Yeah, yeah, I know we have heavy hitters like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Final Fantasy XIV knocking on the typical Game of the Year nominations, delivering high-flying action in extreme fidelity. But, I’m here today to tell you the story of a single man, coming from the fictional world of Italy who just so happens to run his own business in a specific field. That’s right, Pizza Tower has claimed and controlled my life for the past six months, and I don’t think anything is coming close to it before the year is done.
What Is Pizza Tower?
Pizza Tower is a frantic, fast-paced 2D platformer featuring some of the most expressive sprite work I’ve ever witnessed within a video game world. You take control of a regular Italian man by the name of Peppino Spaghetti and work your way through stages that complement both a slow and methodical playstyle or speed that would make Sonic the Hedgehog sweat. Fun fact of the day, Peppino Spaghetti is also somehow the fastest video game character to exist, running at speeds equaling at least Mach 3, or 993.9 meters per second.
Beyond that, you’ve got countless creative choices made through each of the levels, secrets to find, Toppins to save, and Geromes to help. The Wario Land 4-inspiration is worn on Pizza Tower’s sleeve and feels like a return to the golden age of platforming. Even jumping into old favorites feels less satisfying due to how versatile Peppino’s moveset is.
You can speed like Sonic, use the Shinespark like Samus, taunt to deflect attacks, and even breakdance at the push of a button. It oozes of charm, originality, and pizazz. And we haven’t even touched on the soundtrack and sound design yet.
Pizza Tower’s Soundtrack Is Infectious
From the moment I saw the reveal trailer, the soundtrack felt like pure adrenaline injected directly into my veins. Again, much like Wario Land 4, you touch the Pillar John at the end of a level, and you’ll need to race back to the beginning as quickly as you can with this blaring in your eardrums. Just hearing it doesn’t do it justice, as you’ll need to reverse your course back to the start of a level while learning the new layout of the world around you.
That is: unless you’re feeling risky enough to try for a Second Lap. You’ll be treated to a completely different track, one that amplifies the tension tenfold and makes the arrival of the villain Pizza Face even more terrifying. No matter what portion of the game you’re in, Pizza Tower has some of the most electrifying music I’ve ever witnessed, and it still has not escaped my ears or my mind.
The shrill screech of Peppino evokes the memories of 90’s cartoons, the expressive facial animations that pair alongside them, and the sound of your feet smashing into the concrete below your feet while screaming across the land at speeds faster than we could ever comprehend make Pizza Tower a visual and audio feast for the soul. It’s obnoxious, loud, and abrasive in the best possible way.
What About The Levels?
Animation and sound will only get you so far, especially in a platforming game. That’s where Tour De Pizza brings out the spiciest of meatballs. The level design is peak platforming action with some of the best-kept secrets in gaming. You also get to venture forth with Mort the Chicken from the PlayStation 1 classic Mort The Chicken during one of the most memorable stages in the game.
There is plenty to explore, so you don’t always need to go fast, but thanks to the excellent control scheme in place here, you’ll never run into an issue getting Peppino to obey your command. Responsive controls, a variety of moves that you can use to your advantage to utilize advanced routes through stages, it feels like there is an endless drove of potential for Peppino and the gang. Even taking control of the slower and more methodical Gustavo & Brick feels fantastic, even if they are a little underutilized.
For people like me that happen to jump into games and find the need to master every portion of them, there is a special Ranking System in play here, with scores that go beyond even the coveted S-Rank. That’s right, trying to P-Rank a stage is going to require the utmost skill and control, and if you put your mind to it, you may be able to make it happen.
And finally, we have to talk about the bosses. From the totally original, not borderline copyright-infringing The Noise to the giant blob of cheese with a gun, The Vigilante, you’ll have a variety of different bosses you’ll need to bring the pain to. Each of these stages are created with a special gimmick in mind, so learn their patterns and take them down. Every fight is filled to the brim with action, so you’ll need to wipe the sauce off your fingers before going into these battles.
The Impact Of Pizza Tower On Me
I discovered Pizza Tower randomly one day when the reveal trailer was algorithmically pointed in my direction, and I would like to think it was some form of divine intervention. I’ve always been a fan of platforming games, and seeing something like this immediately piqued my interest and become my hyper-fixation for a fair few months. Sorry to everyone that had to deal with that, but you gotta spread the good word somehow, you know?
Ironically enough, Pizza Tower hit virality a couple of times on sites like Twitter due to memes like Peppino Screaming and the Gnome Forest opening card, aka Lario. But, to me, it’s something that will eternally hold a spot near and dear to my heart. It quickly disrupted my top 10 games of all time list that I keep in my mind, and as a debut effort, I can’t wait to see what else Tour De Pizza has cooking behind the scenes.
This wasn’t supposed to be a review, but if I had to give Pizza Tower a score…
● Some of the greatest platforming action ever
● Peppino Spaghetti is best boy
● Funiculi Funicula is the tutorial music
● It eventually ends
● Makes me wish Italians were real
A copy of this game has taken over my life. Reviewed on PC.