More often than not, I am a man of somewhat simple tastes. I like stuff with explosions in it. I like media that features giant robots destroying cities. I like pizza. With this in mind, I’d always been disappointed that there hasn’t really been anything that satisfies those tastes all together within the realm of video games. That is until I stumbled upon a trailer for a game that made me almost leap for joy.
Giant Robots? Check.
Citywide destruction? Check.
Developed by Breakfall (creators of the excellent Starwhal), Pizza Titan Ultra is set in the year 2096, just 5 years after the evil CHEEZBORG (an evil Chuck E. Cheese-like animatronic robot) attempted to take over Galactic City with terrible fast food and his dastardly CHEEZBOT army by his side. He was not successful.
Since his defeat, Ultra Pizza has taken over as the best fast food joint in the city. The pizzeria is run by a bunch of interesting stereotypes, such as a nerdy delivery kid, a powerglove wielding engineer and a grizzled war veteran named Crustoff (pizza puns!), but this is no ordinary pizza parlour. Instead of the standard downtown slice shop, Ultra Pizza is a 10 story tall Mech robot, which is also used to hand deliver the food to paying customers.
When it becomes clear that CHEEZBOT has returned, Ultra Pizza has to put a stop to his plan, whilst remaining professional and upholding their 15 minute delivery guarantee.
Your aim in each level is to complete specific objectives within a time limit, while delivering orders to an ever changing location on the map (complete with a pizza slice arrow to guide you). Successful deliveries gain cash and add some more time to the countdown, while the objectives range from collecting various ingredients, defeating a certain amount of enemies or just flat out stomping the crap out of every building you see. I mean, is it really a giant robot game if there’s no cities to destroy?
In a visual novel style, each level has a VIP (Very Important Pizza, of course) who sets the respective tasks, and are based on characters from a massive variety of 80’s and 90’s movies, video games and television. From PaRappa The Rapper, Final Fantasy VII and DragonBall Z to Bob Ross, Ducktales and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Pizza Titan Ultra is effectively a love letter to that era of nerdy entertainment, and rarely fails to amuse in its frenzied pop culture assault on the senses.
Collecting cash enables you to unlock new levels and customise your robot. The descriptions for the new body parts are amusing and once again tie into various subcultures and pop culture in general. The customisation aspect also gradually unlocks different power moves that can be equipped in battle, such as a speed sprint and a chest blast. All very useful options for different situations and pretty damn impressive to look at in action. Watching the chest blast level a row of skyscrapers is something that I will never get tired of.
Visually, Pizza Titan Ultra is an absolute delight. Heavily inspired by the loud, obnoxious cartoons from the 80s and 90s, the game’s colours absolutely pop and bring me right back to being an 8 year old kid watching Cartoon Network on a Saturday morning.
Besides the colourful aesthetic, Pizza Titan Ultra also takes level design notes from classic arcade-style games such as SNK’s King Of The Monsters and Rampage World Tour, while the robot is clearly a product of classic Mecha anime (the fun stuff, not the “existential dread and heaps of PTSD” stuff) and Transformers. It’s all very familiar, but at no point feels like it is ripping off any of its influences.
As there is so much to praise in this game, it’s pretty difficult to pinpoint anything that I actually disliked about it. The one gripe I had with the game, at a stretch, is that whenever the game gets more chaotic and the screen fills with enemies, it has a tendency to lag slightly. This slowing down doesn’t affect the experience too much though, and is easy to ignore.
Overall, Pizza Titan Ultra is a fantastic experience that avoids the pitfalls for this type of game incredibly well. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, is cleverly written and is just bloody enjoyable to play. The game’s 32 levels (with various challenges) and a substantial amount of customisation options to unlock, ensures that there is plenty to do without ever outstaying its welcome.
Put simply, it’s Transformers Devastation meets Crazy Taxi, with a sprinkling of Rampage, Pacific Rim and Gundam Wing thrown into the mix, and exactly what you need when you have a few hours to kill. Pizza Titan Ultra delivers a fresh slice of memorably brilliant arcade-style action to chow down on, and will no doubt be in my best games of 2018 list.
- Satisfying open world destruction.
- Combat system and movement feels powerful, just like a 10-story tall Mech should.
- Brilliant writing, with countless nods to 90’s pop culture and video games.
- Has a brilliantly vibrant, colourful 90’s saturday morning cartoon aesthetic.
- The hilarious theme song sets the mood perfectly.
- Lags slightly when the action gets busier
A review code for the game was kindly provided by the developers.