- 🏠 PIZZA TOWER
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Welcome to pizza tower – game by tour de pizza.
Pizza Tower is an exciting and immersive game developed by Tour de Pizza , a passionate team of game developers who share a love for both pizza and gaming. We believe that combining these two passions creates a unique and enjoyable experience for players of all ages.
Tour de Pizza was founded in 2010 by a group of friends who were not only avid gamers but also had a deep appreciation for the art of pizza making. Inspired by their favorite games and the mouthwatering taste of pizza, they set out to create a game that would capture the joy and excitement of both worlds.
What started as a small indie project has now grown into a successful game development studio, known for its innovative and fun games. Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality gaming experiences that bring people together, spark imagination, and create lasting memories.
The Game: Pizza Tower
In Pizza Tower, players embark on a thrilling adventure as they navigate through a towering pizza-themed world filled with challenges, puzzles, and delicious surprises. From climbing pepperoni platforms to battling cheesy enemies, the game offers a unique blend of action, exploration, and pizza-themed humor.
With visually stunning graphics, immersive gameplay, and a captivating storyline, Pizza Tower offers hours of entertainment for players of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting your gaming journey, Pizza Tower guarantees a fun and unforgettable experience.
Join Us on the Pizza Adventure!
Whether you’re a fan of pizza, gaming, or both, Pizza Tower offers an immersive experience that will satisfy your cravings for fun and excitement. Embark on a pizza-filled adventure with us and get ready for a gaming journey like no other. Grab your slice of the action and let’s conquer the Pizza Tower together!
Pizza Tower (Video Game)
- View history
Pizza Tower is a 2D platformer developed by Tour de Pizza. It is a spiritual successor to the Wario Land series of games featuring action-packed gameplay, a unique over-exaggerated low-resolution art style akin to cartoons like Ren & Stimpy , Rocko's Modern Life , Cow and Chicken , I am Weasel , CatDog , Courage the Cowardly Dog , Ed, Edd N Eddy and Spongebob Squarepants as well as French comics such as Concombre Masqué , and a just-as-unique 16-bit soundtrack .
- 3 Development
- 4 Reception
- 6 References
Pizza Tower mainly follows Peppino Spaghetti , a struggling Italian pizza chef climbing the titular Pizza Tower on a quest to stop Pizzaface from blowing up his pizzeria with a laser at the top of the tower. Gustavo , an adventurer, assists Peppino in his quest.
Gameplay [ ]
The game has the player take control of Peppino, as he navigates through multiple large levels, collecting pizza toppings of various sizes and defeating enemies to score points. Unlike many other action games of this caliber, he is immune to death, normally only losing 50 points when hit.
Small toppings and Pizza Blocks are normally worth 10 points, while large toppings and Pizza Blocks are normally worth 100.
Additionally, defeating an enemy starts a combo. This combo is maintained through collecting toppings and defeating even more enemies, the latter increasing the combo by 1. Points gained from enemies increase by 5 as it goes higher. If a combo runs out, the player is awarded points depending on the size of the combo, along with a ranking: Lame (x1); Cheesy (x5); Not Bad but Not Great Either (x10); Getting Somewhere! (x15); Nice, Good Job (x20); Cheflike (x25) Brutal! (x30); Evil (x35); Unclean (x40) Disturbing (x45); Twisted (x50); Psychotic (x55); Ill-willed (x60); Crushing (x65); Funny! (x70); or Unfunny (x75). Combos from x80 and higher repeat the rankings, but with a Very in front, so x80 is Very Lame, x85 is Very Cheesy, and so on.
His moveset consists of a jump, crouch, crawl and body slam, which can break bricks from a tall height. Peppino can also lunge forward in order to break purple bricks or grab enemies and objects. When something is in his grasp, he can carry it around as he pleases. Pressing the button again has him perform a powerful finishing blow that sends them flying forward, or upward if up is held while performing the attack. Pressing down while in midair has him perform a piledriver. He can safely drop whatever he's holding by pressing down while planted on the ground.
Peppino's signature maneuver is a continuous dash, used to smash purple bricks in his path and chip away at enemies, along with making longer jumps and running up walls. Holding down while dashing allows him to roll under tight gaps. Building up enough momentum has Peppino go at max speed, indicated by green and red afterimages following behind him. When at max speed, he can smash grey metal bricks and instantly defeat oncoming enemies, disarming themselves as he approaches. Pressing and holding up while at max speed has Peppino perform a Super Jump, which sends him flying upwards until he hits a ceiling or cancels it by pressing the Grab button.
