Everyone who's ever delivered pizza for a living is a part of a kind of shared experience. Only we who have pushed pies from pizzeria to private residences can fully grasp the apprehension of filling a gas tank with tip money while half a dozen pizzas cool in the back seat. Only we know the frustration of watching someone whip out a wad of cash only to count out exact change, or the terror felt when the illuminated pizzeria sign mounted atop our cars calls out like a beacon saying, "please rob me," in the worst neighborhoods. And now, thanks to Pixeljam for [adult swim], we can relive those moments in the new driving game/pizza delivery sim, Pizza City.
As a delivery driver, you will pick up the pizzas from Tony's and shuttle them to their many different destinations around town designated by green oval markers on the ground. The [arrow] keys are used to steer, the [space] bar will bring up your inventory and end conversations, and the [X] key activates the emergency brake. You'll have to be quick about it, as customers will only wait so long before they start to get angry. At the same time, you'll want to practice caution, as hitting other objects will damage the pizzas, lowering your tip and reducing your job security. Hitting most pedestrians will lower your score and could put the cops on your trail. If you let too many arrests or poor deliveries eat away at your job security, you're as good as fired.
Pizza City has so much in common with the first two Grand Theft Auto games, it seems to fall somewhere between spoof and demake. Like the notorious crime sims from Rockstar Games, you roam a city with virtual free reign in your car via a bird's eye view. There is a main goal (delivering pizzas and working your way up the pizzeria career ladder), but there are also plenty of other side quests to undertake, such as returning a teddy bear to a girl or finding bling for a gentleman of ill repute, should you need a break from your prime objective. But it's the risqué overtones buried throughout the game and the frantic cop car chases that really send one on GTA flashbacks.
True to Pixeljam's trademarks as established in Dino Run and Gamma Bros., Pizza City is resplendent in big blocky pixels and chiptune-like music. The controls can seem awkward at first, almost like you're driving a bumper car on ice, but also like Pixeljam's earlier efforts, once you get the feel for the game the control scheme becomes natural and comfortable. Pizza City isn't for everyone and the relatively simple gameplay may turn some off, but there's more depth lurking here than meets the eye and it definitely rewards those who choose to stick with it.