Pizza Tower delivers what Nintendon’t

Pizza Tower, a frantic, heart-pounding platformer with extra sauce.

Tour de Pizza, a small indie game developer had kept Pizza Tower baking in the oven for about five years. I’ve been following the game’s development loosely on Twitter, thinking it would be cute, but nothing too special. Now after getting my hands on Pizza Tower I’ve fallen head over heels in love with this game. It’s momentum is some of the best I’ve seen in a platformer, and never once does it’s gameplay feel stale. It’s cartoonish art-style keeps the game visually interesting, and it’s soundtrack is filled with plenty of bangers. Pizza Tower is currently exclusive to Steam, but perfectly encapsulates the feeling of platformers of yesteryear. Before I continue on about how much I love Pizza Tower, allow me to take a step back and explain what Pizza Tower is.

Pizza Tower is a 2D platformer inspired by platformers of yore; it’s most notable influence being the Wario Land franchise. Wario Land was a quirky, almost punk withdrawal from Mario. It was a lot more experimental with it’s non-linear levels, gimmicks, secrets, and somewhat grotesque aesthetic. Unfortunately for fans, the last Wario Land game we had was from 2008, and it hadn’t even been made in house at Nintendo. Fortunately, Pizza Tower takes inspiration from Wario Land, scratching that same itch to perfection and then some. Pizza Tower is a lot more than just a copycat, and it fully realizes it’s content without exhausting it’s players.

What the pepperoni is this game!?

Pizza Tower stars Peppino Spaghetti, an anxiety-riddled owner of a pizza-shop. Peppino’s humble pizza shop is threatened by Pizza Face, a giant floating pizza who built a Pizza Tower next door. Peppino is tasked with a mad dash through the Pizza Tower to the top before his restaurant’s destruction. The concept doesn’t take itself seriously, but Tour de Pizza doesn’t ever use that as an excuse for sloppy game-design. On top of the snappy platforming, each level introduces various gimmicks, whether it be playing as another character, a wacky transformation, or a gun. It was an absolute delight seeing what Pizza Tower would throw my way, and none of the gimmicks outwear their welcome.

Pizza Tower lacks a traditional difficulty or lives system. Peppino can not die, at least for most of the level. The only exception to this rule is Pizzaface, who shows up during escape sequences once the timer reaches zero. For players who take the game seriously, it features a Devil May Cry-esque ranking system, scoring you at the end of each level. Players can go after S Ranks or the secret rank, P rank, which either stands for perfect or pizza. Going for a perfect score and finishing all the achievements is no easy task. The skill ceiling in this game is high, and with the number of moves and gimmicks Peppino has available to him, it keeps players coming back for more.

Cheesy, Saucy, Platforming Goodness.

Pizza Tower excels not just in its platforming, but in its aesthetic. It’s cartoonish and almost MS Paint like style is visually interesting. Each level is colorful enough to visually stimulate the player. Along with that, the soundtrack is like nothing else out there right now. It’s soundtrack fits the game perfectly, using samples from Wario Land and Hip-Hop in ways that keep me coming back to the soundtrack again and again. The world of Pizza Tower is colorful, vibrant, and filled to the brim with many funny expressions. I had a big smile on my face the whole time playing through Pizza Tower, and I implore everyone to at least give the game a chance.

In a world of overly-ambitious indie games, Pizza Tower fully realizes itself within the limitations of a retro platformer. Whether players want to dash through the levels quickly, or fully master the game, it all feels satisfying and tight. It’s not just a homage to Wario Land, but it outclasses it in just about every way you can imagine. Pizza Tower is more than a nostalgic reimagining, it’s a well-baked game you can feel the cheesy love oozing out of. It showcases everything fans loved with the original Wario Land, adding to it in a way modern gamers can appreciate. I’m very happy with Pizza Tower, and it’s not often an indie developer manages to knock it out of the park with their first game. I look forward to more from Tour de pizza in the future.
Now in conclusion I want to end this review in the wise words of Tobey Maguire, “It’s Pizza Time.” You can play games with on the best state-of-the-art, high-speed gaming PCs around at The Esports Cave.

Luka Eichenwald

Luka Eichenwald