A Delicious April Fool’s Adventure
For better or worse, April Fool’s is a widely active holiday that can bring out the best or worst in people. Many will indulge in speaking of false truths that will flip people’s lids, only for that “gotcha” moment and the inevitable laughter to ensue. So what do I do with what has graced my presence this April 1st: a pizza-punned, 4th wall breaking, clown-dating simulator from the mastermind behind the Magical Otoge series? Well. Let’s break down what we really have here.
Pizzaro, or commonly referred to as Project Deep Dish, is a visual novel about Anne Chovy, a 23 year old girl living her days in The Cal Zone. When finishing up another day at her family’s fish market she stumbles upon a few kids messing around. When she intervenes, the kids are scared away by a sad, down-and-out clown rattling a can begging for spare change. When Anne shows mercy to the clown and provides him with money to grab something off the dollar menu at McGoofy’s (or don’t give him anything, you clown hater), the poverty stricken, lactose-intolerant, full vegan clown in training devotes the act of kindness shown to him as the mental empowerment to try and win Anne’s heart, even if she herself isn’t initially inclined to want the same. But Pizzaro isn’t the only man in The Cal Zone in the running to try and win Anne’s heart; a battle of love, wits, and copious amount of trash-talking await Anne’s suitors, even if Anne…really isn’t even looking at them herself.
The best advice I can give rolling into Project Deep Dish is to remember the date in which it came out: April 1st. The plot is all over the place, with Batensan, Roxushi, and zzzbookwormzzz taking any chance to pun the situation at hand: self-conscious 4th wall breaking, tongue-in-cheek wordplay, a ton of non-licensed namedropping (which has been conveniently edited to save face), and more twists than a Chubby Checker track. Just when you feel you have both feet planted firmly, in comes a particularly Flavorful reference to leg sweep you, then a bonkers tie-in to a well-acclaimed video game franchise will have you shaking your head wondering how the Hell you got here?
But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t having a good time. The jokes come fast and furious, with its characters very self-aware how ludicrous The Cal Zone and its inhabitant’s routines are. The last two chapters have the writers flick the cap off the water bottle holding all semblance of a formulated, cohesive story and sumo clap the water out with Herculean strength, letting the creative fists fly, with the twists and turns putting Spanish soap operas to shame. I had to pick myself off my desk from laughing at how absolutely absurd it had become.
Which, for a what is dubbed a April Fool’s Passion Project, is really all you should be asking for. Add to the fact this project was dropped as a free-to-play title with the option to pay what you want (you should really drop $6.66 though for the extra content), you don’t have much to lose. Turn your brain off, grab some dollar menu goodies, and devote a couple hours to seeing what can be done when three creative minds are let loose in the Visual Novel world.
Reviewed/Playable on itch.io.