Ninja Pizza Girl is a platformer with a rich story and powerful effects. I am constantly surprised by the platformer genre, when I look at it I tend to assume game developers probably will run out of ideas to make a platformer special, but over and over again, I am proven wrong. Pizza Ninja Girl is awesome.
This game shows you how important a good story can be. Many little stories about love and compassion are weaved into a bigger story that is about bullying, resilience and self-esteem. The game does not want to be funny, it is has an actual message and the way it is told has the potential to melt your heart.
Your dad quit his old job to make the world a better place, one pizza at a time. You are playing as Gemma, a teenage girl who’s job it is to deliver her dad’s freshly baked pizzas as long as they are still hot. Your dad – being really passionate about his pizza – is convinced that a pizza gets inedibly cold if you take longer than two minutes to deliver. So off you go!
The game mechanics are as simple as they are powerful. A simple jump, a jump kick and a duck that turns into a slide if you’re fast enough. Gemma is well animated and all the running, jumping and sliding is fluid and look pretty rad, you know, for a girl ;-P.
The whole atmosphere is very well done. You start each level with a slow electronic beat, a dark and grey cyberpunk environment and a pizza box strapped to your leg. Once you pick up momentum, the music starts to pick up and the colours get more saturated. If you fall or stop, the colours get desaturated, the music shifts back to depressing, which actually motivates you to get that perfect and errorless run every time as you jump from roof to roof like a slightly manlier Toby Maguire in shorts.
If there is something about that game that I wasn’t totally convinced of, it is level design. Due to a lack of depth-of-field effects it is sometime hard to distinguish between what is actually in your way and what is just part of very lovingly designed background. Sometime there are also rivaling pizza ninjas hidden in boxes in the background, so your eye really has to do capture a lot of small details to send the “jump” or “duck” command to your finger in time.
Speaking of rivaling pizza ninjas: One of the things I find particularly interesting about this game is the fact that you actually can’t die. In pretty much every other platformer, if you lose the ground under you feet, or an enemy knocks you down, you either die or lose a chunk of your health bar. In Ninja Pizza Girl, neither of this happens. If you don’t make a jump, it’s never over, you might have lost a bit of valuable time because now you are forced to take a longer way, but you don’t have to start from the beginning. When you get knocked down by one of those mean ninja bullies that are hired by a big pizza corporations, you don’t lose health, instead you lose self-esteem, which is a really nice touch and completely avoids a basic logic-dilemma in all of gaming: The respawn.
If you love platformers as it is, you will absolutely adore Ninja Pizza Girl and you should probably also check out “Action Henk”. If you are one of those hipsters of gaming who think that “platformers are not as good as they used to be”, let Ninja Pizza girl teach you a lesson and you know what: Even if you don’t particularly like platformers, you will probably enjoy this game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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