to-be-named character is trapped in what clearly must be Satan’s playground. Whilst your environment is a conventional – albeit a little rundown – carnival, your antagonists are nothing of the sort; well, not unless your local funfair sports bloodthirsty elephants hulking about on their hind legs and tigers with absolutely hellish glowing red eyes.
Now, you know me; yeah, I hate spiders and yes, I’ve been known to shout out loud on occasion playing Left 4 Dead. But I love horror. I’ve grown up on a wholly unhealthy diet of horror and zombie games, and I don’t scare easy. This, on the other hand? The gruesome enemies with their absolutely grotesque eyes and unnerving determination to get you? These, my friend, are grim, and are genuinely some of the most unsettling enemies I’ve ever seen to date.
And that’s from someone who’s played the entire Silent Hill catalogue.
The trouble here, regrettably, is the mechanic. Now, I’m going to suffix this with the acknowledgement that what I played was really early in the game, and I didn’t get the opportunity to run the co-op mode through it’s paces. But while there is absolutely no denying the genuine disquiet of the evolving cast and environment, the gameplay was wholly repetitive. While the Kinect is as responsive and effective as ever, the pitch-pitch-kick-pitch methodology gets old, and pretty fast. Sure, there are power-ups and boosts as you play through, and the enemies do – as you’d rightly expect – get harder as you progress, but it remains to be seen what else the game can throw at you to keep your interest piqued …
That said, there’s no denying the fun to had … not to mention a bucketload of insanity.
Diabolical Pitch is coming to XBLA on 4 April 2012.