The player can also taunt, striking a humorous pose as momentum is halted for a split second. This may seem useless at first, but charging up a big enough combo has electricity particles circle around Peppino, indicating the player can use the Super Taunt by taunting while holding up. This clears the screen of enemies instantly. Taunting is also used for parrying oncoming projectiles and enemy attacks when timed correctly.
Along with these moves, Peppino has the ability to transform from interactions with special enemies and parts of the environment, regularly used for defeating Stupid Rats . These include donning a heavy knight suit to build momentum off downward slopes, setting his mouth on fire to destroy TNT, or being pressed into a pizza box to jump almost infinitely and glide through the air. Coming in contact with a Priest lifts Peppino of the transformation, awarding him 500 points once only.
At the end of every level is a Pillar John , which starts a countdown upon being destroyed. The player must then race back to the beginning of the stage before time runs out. However, the player can run past the exit and warp back to where John was destroyed for a second lap of the escape, if they so choose. This is known as Pizza Time .
If the player fails to escape in time, Pizzaface will appear to chase the player, if they are caught, they are booted out of the stage, losing all of their current level progress. Otherwise, reaching the exit takes the player to a results screen, revealing their final rank for the level based on the number of points accumulated: D (Awful), C (Bad), B (OK), A (Nice) or S (Perfect). Collecting enough points for an S rank, completing all of the Secret Eye bonus rooms, obtaining the level's respective secret item and completing Lap 2 all while maintaining one long combo throughout the entire stage awards the player with a P rank instead. This rank is needed for 101% completion.
Each level features three additional tasks outside of finishing the level normally. In need of rescuing are the five Toppins , small pizza topping creatures trapped inside cages usually placed slightly off the beaten path. Each Toppin saved awards the player 1000 points. Three Secret Eyes are well-hidden throughout the stage, warping Peppino to a bonus room where the player can complete light platforming puzzles to score even more points. Gerome the janitor is also hidden somewhere and will follow the player when found, required for unlocking the door to the Tower Secret Treasure.
Each floor of the tower features a maximum of four levels and a boss fight, where Peppino has to face off against a dangerous adversary in a small arena. Unlike the regular levels, he is given six hit points, more akin to a regular action game. Losing all six immediately kicks the player out of the battle, forcing them to try again from the beginning. If the player successfully defeats the boss, they are awarded with a Giant Key, unlocking access to the next floor.
Development [ ]
Before the idea of Pizza Tower came to be, lead designer Geoffroy "McPig" Lanctôt (known as "Pizza Tower Guy" until May 21, 2021) had thought of making a horror comic series about a deranged chef fighting pizza demons in his own restaurant.  This idea didn't get past sketches, though the concept and main character were eventually reused for a 2D horror-themed RPG possibly titled "Pizza Massacre,"  which slowly but surely provided the base for Pizza Tower. 
Pizza Tower began development March 2018.
On March 14, 2018, McPig made a post on his Tumblr page discussing a game concept he's been working on titled "The Leaning Tower of Pizza," giving the first glimpse of Pizza Tower to the world.  The game was described as a mix between the puzzle solving of Wario Land 2 and the rush mechanic of Wario Land 4 with aiding, but at the same time hindering transformations . Alongside this description was a series of concept art showing several different mechanics and designs. Due to this new project, Pizza Tower Guy decided to halt his progress on his first game, Wieners Don't Use Drugs , of which was the main focus of his Tumblr page before this point.
Later that day, McPig posted the first look at Pizza Tower's gameplay in a very early state,  commencing what's known as the Preearlytestbuild . He would continue to send more gameplay footage, sprites, and answer questions on his Tumblr page, with his last post regarding Pizza Tower being posted on January 13, 2019.  Before then, on June 17, 2018, he had created the official Pizza Tower Discord. 
Pizza Tower's first public demo , the Halloween Demo , was posted on October 31, 2018  along with a Hard Mode at 5:22 PM of the same day. In these early builds, there were no set composers, so they used a commissioned song from Dim Widdy  in the form of "Funiculi Funicula", the current game's Tutorial theme, as well as unrelated video game rips.
