Farm Frenzy: Pizza Party Review—It’s a Pizza Party, Who Could Ask for More?
There used to be a saying in the days of vaudeville (those old time variety shows): never follow a banjo act with another banjo act. I’ve always questioned the validity of that—if you really like something, why not have more of it right away? Sometimes game developers have agreed with me and quickly made a sequel by essentially just re-skinning a game and changing some minor stuff. X-COM: Terror from the Deep is probably my favorite example of this, replacing the UFO folklore of the original X-COM with the Cthulhu Mythos.
In Farm Frenzy: Pizza Party, Alawar does the same thing to the original Farm Frenzy, though sadly not choosing Cthulhu and company. Instead of simply a farm theme, now you apparently are some sort of pizza magnate, or at least somehow involved in the business of creating ingredients to make pizza, then finally pizza itself. It’s sort of a strange fit, because so many of the farm goods involved in Farm Frenzy are not actually used in pizza (like powdered egg). But I guess they thought it would make an appealing theme.
As in past Farm Frenzy games, the game essentially revolves around managing a farm in an arcade game-like manner. You must feed your animals by planting grass for them to eat, all the while collecting the products they create as well as keeping your farm irrigated. In practice, this is done simply by moving around the cursor with the D-pad or analog nub and pressing the correct button, generally just the X (the Square being used to refill the well with water).
Once you have collected various products generated by the animals, you can either sell them to the store to get money or, if you have the right building, process them into different products. Eventually, even pizza! Somehow, I always thought restaurants did that, but I guess that would make a much different game. I can’t say farm-grown pizza sounds very appetizing, though. Farms are not the cleanest places in the world…
To beat a level, you have to fulfill a certain criterion—producing a certain amount of a good, and sometimes having made a certain amount of money. The faster you beat it, the better a rating you get, and the more golden coins you earn which are used to upgrade your farm in between levels.
Although you upgrade various aspects of your farm, the starting conditions vary from level to level. Sometimes you start with buildings and a bunch of animals and no money, so you have to sell produced goods to get cash; sometimes you start with nothing but a lot of cash and have to build the buildings and buy animals. With lots of variations in between. While this certainly mixes things up from a game aspect, it also takes away from the feeling that you are actually working on a persistent farm.
Some levels even have you start with almost nothing, but you are almost immediately beset by a large invasion force of bears, which you are expected to catch and sell for money. It’s pretty silly, though, as bears just aren’t that common. I’ve lived in a rural area for close to 15 years and I’ve seen one, maybe two bears. Raccoons would be a more logical foe, because at least they are common, and they certainly eat chickens.
There are something like 90 levels in the game. You proceed in the game in a somewhat linear fashion—sometimes you have some choices (the level progression screen is a street map of a small town), but some of the paths you can take are dead ends, and you have to go the other way. Still, if you get stuck on a level, you generally have another level you can play, which is what is truly important. There’s also a large amount of awards to win in-game.
In terms of graphics, Farm Frenzy: Pizza Party seems to go back to the hand-drawn graphic style of the original, as opposed to the 3D polygonal graphics turned into sprites of Farm Frenzy 2. If nothing else, they are less soulless-looking. Nothing is creepier than the uncanny valley look that 3D graphics can have. Well, maybe Sarah Jessica Parker. Sound is pretty much what you expect from a Farm Frenzy game, occasional animal noises and whatnot.
Farm Frenzy: Pizza Party isn’t particularly original, being the third game in the Farm Frenzy series and featuring virtually identical gameplay to the two previous titles. But if you liked the first two, you should like this, though you might find it a bit easy. I played into this a lot further than the two previous games, I guess in part because I’ve gotten better at it, but I also think the game is more accessible. So if you are new to the franchise, this would be a good place to start.