Log Status

Completed

Playing

Backlog

Wishlist

Rating

Time Played

--

Days in Journal

6 days

Last played

March 17, 2024

First played

January 26, 2023

Platforms Played

Library Ownership

DISPLAY


How I learned to stop worrying and love Pizza Tower.

Seriously though, despite being a bit disappointed in my first playthrough, I kept coming back to it eventually in some way. The Noise update gave me another reason to do a full playthrough since he is a pretty different character, and I think that was enough to convince me that this game is actually pretty great. As much as I want to hate it due to its Ohio rizz band kid zoomer fanbase, I really can't. It really is an exceptional game. There's a lot of charm and genuine soul put into this that's very rare these days. I even went for a few P ranks and was surprised by how addicting it was. Definitely don't have the patience to P rank the whole game, but I finally get what people love about this game.

It's still not as good as Wario Land 4 though.

Decided to play through the whole game again to reassess it because I think my first time through was marred a bit by misplaced expectations. I do think the game is better than I originally thought, but a lot of my complaints are still valid.

Pizza Tower is a very good game, but I believe the level design being so focused on P ranks ends up hurting it. Instead of being the Wario Land inspired game it advertises itself as, it almost feels more like a less punishing Super Meat Boy or a very linear 2D Sonic game. It's less about going with the flow of the level and freely doing what you want and more about memorizing which pixel to press the jump button at the right time. Very much a game designed with a speedrunner's mentality. I definitely much prefer exploration-based platformers like Yoshi's Island, Mario World, Wario Land 4, etc. than this type of thing.

I also still think the bosses are oddly out of place too. You literally cannot die in levels, so having bosses be this much of a difficulty spike is jarring. Plus I generally tend to dislike this style of 2D platformer boss fight where you're just dodging attacks until an opening appears. It feels lazy at this point. Granted, this game does it better than most, and the final boss is genuinely fantastic.

With that being said, Pizza Tower is still really fun. You can play it more slow paced even though it's very clear you're not supposed to. There's a lot to appreciate here, like its music and it's animation. It's not the masterpiece terminally online zoomers claim it is, but it is definitely good and worth playing.

As a big fan of Wario Land 4, I was extremely excited for this game as there really aren’t any games out there like that game specifically. There’s nothing quite like that game’s mix of exploration, usage of powerups, and extremely bizarre and creepy atmosphere. I kind of got that with Pizza Tower, but unfortunately I finished the game feeling a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the game is good. In fact, I’d highly recommend it. It’s just not exactly what I wanted and expected it to be. Due to its focus on speeding through every obstacle and enemy, requiring near perfect memorization of the level design for the highest ranks, it ends up feeling more like a very linear Sonic game rather than a Wario Land game.

There are definitely things that Pizza Tower absolutely nails. Controls are mostly perfect, with my main complaint being that your moveset is so large that I would often accidentally trigger moves I didn’t mean to, this mainly being a problem during boss fights. The weird and creepy vibe of the Wario Land games is here too, only having a more 90s/early 2000s cartoon flair to it. Music is very good too, although nothing stands out that much other than the Pizza Time and the pause menu song.

Where the game loses me is in its level design. The kind of 2D platformers that I tend to like and am more impressed by are the ones that involve more nonlinear exploration and secret finding rather than pure twitch reflexes and memorization. Stuff like Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario World, and, well, Wario Land 4 are more my style. This game straight up advertises itself as Wario Land inspired, and yet every level plays more like the escape sequences from Wario Land 4 only on crack. It’s very clear that you’re supposed to memorize the layout of every level and go through them as efficiently and quickly as possible, which just didn’t gel with me as much as I’d like. You can kind of play it at a slower pace, but that ends up making a lot of parts feel sluggish and annoying to get through. Your dash turns any enemy in your path into fodder, so why wouldn’t you constantly try to go as fast as possible?

The speed of the game in combination with its artstyle can be a bit problematic too because it’s sometimes way too hard to distinguish between things like background and foreground elements or even hazards/enemies. A good example of this are the electrical outlets that appear on the ground for one of the levels. When you’re going fast, these blend in way too much and it’s extremely hard to tell they’re even there. Hell, even the first level of the game has enemies that will literally spawn in front of you and slap your shit and stop you in your tracks before you realize what happened. These enemies are purple by the way, on a level with a background that’s a slightly different shade of purple.

These kind of issues made me understand why people dislike the 2D Sonic games. A complaint I’ve heard a lot about those games is that too often you’ll try to go fast and get constantly hit by enemies or hazards. The difference there is that Sonic games are usually designed well enough that even when you’re going really fast, it almost never feels like you’re going so fast that you can’t tell what you’re looking at on screen. Plus, the 2D Sonic games, despite also being momentum focused, have very wide open and big levels with multiple paths that makes replaying them over and over again extremely satisfying. You don’t really get that with Pizza Tower. There is one linear path to take. Playing the game at optimal efficiency basically turns the game into an autorunner. The developer apparently got a lot of feedback from people in a discord who pushed him into this specific speedrun niche, and it really shows.

The levels also end up feeling very samey because of this design philosophy. Sure there are different themes, like one is in the sewers, one in a castle, one in a literal warzone, etc. Ultimately this doesn’t really matter, because few of the levels have anything truly unique going on with them. A few towards the end throw in some gimmicks, like the FNAF level, but it’s too little too late and the gimmicks they have are more on the annoying side. It has remnants of the kind of powerups seen in Wario Land, but they feel tacked on, as if the game was going to incorporate them more but the dev just forgot about them as the game swerved into a different direction. In my mind, every level blends together a bit too much.

Boss fights felt jarring to me. This is a game where you literally cannot die in stages, with the only true failure state being running out of time during the rush back to the start of the level. Having the boss fights be as difficult as they were seemed like an odd decision, especially when they start filling the screen with random hazards that sometimes feel impossible to avoid. I’m not asking for the boss fights to be literally unloseable or something, it just didn’t feel like a natural difficulty progression. Oddly enough, I found the final boss a lot more interesting, fun, and less difficult than the others, probably because I was used to the difficulty at that point, but it simply felt better designed.

I’m being really hard on the game, but that’s mainly because I was looking forward to this for a while. It’s still well made and very good. Again, the controls are great, the art and animations are fantastic, and overall you can tell they put a lot of heart and soul into this. The level design isn’t quite what I wanted, but it’s definitely not bad by any means. There have been small patches for the game almost every day since release to fix issues, which shows that they genuinely care about feedback. I just don’t really feel much of an incentive to go back and replay levels due to the overall design rubbing me the wrong way. Going for S and P ranks also seems absurdly annoying, fuck that.

By the way, I unintentionally beat the game with 69% completion, so I’m never touching that save file again.