Some time around November, 2018,  Mr. Sauceman sent McPig the first version of "It's Pizza Time!". McPig immediately loved it, hiring Mr. Sauceman as a full-on composer for Pizza Tower.  Mr. Sauceman's music would first be heard in-game on December 5, 2018, when the second public demo, Demo 2 , released.  Some time after, ClascyJitto was hired as a second composer after posting several promising remixes in the Discord.
At an unknown time, an earlier build from prior to the Halloween Demo dating back to September 16, 2018 was also released publicly in the form of the Earlytestbuild .
On December 13, 2018, McPig had created the Pizza Tower Patreon.  This is where most future builds were posted, only being given to Patreon supporters who pay $5 or more monthly. These builds would include new levels and mechanics for the supporters to test out and critique.
On January 12, 2019, the January Patreon Build was posted, introducing early versions of Oregano Desert , Oh Shit! , and Peppibot Factory . On March 7, 2019, the March Patreon Build was posted, allowing supporters to play as The Noise in an early version of Refridgerator-Refrigerador-Freezererator . On April 1, 2019, the GOLF demo was released publicly, jokingly showcasing an early version of Greaseball in a custom level. On May 25, 2019, the Hub Room Test Build was posted for Patrons only, adding an outdoor section to Mansion .
On September 29, 2019, the SAGE 2019 Demo was released publicly for the Sonic Amateur Games Expo of that year. It brought many new players in, boosting Pizza Tower's popularity greatly. This was followed by another public demo in the form of Noise's Hardoween on October 30, 2019, which starred The Noise as the only playable character in an earlier version of Pizzascare .
On December 13, 2019, the December Patreon Build was posted, introducing an early version of John Gutter . This was followed by the final public demo, Peppino's Xmas Break on December 30, 2019, which had Peppino venturing through an earlier version of Strongcold . On January 8, 9, and 10, 2020, three Patreon builds focusing on The Noise's new moveset were posted. On February 2, 2020, two Patreon builds were posted showcasing an earlier version of Dragon Lair .
On February 7, 2020, the first Level Editor Build was posted with the aid of a Patron named Sertif. This was followed on February 24, 2020 by a build showcasing an updated Oregano Desert, which itself was followed by a quickly removed build showcasing The Wasteyard . The Level Editor Build 2.0 was then posted at an unknown time after.
On April 25, 27, and 30, 2020, three builds were posted focusing on the levels of the Western District and the addition of The Vigilante as a playable character. The Level Editor Build 3.0 was then posted on May 13, 2020.
On July 7 and 11, 2020, two builds were posted revealing Crust Cove (Known at the time as Pineapple Beach) and Gnome Forest , marking Sertif as official co-programmer of the game. This is followed by the Level Editor Build 4.3 on August 30, 2020.
On April 3rd, 2021, a new build was released that contained every planned level in the game, but in an early state with most missing tilesets and/or backgrounds and many assets using placeholder sprites. This build was announced a month earlier.
McPig and Sertif are continuously working on the game as Tour de Pizza, the former showing his progress through Twitch streams.
On June 13, 2022, the final build for the game was released, nicknamed the "Eggplant Build", which features 19 levels from the main game, but it doesn't include the Tutorial level, any of the boss fights or the final level that happens after the final boss, plus the levels in this build only have an Eggplant rank. The full game was originally planned to be released in the third quarter of 2022, but it missed it's launch window due to McPig currently polishing up the levels and tweaking them by adding details to those levels on his Twitch.
On December 2, 2022, the Steam page for Pizza Tower was put up, along with a trailer. This also confirmed the game's release date, which was on January 26, 2023. You can see the trailer here.
Reception [ ]
Pizza Tower received overwhelmingly positive reviews according to the game's Steam reviews.
See also: Soundtrack
Pizza Tower has a soundtrack created by many composers, with a large number of songs composed by ClascyJitto and Mr. Sauceman.
