Imagine a world where gigantic Tokusatsu-style mechas with pizzerias in their chests are storming around your local town with complete disregard for your neighbors when they furiously smash their fists through your living room to deliver you a nice, delicious, hot pizza pie. This is a world that’s been realized in Pizza Titan Ultra and it’s a bizarre one.
Having already fisted its way onto PC earlier this year, Pizza Titan Ultra now stomps its way onto the Nintendo Switch, bringing cheesy goodness on the go! But don’t be fooled, while Pizza Titan might be quick off the mark, someone may have left the pepperoni out overnight and it’s causing a right stink.
So here’s the basic premise of Pizza Titan Ultra. Players are in control of our titular mecha who, for the most part, has to deliver pizzas solely to apartment blocks (because for some reason those who live in suburban housing aren’t much a fan of pizza in this game – maybe because the mecha keeps destroying their homes). It’s a simple premise that has players running as quickly as they can through the game world delivering one pizza at a time.
Littered throughout the maps are several collectibles in the form of pizza ingredients as well as money and time bonus pickups. There’s also the occasional “walk-in” pizza order, which comes in the form of a tiny person waving their arms frantically in the hopes that you’ll stop and cook them a nice pizza and not turn them into tomato sauce. This particular feature kickstarts a mini-game in which players must place ingredients on the pizza in specific zones, slice the pizza in a specific way, and then cook the pizza.
The use of mini-games such as this actually helps break-up the tepidness of the core gameplay, which after you’ve played through the first game world, you’ve pretty much fully experienced.
Aside from pizza delivery, players will be challenged by several parodies of characters from pop culture which have been ever so slightly tweaked so that the developers avoid being sued. For example, there’s a rapping dog, in an orange beanie, which happens to also have long ears. There’s also a blue-ish looking superhero who cares a lot for the environment. Perhaps he’s a Captain, who knows?
These dancing on the line of a lawsuit cameos pretty much sum up the humor in Pizza Titan Ultra, which feels very much like the classic time attack games from days gone past. Games such as Crazy Taxi come to mind, with the comic book, punky aesthetics of the dialogue being told through text box upon text box. It’s the type of humor that’ll have you exhaling rapidly through your nose, which isn’t the worst way to spend your day.
Anyway, in terms of actual gameplay, Pizza Titan Ultra seems to blend together so many different aspects from different genres that it almost fails to find its own identity. There’s your time attack mechanics in that pizzas must be delivered as fast as possible to earn more time, there’s also collectathon mechanics with the various ingredients dotted about. Finally, there’s a weird sort of battle mechanic between the Pizza Titan and “Cheez Bots” which is probably the weirdest part of them all.
Cheez Bots are Pizza Titan Ultra’s enemies. Comprised of mecha suits, tanks, and choppers, these Cheez Bots stop at nothing to hinder your gameplay, but at the same time, they’re a very insignificant part of the game, despite the combat mechanics being a massive part of the overall controls. Sure, your Pizza Titan has a health bar, but you’re running backward and forward across the map so rapidly that you can easily just smash through the incoming army of purple enemies with barely a scratch.
The real gameplay seems to come from the various challenges. These usually involve completing a set of tasks given to you by your favorite not-quite-a-cameo guests. This can vary from collecting ingredients, delivering a certain amount of pizzas, causing as much or as little damage as possible or destroying Cheez Bots. You name it, it’s a challenge. To add to this, you’ll often be given a minuscule amount of time to do these challenges, so you’ll also have to deliver pizzas to ensure you gain some extra time.
The level design is pretty decent too, as each set of challenges are tied to “islands” which you can purchase. Each of these islands presents their own set of challenges in terms of maneuverability, with little additions such as gates which propel your Titan across the map. It’s this evolution of gameplay which is a nice touch and comes frequently enough to keep the game fresh, but not too often that it becomes overwhelming.
Pizza Titan Ultra is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet tries to hit the mark of everything you loved as a kid in the 90s: Loud colors, Saturday Morning Cartoon-style theme song, collectathons, time attacks, and destruction, lots and lots of destruction. It does achieve it to some degree, but the term less is more also comes to mind.
As for the Switch port, the game plays pretty well but it does suffer from fairly lengthy loading times. I’m not talking 5-10 minutes here, more 1-2 minutes, but with some challenges being failable within seconds of starting, having to sit through this multiple times can become quite tedious. This is the same whether undocked or docked.
Visually, Pizza Titan Ultra seems to have taken a bit of a knock too. While I can’t compare it directly to the PC version of the game, looking at screenshots I can see that the Switch version lacks that tilt-shift blur of the distance in the PC version.
Overall, Pizza Titan Ultra is a neat little game to put an hour or two into. Certain levels can at times become as painful as molten hot cheese sticking to the roof of your mouth, but like any good time attack game, once you have your planned route, you can usually glide to a win. It falls short of hitting the lofty heights of its clear inspirations, but I suppose just because you add more cooks, doesn’t mean you get a better meal.