Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Cool Pizza is not, as you might expect, an offhand remark uttered after entering a room and finding a large pie with mushrooms on it. But it does capture the essence of that chill commentary. The iPhone is a sleek machine, and Cool Pizza feels like an extension of the device itself: clean, aggressive, and hip.
Calling back to arcade games like Space Harrier that have you endlessly rushing towards the horizon, you control what looks like the ghost of Aubrey Plaza riding a skateboard. Tilting the phone right or left steers your board, and lining up with a flashing ramp sends you up on the air. There are a mess of tentacled-eyeballs and bomb-dropping coffins trying to harsh your mellow ride, so, naturally, you bash their brains in. Tapping the screen while airborne swings your skateboard like a cudgel, and the satisfying crack it makes connecting with the white and pink beasts is motivation to do it all again.
The real trick is staying airborne. Killing a monster gives you a little boost, so you want to keep slamming them, upping your score as you rack up kills and unlock new powers, like an extra jump or a screen-clearing bomb. They add a few choices to an otherwise free-form existence.
Cool Pizza is fast gaming. Getting a higher score isn’t much of a motivator, but the push to discover new creatures and extend your sweet ride is enough of a driving force to keep your cool.