When you load up the PC game Pizza Titan Ultra, you may notice scrolling text in the bottom corner of the screen, complete with a follow-the-bouncing-ball karaoke prompt. This is the kind of irreverent game that has its own catchy theme song and wants you to sing along.
Pizza Titan Ultra is a game where you deliver pizzas via a giant robot, which is a solid concept.
You need to make the best pizzas and get them into the hands of hungry people without knocking over too many buildings. Along the way, you'll also have to fight evil Cheezbots, who are the lackeys of Cheezborg, a villain who wants to saturate the world with shitty pizza. You're doing all this as a timer counts down, trying to deliver the most pizzas, and make the most money, as you can.
There are two kinds of missions in this game. You can either deliver pizzas with a time limit, just to make some money, or make special VIP deliveries, which have additional mission objectives. When I delivered a special pizza to Bob Ross lookalike Ross Roberts, I had to find three of the five Ultra Ingredients hidden on the map. Later missions involve defeating certain enemy types or destroying buildings.
A game such as Pizza Titan Ultra lives or dies on how funny you find the base concept. The gameplay is satisfyingly arcade-y, and the structure makes it easy to hop in to deliver some pizzas whenever that strikes your fancy.
Whether or not you keep coming back depends on how amusing it is to you that when you deliver a pizza to someone, you punch it straight into their living room. Luckily for me, I think this is very funny, and I laughed every time it happened.
There's a lot to like about Pizza Titan Ultra. Any time I get to pilot a giant mech I'm gonna be happy about it, and the pace is frenetic in a way that makes delivering pizzas seem like a do or die challenge.
What really got me, though, is that the game doesn't just lean on the absurdity of its core idea for humour. It's self aware enough to poke fun at other trope-y aspects of the game.
When Tonya, your boss, explains to you how her Ultra Ingredients supplier drops their goods from space, she'll also casually mention that they should maybe find a better system for getting ingredients.
You can pick up floating money on your way to deliveries, and your coworkers will tell you that floating currency was implemented in 2030. Since we're in a giant mech, they note, we're the only ones who can grab all this spare change.
It's goofy, and sometimes a little too on the nose, but I like that there is no part of Pizza Titan Ultra that takes itself seriously. All that is signalled to you from the theme song on the menu screen. "Pizza Titan Ultra, pizza for justice - order right now, it's delicious!"