Farm Frenzy – Pizza Party is pretty much the same as Farm Frenzy 2. There are some noticeable improvements – trucks and planes can be upgraded, and the map is much more interesting. But although there are sone new products and buildings, it’s the same layout and the same basic gameplay.If you liked the first two, you’ll probably like this one. Just don’t expect much to have changed down on the farm.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Farm Frenzy is a time management game where you care for livestock (chickens, goats, cows, and pigs) to get their output, like milk or eggs. You send the output to small farm buildings to create "products" like egg powder or cream. You also order city items like yeast to combine with farm products for complex items like dough.  You send items to the city to sell. Some buildings can be upgraded to produce faster or in a higher quantity. While you are doing all this, your farm is occasionally attacked by bears, which you have to trap in cages with multiple mouse clicks. You can also buy dogs and cats to help you.

There’s never been much story to the Farm Frenzy series. You just get different goals for each level, and some strategy choices in how to reach those goals. But the graphics are cute, the tasks are challenging, and gameplay is smooth. We also like the use of a tracking timer, which means you have to play very quickly to get a gold medal, but if you don’t make the target time you still keep playing. This is a much better learning environment than games that just cut you off if you don’t meet the goal.

On the other hand, you’re going to need to do all that learning on your own. Although there’s a simple gameplay tutorial, there’s nothing built-in to learn the strategy aspects of the game.  Moreover, one of the weaknesses of the early titles is magnified in this one—not enough visual cues for planning strategy on the fly. Many items look similar, it’s hard to remember what all the different buildings do, and there’s no good way to quickly check different recipes. Yes, if you put your cursor in just the right spot on a building that you own you’ll see its ingredients. But you can’t check the recipe for a building you don’t own yet, or see what happens if you decide to upgrade. And the various pitchers and beakers and bottles all look fairly similar.  

Eventually you get pretty good at scanning the scene and quickly realizing you’ll need chickens, goats, and to buy pickles from the city, but the strategy part of the game would really benefit from strong color coding or an accessible recipe book.

The newest part of this title is the pizza concept. Instead of making flat bread, you make pizzas, combining ingredients from the farm like cheese and dough with purchased ingredients flown in from the city. There are different pizza recipes for different countries, but the farm itself is always the same—it’s just the pizza flavor that changes. All in all there are now 28 different products to produce instead of 16, counting the 6 different kinds of pizza.  And Farm Frenzy – Pizza Party has 90 levels, offering lots of variety and excellent length for this genre.   

We liked two new features very much. First, the new plane is much faster, so you don’t have to plan trips so far in advance. You can even buy some farm products in the city if you have a lot of money but not a lot of time. This is a big improvement. Second, the new map is fun, because at several points multiple levels will open, leaving you to choose between a harder goal for an existing skill or learning something altogether new.  They dropped the “gag” concept, but it’s not really needed. The game itself is challenging enough.

So that brings us to the question of whether to buy: how much change does a sequel have to offer? Although the basic gameplay is the same, players do have to learn new recipes, new buildings, and some new strategies as the game progresses.  

With the improvements Farm Frenzy – Pizza Party is clearly the best of an already good series, so new players should definitely start with this title. If you’ve played one of the Farm Frenzy series before, we think you’ll enjoy this game, too, but expect a strong sense of deja vu for the first 5 or 6 levels.