'Pizza Tycoon' is, the name gives it away, a tycoon-game where the players goal is, to build up an economic empire, react to his competitors and make tons of money. In 'Pizza Tycoon', again the name doesn't withhold any cruel information, you do so by selling Pizza.
Starting a pizza chain
First off the player chooses the city, where he wants to start his business, each location giving a little twist to what the potential customers are looking for, and how tough the competition is going to be. Once this first hurdle is taken, the player is tasked to find the right spot in the city to open a first restaurant.
The city is shown from an isometric viewpoint, featuring distinct districts, each having customers with different tastes. The player scrolls through the city, and can click any building, finding out who lives or works there, and if he decides to cater to this crowd, rent a vacant local in the area. Varying with the districts and the size of this restaurant the player has to shelf out more or less money each month.
Once the location is rent, the player has to refurbish the place. There is a wide range of furniture, decorations and flooring to pick from. These items not only define which customers the player will lure in, but of course is a question of money as well. In the beginning the player will rather start with a cheap tavern, upgrading the place over time to become an expensive restaurant.
After arranging the dining area the player has to furnish the kitchen as well. Once again the money put into this domain defines the quality and therefore how much the player can charge for his pizzas later on.
When the location is set up, there is one last important problem to be solved: finding the right staff. The player will find that a lot of people with different skills and strengths want to participate in the flourishing business of pizza making. The interface features some meters that will inform the player, whats his employees strengths and weaknesses, and if he is worth the wage.
Before the restaurant is to be opened, the player may design the pizzas he wants to serve. The game itself judges if the chosen covering results in a tasty dough-cake, but also if its optically appealing. Designing the few first pizzas may take some time, but the game includes a chart that shows some basic pizzas that are easy to rebuild.
After all this first steps are taken, the restaurant can be opened. From this point on, the player will carefully tweak the settings, to make it a buzzing enterprise. Then it's up to opening new restaurants, always keeping in mind, what the target audience is looking for.
Of course there is the possibility of advertising too, where the player can choose from different means, ranging from flyers to TV-Spots. Depending on the amount of money put into this campaigns, but also the chosen elements in the ad, this advertisement can be very successful or fail completely.
There is more to do besides creating your own pizzas and selling them to the customers, there are a lot of other tasks, that keep the player busy.
First off, there are pizza creating competitions, where the player has to build pizzas from a given receipe under time pressure. Winning these competitions will earn the player popularity, making his pizza chain more known, driving more people into the restaurants.
As there are competing pizza chains in town, the player will likely try to sabotage them. This is easily achieved by breaking into another restaurant and planting rats, stink bombs and the like, later in the game, the player may even raid the restaurants with heavy weapons, like flamethrowers and rocket launchers.
Fitting the Italian theme, there are mobsters in town, which will hand out some dirty missions for you. While offering a nice reward in money, these can be rather risky, because if the player fails to complete these, or doesn't show up for them on time, some strong-arms may show up, and beat the player up. This will reduce the players energy-meter, resulting in less time the player may spend at work, and can only be cured by going on holiday, leading to a huge loss of money.
Another risk in sabotaging the competitors or mafia-missions is the possibility of being caught by the police. The easiest solution for this of course is bribing them. In fact the game even allows to bribe the mayor at some point.
To sell pizzas means that the player also needs to have an eye on the needed ingredients. There are two possibilities to solve this situation: a) by hiring a manager that is able enough to do so, and he will buy all that is needed. Of course there are different contractors, varying in quality and prices.
b) the player focuses himself on that task. By renting huge storage facilities it's easy to make a bargain, but may lead to a pile of decaying vegetables too.
Your new best friend: the menu
This being an economy simulation, the player will spend a lot of time browsing through the menus. Finding the right spot for a restaurant, viewing the thoughts of the customers, staff performance, supply and demand-charts and so on.
Creating pizzas tasks the player to find the right balance between the different tastes. The game differs between fatty, sweet, salty, hot and spicy with each ingredient featuring at least one of these, some even representing two or three tastes. Each target audience wants different pizzas, with certain tastes associated to them. Creating these pizza is not only a matter of trial and error but also studying the menus.
This being a game developed in Germany, there are some minor differences between the European and US release. The biggest variety is found in the main-map, where the player may choose the city he wants to play at. The original version of course offered a European map, with cities like Berlin, Munich and Rome, while the US-Version featured an additional map of the US-East Coast.
Originally published as "Pizza Connection" in Europe, a name that shows a stronger connection to the mafia then it's Tycoon name.
The manual features about 10 original Pizza recipes, that not only were the basic pizzas every customer would like, but they also functioned as the copy protection. At some point the player would be asked to build one of the original pizzas as pictured and described in the manual. If the player failed to do so, the game would quit.