Endless Runner games are like mushrooms in a forest. There could never be enough games coming out with this genre, trying to capture the heart of its fan base. Not just bringing out simple endless running game, most developers nowadays package this kind of game with beautiful graphics, so-called refreshed, newly born gameplay that actually still does the same thing, endless running.
These facts, however, didn't seem frightened the guys from Salty Croc Interactive, a Canadian independent game studio. Combining pepperoni and outer space delivery service imagined in a 1980s mind, Salty Croc that prefers to call this "fly forever" game, Pie in the Sky.
As Simple As It Could Be
Pie in the Sky sets in a near future that could be imagined by any 1980s people. I don't actually know how to state the theme that's taken by Salty Croc, but presumably, I think the theme is a futuristic vintage theme. So you can expect a vintage 80s cars and buildings, but at the same time, using anti-gravity system because well they need to be floating if they want to be in the space right?
In Pie in the Sky, you will become the sole proprietorship of pizza delivery service business. As a sole proprietor, you obviously need to handle all the stuffs, from the kitchen, until the delivery system.
Let's start from the kitchen first. Inside the kitchen, you'd be able to construct your own futuristic pizza with many toppings. Of course as weird as the toppings of the future could be, these toppings would also determine how well your sales could be.
From giving your pizza your own name, you can choose the crusts of your pizza, from the normal classic crust, you can even choose laser grid crust (how cool would that be in real world!) to give the tongue some extra texture.
Beside the crust, you can also choose the sauce, cheese, meats, veggies, and my favourite weird toppings called questionables and megas. These last two toppings are the weirdest toppings available in Pie in the Sky.
From the toppings, let's move to the delivery service. There are upgrades available for you to smoothly deliver all the orders. These upgrades are essential to your delivery journey, because your journey won't be easy for sure.
There are wide array of upgrades that you can do. You can upgrade the shield, active and passive abilities, and you can even upgrade the delivery ship itself. All these upgrades will help you to pass through all the obstacles and send the pizzas in time.
Since Pie in the Sky is set in a distant future, the delivery service also won't be using, by all means, any normal delivery service. You will be sitting behind a spacefaring delivery ship, delivering your custom made pizza across the planets and to all the living creatures available in the galaxy.
It also is an inter-galactic delivery service, so during your service, you will have to avoid all the obstacles coming at you. These obstacles are including, asteroids, other space ships, cargo ships, patrol ships, and also some weird space bugs that keeps bugging your journey.
Once you've overcomed all those obstacles, you will then find housing varied from deserted housing to futuristic housing. When you've reached this area, you can send your custom-made pizza to the settler there. When they satisfied with your service, they will give some extra tip beside the money.
Gameplay and Control
Pie in the Sky uses two method all over the game. Tilt the device to control the ship and avoiding obstacles, sometimes you will also tap and hold to use the ship's ability.
The abilities are giving a very great advantage while avoiding the obstacles. One of the passive abilities can give extra money when your ship crash into obstacles while the active abilities, can give you free shield that you can use to crash your ship purposely into other obstacles. Combining these two abilities could give you quite a lot of free money to your business.
Upgrading the ship would also give a more stable ship, resulting to an easier ship to control. So you can do more manouvre, more sharp turn like a professional driver while avoiding all those obstacles.
The second method is when you've arrived at the settlers housing. Once you've entered this area, the ship obviously would be slowing down to avoid unnecessarily accident. Still, you will tap and match the timing to send the pizza to the buyer.
This second method more or less reminds me to the classic arcade game that was created in iOS too, Paperboy. Paperboy also do the same thing where you as the paperboy tries to send paper into the house while moving with your bike at the same time.
All the musics in Pie in the Sky are produced by Indiana musician, Blac Eagl. Blac Eagl is a synthwave musician, so the music really suits Pie in the Sky that takes vintage with space. The synth music that they used match with the space feeling, while the drum machine that they chose, suits the vintage 80s feeling.
If you want to check out the music sample from Pie in the Sky created by this amazing musician, Blac Eagl, you can check out their bandcamp here, or go visit their Bandcamp channel. They can also be reached at their Facebook.
Things I Like
Despite being an endless runner game, Pie in the Sky doesn't feel like its a free-to-play game. The tilt-control feels very responsive in a way that doing a hard tilt and soft tilt will give a really distinctive ship's turn. The graphics also hard to resist. It was created beautifully, and each run was generated beforehand. So you won't find yourself running in the same course at all.
The odd upgrades for the pizza are also weirdly welcomed. I actually couldn't imagine having a pizza with equation toppings or pyramid toppings just to make sure that my delivery service runs smoother, but that's what happen in Pie in the Sky and I like it that way.
Music also spots on, from when my ship reach the housing, or when the ship speeding up with the booster, doing manouvre between other ships, the music comes in with the right ryhthms. When music matches with the game condition, it will leverage the whole experience of the game.
Pie in the Sky is a really pouring out great quality for an endless runner game. It doesn't feel cheap, the product feels really solid. It has a complete package, from fluid control, dynamic gameplay, and a fantastic music. If you're thinking about adding more collections in your endless running folders, you should and must consider Pie in the Sky as an addition. I'm also giving a shout for pizzas lover out there in the galaxy to get this weird and awesome game on hand.
About Salty Croc Interactive
Salty Croc is a Canadian independent game studio. Salty Croc is Ryan Jones and Nathan Langdon. Salty Croc: purveyors of fine video games since 200X.
Founded by Ryan Jones in 2013, Salty Croc is named after his wife's (inexplicably) favorite animal, the saltwater crocodile. An expat of Vancouver free-to-play game development, Ryan moved to Ontario and began solo work on the studio’s first game, Pie in the Sky. In early 2014, Ryan teamed up with Nathan Langdon, an illustration grad of Sheridan College, who took on the role of the studio’s artist. Work took place in borrowed cubicles tucked into the back corner of a completely different business, itself part of a desolate office park in the middle of nowhere, where it continues to this day.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Salty Croc and Ryan for sharing this game with me and trust me to put honest review for Pie in the Sky.