Ninja Pizza Girl focuses on a teenage girl called Gemma, who delivers pizzas for her Dad’s company. It features both Story and Speedrun modes, offering you the flexibility to choose story or pure gameplay. Whichever you choose, the main aim is to deliver your pizza to the location as fast as possible. The levels will have you free-running through the rooftops, using your ninja skills to get past obstacles and avoid the ‘enemy’ ninja (who work for a big corporation pizza company).
As you make your way through the rooftops, there are also various collectibles you can pick up, which are used to purchase items in the main menu hub between levels. You can replay the levels as many times as you like, so you can pick up the items you missed the first time around, or work on improving the grade you are given at the end of each level.
The game is very fast-paced, the flow being very important to the gameplay. Occasionally this flow is broken by the way the levels are laid-out, or by the objects not standing out as well as they could. However, on the whole the gameplay works quite well.
Instead of a typical ‘health’ measure during your runs, the game keeps track of Gemma’s mood. Her mood drops when she messes up, such as making a bad landing, or being taken down by an enemy. The worst impact is when this happens in front of others – the enemies will mercilessly point and laugh at Gemma, leading her to take a big hit to her mood.
Rather than the usual HUD indicator of health, you can tell when Gemma’s mood is low based on the colour of the environment. The world looks darker, drained of colour, the contrast decreasing as Gemma becomes more downhearted. Conversely, when you pull off good tricks and smooth runs, the colours brighten along with Gemma’s mood. If the going really gets good, you’ll be rewarded with a rainbow of swirling colours, and upbeat music pumping through your speakers.
In between levels you can increase Gemma’s mood by purchasing various items – nothing cheers a person up like a bit of retail therapy after all. You can buy “Threads” (various outfits for Gemma) and “TLC”, such as chocolate and video games. The outfits are equipable in-game, though unfortunately the TLC items are purely mood-increasing (I’d somewhat hoped that buying the games would unlock them as little mini-games).
In the main menu there is also purchasable Swag: bonus art, interviews, comics and “game craziness”. The items here are bought using QR codes, one of the collectibles found in-game. The “game craziness” section unlocks in-game bonuses, such as big head mode and double jump. You can even unlock a first person mode. This first person mode really racks up the difficulty, as you can’t see your surroundings as well, and it’s difficult to tell what obstacles are coming. It can be pretty disorientating when you try it right after normal mode, but it’s worth giving a go at least once. You can only use these special game modes when replaying old levels, however, so don’t expect to go through the rest of the game much easier as soon as you unlock double jump, for example.
You can change the difficulty at any time between levels in the main menu. You can choose from one of four pre-set difficulties, or make a custom difficulty. The custom difficulty option allows you to individually set three different aspects. First is “Time Pressure”, set on a scale of “Chill” to “GO GO GO”. Second is “Bullying”, which you can slide between “Unkind” and “Really Mean”. Finally, there is “Game Speed” which is from “0.5x” to “1.5x”. This is a nice amount of flexibility, allowing you to tailor exactly what type of challenge you want.
Ninja Pizza Girl has a fun little sense of humour, which is laid over more important messages explored by the game, such as bullying, and fitting into the world around you. Although the setting is science fictional, the troubles Gemma face mimic those that teenagers actually face today. The loading screens even give some humorous and helpful advice, such as “There’s no problem in all the world that was fixed by moping”.
The story doesn’t go into too much detail, but it does cover some interesting points, including Gemma learning when she is wrong, as well as when to stand up for herself. Each of the dialog scenes are only brief, but are often fun little interludes between the speedrun missions.
The art style does leave a little to be desired, and not everyone will find it appealing. The 3D-style art used during the main gameplay, which you’ll be looking at the most, is significantly better than the 2D anime-style art used for dialogue at least.
Ninja Pizza Girl is a nice little game which raises some important issues. The dialogue is fun, and the gameplay is nice, though a little uninspired. As such, it’s a fun game, though it doesn’t have much lasting appeal.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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