There was a time when photo stories were a big thing. The idea was that you would tell a story through a series of still photographs, with captions underneath like comic book strips. They usually played out as love stories, or murder mysteries and one tabloid newspaper would always run a daily ‘Agony Aunt’ tale. The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World is a little like those, utilising still photographs (over 250 of them) to tell a mad, yet epic, adventure of pizza, time travel, and the potential death of the internet. Honestly, it’s crazy, it’s cheap and we want to tell you all about it.
Oh, a Rock! Studios developed The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World; a husband and wife team who wanted to make funny, weird, and sincere adventures using the Visual Novel and FMV templates. The game uses the idea of multiple-choice decisions through dialogue trees, telling a story through a series of photo stories. Even though you have choices to make, it is still quite a linear experience. It’s a short one too, taking you around ninety minutes to finish.
You play the part of Doug, a man in his late twenties who works at a local pizza joint as a delivery driver. All his teen co-workers think he’s an old loser and his angry boss is looking for any excuse to fire him. When a scruffy-looking man turns up at the pizza parlour and claims he is him from the future, asking for a room for the night, things start to go very strange. The story tackles the death of the internet, cat power, and strange time loops. And whilst I feel that I often say this in regards to some of the weird games I play, The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World really is unlike anything you have played before.
The writing and premise of this doesn’t ever allow the game to take itself seriously; the characters are over the top but a lot of fun. We have sulky teenagers working in the pizza joint, strange customers, and a sort of love interest. There are a lot of jokes to take in and the way the whole thing tackles time travel is done with fun and relish throughout. I’m not sure any of the choices you make are able to influence much of the story direction, but you do have decisions to make in terms of how you reply to people.
The gameplay is very much like a visual novel in its template and structure. There are dialogue trees and choices involved in how you interact with people and situations. For example, on the pizza delivery job side of things, you get a list of pizzas that need to be delivered, how long they’ve been waiting and how long it will take for you to get to the destination. You can choose which pizza address you want to deliver to first but once again I don’t think that changes the sequence of events that unfold. There’s a nice mini-game too, as you go about cutting pizzas into different segments, hoping to feed a certain amount of people. Apart from that though, and very much like most visuals novels, it’s fairly basic gameplay-wise.
Visually this pizza focused experience comes with a nice set of menus and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the systems which are in place; they work perfectly. The photographs of all the characters you meet are captured in quite big expressions and over-the-top gestures, but these certainly fit in well within the story. Some of the outside locations you go to feel like they’ve all been taken outside the development offices themselves in streets and strange doorways and unfortunately the scenery locations fail to live up to the standard of the actual character pictures. Soundtrack wise there isn’t any voice-over to be had which is a bit of a shame. There is music throughout but it certainly won’t blow you away.
The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World is a short experience, but it’s very original, a bit bonkers and a lot of fun. It’s likely to be one of those that will have a Marmite effect – you are going to either love or hate the story. Personally I’ve liked the photo story template and the over-the-topness of the whole journey, yet there isn’t much to do in the gameplay and the choices that you make don’t really influence the narrative. But where else can you play a game as a pizza delivery boy who meets his future self?
Oh, a Rock! Studios, please keep making your weird games.
The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved the World is on the Xbox Store