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RELEASE DATE (NA): September 27, 2019 GENRE: Platformer
// review by Meow

'Tis but a piping hot dream.

I'm a huge fan of Wario games, been playing them since Wario Land 1 and 2 on the original Gameboy, and even once wrote reviews of them for a different site (don't bother looking, they got lost in a server crash on said site and are being re-reviewed by myself at a later date), but Wario is another one of those franchises neglected by Nintendo ever since the mid-Wii era when Nintendo went through some sort of existential crisis. I digress. Point is, we've been hurting for a sultry new Wario game of grungy cartoonish antics and thought-provoking platforming puzzles. And as seems to be the case this year, fans once again provide.

To drop a quick note before I forget, this is a review specifically of the SAGE 2k19 Demo for this game, I've played the original demo release for SAGE as well as the v1.4 with some revisions. The game is not complete yet, nor is the actual game's story in this. The demo's story is that the playable character, Peppino, got lost on the way to SAGE and wound up in a bootleg SAGE hosted by Snick the Porcupine.

Pizza Tower is a game that blatantly wears its Wario Land inspiration on its shoulders, even stating that it is inspired by it on the creator's twitter (link to twitter here), having aspects seen throughout the each of the classic games, but manages to have its own identity aside. The game is a platformer, and it's your mission to run, jump, dash, go absolutely ballistic, wield a shotgun, piledrive foes, collect pizza toppings, discover secrets, and find your way to a big …face thing at the end of levels, immediately deck it, and then make a break for the exit before a timer counts down to 0 and you hemorrhage pizza ingredients until you ultimate die of lack of pizza. You gain a score through collecting pizza-related items and defeating enemies, and getting a KO combo on your foes will yield even more points. These points will determine how Peppino feels after levels, giving a rank on your performance. More importantly, though, these points are what protect you at the end of stages. As mentioned, you punch a giant face and then it's Pizza Time. Your score will slowly decrease as time goes down, but once time hits 0 your score will plummet dramatically, and if you don't escape the level before THAT hits 0, you lose and get booted from the level and have to do it all over again. Taking hits from foes will also cause your score to drop, but you can protect yourself from harmful foe attacks by picking up weapons. Specifically, the Shotgun since that's the only weapon in the demo. They act like a power-up in any ol' platformer, giving you some enhanced abilities and shielding you from one clean hit.

Hold the anchovies.

To get you through the stages, you have a good variety of moves, such as a grab attack that makes you dash forward a bit, breaking blocks and taking hold of any unsuspecting fool, letting you deal with them in a few ways such as piledriving, spinning them around and hurling them, biting them, and giving a good ol' uppercut. You can also make a mad dash where you build up a lot of running speed and can blast through otherwise unbreakable blocks, and even being able to tumble from that to break through blocks in a small space, or diving through the air with all the grace of a weird Italian man. You can also transfer your speed into a super jump that blasts you upwards, smashing blocks and foes in the way. You also get special forms that you take on from various circumstances, such as being hit with lightning turns you into a Knight that makes you super heavy, and grabbing a bomb will make Peppino freak out and run around hysterically until he inevitably explodes.

The goal of each stage, as mentioned earlier, is to get to the end of them to punch a giant face and then make it to the exit near the start of the level while gaining as many points as possible from collecting pizza ingredients, secret treasures, Toppins (pizza-topping-like creatures), and KOing the various enemies found throughout the stages. As you progress through the stages, the music also evolves the deeper in you go, which I found was a nice touch. There are many puzzles to be solved in obtaining all these points, and some secrets are more hidden than others.

There are three levels included in this demo that you can play (plus a tutorial), and upon completing them all you unlock the Snick Challenge, which has references for the creepypasta lover in you. After beating this challenge, you unlock a character-specific to this demo: Snick! Snick is funky to play, not being able to drift like Peppino, but he's also shorter than Peppino which allows him to barrel through spaces Peppino normally can't. There are other amusing quirks, but I'll leave them for you to discover.

To wrap this up, I really enjoyed this demo, and I'll be putting this on my "will purchase on release" list. I highly recommend you give it a whirl yourself by CLICKIN' HERE!

My rating of the game:

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