When Ninja Pizza Girl arrived here at Xboxology, I whispered to myself “You had me at pizza…” But what blew my mind more was when I took a bite, and realised that there is so much more depth to Disparity Games’ latest than I could have imagined.
I have to be honest. As I loaded up the first level, I took Ninja Pizza Girl at face value as a fun platformer. And it is that. But it’s so much more too (more on that later). Gameplay wise, Ninja Pizza Girl nails it. It’s a blast climbing and jumping the highest heights all in the name of delivering pizza. You’re racing against a timer, and graded for your performance to add a little more importance to your delivery. Visually, things are great too. The environments become more detailed and intricate as you progress. Furthermore, you also have a great soundtack to accompany you. But things change if you don’t look after yourself. In order to keep morale positive, you can visit the shop in the menu to buy yourself new outfits, cups of tea, even video games. But it’s not just the job keeping you down. And that’s where the true heart of the game is.
As you move forward through the story, ninjas start appearing in your way, and they appear to be a metaphor for bullies. They laugh, point and call you a loser if you get things wrong. Slowly it starts to wear you down. On top of that, you’ll hear people’s problems as you deliver them their pizza. Some of them are lovely, like a couple who love each other but they don’t know it yet. But some of them pack a real emotional punch. The transgender who is struggling in her transition in particular is really moving and a reminder that this world needs to do better for standing up for people who are simply being their true selves. Not just that, but even the loading screens offer up inspirational quotes from family members, and some of them are incredibly good advice which anyone would benefit from.
Ninja Pizza Girl is a short game (it clocks in around 3 hours) but it’s a game that will leave you feeling like you want to be a better person to those around you, those who need help. To be a voice of the voiceless. And that in itself is an incredible achievement. And speaking of achievements, there are 28 to go for here, and some of them are so fun. Playing in first person mode is a trip, or falling off the map and breaking the game is another one. My personal favourite was breaking their grading system. Like the rest of the game, they are so inventive. And after has all been said and done, what you’re left with is a game that is full of beautiful surprises. And pizza. What more could you want?
Ninja Pizza Girl is fun, moving (in more ways than one) and hands down one of my favourite games of the year.