Ninja Pizza Girl is a 2.5D Platformer in where we must race against the clock in order to ensure that the pizza we are delivering arrives hot. We play as Genna, a sixteen-year-old girl who helps out in her father’s pizzeria alongside her brother. The city we find ourselves in is quite a bizarre one, in where the lower class citizens live on top of skyscrapers and so we find ourselves jumping from balcony to balcony from dizzying heights. Dodgy wooden planks, electrical hazards and slightly labyrinthine pathways are some of the obstacles we will be facing in our runs. Genna is skilled at what she does and can easily slide underneath objects blocking her way and land a jump from impossible heights. Seriously, she can jump off of a tall building and is perfectly fine as long as you make sure to roll before you hit the ground. She is beyond dedicated, with nothing the world can throw at her will stop her from accomplishing her mission to deliver that pizza.
After every run, you will briefly meet the customer whether they be in their underwear, have some sort of a personal issue, or are just giving you a hard time. More importantly, you will be given a score depending on how fast you got there ranging from a D to an A. This gets you nothing other than bragging rights and a goal to strive for, though it does add an incentive to not waste any time. That is easier said than done due to how many collectibles there are scattered about any one level. They come in two forms, a green stamp to buy unlockables and a blue recycling icon in which you can use to purchase items be they food, video games or new costumes. Items play a more significant role than you may imagine and it ties into a central gameplay feature that is this title’s selling point. Ninja Pizza Girl has a very strong anti-bullying message that is woven into nearly every aspect of it.
You see, as you jump and slide your way through the levels a new obstacle will appear in the form of bullies. These hooded individuals will push or try to trip you as well as throw eggs your way. There is no health system but receive enough “damage” and Genna starts to get severely depressed to the point where she just slumps down for a bit, wasting valuable time. Avoiding them is difficult unless you have a good sprint going and you can leap right over them. Most of the times you will either have to slide your way past them or deliver a rad flying kick right into their face. Doing that doesn’t cheer her up oddly enough, and it becomes somewhat justifiable that these group of people doesn’t like you much since you drop kick them on sight. In any case, suffering damage from their mean words or physical violence will not be magically cured over time and will cause your world to become devoid of color.
This is where the items purchased by the blue recycling icon comes to play. All she needs to cheer up is some food, video games and some new outfits to wear. The more an item costs, the more it will brighten up her mood and cure her depression. Your pizza delivering antics will span across multiple levels that are split up between six acts. Most missions will only take a few minutes at most to complete, and it is rather easy to avoid depression at first, though it will start to ramp up its difficulty later on. Not all of them will merely have you running towards a destination. On a few occasions, you will be given a different factor to take into account such as racing someone or keeping your pizza hot by standing near fires as you jump around. Nothing too game changing though the rare change of pace was still appreciated nonetheless.
Moving around the place and performing all sorts of athletic acts such as kicking yourself off a wall then climbing up a ledge in the opposite direction feels great. Most every action you take feels fluid and responsive, with the longer you can keep going without interruption, the faster you run. When you are in that state, dubstep music will kick in, and if you keep it up long enough, the screen will flip out the next time you do something cool. It will zoom into your character, slow down time and give you a cinematic camera angle. Yes, it is cool but those are all things you do not want randomly happening in a platformer where every second counts as it breaks up your flow and is disorienting. I often found myself immediately making an easy to avoid mistake, ruining my run soon after it activates.
There is a story behind your many deliveries but it is really nothing special and does come off as sort of hamfisted with their message. Its real strength lies with the fast-paced gameplay and the great music that plays all throughout. As for the aforementioned collectibles, those range from developer interviews, art, the ability to double jump and finally a “First Person”mode. The latter switches the camera to the third person view and the controls do not take that into account, meaning you still have to press right on the d-pad to move forward. Your body covers up most of the screen and it is very difficult to see where you are going. It was not meant to be played this way which is why it is an unlockable meant to be little more than a gimmick such as its big head mode. In total, this title lasted me just under an hour and a half to complete though if you try to collect everything or speed run, your playtime will increase. Overall, Ninja Pizza Girl is a solid title with an applaudable message behind it and decent gameplay behind it to back it up. If you are in the mood for a platformer in where you must race across the clock, you could do far worse.