Ninja Pizza Girl (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 25.01.2017

Review for Ninja Pizza Girl on PlayStation 4

Ninja Pizza Girl isn't the most typical of runners. While players are in direct control of their character, the runner Gemma, this is a bit reminiscent of Bit. Trip Runner. While speed is a factor, and some might say the most important one, learning how to use Gemma in the environment is equally important. Does Ninja Pizza Girl get it right for platformer and runner fans? Take a look at the PS4 version.

As Gemma sets out to beat the clock to deliver pizza, there will be plenty of things in her way, and it's important to know how to navigate them. Holding down Circle, for instance, allows her to duck, crawl, slide, and land from great heights. The slide is important because it's required for taking down enemies. Not that it matters, though, because enemies have a ridiculously small window to hit them, so usually Gemma just ends up getting knocked over by them. Still, learning when to double tap X, whether to bounce off an enemy's head, or to break a wooden plank, is equally important. It's kind of nice having every command mapped to two different controls, because that's literally all you'll be using, aside from the left stick.

Speaking of enemies, they are some of the least intelligent bad guys in a video game in a while. You can run up to some, and they'll simply stand there. Once you run behind them, they suddenly remember they were supposed to push you over, and then they give chase. Coupled with the occasionally intelligent enemy giving you no time to react as they clear ridiculous amounts of space to thwart you, and encounters are absolutely horrendous. It's easy to run into a batch of enemies, have three of them ignore you, two more of them topple you before you can even comprehend they're there, and the final one just walk away from you.

Screenshot for Ninja Pizza Girl on PlayStation 4

Still, these encounters only dampen the thing that Ninja Pizza Girl excels at, which is level design. Each level is absolutely brilliant, with segments that are so tight and well-thought out, it's easy to get lost in the euphoria of bounding between rooftops and awnings, that you forget what you're doing half the time. Only one level, which is close to the end, stuck out as being wildly uneven, but it's followed by the best level in the whole title. Nothing feels accidental, and it's a good reminder in this age of everything being procedurally generated, that sometimes hand crafted levels are pure ecstasy.

The music and art style are a double-edged sword. The art work moves between weird online comic for the 2D art and 3D art that feels rudimentary at best. It's a shame, because it's clearly a pretty game from a distance. It's once you see the character models up close that it becomes apparent that they are look somewhat cheap, and are more like dolls rather than people.

Screenshot for Ninja Pizza Girl on PlayStation 4

The music, however, is just short of perfection. The thumping techno beat is perfectly in line with the intense movement that is required, and gives off the idea that in this crazy future run by pizza companies, everything is truly electronic. Occasionally, it seems to go silent, which is jarring, but it keeps in line with the sense of the level at that time. Go fast, the music goes fast, mess up, the music stops. It's a nice touch, and encourages better performance.

The story is actually pretty incredible, despite being half funny and half irritating. While some of the quotes at the start of levels give way to a better understanding of the characters, that understanding makes the characters seem more weird than interesting. The flow of the main story, where Gemma seems to be fighting the oppression of MegaCorp Pizza's bully brigade, and yet also come to terms with loving herself, is perfectly set up, and nothing feels rushed or anti-climactic. The story is definitely more interesting than it appears to be at first.

Screenshot for Ninja Pizza Girl on PlayStation 4

Unfortunately, there's one glaring flaw that can't be overlooked or downplayed. Ninja Pizza Girl is a game about fast, precise movement. This requires excellent level design and top notch controls, and to the latter point, this misses the mark wildly. The controls are at best functional, and at worst broken. Little things, like getting Gemma to face a certain direction, have moments where they simply don't work. In one level (the aforementioned one with the bad design), it seems as though Gemma doesn't listen to a lot of your commands, and instead lurches off sides of platforms, stands still when you try to move her, and falls short of every jump in her path.

This occurs throughout the whole deal, though. Being in the zone means you move more fluidly, and it can be ruined by bouncing off an enemy's head, and then being flung in another direction. It can't be understated how little the window to harm an enemy is, and thanks to the controls, no matter your speed, you can expect to find yourself occasionally crouching into an enemy or crawling past them. While it's not impossible to finish Ninja Pizza Girl, expect to die or fail a lot of times simply because the controls aren't functioning properly.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it, this adventure isn't very long - fortunate because this gives a clear set of levels to perform, and without too much filler. Levels always seem to have a purpose, and thanks to the games short play time, you can expect to have fun going back and replaying some of your favourite levels. There's an additional speed run mode, and a plethora of things to buy, though it's hardly enough to make you drop more than the required hours to beat this and clean up some runs.

Screenshot for Ninja Pizza Girl on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Ninja Pizza Girl is an unfortunate example of a game falling apart due to poor execution. It shouldn't be overlooked for platforming or runner fans, but it's not going to change your feelings on either genre. For all it does right, it manages to do twice as much wrong. If the controls were refined, alone, it would be one of the best runners available, but even then, there are too many rough edges to overlook.

Developer

Disparity Games

Publisher

Disparity Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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