References [ ]
- ↑ https://twitter.com/PizzaTowergame/status/1164791843218837504
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdJnee5Fn7I
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/173299687725/what-inspired-you-to-make-this-character-also
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/171847634220/ive-sketched-up-some-concept-for-a-game-called
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/171870059913/here-is-a-video-showcasing-what-im-talking-about
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/181965108995
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/174989767960/pizza-tower-discord
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/179615902779/new-demo
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/174484153995/how-are-you-coming-along-in-terms-of-soundtrack
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJSFiw5C-bA
- ↑ https://gamingreinvented.com/interview/an-interview-with-the-developer-of-wario-land-successor-pizza-tower/
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/180814412330/new-updated-demo-including-a-new-level
- ↑ https://wienerdontusedrugs.tumblr.com/post/181068627320/hey-ive-started-a-patreon-if-you-want-to-support
- 1 Peppino/Gallery
- 2 Playable Noise Update
- 3 The Noise/Gallery
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Pizza Tower will make one of its bosses playable in free update
Players will be able to play through the game as The Noise in what the developer calls a sort of 'New Game+'.
Last year, Pizza Tower hit us with a wacky world of pizza-themed platformer action, delighting players and earning itself a wealth of praise. This year, as we cross the first anniversary of Pizza Tower’s release, the game is set to get an update that will make a new character playable. It’s the obnoxious goober that acts as the third boss of the game, otherwise known as The Noise, and his playthrough in Pizza Tower changes other stuff about the game as well.
Pizza Tower developers Tour de Pizza shared the details about the upcoming free update via the Pizza Tower Twitter . Soon, players will be able to play through the entire game as The Noise. If you didn’t know, The Noise is a pretty on-the-nose reference to The Noid, which was a mascot for Domino’s Pizza for a while. Similar to The Noid, The Noise is a wacky little creeper that has access to pogo sticks, bombs, and jet packs when you fight him as the third boss in the game.
As for what you get to do with The Noise, the developers described his playthrough in Pizza Tower as “sort of a New Game+.” It seems you still get to play through all the levels, but they’ll be changed slightly to make things interesting. It also doesn’t look like you’ll have Noise’s bombs or pogo stick, but he does get his jetpack for big jumps, as well as a skateboard for sick Noise tricks when you sprint with him in the game.
All-in-all, Noise is silly as all get-out and looks like a fun reason to play the game again. The update isn’t out yet, but it should be coming shortly. If you haven’t played, you should absolutely check the game out and see why it made #3 on our Top 23 Games of 2023 , as well as why it’s our 2023 Game That Should Be On Nintendo Switch .
TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at [email protected] and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs .
- indie games
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TJ Denzer posted a new article, Pizza Tower will make one of its bosses playable in free update
2023's third highest-rated Steam game is a Wario Land-inspired pizza platformer
Pizza Tower is climbing up the Steam ranks fast
Developer Tour De Pizza clearly didn't compromise on its passions when it released its debut title: a pizza-themed platformer inspired by the Wario Land series, and the studio's dedication to its dreams appears to have paid off.
If you head to Steam's page for its most popular games released in 2023, you'll see a colorful little platformer called Pizza Tower at number three. The game prominently bills itself as "a fast paced 2D platformer inspired by the Wario Land series," and you can see that inspiration pretty clearly in the gameplay trailer:
Pizza Tower puts you in the shoes of the plump pizzaiolo Peppino Spaghetti, whose restaurant is under threat from the diabolical Pizza Face - literally a giant pizza with a face - who plans on annihilating Peppino's restaurant from the titular tower. Now, Peppino's a big fan of his restaurant, and likely his livelihood, so he's pretty motivated in getting to the top of Pizza Tower and putting a stop to Pizza Face once and for all.
Naturally, in his way are all manner of, in Tour De Pizza's words, "monsters and other weirdos." From the promotional materials, you can clearly see Peppino barreling right through obstacles like blocks of cheese and giant potatoes, and on the way to fight bosses, collecting pizza ingredients like tomatoes and mushrooms.
Pizza Tower has been in the making for about five years, so it's good to see its grand opening is getting business on Steam. Not only is it being played a lot, but it's also getting stellar reviews from players and critics alike. At the time of writing, Pizza Tower has almost 1,000 'Overwhelmingly Positive' reviews on Steam and our colleagues over at PC Gamer awarded it an impressive 9/10 .
Looking ahead, here are all of the upcoming indie games we have on our radar for 2023.
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Pizza Tower Review
Y'all ready to get funky.
The phrase “It’s Pizza Time” could cause a number of different reactions in your average person. Maybe it unlocks a memory of playing Turtles in Time at the arcade as a kid, maybe it makes you think of Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2, or maybe you’re hungry and it just gets you excited for some pizza. But for me, as someone who just played through the eccentric and thrilling Pizza Tower, when I hear Pizza Time, my hands start sweating, my pulse quickens, and anxiety creeps in as that music starts to slowly build in my head.
