Pizza Tower 2023
Days in Journal
January 28, 2023
Pizza Tower absolutely cribs its fundamentals from Wario Land 4, but it changes things up just enough to feel fresh. There’s a greater emphasis on speed and maintaining momentum, as well as chaining attacks together for big combo strings. It’s a game that constantly moves and grooves, and I could see speedrunning this game being a blast.
That’s not to say it’s all speed though. You can slow down and explore these huge stages as well. In fact it’s highly recommend that you do so on your first run since boss doors are unlocked by earning money from finding secret ingredients in each stage (which isn’t too tough thankfully; I only hit a wall at the very end where I needed to go back to an earlier level and find a couple of ingredients).
Mechanically, this game is an absolute dream. I love how massive and layered the levels are while never feeling too overwhelming. I never felt stuck or lost; they’re just linear enough to prevent that while allowing you to go off the beaten path for secrets if you desire.
Much like Wario Land 4, each stage ends with an escape sequence where you have to haul ass back to the beginning while a timer ticks away. It’s properly exhilarating, and the chaos extends to the music that sounds like it’s about to unravel at any given moment while you’re desperately speeding back to safety. I adore these segments, especially one that I will not spoil but had me grasping on to the controller like it was trying to fly out of my hands.
And the bosses, my god. They’re excellent tests of pattern memorization and offer a hell of a challenge. I could see these being a point of frustration with a lot of people and I wish there were some accessibility options that could alleviate any potential hurdles, but I felt a rush of joy wash over me each time I made it through.
The presentation is also immaculate, paying homage to 90s animation and reminding me a lot of games like Earthworm Jim and Boogerman. Peppino’s animations are so detailed and expressive, and the stages held within the tower are full of personality and unique aesthetics. The soundtrack is great too, bouncing between funky and chaotic, often within the same level.
At this point I’m just sorta listing mechanics and gushing so I’ll wrap this up. Pizza Tower is going to be a tough game to top for me this year in terms of indies. It’s pretty much everything I was hoping for, and then some. I’ve been following the development of this game for a couple of years now and seeing how wonderful it turned out makes me happy. I’m looking forward to diving back in and attempting to find everything I missed the first time.