A slice of restaurant-owner life: The Pizza Connection reboot

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 21 Apr 2018

Pizza Connection was a surprise hit in the 1990s with its humorous approach to a real business case. Now a small development studio has taken on the task of creating a new version, where players struggle to set up a restaurant chain, just like in the original. — Assemble Entertainment/dpa

Pizza Connection was a surprise hit in the 1990s with its humorous approach to a real business case. Now a small development studio has taken on the task of creating a new version. But are they just reheating an old dish?

In Pizza Connection 3 from Gentlymad, the general principle is true to the original: Players have to build up a chain of pizza restaurants.

First off is to lease a restaurant in a city such as Berlin, Paris or Sydney. The restaurant's furniture and decor is up to the player. Then there's staff to hire (waiters, kitchen staff, delivery people) and a work roster to be drawn up.

Before the restaurant opens, the menu has to be prepared – this can be done with ready-made recipes or self-designed creations. Depending on the city, customer tastes may vary: for example, tourists in Rome love strong spices, Parisian workers like fish.

Generally, the help given within the game is not very helpful. There's a tutorial at the start that explains a lot but the game's difficulty level quickly increases.

Often it's not clear why something in the restaurant isn't working. Also customers sometimes have colourful icons over their heads but why this is is hardly explained.

Once the first restaurant is up and running, it's time to start a chain. There's also a delivery service to deliver pizzas to customers in their homes.

An important element of Pizza Connection has always been the mafia: crooks can sabotage competitors' restaurants. At the same time you have to protect yourself from attacks.

One thing that's missing from this reboot is the strong sense of humour that permeated the original. Overall, Pizza Connection 3 feels unfinished. The controls are frustrating and inaccurate and figures sometimes hang or walk through walls.

Compared to its predecessors, the game isn't very innovative. Besides the pizzas themselves, there's little opportunity for customising, for example, the menus or restaurant layouts.

So unfortunately Pizza Connection 3 feels like warmed-up pizza from yesterday with nothing new, a lack of bite and altogether too little to fill up on.

The game is available for PCs and costs around US$30 (RM117). It's suitable for players aged six and upwards. — dpa
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