Nintendo fans still yearn for the day when their favorite titles will finally grace the screens of their phones. Until then, Nintendo-loving developers have created many clones to titles like Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros or The Legend of Zelda. Of course, some of these clones are somewhat decent, and some quite are bad.
But then there is Pizza Boy.
What is Pizza Boy?
Pizza Boy is a platformer for iPhone which has similar gameplay to that of Super Mario Bros. You are a pizza delivery man, and your pizza was unfortunately stolen by a bird before you were able to deliver it. It is up to you to save the pizza from the bird-thief by traveling through four different worlds. The storyline is a bit kookier than that of Super Mario Bros, but hey — what else could they do about it?
To put it simply, imagine this game as Super Mario Bros but everything has turned into food. Instead of saving Princess Peach, you are saving your prized pizza. You collect strawberries instead of coins, and throw soda bottles instead of fireballs. All the app is missing is an option to phone in your local pizzeria so you can order some pizza of your own.
Delivering the Pizzas
If you thought that retrieving the pizza will be an easy feat, well think again. In order to retrieve your pizza, you will have to play through four four-level worlds each with their own challenges and themes. The game starts out at the easy park world and gradually gets harder as you progress through the ice and lava worlds and eventually arrive at the final boss world. Each world will throw its own challenges at you; the ice world will have slippery surfaces and the lava world will make you dodge fireballs.
As if that weren’t enough, there are many more obstacles and objectives on the way there. In every level, the five letters in “pizza” are scattered and hidden throughout the map. The goal is to find and collect every letter in the word; however, many of these are put seemingly out of reach. To add to the challenge, obstacles like spikes, birds, animals and disintegrating blocks are put in your way. Some levels even force you to move forward by constantly scrolling to the right. If you are hit by any obstacles, you will either die instantly or lose one pizza slice. If you lose three pizza slices, you lose one life and need to start the level from the beginning.
The challenge of the game helps make it worth its price. You will find yourself wanting to perfect your strategies, and if you’re anything like me, you will find yourself playing the same level over and over again in order to finally master it. In turn, this generates hours of playtime, which is always something I look for in an iOS game.
Controlling the Game
Now let’s take a moment to focus on the game’s controls. In iOS platformers, the control system is usually the most dreaded part of the applications. Often times it is very poorly designed as developers try to use D-pads and joysticks as their primary system, and D-pads and joysticks don’t exactly work when you only have 3.5 inches of screen real estate to deal with.
That being said, ACNE Play made a different, more effective control system that is by far the best I have ever seen in an iOS game. About a centimeter on the bottom of the screen is reserved for your control pad. On the far left is the directional rocker that will allow you to walk either to the right or to the left. The button on the far right lets you jump, and the button directly to the left of that will allow you to throw soda bottles. In the center there is a play/pause button. In addition to that, by dragging up or down, you are able to expand your vision to a degree. All in all, controls are very simple, which is a key component in any iOS platformer.
Now, what is a pizza without the toppings? Pizza Boy offers several bonus features that make your gaming experience even better. In every level, you can save a kitten and be awarded with 1000 points as well as a self-given heroic status. You have the chance to replenish your lives every level as well. Extra pizza slices are strewn throughout every level, and by collecting 100 strawberries, you will be awarded with another life. Every once in a while, there might even be a 1-up award laying around.
Occasionally, you will also find keys laying around. Once retrieved, these keys will allow you to unlock bonus levels. Each bonus level provides its own unique take on the game, and they all are very different from the normal game levels. It’s great to see that the developers took the time to develop these levels because it offers the game a wise variety of different game styles.
Design is a very important aspect of any application. Pizza Boy is an amazingly well designed app. Quite honestly, I’d regard it as the quintessential iPhone application when it comes to design.
The artwork is happy medium between retro and modern styles, which offers the game a very inviting feel. Plus, it is a style that most people, including me, love because it adds novelty to the game.
ACNE Play also did a very good job at including lots of detail in the artwork while keeping the user undistracted. To elaborate, background items add perspective to the game while still keeping the focus of the game on the player itself. That in itself is a hard feat to pull off, so I’d like to offer my commends to the developers for pulling this off.
As you could probably already tell, Pizza Boy excels in all areas. The gameplay is challenging and it will provide you with hours of entertainment. The controls are by far the best I have seen in any platformer to date, and the graphics are just as spectacular.
Therefore, I give Pizza Boy a flawless rating. There is nowhere that I could find a place to improve the application, besides for the fact that I hope for an update in the near future so I can continue to play! I advise you all to pick up this application because at only $1.99, it is a steal.