Comedy in visual novels is a difficult concept to pull off. I think this is the case in part because most people don’t know when to end the joke and instead try to extend it. There is also the reality that some jokes just don’t translate well across cultural lines and many people who are fans of anime and manga try to copy the humor of their inspirations, without realizing that every piece of humor that works in harem or shonen or otome titles work in a Western context. This is more of an overview though as most people in the EVN community have a much better idea of comedic context and the struggle of making something inspired by another culture funny here in the West. However, if I may, I’d like to offer my own ideas on the subject.
Comedy, at least as far as EVNs are concerned, work best when they accept what they are and not try to incorporated subtext or other issues that take away from the overall joke. At the same time, they never extend it longer than it absolutely has to be. They’re usually short and narrowly focused on the joke it wants to tell. This narrow focus and short window of time forces that writer to keep everything concise and as funny as possible. That way, when it ends, it ends on a laugh regardless on if the joke was well understood by the audience or not.
Saying Pizz’Amore is good in the context that this website likes to use the term ‘good’ is a stretch to say the least. However, no one can deny that it is fun as Hell. So let’s take a look at how this short, silly title managed to accomplish this feat.
Pizz’Amore is the story of either Mario or Maria: the owner of one of the finest pizzeria’s in New York. We meet them just as they’re in the process of being dumped and the only way they can fill the sudden, gaping hole in their soul is…to make a pizza. OF COURSE. Your Grandmama foresaw the day that our protagonist would wish to make the perfect pizza, ironically at the exact same time of this whole ‘break up’ thing, odd. Anyone you take the new oven and work as usually, only for something STRANGE to occur that very night! TWINS! What will happen now that these two have rolled out into the hearth of Mario/Maria’s life?
Absurdity of course: the answer is absurdity.
The story never stops at any time to try and explain what the Hell is going on. It doesn’t explain the break-up between our Protagonist or what the Twins are. They’re implied to be pizza dough somehow given life, but it never really stops to question just how in the Hell it’s even possible. The Protagonist simply wraps their arms around the twins and carries on with the story. What would otherwise be a critique turns into an acceptable part of the story since the story doesn’t intend to take anything seriously enough to require further examination.
This is great because considering one of the best comedies of last year allowed you to date an anthropomorphic Tiramisu; I don’t want to begin trying to figure out who would think pizza is that sexy…other than Ross (INSIDE JOKE!).
What follow is only a few hours of the following day and you can choose the personalities of the twins and which one you want to see a romantic end with. So, really you’re getting four romantic options instead of two! There are also no sexual boundaries here so you can have heterosexual or homosexual pizza/human relations depending on your brief choices. This is just funny. I don’t know why, but the fact that so much detail and time went into this makes me chuckle. It will serve the team well in other projects, here I just can’t help but think it’s a parody of romance games as a whole, which makes me laugh.
The actually events on the day depends on the type of clothes the twin you choose wears. All of the scenarios are reasonably funny, but the male twin Dough (yes that’s his name) fairs much better than the female twin Dougha (yes that’s her name) simply because even with the ‘spicy’ option, clearly the goal was for the girl to be more cute than her brother regardless of your emotional choice. Meanwhile the male twin literally does a sweaty striptease for you if you go with spicy for him. I’m calling favoritism just to be on the safe side, although something tells me I’m making that call alone.
The final scene is always with the protagonist falling madly in love with one of the twins based on how ‘cute’ or ‘spicy’ they are. If you were expecting anything else, you haven’t been paying attention.
PRESENTATION & GAMEPLAY
The driving force of the game’s Presentation is with its voice actors and soundtrack. The artwork is nice, but simple and there isn’t enough time overall in the game to showcase too many Event graphics or different designs. Although kudos for the different outfits for the twins: nice touch.
Most of the fun concerning this game comes from the voice actors. It is clear that everyone involved is hamming it up and enjoying themselves as they read their absurd lines: especially the actors behind Mario and Maria. This is something that I pointed out when I talked about the differences between Pyrite Heart’s voiced and unvoiced versions. There is just something about good vocal direction and a talented cast that can take something and elevate it just a notch. The vocal cast of Pyrite Heart did it when there was a voice cast in Pyrite Heart. And the voice cast here does an excellent job as well.
The soundtrack is one of the better ones I’ve heard this year. It incorporates organ grinder music to punch up the feeling of an Italian comedy; or at least the stereotypes of Italian comedy as portrayed in America. Either way it was delivered very well. This is especially true of the Menu Theme, sung in an operatic tenor. Very nice!
The Gameplay, like everything else, is very simple and straightforward. There are no bugs or glitches to report and the outfitting option even holds up. My only regret is there is no Extras gallery for the soundtrack.
You can knock out a route Pizz’Amore in fifteen minutes. Overall, you can complete the entire game in an hour. It is free and it is funny so it’s worth at least ONE play through. After that, it will be good for a quick laugh if you ever want it.
Pizz’Amore is a game focused on delivering quick laughs and little substance. My biggest issue playing through the game is that the twins’ paths felt uneven since the female didn’t get quite as many humorous moments as the male twin did. But it’s a quick, funny tale that never overstays its welcome and enjoys the sillier side of romance. Grab a slice of this while you wait for something a bit meatier in the romantic food aisle.