In the middle of the day of December 5th, Scott Cawthon, creator of the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, released Freddy Fazebear’s Pizzeria Simulator. It was a supposed spin-off that was going to do its own thing. Little did I know, I was walking into the sixth game of this juggernaut of a horror franchise. Here’s my first impressions of Freddy Fazbear’s, aka Five Nights at Freddy’s 6, over the first two nights of the game.
The game opens with a retro Atari style mini-game reminiscent of something from FNAF 3, where you play as Freddy, shooting pizzas at kids to feed them and earn points. This goes on for a few rounds before a twist takes over and things go haywire, like I’d expect. From experience, none of these old school mini games are necessarily straightforward as they appear.
Almost immediately afterward, I found myself thrust into an unfamiliar location, sitting across from an animatronic with a tape recorder and notepad in front of me. Confused, I hit play and listened to the tape as it instructed me to watch, listen, and take note if the animatronic responded to any of the static noises played. Things went on like this for several minutes, switching between the notepad and the animatronic as these eerie and static noises played over and over. With how random the switch was from retro to this, I was left confused and unnerved in this uncomfortable atmosphere.
As this section came to a close, I was once again tossed into something different: a cheesy, still-image instructional video on how to open your Freddy Fazbear Pizza. This jump left me curious and grinning as the game returned to its macabre sense of humor reminiscent of Sister Location as the video taught me the ropes of running a probably illegal pizzeria. I was taught the messy principles of owning a business, how to maximize your profits while dodging lawsuits & unexplained deaths, and to be careful of filling dubious boxes full of items to liven things up. It was at this point that the game opened up and I discovered what I was truly playing; a Five Nights at Freddy’s/Tycoon style hybrid game.
I began Day 1: Monday with my shady and morally bankrupted business. First I browsed a catalog, Dumpster Diver Weekly, to fill my storefront with dollar store items and an animatronic clearly made from broomstick handles & a frying pan. Most of the stuff is automatically placed and there isn’t much in the way of customizing, which I found a bit disappointing. Perhaps upgrading the business allows more options. I also picked up a quick sponsorship deal to get more money and unlock another catalog for later spending sprees. With everything set in place, I called it quits and opened for business, curious to see what would happen.
Then, with another switch, I’m in the backroom at a computer monitor with two vents on my right & left, and a computerized voice is telling me that I can leave after I finish, “the tasks.” Such tasks included printing flyers, automatically unclogging the toilets despite being several rooms away, and buying more pizza & plates. Despite being the owner and the fact I should obviously dump this responsibility onto my underlings (at least with the printing and unclogging toilets part), I started doing my tasks as 90’s electronic sounds played in the background. It was then I realized I’m in for a much more traditional FNAF experience than expected.
Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator is like a hybrid of old games in the series with some fresh additions to keep things interesting. Instead of waiting until morning to go home as in past games, you are given a series of tasks to complete and once they’re done, you can instantly leave. As such, it could be possible to finish a night quicker than in a usual game of the series… or perhaps longer.
There are no vents that keep the baddies out, so you must constantly look to the right or left to see if anyone’s coming. The computer comes with a radar sensor to tell you where someone is in the vents and a music option to play a song that’ll lead your foes away from you for a bit. You can only work, play music, or use the radar, so you have to choose wisely and keep your eyes on the vents.
The game also allows you to shut the computer down and turn the fan in your room off to fool enemies into not coming near you, but the drawback is you start to get overheated. Also, god forbid you get an intrusive ad that’ll take over your computer while working, potentially screwing things up even more as you wait to skip it. Overall, I find the classic gameplay both new and familiar in a good way.
As a fan of the franchise, my initial reactions are very positive. The idea of a Tycoon game crossed with FNAF is something I thought about years ago as a cool spin-off idea that would be fresh, so it was amazing to see it actually become a reality. I would prefer some more variety and customization, but perhaps that happens later as the days go by. The new additions and changes to the existing formula I really liked, adding new features that can both ease your tension or send it skyrocketing. The graphics are on the standards of the previous games and the dark sense of humor gives the game some added flavor and punch like Sister Location had. The only real issue I had was how overly sensitive the mouse control was when looking right, left, and middle during the night sequences. I felt like I was zipping around uncontrollably and it was hard at times to focus straight ahead on the monitor.
One thing that I especially found interesting was the idea of things getting loose in your business. The impression is that you may not even have to face down any potential night dangers. If you pass over salvage opportunities and never buy anything shady, it almost seems like you could go a whole game without ever running into anything that will kill you. If that’s possible, even though I doubt it, I’m ok with the decision. Sure, you miss out on the tension filled stress and horror, but you can also just play the game as a simple Tycoon experience. This also offers replay options, like trying to play the game with none, some, or tons of enemies coming at you.
For non-fans of the series, I don’t think there’s anything here that’ll bring you to it despite the new additions. Same with big Tycoon fans due to how simplified the Tycoon aspect appears to be. For fans of the franchise, from what I’ve played so far, this looks worth your time. If you ever had a passing interest in learning what all the fuss about Freddy’s is about, this may be worth a download.