The debut game from developer Tour de Pizza could most simply be described as a spiritual successor to the Wario Land series, but it’s so much more than that. The speed of its 2D platforming can rival that of even the fastest Sonic games, its unforgettable art style oozes love for 90s Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows like Ren and Stimpy, and it's absurdly packed with secrets and extra challenges. Then there’s the eclectic soundtrack, which expertly nails the unique theme and vibe of each of its levels, especially the anxiety-inducing main theme that kicks in at the end of every stage as you race back to the start to avoid getting killed by an evil pizza face. Not only is Pizza Tower an adrenaline-filled thrill ride from start to finish, it’s one of the most creative 2D platformers I’ve played in quite some time.
Pizza Tower keeps things simple as far as its story goes: You play as Peppino Spaghetti, the down on his luck owner of Peppino Pizza, who suddenly finds himself frantically climbing the neighboring Pizza Tower in an effort to stop the giant pizza in the sky from blowing up his shop with a laser. The art has an intentionally low grade look that generally seems like it was made in MS Paint, but it all somehow comes together to give Pizza Tower a strikingly unique look. Peppino himself is one of the most hilariously expressive characters I’ve ever seen, flipping between being an absolute nervous wreck, to a rabid psychopath as he bulldozes his way through lines of enemies, to a musclebound anime protagonist. It’s absolutely unhinged, and does a great job of emulating that 90’s cartoon style of characters constantly being drawn off-model for comedic effect.
Return to Wario Land
While Pizza Tower may get most of the inspiration for its mechanics from the Wario Land series, its levels adhere to the Sonic the Hedgehog mantra of “gotta go fast.” Peppino’s most important technique is the ability to start a dash, and once he builds up enough momentum, he's able to bulldoze his way through enemies, objects, and even walls without slowing down. Fans of Wario Land 4 in particular will be very familiar with this technique, but the big difference here is that Peppino can also maintain momentum while running up walls, allowing him to navigate through nearly every basic element of any level while continuously running at full speed. This essentially makes Pizza Tower feel like a modern version of Wario Land if it were developed by a speedrunner.
Peppino’s other abilities are all designed to keep his flow going. He can dive from the air at a 45-degree angle and land with a roll that lets him continue sprinting, he can use a shoryuken-like uppercut get some extra vertical height on a jab while also hitting enemies above him, and most crucially, he has a dashing grab attack that can snatch enemies and allow him to turn them into deadly projectiles. That grab attack can also be used as a way to quickly gain momentum for a dash, making it so that even if your sprint is cut short by a hazard or straight vertical wall, you can get right back up to full speed almost immediately.
Do you want Wario Land to come back?
All of this amounts to a game that, when played well, has a speed and pace that rivals that of a Sonic game. But it isn’t just about hastily smashing through walls and plowing through enemies. Just about every single one of the 20 levels in Pizza Tower is built around some sort of creative central hook. Whether that’s a unique feature of the level itself – like the Five Night at Freddy’s inspired “Don’t Make a Sound,” which features enemies that will trigger an alarm if they spot you, chasing you down with the threat of a genuinely startling jump scare if you’re caught – or a unique power up that transforms Peppino and completely changes up his abilities. For example, in the level Pizzascape, Peppino can pick up a sword to transform into a knight in armor, which will cause him to slide down slopes, break metal blocks just by standing on them, and pierce through rats that otherwise cannot be killed.
The best trick Pizza Tower takes from Wario Land is a countdown that starts once you reach the end goal of every level, forcing you to quickly race back to the entrance in a limited amount of time. It’s not a simple retracing of your steps either – paths that were previously blocked off will now be open, and the route you initially took will very often be closed off. This frantic race to the start is made even better by the incredible anxiety-inducing theme that starts off like a warning siren and slowly builds before reaching an absolute fever pitch as the timer gets dangerously close to zero. It helps that the stakes during these final moments are high, because if you don’t reach the start before time runs out, you have to do the whole level again. It’s a punishing mechanic, but one where the intensity and relief of success is well worth the cost of failure.
