Sword of the Stars: The Pit

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Sword of the Stars: The Pit
Stable game
Developer Kerberos Productions
Theme Science Fiction
Influences Rogue for the Atari ST, NetHack, Diablo
Released Q1 2013 ({{{relver}}})
Updated Mar 21, 2016 ({{{updver}}})
Licensing Commercial
P. Language
Platforms Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Interface Graphical tiles, Keyboard, Mouse
Game Length Open ended
Official site of Sword of the Stars: The Pit


Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a roguelike type game set in the Sword of the Stars universe, developed by Kerberos Productions.

Its main trait that distinguishes it from other roguelikes is its focus on attrition - Food, ammunition, and weapon/armor durability are all highly limited, pushing you to conserve resources and push forward into deeper levels to find more when you might not be fully recovered from previous engagements. It also has a strong emphasis on crafting and inventory management, forcing the player to make hard choices on which items to keep (often in the hopes of finding others that will also to craft valuable items with them), and which to leave behind.


The game has multiple features that makes it a roguelike game, most importantly:

  • Turn-based action
  • Procedurally generated levels and items
  • Permadeath - "Iron Man" save system.

Other significant features:

  • Go up levels and improve your skills as you try and find a way to survive the depths.
  • 30 Levels of ancient evil science between you and the cure
  • Dozens of enemies drawn from the Sword of the Stars universe
  • Over 30 weapons and armors with a variety of special effects including flamethrowers, rocket launchers, plasma cannons and powered Brawler armor
  • Randomized augmentation effects to make each game unique.
  • Crafting lets you make special items from bits and pieces of your enemies.
  • Over 60 items to discover, ranging from the familiar to the ancient exotic tech (506 item-types with all expansions (43 armor types + 34 other equipable types + 105 food types + 170 weapon types + 29 tool types + 46 other usabables + 79 crafting-only ingredients)).
  • 150+ messages hidden in the game's computer terminals, awaiting decryption (420 with all expansions)
  • A "SotsDex" or in-game wiki, which compiles a list of all monsters, items, weapons, messages and recipes which the player has encountered in multiple games
  • Dozens of room types containing a host of exotic devices to help and hinder the player.
  • Many fiendish ways to die including poisoning, disease, traps, radiation, starvation and of course…MONSTERS.

You control one of three playable characters: a Marine, an Engineer or a Scout (9 playable characters in Gold Edition, 13 total with all expansions). Each character has different strengths and starting skill and psi proficiencies. Some have unique abilities or powerful starting items.


Alpha Demo

A playable Alpha Demo was released on November 9, 2012. The Pit Alpha Demo (130M) was available from the following locations;

" mirror 1 mirror 2 mirror 3 mirror 4

More links were added regularly, as new hosts picked up the demo.

This Alpha demo of The Pit provided players with an introductory tutorial, one Playable Character (the Engineer), and a chance to fight through the first 5 levels of the game. The Demo represented approximately 10% of the final game content, and is missing the following features available only in the full game:

  • The Marine and the Scout Characters
  • 25 more levels of content, each level bigger than the last
  • Dozens of enemies
  • Many more weapons and armors with a variety of special effects, including flamethrowers, rocket launchers, plasma cannons and powered Brawler armor.
  • Randomized augmentation effects to make each game unique
  • Crafting Mechanics, which let you make special items from bits and pieces of your enemies!
  • 50 more items to discover, ranging from the familiar to the ancient exotic tech.
  • Dozens of room types containing a host of exotic devices to help and hinder the player
  • Additional mode of death, including poisoning, disease, and radiation

Players who ran into technical trouble or questions were directed to the Kerberos Productions forums for The Pit.

Exclusive Beta

An Exclusive Beta test period for the game ran from December 2012 to mid-February 2013. Supporters of the crowd-funding project via Indiegogo and the game's dedicated website received access to the game in development and posted their feedback to a private message board for Beta testers on the Kerberos forums.


PC Release

The game was initially released only on Gamer's Gate on February 21, 2013. For the first ten days it remained in the Top Ten best-selling games on both the North American and UK versions of the site, and continued to be in the Top 20 for the next few weeks.

A Steam release of the game followed on March 8, 2013. Sales in its opening weekend were strong, with the title peaking at Number Five on the site's Top Sellers list.



Initial reception of the game has been positive overall, with many reviewers agreeing that the game is a "classic Roguelike" which players will love, hate, or love-to-hate based on their appreciation for classic Roguelike mechanics, including repeated deaths by various violent and non-violent means. Pixelbedlam, a UK review site, said that [I]The Pit[/I] "is a joy to play, but at the same time something so brutally difficult it just bends you over and paddles your arse like you’re a freshman in Dazed and Confused." Alex Rehnby at Techzwn agreed that the game was "relatively accessible" but "hard as nails", while the reviewer at No High Scores compared his gameplay sessions to "an abusive relationship", saying the game "keeps telling me that it loves me, and sometimes I love it too."

Marcus Estrada at Games Podunk gave the game its highest early review of 8/10 stars, calling it a "hardcore roguelike sure to please fans". The game was also covered by independent games critic TotalBiscuit who pointed out its interesting combat mechanics and recommended it to buyers on his famous "WTF is--?" video series.