Pizza Boy Review: Retro Goodness Worth a Slice

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Apple and Gaming

Pizza Boy ($1.99)is a great 2d platformer for the iPhone reminiscent of the 16-bit era. The graphics, physics and gameplay have a familiar feel for those of us who grew up with Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Despite being relatively short, Pizza Boy is a challenging game with a lot of solid platforming skills required to complete.

Presentation

Right after booting up the game the game gives an option to enable sound. After choosing to have it enabled, the main menu of the game launches a MIDI-style soundtrack that just made me smile as I knew I was in for a treat. I was reminded of the feeling when I first booted up Sonic on the Master System all those years ago.

There is a short and silent backstory presented before starting the adventure in gorgeous hand-drawn art that show the main character embarking on a quest to reclaim a piece of pizza stolen from his girlfriend. There is a lot of charm and character throughout the game with a great art direction to boot.

Controls

Acne Play created the “Smart Touch System,” or what they refer to as a control designed specifically for touch input-devices capable of replicating a d-pad console feeling. In some ways they are right in others not so much so. Although the control method the game utilizes is very well done with the virtual dpad doing its job better than most platformers on the iDevices, he jump and throw buttons are a bit further than I would have liked becoming apparent especially while playing in 2x mode on the iPad – which is my preferred way to play the game as the fingers don’t get in the way of the view that sometimes occurs on the iPhone.

However, the dpad and buttons are generally below the gameplay and don’t really get in the way of the visuals too much on the iPhone either. This has been a problem with some previous platformers on the idevices. The dpad also looks very retro and has style but only with a left and right trigger.

The physics are very well done and you never feel as if you can float or jump too high compared to the size and look of the character you are controlling.

Gameplay

The game plays like a mix of Adventure Island and Mario. Jumping on most enemies or throwing soda bottles at them will defeat them. The game also features retro music that will remind of an era where platformers shined. This is by no means an easy casual game as I was replaying some levels multiple times.

Like most platformers, the game progresses in a linear fashion where you start on the left side of a level and reach the end goal on the right. Some levels, reminiscent of Mario, have the level scroll left forcing the player to use quick reflexes to keep heading right.

Suggestions

Multiplayer akin to what Nintendo did with The New Super Mario Brothers Wii would be real nice. Another addition I would suggest is a proper Ipad version that makes the game truly full screen – despsite the fact the game does look great on the iPad anyway. Lastly, some added levels or at least in-app purchases would be nice.

Conclusion

This game is very fun and addicting, and is a strong recommendation for any platformer fan. It has really top notch, and colorful, graphics with a great level design that features a few different environments. If you can put up with the game not having much length and no expansion purchases or addons, and enjoy a platforming challenge, head to the App Store and purchase it. The App store needs more platformers like Pizza Boy and Along with Frogatto, DarkVoidZero and Invisible Runner, this is among the best ones so far.

-update
This is the review I wrote without editing and it was later posted (with a bit of editing) on Theappera:

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