Preview: Diabolical Pitch

What’s it about? Think baseball meets Spirited Away with a sizeable chunk of Twin Peaks thrown in and you’re almost there in picturing the weirdness that is Diabolical Pitch. McAllister, our hapless Big League pitcher is about to have a very bad time of it: not only seeing his career finished through injury, but later careering off the road only to wake in – something akin to Disneyland on acid.

His first encounter is with a bipedal cow, complete with 360 degree turning head who bestows on him a new mannequin-like bionic pitching arm. It’s not without a hefty price however, namely that he must blast through a series of shoot-em-up style on-rails stages where possessed elephants, baboons and more are all out to get him in his own personal hell.

Of course it’s a Kinect game – as if a control pad driven game would concoct such weirdness to incorporate a throwing action into its gameplay – and so off you go, pitching out fast balls at the heads of the game’s legion of freaks.

There’s a bit more to it than simply throwing however, as hostiles are only too happy to throw munitions right back at you. Thankfully these can be caught by holding out both your hands in time. Occasionally they’ll fire an even more serious projectile your way, so leading the game to prompt you to jump or duck depending on its trajectory.

Then there’s the Diabolical Pitch itself, deployable only once an energy bar is recharged, and activated by throwing both hands in the air before bring them back down in tandem with a bar at the top of the screen. Too fast, or slow, and impact is affected; time it well and heavy damage across multiple targets is yours.

Other than hell’s own baboons, fatigue is your main foe, both that of your onscreen avatar – whose fatigue is measurable via an indicator bar – and your own. Diabolical Pitch bombards both throwing arm, and senses, in a way indicative of a release which won’t be playable in long stints (think an even more tiring version of Child of Eden).

Worth the wait? As far as amusing games for Kinect go it’s up there, but it will have to either house a whole repertoire of so far undisclosed, and more varied action, or else be priced competitively once upload to XBLA to make a successful pitch for our affections.

For: Xbox 360 Kinect via XBLA
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture inc.
Publisher: Microsoft
When? 4 April 2012

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