Video games and Pizza, the perfect combination… If you’ve got an 8-year-old who’s easily distracted or maybe you’ve tried role-playing as a possum, you may know stolen pizza is the best of all.
Pizza Possum is a stealth-action game from indie development studio Cosy Computer, coming in at a bitesize 1.2gb in size and an appetising £5.99, maybe this could be a great game to play with the family after you’ve finished picking the pineapples off that Hawaiin Pizza.
When you start off with Pizza Possum, you’re given a quick overview of the village, with the Dog leader Bella cooking up a giant pizza, while you, our ravenous possum is by the coast catching a whiff of freshly baked dough.
You’ll need to work your way through the village, patrolled by guard dogs, as you sneak from one area to the next, to eventually steal the Pizza, right from under Bella’s nose.
If alerted to your presence, the guard dogs will give chase, and getting caught sends you back to the start, or one of the sparsely placed checkpoints. When I first started off, I was caught by the first guard within seconds thanks to very little handholding, but you’ll soon figure out, you need to guide our possum friend to anything edible so he can gobble it all up and build up points, at set targets, these points will award you a key to unlock a nearby gate allowing you to move on to the next area.
Avoiding guard dogs is fairly easy to get to grips with, each has a pre-defined route, and as long as they aren’t looking directly at you, you’re free to walk behind them, as you move through the streets, you can hope into a bush for cover, or use the predictable patrols in your favour as you grab any food you see lying around.
There’s a handful of larger platters, such as cakes and ice-cream, which will give those points a massive boost, but also take a lot more time to consume, to make things a little easier, nearby food will respawn after a short amount of time, so if you feel cornered, you can always hang fire and grab another bite to eat before moving on.
There’s no health bar, and the guard dogs can generally out-run you, so you’re likely to be caught a few times, which eventually leads to a very lite rogue-lite experience.
With a few playthroughs, you’ll eventually unlock your first item, mine was a energy potion, which when consumed gave you a short burst of speed, perfect for out running those dogs, but you’ll soon open up road-blocks which drop behind an obstacle to slow down pursuing guards, or espresso which is a gradient speed boost, but the icing on the cake was the smoke bomb, thanks to the slight delay before a guard gave chase, you could throw down a smoke bomb, and confuse any dogs nearby, making a quick escape, an easy escape.
These smoke bombs, quickly led to my first successful run after about 30-40 minutes, when I could literally stand in front of Bella and half a dozen guars, dropping one smoke bomb after another while munching away at the pizza.
Sure enough, the pizza was finished, I stole Bella’s crown (because it must have looked really tasty) and I excitedly looked forward to the next world to tackle…. But instead, I was thrown back to the start of the island, and told I needed to collect three crowns without being caught for a surprise (the true ending).
Now this first hour of gameplay was good fun, there’s a nice fluency to moving around the village, the AI, while dumb and predictable still offers a few challenges, and the progression of unlocking items, helped it last this long, but being thrown back to the start, only to be told, do it again, and when you’ve done that, go back and do it again, it felt like a pretty cheap way to keep a player involved and sadly many aren’t going to bother repeating the same steps multiple times, especially when getting caught once (as I did in the very last area with two crowns earned) resets you back to square one, with all crowns removed.
I completely get that this is a short game, and the price does reflect that, but it’s all a little too easy when you’ve got a few items unlocked and the patience to grab 8 bombs to tackle the last area was about my limit, so repeating it time and time again was just a step too far.
So, while Pizza Possum is a fun game for a few hours, you’re probably not going to be spending much time with it in a few days. One added-bonus is local co-op play, allowing you to find a friend to take charge of our Possums friend Racoon for some split-screen action.
It’s certainly fun and anyone with kids may find it a perfect game to play for an hour after Pizza night, before they finally admit they’re tired enough to go to sleep. Graphically it’s pretty pleasing, with bright visuals, everything is pretty well detailed and there are a handful of other animals wandering which can be chased to drop some extra food, there was a few times I mistook one of the guards for an innocent NPC and got myself caught, likewise food is generally really easy to spot, but I did have a few annoying moments when I needed a pile of points to unlock the next gate, but hadn’t come across the large plate over to the side of the map, so had to wait around retreading nearby ground to slowly stock up on enough points to progress.
Audio has its peaks, with music kicking in when guards give chase, but it does feel a little too quiet at times, with nothing more than a humming guard dog or a seagull, leaving things deathly quiet at times, and then a more noticeable background theme seems to appear out of nowhere without ever being memorable enough to consider engaging.
At £5.79, it costs less than a small margherita, and might just last you as long too, it’s definitely more geared towards younger players, who are a little more susceptible to a little repetition, but it’s such a shame that the game tries to keep warm by simply telling you to go back and do it again.
A second level, maybe inside Bella’s mansion would have been a good call, or at least make the town mirrored to give a little more variety.
Overall, Pizza Possum is a fun little stealth-action game, that’s likely to provide a good few-hours of entertainment, but don’t expect to be tucking into cold pizza the next morning, because this one won’t last much longer than a night.
Pizza Possum is a fun little stealth-action game, that’s likely to provide a good few-hours of entertainment, but don’t expect to be tucking into cold pizza the next morning, because this one won’t last much longer than a night.