Sometimes all it takes to get to know a character is a few post-it notes.
Wanna make pizza? Good, because your roommate Lucky’s gotten you a job at her friend’s pizzeria! While she works the oven, you’ll make pizzas to fulfill customer orders (choosing the right dough and toppings, as well as re-ordering ingredients, through a hectic mini-game). Between days, you’ll also come up with the menu and prices, choose the décor, set working hours and choose a marketing strategy… That’s a lotta stuff!
What’s Interesting About Pizza Express?
Humorous games can be a hit or miss depending on whether you like that particular brand of humour, and whether the game goes a bit too far with its jokes. Pizza Express takes place over a month, each day having a bit of story, an active cooking section, and some more story at the end. But the real characterisation occurs between the story, while you’re exploring the menus and balancing pizza prices. Constrained by the size of a slip of paper, Lucky (your friendly, ridiculous roommate) and Gastone (your kind but serious boss) will bicker about using floppy disks, how much discount the customers deserve, what toppings are the tastiest and how much you’re working.
I wasn’t too interested in Pizza Express’ story, but the game itself was easy enough to pick up and play, so I skimmed through the text to get to the pizza-making… Until I started noticing the post-it notes in the save menu. The notes are there when you want to pay attention, but never intrusive. Because of the pixel art-style and lack of space, they get at best 20-50 characters a pop, but they really make them count (half of the notes in the collage above are hidden behind something else, but still get their point across). I suppose it’s both to their credit and detriment that I got as much characterisation out of these notes than out of the (much longer) story, but perhaps I just like character snippets more than the build-your-own-restaurant-from-the-ground-up plot.
If you like active games with a management side, have a look at Pizza Express here!