Pizzarian – What We Think
Featuring a chiptune soundtrack, and sporting graphics so retro they’re monochrome, Pizzarian touches on several arcade gaming styles of yesteryear. Take on the role of owner of a small intergalactic pizzeria, and strive to compete with the dominant Big Pizza magnates. As you earn yourself a larger slice of that pizza, you can expect your adversaries to strike back with force.
The toppings are all there, but does Pizzarian deliver?
Pie in the Sky
After inheriting a family member’s run-down pizza delivery establishment, the player must bring relevance back to the small operation. Growing your customer base and earning repeat business are the only sure-fire way to wrangle market share back from the the established ‘za conglomerates. To do this, deliver pizzas with as much style as possible.
One way that style points are accumulated is by flying circles around cars on the intergalactic highways you’ll travel on between moons. These scenes may well trigger Frogger flashbacks, only in this case, the player controls one of the vehicles. Vehicles will occasionally veer into another lane without warning, so approach with caution.
Once a moon is reached, the action changes to that of a top-down shooter. Delivery targets are indicated by a warning that appears at the top of the screen. Circle your delivery targets before launching your pie to net the bonus points. This gets easier to do once faster vehicles are available.
As your market share increases, you’re more likely to face an attack from your Big Pizza competitors. Strike down all of their weapons, and you’ll send them packing. They’ll be bringing more firepower with them each time they return. I found that it took a lot of grinding before the first of these encounters took place, but it’s a nice break in the other two .
The meager vehicle available at the outset of the game doesn’t have a lot of flash, and plods along. While upgrades can be purchased from Blackmart, it’s a better idea to save up some creds and purchase a faster (and therefore, cooler) ship. The added speed and additional upgrade slots will make netting style points a whole lot easier, and the speedier craft can handle additional modifications.
The names and descriptions for the upgrades are also hilarious. Who wouldn’t want to outfit their delivery ship with its own personal-sized Large Hadron Collider?
Plain Cheese Pizza
I found both of the additional “cool points” systems were looser than I would have liked. Netting the bonus requires edging extremely close to each of the four “corners” of a vehicle, so any change in direction from the target frequently causes it to collide with your ship. With no notable warnings coming from merging vehicles, there is no way to rack up maximum points without risking damage to the ship, regardless of how fast it can move.
Also, the act of circling delivery targets on moons was really tricky to master: In some cases, it would seem as though I had only halfway circled my mark before I netted the points, and yet in other instances, I would buzz around furiously numerous times to no avail. This lack of consistency amounts to feeling more lucky than skillful when acquiring the points.
Slow Delivery Day
The delivery portion also feels incredibly empty. With the top down perspective, I was anticipating some sort of enemy crafts to thwart, but there is only your ship, and the spots to launch your pizzas. While having a faster craft allows the possibility to rack up more points, it does little to alleviate the tedium.
Unfortunately, it takes a lot of grinding through these plain and essentially unchanging levels before you reach the mini-boss battles, and even they aren’t that satisfying. While I’m sure the bland monochrome textures were intended to give the game that retro feel, they don’t possess enough charm to pull it off.
It’s Been A Slice
It doesn’t look like much, and while the action is somewhat enjoyable, it gets repetitive fast. But hey, even pizza that isn’t great is still pretty good.
Watch the trailer for Pizzarian below: