Farm Frenzy Pizza Party
The well-received Farm Frenzy series of time management games has now expanded to include... pizza? HA! I'm joking. Wait, no I'm not. Even funnier than my little gag there is the fact that Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is actually a good game. It doesn't innovate much beyond what the first two titles layed out, but the addition of some new buildings and new products adds a decidedly more strategic twist to the experience.
Here's the basic set-up: you're in charge of a farm, taking care of animals and harvesting the products they occasionally leave behind. Click the ground to sprout grass, the basic unit of food all animals consume. Then buy a chicken, for example, and she will leave eggs, or a cow to leave milk, etc. Each product is stored in the warehouse and can be used to manufacture more profitable goods or simply sold in town for some quick cash. Your choice!
The goal of each level is to meet a set of objectives, but most of the time one of those objectives is to make pizza! Because you're starting out with raw ingredients you need to do a bit of refining before you're left with that delicious disk of enjoyment. New buildings can be used to combine basic products and turn them into more complex ingredients. Gather a few eggs and they can be turned into egg powder which, in turn, can be used in conjunction with flour to make dough.
Farm Frenzy's characteristic arcade slant continues in Pizza Party with even more bear attacks than before. Finally got enough grass planted to feed your animals and think you have things under control? Just wait until one of those fuzzy guys falls from the sky and starts punting your chickens off the screen. Rapidly click a bear to cage it and stock/sell it as a product. No more growling, and your wallet will be all the happier.
Analysis: Never has making a pizza been so complex! Don't get me wrong, Farm Frenzy Pizza Party retains the rather simple construction of any casual game, but keeping recipes straight in my head, learning to recognize icons and having a nimble enough mouse finger to plant grass, cage bears and harvest products is a real doozie. It becomes a manageable one after a little practice, and the moment everything "clicks" is a grand one.
Farm Frenzy Pizza Party drops you right into the game and doesn't pull its punches. Even the tutorial heats up fairly quickly, which I'll admit is a nice change of pace. You'll be forced to manage a number of animal products and refined ingredients that need to be combined to help meet your quota. Throw in a few attacking bears and having to deal with your limited warehouse space and you've got a frantic game. The key to staying alive is careful management and a little bit of strategy, none of which the game helps you with (which is a good thing).
On the less-than-shiny side of things, Farm Frenzy Pizza Party really is just more of the same. The new additions skew the gameplay somewhat, but visually and structurally everything else is identical to the first two games. The pizza part is good (who doesn't love pizza?), but working with so many new ingredients becomes a pain when you have to identify tiny icons in an instant.
Despite copying so many things from its predecessors, Farm Frenzy Pizza Party manages to stand on its own legs and deliver a good game. Sans the anchovies.