Pizza Tower is a 2023 Wario Land inspired high speed action-platformer by Indie developer 'Tour De Pizza' on Steam. It is known for having a 1990's cartoon art style resembling MS paint, a soundtrack full of 16-bit instrumentation and funk/hip-hop sampling, immensely over the top Boss Battles and NPCs, and featuring Mort the Chicken from the titular PS1 game. It follows Peppino, a severely mentally unstable Italian chef (and his fellow chef companion Gustavo) who's trying to stop his already failing Pizzeria from being completely run out of business by the antagonistic forces of the eponymous Tower.
On March 13th, 2018, a comic artist known as Mcpig uploaded initial sketches and ideas for what was then called "The Leaning Tower of Pizza" to his 'weinerdontusedrugs' page on Tumblr, explaining core mechanics and detailing his thought process. On April 25th, 2018 this was expanded upon, with him also displaying some of the sprites and character designs he made. It took ideas from a previously scrapped idea called 'Pizza Massacre', which was about a chef character being transported to a nightmare world where he has to battle demonic pizza creatures.
It was later revealed in 2019 that the idea for the 'Peppino Spaghetti' character actually predates both game concepts.
Pizza Tower, as it'd soon be known as, would eventually have quite a few crossovers with different indie games as well as mods for other games, such as Rivals of Aether, Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart, DOOM 2 , Mushroom Kingdom Fusion and Mega Man "8-bit Deathmatch", some made by Mcpig himself.
In 2019, the game would release four public demos, with the most prominent one coming out on that year's SAGE and leading to a large rise in its' notoriety. Vinny of Vinesauce and 'Roegame' both did playthroughs of each demo, while 'hotcyder' covered it in a video about 'wario-likes' and SiIvaGunner did a Wario-based "rip" of the song 'It's Pizza Time'. The most popular video prior to it's release was June 12, 2019's Pizza Pootis, a TF2 fan short very heavily stylized after it, which already sat at over 3 million views by that point.
Every build after 2019 was released via the game's Patreon, allowing access to things such as a level editor, versus mode and more for $5 a month donations. Donators were later added to the game as 'Pizzasonas', appearing in the 'secret' segments.
The creator often made development streams on Twitch and would interact with fans through his chat. Thanks to that and other factors, Pizza Tower grew a large following that was fond of emulating the game's distinctiveness through fan content like meme edits, art, music, mods, and even fully fledged fan games, all years before the eventual release. One example would be the Scoutdigo mod. The most popular example is an AU known as Sugary Spire , which would release a full public test demo on May 14th, 2022 after intially being cancelled. Another well known project is 'Pizza Tower Repainted', a reskin mod with a rather controversial history.
Pizza Tower had an official discord server with a lot of commonly used in-jokes. However, it was eventually shut-down in March of 2023. It also has both a serious fan wiki and a joke one. The serious wiki, however, was abandoned by the main users running it due to rising concerns regarding FANDOM (the wiki creator service hosting it) and a non-FANDOM oriented wiki was created via Miraheze in late 2023.
On October 13, 2022, the Good Eatin' Collab, a long awaited Newgrounds fan event revolving around the game's golf level and it's official theme music of the same name, was finally released.
Even the Pizza Massacre and Weenie Cop (another scrapped game, which was the origin of the 'weinerdontusedrugs' page) ideas would later be revived via fan projects sharing the same names respectively.
Pizza Tower finally came out on January 26th, 2023 for $20 in the US. It was initially set for much higher prices outside of there by accident, but the fandom still joked that it would sell a "Pizillion" copies, echoing Morbillion of Morbius fame.
A large part of the game's popularity is owed to its' many comedic homages to other media. This can be seen best with things like the taunt mechanic, as well as the aforementioned Gustavo being heavily based on Mario.
The joke character 'Snick the Porcupine', a parody of Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic.exe, made his only appearance in the SAGE demo, and prominently pops up in fan content. He is popular to the point that countless fans asked for him to return, much to the developer's annoyance.
The Christmas demo released in 2019 was originally planned to have a remix of Grinch's Ultimatum, but access was denied.
Sometimes even entire levels are a punchline, with the biggest example being 'Don't make a sound', loosely based on Five Nights at Freddy's.
The creator of Pizza Tower tends to interact a lot with Summitsphere, the creator of another "wario-like" that has been in development around the same time known as AntonBlast / AntonBall Deluxe, with both having done crossover material. Both of their fandoms get along with each other as well. Sometimes the Summitsphere Twitter account will post a joke image of their protagonist, Dynamite Anton, making out with Peppino (shown below).
Pizza Tower Special Guest Fanart
Many fans were utterly baffled by the 'Fun Farm' level officially crossing over with an actual, preexisting, and obscure character named Mort the Chicken, who the developers had gotten full permission to use without any royalties from creator Ed Annunziata, and appears as an assist. It even goes as far as to including a hidden 'Mort cube'. This would eventually lead to many artists coming up with their own concepts for Pizza Tower crossing over.
Lario is a Pizza Tower meme format that shows three characters stylized after the 'Gnome Forest' level's title card set to a mash-up of Young Thug's Superstar"" x Kevin MacLeod's "Sneaky Snitch" and captioned "Lario". It was originally uploaded to TikTok in October 2022, then got popular on sites like YouTube and Twitter in February 2023, receiving several edits, redraws, and remixes. The joke later wound up being referenced in the official soundtrack.