The tension that emerges when you’re chased is foundational to modern video games. Pac-Man in its maze glory is built around that notion. Collect the dots and avoid the ghosts. Don’t get caught. That simple premise has been expanded upon all over the place, whether it’s the memorable stealth of a Metal Gear Solid or the underrated brilliance of the Silent Realm in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Pizza Possum, a new game developer Cosy Computer, takes that concept and builds the whole game around it. You control a pizza-loving possum on a quest to snatch a giant pizza from a bunch of dogs. It’s simple and effective.
This bite-sized game tasks you with eating food to unlock doors that progressively lead you to the large pizza at the end of the quest. You also need to avoid patrolling enemies so you don’t get caught. The arcade focus makes it a high-score chase, as you earn more points the longer you survive, but even if you fail, you start off at your last checkpoint and continue to make your march for your big meal. It blends the thrill of the hunt that fueled Pac-Man’s arcade glory with a friendlier structure that will make it more possible for gamers of all skill levels to make it through. True completion requires multiple successful runs and you also unlock different items and gear as you complete runs.
A co-op mode, where the second player controls a raccoon, amps up the comedy as well. It makes the proceedings far more chaotic, but Pizza Possum thrives in chaos. Initially, I was very careful about every move I made, but at a certain point, I realized just embracing the nonsense was the way to go. So my possum wound up hurtling past guards, gobbling all food nearby as I made use of items and hiding places to ward off the chasing dog cops. In those moments, Pizza Possum is electric.
This game might not last long, but it almost seems aware of its limitations. Pizza Possum invites you to stop by, enjoy the bedlam and pandemonium with or without a friend, and then leave satisfied and fulfilled, like you yourself gobbled down that giant pizza the titular possum craves. This snack is incredibly enjoyable.