From cupcakes to tacos, Papa Louie has it all. With such an illustrious chain of virtual restaurants, one has to wonder where it all began. Well, it all began with Papa's Pizzeria of course! Released in 2007, Papa's Pizzeria is the game that started it all. This title may be the first entry in the Gameria series of cooking games but it still has something to offer new casual gamers.
The story takes place in Tastyville, where Roy the pizza delivery man wraps up his route for the day and heads back to the Pizzeria. He gets back to an empty restaurant and finds a note from his uncle, Papa Louie, saying that Roy is left in charge of the place in his absence. Before he could even take it all in, his first customer arrives. Papa Louie was right, it's going to be quite the adventure as Roy barely has time to learn the ropes before serving his first customer. Well actually, it's now up to you to fill the belly of your food-loving customers as you control Roy and run the Pizzeria.
If you've previously played any of the -eria titles, then you'll be no stranger to the game's step-by-step mechanics. Restaurant management is divided into several groups called Stations. The Order Station is where you write down the specifications of your customer's pizza. Once you have the ticket, you then head to the Topping Station to add ingredients according to the order. You can move the toppings around as much as you want, although you will have to take symmetry into consideration if you want better ratings from the customers.
The Baking Station is where you'll be waiting for the pizzas to cook. You can bake up to four at once, which will come in handy when juggling several orders. The Cutting Station is where you slice the pizza depending on what was requested. Once you've accomplished all the tasks, you can then serve the completed pizza to the appropriate customer.
At the end of the day, you get graded according to the quality of your service. This is measured through the amount of tips you earned. Racking up earnings will help increase your rank, which in turn brings in new customers. As you are actually cooking while watching the clock, Papa's Pizzeria is quite a step up compared to other time management titles at the time.
When it comes to graphics, this game isn't eye candy quality yet. The colors and illustrations have a rough look due to the age of the title. Without its optional posters and seasonal decor, the store looks plain too. On a positive note, the potential is there. The character design is pretty much timeless and it is the only Gameria with an animated intro. There is no way to customize or add furniture yet, which leaves little incentive for those who like collecting in-game items. The lack of upgrades slows down Pizzeria's pace a bit for those who started with more recent Gamerias.
While Papa's Pizzeria has somewhat aged compared to later Gamerias, it is still a star when compared to other time management games and cooking sims. The game play is as addicting as ever and the customers did not lose their charm one bit. Balancing orders can get hectic but it never becomes near impossible to overcome. Regardless if you're young or old, Papa's Pizzeria is worth a check. This is a great title for those who are looking for a lengthy time waster with a cheery vibe.