In addition to the main 20 levels, which are split across five floors of the tower, there are also a handful of truly great boss fights that do a wonderful job of exploring Peppino’s surprisingly deep moveset in entertaining ways. His taunt actually doubles as a parry, which adds a fun defensive element to each boss battle by giving him another way to avoid damage beyond jumping or quickly dashing out of the way. Several fights even give him a gun, like the second boss battle against the vigilante, making them almost Mega Man-like with the ways the boss arenas are structured and how you have to analyze the moveset and patterns of your foe.
Pizza Tower Screenshots
Pizza Tower is not a terribly long game, with my first playthrough running about five to six hours, but the levels feel endlessly replayable. That’s not only thanks to the fact that it’s just fun to try and master these stages and shoot for higher score ranks, but also because every level is packed with secrets. Each one has three secret bonus rooms, a hidden treasure that requires you find both a custodian and the door he unlocks, and a pizza portal that asks you to do an extra lap of the race back to the start to gain even more points on a level. If you’re able to find all of those things on a single run, you’ll gain the coveted “P” rank. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish, but it’s a fun challenge to undertake that will certainly add many more hours to my playtime.
Pizza Tower is a very special 2D platformer that transcends its inspirations and becomes something even greater. It’s a short ride, and it’ll be most appealing to those who are keen to restart levels in an effort to improve their score, but even if that’s not you, there’s a ton to like here. It is one of the most straight up fun and refreshing platformers I’ve played in recent memory, sporting an unforgettably unique art style, excellent animations, immensely rewarding platforming, wonderfully creative level design, a joyful sense of humor, and one of the best soundtracks of the year so far. Move over Wario, Peppino Spaghetti is-a number one now.
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- Weird crazy characters and animations!
- An insanely energetic soundtrack!
- An unusual platformer formula!
- Play like you want! Go for the highest score or explore at your own pace!
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS *: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel or AMD Dual Core CPU
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GT 1030 (2 GB) or equivalent
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 300 MB available space
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Through history’s lens: an exploration of black experience in st. louis, webster’s pickleball club gets set for nationals, superfan professor reflects on 20 years of support for women’s basketball, study abroad offers new four-week summer trips , review: “pizza tower” delivers in every way.
In the immortal words of Tobey Maguire: Pizza Time.
Something I’ll always miss after deleting Twitter is how easily it lets you discover games. Follow the right gaming YouTubers and journalists who retweet cool indie developers, and you’ll constantly discover incredible game concepts you’ve always wished for – and some you didn’t know you wanted. Around 2018, someone on my feed retweeted development footage of Tour De Pizza’s debut game, “Pizza Tower.” And I’m obsessed with it.
Those who know Wario from Mario spinoffs or the WarioWare series might not recognize the cult classic Wario Land series, which hasn’t seen installments since “Wario Land: Shake It!” in 2008. Since then, fans sustained themselves on games like “Shovel Knight: King of Cards” that take influence from the series’ inventive gameplay and comedy. I saw “Pizza Tower” fill that void and then some, it caught my attention.
“Pizza Tower” wears its inspiration – specifically, “Wario Land 4” – on its sleeve. If you haven’t played that Game Boy Advance classic, it features Wario hunting for treasure by using his inability to die. You’ll dash, bash and grapple enemies, and even use counterproductive, self-harming “power-ups” like flattening Wario. Levels end with tense escape sequences in which you play the level in reverse. Think Indiana Jones, but as a professional wrestling heel.
Got all that? Good. Now, add the high-speed platforming, replayability and ranking system of Sonic games, and top it off with the fluid animation of ‘90s cartoons like “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” plus the attitude and tone of French comics. Substitute treasure for pizza toppings, bake for five years and voila! That’s “Pizza Tower.”
Our Wario stand-in, Peppino Spaghetti, enters the Pizza Tower to save his restaurant from imminent destruction by a giant floating pizza named Pizzaface. On paper, that probably sounds like a simple plot I would’ve written in elementary school when every kid thought “this food has a silly name” was peak comedy. But you’re not playing this for deep storytelling. The game knows this, and it takes full advantage of its stupidity.
Recently, story-driven games like “Forspoken” and “High on Life” have been criticized for painfully unfunny dialogue, so it’s refreshing to see a game that makes me laugh as much as “Pizza Tower” does. From eccentric visual gags to a silly taunt button that parries enemy attacks, it’s a comedy goldmine. At the core of “Pizza Tower” humor is its cast of goofballs, and Peppino himself is the standout.
