A new venture from Suda 51, Diabolical Pitch is a Kinect game that features baseball motions with the Kinect to attack animal-like monsters. Pitching motions will get players to throw balls at enemies, building up power for special Diabolical Pitches.
The game centers around a major-league baseball pitcher named McAllister. After securing his team's place in the World Series by pitching a perfect no-hitter, McAllister suddenly slumps over and clutches his shoulder in pain. Soon after he learns that he is somehow crippled, and his pitching days are over. McAllister snidely declares that the American dream is dead after viewing an advertisement for a theme park called "Queen Christine's Dreamland" that declares that it's where "your dreams will come true".
While driving down the road reflecting on his position, McAllister gets into a head-on collision with a truck. He wakes up wearing his baseball uniform in Queen Christine's Dreamland, where he is greeted by a cow-headed mascot. The mascot offers McAllister a mechanical arm to replace his injured one, which he accepts. It is left up to the audience's imagination how exactly he does this. McAllister immediately realizes that his new arm feels much better. The mascot declares that the arm will allow McAllister to go anywhere in the park, and wishes him a good time. When McAllister asks what exactly is going on, the mascot states that "all dreams come with a price" as the tone turns sinister. McAllister ventures into the park, declaring that he'll do whatever it takes.
McAllister fights through several areas of the park, pausing only to discuss his situation with his cow-headed companion. These discussions serve to reinforce McAllister's desire to get his pitching skills back, as he continuously refuses to give up. As he reaches the final area, he encounters a giant mechanized woman who identifies herself as Queen Christine. After climbing her castle and confronting her in a final battle, McAllister defeats Queen Christine and restates his wish to have his pitching arm back. The defeated Queen Christine tells him that his wish is granted. In a flash of light, McAllister snaps back to his final game, moments after the announcers begin to wonder what is wrong. However, McAllister finds that his once-crippled arm is good-as-new, and his career can continue to thrive.
Gameplay is centered around throwing balls at targets in a shooting-gallery setup. Enemies will emerge from trapdoors and other parts of the environment and begin to approach or attack the player. There are many different enemy types which attack in different ways and have different vulnerabilities, requiring the player to identify the best approach for dealing with them.
The game progresses through five different environments, each of which is comprised of three main acts and an extra area to gather more points/money. The final environment presents a final boss battle in lieu of an extra area. Each act progresses with a predetermined configuration of enemies, followed by a tougher boss enemy. This boss enemy is usually a tougher version of the enemies that the player encounters during an act, requiring a specific strategy to bring it down.
All of the actions the player uses during gameplay mirror their real-life baseball counterparts, and are all used for specific functions.
The player attacks and collects items by pitching balls, which is done by swinging their dominant arm in a pitching motion. The direction of the player's pitch is generally reflected in the direction the character throws the ball. Each pitch builds up the character's fatigue, which decreases over time. If the player pitches too often in a short period, the character will get tired and be unable to throw until he recovers, leaving him vulnerable to incoming enemy attacks.
In addition to throwing a basic pitch at enemies and objects, the player can also lock on to them by targeting with the non-pitching arm. This allows for the player to attack with headshots, which are more powerful than basic shots. While effective on basic enemy types, certain enemies have protected bodies and can only be damaged by lock-on headshots. In addition, some characters shoot slow-moving missiles that need to be shot out of the air by lock-on pitches before they reach the player's character.
Players can also attack nearby enemies with a limited number of kicks. Most enemies that a player encounters attack when they get within melee distance from the player's character. Kicks serve as a last-ditch attempt to prevent damage by punting nearby enemies away. The enemies then resume approaching the player, but from a further distance. Kicks can be recharged by collecting Golden Shoe pickups from the environment, restoring one available kick to the player.
Jump / Crouch
Certain enemies and bosses will throw buzz saws at the player, requiring them to either crouch under or jump over the incoming projectile. As the projectile approaches, the player has a limited time to perform the indicated action before the projectile hits and causes damage. The player can receive more points by performing the move within a certain time interval - acting too early or too late will still prevent damage, but the player will earn more points for a perfectly timed action. Consecutive well-timed jumps or crouches will increase the overall points rewarded for each subsequent action.
Other enemies will throw their own balls at the player, requiring him to catch it in the direction it approaches. Enemy balls can be thrown head on or curved to the right or left, requiring the player to catch to the front, left or right by placing both hands in the appropriate direction. The same timing rules apply here as with the jump/crouch prompt, as do the scoring rules.
When the player has successfully attacked a number of enemies, McAllister can perform a titular "Diabolical Pitch". This special attack is activated by performing an activation pose, such as raising both hands above the player's head or holding one arm out to the side. There are six different pitches, and the effects of each one differs - the Lightning pitch, for example, deals damage to every enemy on the screen, while the Cannon pitch allows for targeted attacks against individual targets.
Each stage that a player enters presents a challenge to get the highest score. Points are awarded for killing enemies and interacting with the environment. Killing multiple enemies in a row will provide a combo bonus multiplier. In addition, collecting slot-machine symbols that periodically appear on the field will allow for more points to be earned. Collecting three of a particular symbol will give the player a large point increase, so it's worthwhile to keep track of which symbols have been collected thus far in order to keep chains alive.
Scores are calculated on a per-world basis. A player's score persists throughout all stages within a world, and resets if a player dies and restarts any act. Playing through an entire world is therefore the best way to get a high score. These scores are reflected on the leaderboards for each world.
Players receive money during gameplay by defeating enemies. Money is used to purchase baseball cards that provide the player with various buffs and modifiers. New Diabolical Pitches can be unlocked by purchasing their respective baseball cards. Various status buffs such as increased health or fatigue limits can also be purchased in this manner, as well as score and money multipliers for the various collectibles.
The game can be played in either single player or local multiplayer mode. When two players are present, they cooperatively compete in the same stage side-by-side. If either player is killed during play, the other player can reach out and revive the fallen player.