When the mischievous dead came out to play, they certainly weren't expecting a delicious, deep-pan nemesis to counter their demonic incursion. Pizza vs Skeletons may appear to be a somewhat cynical title at first glance - or a case of throwing random words together for the sake of wackiness - but the truth is that this crazy crust comes double-stuffed with innovation and polish.
Plus, you get to destroy the undead skeletons with a pizza topped with candy and jellyfish. Wearing a Mozart wig. Why haven't you bought it already?
Players roll the titular pizza using smooth tilt controls, one-touch jumps and ground slams, which is initially introduced as a way of squashing a ravening horde of spear-toting skeletons that rampage onto both sides of the 2D levels. The circular cheese-topped crusader can instantly crush most enemies under its doughy bulk, but you'll need to approach them from different angles depending on whether their spears are held aloft or horizontally to avoid being skewered.
Later enemies such as spiny skeletal hedgehogs, flying foes and head-throwing giants all require different strategies to defeat, adding a neat element of thoughtful deliberation into the mix.
But this is just the appetiser. Pizza vs Skeletons packs a huge amount of variety into its mouthwatering menu. Some levels require you to rescue puppies from cages, sticking them to your cheesy topping like an Italian Katamari. Others offer ski-run style jumps, or challenge you to maintain your balance atop a bouncing You'll even take a slice underwater to engage in some deep-sea action.
And pleasingly, there's even a tongue-in-cheek Angry Birds homage lurking amongst the 100 initial levels.
Regardless of the objective, the brilliant controls and solid mechanics make the experience as accessible as humanly possible; letting players get to grips with the new challenges rather than wrestling with the inputs.
Completing levels grants you persistent currency to spend on pimping your pizza. You can change everything from topping (Sweets? Beetles? Yum!) and facial expressions to the base and wigs. My current order is a jellyfish base packed with sausages and sporting a jaunty top hat, a truly mouthwatering proposition for the Dominos connoisseur. On top of this addictive hook, you can also unlock stars by completing challenges and engaging in a simple wheel-spinning minigame after each stage.
Amazingly, Pizza vs Skeletons brings this all home with... and I can't believe I'm about to say this... pure class. Riverman Media resisted the urge to make the art style as garish and juvenile as possible; instead opting for a beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic that makes the game look like a Leonardo Da Vinci sketchbook. The graphics are sweet and sharp regardless of whether you play on iPhone or iPad, and it's rare to see such sumptuous art direction in such a relentlessly silly game.
- Stupendously solid mechanics
- Massive variety and value
- Luscious and classy visuals
- I'm starving. Fancy a pizza? I'll pay you later.
Summary: Pizza vs Skeletons is a varied and gorgeous slice of rolling action that oozes with delicious value.
Developer: Riverman Media
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 5.0 or later.