How To Play

[Z] - Start the game
[Arrow keys] - Move/Ladder
[X] - Charge
[Z] - Jump
[Up] + [Z] - Highjump
[Down] while falling - Freefall

Pizza Tower is a dynamic 2D platformer that draws inspiration from the Wario Land series.The game showcases vibrant pixel art inspired by '90s cartoons and boasts a lively soundtrack to enhance the gaming experience.

Pizza Tower

I'm genuinely astonished at how impressive Pizza Tower turned out to be. I don't intend to underestimate the expertise of Tour De Pizza, the small studio responsible for this eccentric platformer. My previous encounters with indie titles of this scale, particularly those infused with retro inspiration, often left me with reservations about ambitious elements falling short.

Yet, Pizza Tower defies this trend. The game ambitiously tackles precision platforming, expressive hand-drawn animation, an abundance of game-altering power-ups, multiple playable characters, a captivating soundtrack, multi-stage boss battles, and even a sports level. Remarkably, Pizza Tower manages to grasp all these aspirations confidently, driving them headfirst through a stack of bricks.

Let me provide some context.

Pizza Tower, a 2D platformer, draws inspiration from the Wario Land series, a departure from Nintendo's primary Mario titles. Unlike Mario's linear levels, Wario Land embraced switchbacks, gimmicks, hidden rooms, and puzzles. Wario's distinctive move set, featuring grapple attacks and a shoulder charge, set him apart. Pizza Tower serves as a quirky mirror reflection of Wario Land, presenting Peppino Spaghetti as our not-Wario a character driven by anxiety and anger, on a mission to save his pizzeria from the evil within the titular Pizza Tower.

Playing as little Peppino is immensely satisfying. His primary grapple attack, with multiple directional follow-ups, allows for versatile maneuvers like chucking enemies at others, punting them skyward, or executing a Zangiefian spinning piledriver. Despite its limited scope, the move set proves snappy and intuitive, and I never grew weary of witnessing Peppino's unhinged combat animations.

The synergy between Pizza Tower's movement systems and level layouts is exceptional. Peppino can accelerate into a dramatic sprint with a bit of runway, climb sheer cliff faces, wall jump, employ a Metroid-y shinespark for rapid ascension, and execute a belly flop for a downward smash. Mastering these techniques, understanding their chaining possibilities, and recognizing the limitations provide a constant sense of engagement. The game never feels on autopilot; dashing into a wall results in a dead stop, and mindlessly sprinting may leave you scrambling up a dead-end barricade.

In essence, successful navigation through levels demands continuous, thoughtful input, transcending mere twitch reflexes. Most levels introduce modifiers, whether through a new player character, portals, or even a gun. I won't spoil them all, as they genuinely offer delightful and humorous surprises. Regardless of the wrinkle, the objective remains consistent: reach the end of the stage, topple a pillar, and escape before the entire structure collapses.

The escape sequences, a personal favorite, compel players to revisit the start of the level, testing memory and mastery of level-specific gimmicks. Importantly, these sequences introduce a rare potential fail state in Pizza Tower. The absence of traditional difficulty levels is notable, allowing players to self-determine the hardcore nature of their experience. Peppino inherits Wario's invincibility, turning enemy collisions into mere stuns that affect his combo meter. Pitfalls are nonlethal, and while collectibles and secret areas can pose challenges, they are largely optional. Even during frantic escape sequences, a generous countdown provides an opportunity for bold players to attempt another lap before time expires.

Describing Pizza Tower's approach to game difficulty as elegant might seem odd in a game where a frenzied cartoon Italian uses a corpse as a skateboard, but the term fits surprisingly well.

While Pizza Tower draws inspiration from classic platformers, it transcends the realm of nostalgic fluff. The game has not merely paid homage but has refined, evolved, and nearly perfected this peculiar niche of platforming. It stands out as a rare homage that surpasses the very things that inspired its creation. I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try.

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