Peppino is best described as an amalgamation of Wario’s family: Mario’s determination, Luigi’s anxiety and Waluigi’s raw sex appeal. Most importantly, he’s competing with Wario, who is so infinitely hilarious that only the combined powers of “Saturday Night Live” and Elon Musk could make him not amusing. A successful stand-in would capture a fraction of that energy, yet Peppino goes a step beyond, earning the title of Wario’s comedic equal.
The madcap art style is what truly sells the comedy in “Pizza Tower.” In stills, it looks rough in the best possible way, like when you open MS Paint to make a low-effort meme and get so invested that you make high art. The characters and backgrounds ooze charm from how crude, yet well-made they are. Even the level title cards creatively use negative space, clearly showing artistic knowledge.
In motion, however, the game looks so undeniably gorgeous in a way that text and contributed photos can’t do justice. There’s no reason the animations should be as fast and smooth as they are, from Peppino’s exaggerated movement to the impressive amount of user interface animations, but I love them to death. This aesthetic totally enhances the comedic tone, as well as the velocity and magnitude of players’ actions.
As someone who considers platformers her bread and butter, I’m almost guaranteed to recommend them if moving alone is fun, and Peppino has some of the most satisfying controls I’ve seen in years. It’s really just what would happen if Wario got his hands on the Chaos Emeralds, and the resulting gameplay feels faster, punchier and much funnier because of the absurd amount of movement options at your disposal.
Beyond just copying Wario’s movement, “Pizza Tower” stands out for its sense of momentum, as you chain dashes, grabs, jumps and rolls to build up speed and blast through everything. You’ll also use a smorgasbord of ridiculous transformations and weapons, but Peppino’s power level is at its strongest in his default form. Half the game’s comedy comes from the power trip of cheesing levels as the world’s strongest pizza chef.
Of course, what good is a power trip if every obstacle is easily overcome, and you don’t even have the stakes of dying? This is where the game’s Sonic influences pair perfectly with Wario’s game design. Like most Sonic games, its difficulty comes from staying in a flow-state and pulling off insane stunts, so playing better makes it feel better to play.
Sustaining combos by destroying enemies and collecting items in quick succession will boost your rank at the end of each level, up to Sonic’s famous S-ranks. However, the escape sequences won’t let you off easy. You’ll enter Pizza Time – which I can only describe as “how delivering in 30 minutes or it’s free feels” – and your score drains every second unless you continue playing well and raising combos.
You’d think “Pizza Tower” would be complete sensory overload due to its chaotic visuals, pulse-pounding escape scenes and the sheer amount of movement options, but getting S-ranks isn’t as intimidating as it looks. Every move is designed to smoothly transition into each other, and while maintaining speed may take practice, you have a lot of options to regain speed if anything stops you.
Because you only need collectibles to progress, though, combos and ranks are completely optional. This design choice gives “Pizza Tower” one of the best types of difficulty: a low barrier to entry with a high skill ceiling. The game also offers tons of achievements for completionists, and although they’re purely for bragging rights, you can even earn P-ranks for collecting everything in a level and doing a second lap during Pizza Time.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sound design. In addition to zany sound effects, the soundtrack is filled with nonstop bangers, with several genres like electronic, funk, metal, chiptune rock and what I can only describe as “music to microwave food to.” Many of the best tracks are, like the art style, influenced by French culture, including French house and one particular song reminiscent of Justice’s “Waters of Nazareth.”
Saying more would spoil some of this game’s craziest moments. Despite following development updates for years, my five-hour playthrough had numerous left-field surprises, from unhinged bosses to the outrageous variety of level concepts. All I’ll say is that the climax feels right out of a shonen anime, and while it’s blatantly foreshadowed, the final level was exactly the victory lap I wanted ( due in no small part to its incredible music ).
There really isn’t anything to nitpick due to how polished “Pizza Tower” is. Its gameplay, graphics, soundtrack, difficulty level and humor are cooked to perfection, plus the optional challenges and high skill ceiling make for great replayability. The only thing that really grinds my gears is the absence of the best taunt from early demo builds, but since those demos are still available to play, I’ll live.
My compliments to the chefs at Tour De Pizza for creating not only a serious contender for 2023’s game of the year, but one of my new favorite games. Whatever comes next for the developers after “Pizza Tower,” I say we let them cook.
“Pizza Tower” is available for $19.99 on Steam.
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The list of games developed Tour De Pizza
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