Order a Pizza is a short visual novel made for NaNoRenO 2019 by Rocket Adrift. Play as a divorced father on his quest to order the perfect pizza for his daughter and new girlfriend. It’s a lot more stressful than it sounds!
When you load up Order a Pizza, you’re instantly mesmerized by a caricature of a man you would find printed on your usual pizza delivery box. His smiling face is almost creepy when paired with the mysterious yet whimsical title music. This alerts you right away about what kind of experience you’ll be getting yourself into—something full of intrigue but not lacking in humor. The game definitely delivers on this.
In Order a Pizza, the main goal is seemingly to order the correct pizza that both your daughter and girlfriend will enjoy. But, as you click through and make your first pizza order you realize that this night is about so much more than your dinner.
The game utilizes a point-and-click exploration system that gives you information that should, in theory, help you order the correct pizza for your mismatched family. You learn more about both Margot, your new girlfriend, and Abby, your estranged daughter, as you look at pictures on the fridge or receipts on the bulletin board next to it.
When you’ve explored everything, the laptop on the coffee table will pop open and display the same caricature from the title screen. From this menu you can create the pizza of your dreams. Depending on the pizza you order, an “ending” will be unlocked. These endings act as checkpoints for the next level, each becoming increasingly more stressful as you learn about yourself and what went wrong with your family life.
Despite new levels being unlocked, the background stays exactly the same, give or take a few minor additions depending on the stage you’re in. While it may seem repetitive, considering you’re clicking the same things over and over again each round, there’s something charming about the experience as a whole.
You’re met with stunning dynamic art right from the get-go. The characters move parts of their body, including their lips when they’re talking to you or their arms and legs as they sit on the couch. The background, though representing a dingy apartment, is done rather well. There’s a sense of helplessness that the developers were able to create, leaving the player scrambling to make sense of the downtrodden life they’ve found themselves occupying as the main character in the game.
Order a Pizza doesn’t come without some faults, though. I wish there was more variation to the background as each level progresses. There’s also a lost opportunity to use the pizza man caricature from the title screen for more than just the mascot of the pizzeria you’re ordering from. This could add another level of humor to the bizarre tale, especially considering something that happens at the very end. No spoilers here, you’ll need to play the full game to find out more!
All in all, I’d say Order a Pizza brings a refreshing take to the visual novel genre. There are a lot of cool things it brings to the table, including the ability to order a pizza like you would on a food delivery website. I’m quite impressed that it was made in only one month for a game jam!
You can get Order a Pizza for free on itch.io.