Some runners are so seamlessly crafted that they don’t even feel like runners at all. That’s definitely the case with Pie in the Sky (Free), partially because of the fact that you are actually flying rather than running, and that it manages to strip most instances of repetition in favor of a more cohesive frame, similar to the old classic Paperboy.
Starting off as a modest delivery driver, you’ll have access to a basic car (that can fly) and generic toppings. Wait, a flying car? Yep, Pie in the Sky manages to instantly transport you to another realm at the very start, kicking things off on the ground as you take off into the great expanse of space to deliver pizzas to alien lifeforms. It’s absurd, but the sleek cartoon visuals sell the premise quite well and evoke that neon feel of the ’80s to a tee. The soundtrack also fits like a glove — the developers really poured their love of the era out on the screen.
Once you’re actually up there, your car can be controlled by way of tilting, with a quick tap to throw pizzas to the appropriate targets. Movement is automatic, hence the runner pedigree, and that’s essentially all there is to learn outside of some nuances like shields and extra movement powers. Naturally, upgrades fuel your fire here as you’re able to personalize your own pizzeria, name it, and pick your own toppings, which grant small bonuses to your score.
Keep in mind though that Pie in the Sky is mostly built on a therapeutic principle. There is no overarching story, no evil rival Martian pizzeria to quash. There are no missions or objectives to complete, which is a bummer if that’s your thing. Instead, the “endgame" is actually playing the game, as you attempt to upgrade your ship and gain access to more wonderful toys. Plus, putting pills on your pizza as your signature topping is pretty funny.
IAP is kept to a minimum, but since the game is a premium purchase itself at $2.99, I’m not crazy about a tip (read: score) doubler for $1.99. It doesn’t inherently break the game as tips come hard and fast at the standard rate, but it feels like something that should have been balanced in the core release — especially without a campaign.
Pie in the Sky: A Pizza Odyssey may not be for everyone, but those of you who enjoy a good relaxation-based affair will get a good amount of time in with it. Still, I hope the developer ends up adding more content at some point, because they’ve created a pretty interesting universe.