Everybody has days where they feel alone in the world but push on to keep up appearances. Moments of dread so strong that they can freeze you in your tracks, or worse yet make you doubt yourself in an ever increasing capacity. It's an unfortunate thing that most people reading this will have gone through at some stage in their lives but Ninja Pizza Girl handles these very serious issues in a unique and charming way seldom seen in gaming.
Starting as a kickstarter back in July of 2014, Ninja Pizza Girl raised a total of $38,694 on the crowdfunding platform. Just a little over 14 months later, including time in Early Access, the game officially launched on PC. Since then it has gone through multiple iterations with several patches taking place post-release to improve controller support, add Japanese localisation as well as for general performance and bug fixes.
Initial impressions draw obvious parallels to Mirror's Edge, being set in a dystopian future and featuring rooftop parkour and in game colour mechanics, but this game is so much more. Through interesting uses of colour saturation the game conveys the feelings of Gemma, our 16 year old delivery girl hero. When she's happy and upbeat the world has more colour, while conversely if she's having a bad run and feeling down in the dumps then the world is a gray washed out misery. Alternate outfits and other miscellaneous items are available as a quick pick-me-up from the main menu because Gemma's mood remains the same from level to level.
It's telling that the fine folk at Disparity Games know their audience because if you're playing this game then you've likely played or at least heard of the other titles it pays homage to in several small ways. The ability to divekick enemies or buy a copy of fellow Australian indie game Assault Android Cactus to cheer up your character are just a couple of the little touches that I appreciated.
From the meaningful quotes between levels to the character interactions and depth of storytelling they bring, this game has style. For some reason I can't quite put my finger on I'm frequently reminded of the exchanges between character in the iOS title Devil's Attorney while playing this game, and that is not a bad thing. The quirky and sometimes off beat nature of the exchanges between characters is the back bone of Devil's Attorney, as is the case here.
Like any game, Ninja Pizza Girl also has its faults. The occasional animation or AI bug might appear for you as it did for me, but it's more than forgiven when considering the tightness of the controls and the smooth gameplay which has you feeling on top of the world once you finally string together that perfect run.
While the bulk of the main game can be completed in one sitting, it's the speedruns, collectibles and branching paths of each level that will have players coming back for more. Much like the storyline of the Ninja Pizza Girl, the gameplay runs much deeper than you realise.
Ninja Pizza Girl is available on Steam right now with a 95% very positive rating for $12.99USD and I whole-heartedly recommend that you play it. Do yourself a favour and read this article written by one half of Disparity Games' power couple Jason Stark during Ninja Pizza Girl's development. It's a tremendous insight into the process of building a world and a little peek behind the curtain to see how the game came to be.