Engineering company Robosoft and publisher Virtual Programming Ltd. has just released their iPhone game Pipe Mania, which has also appeared on the PC, Nintendo DS and Wii, and the PSP. The first game appeared way back in 1987, and since then, this game has been “the most successful puzzle game ever created”. Does it live up to its reputation?
I have never played Pipe Mania, ever, on any platform. So, this was my first time playing a game like this, and I am impressed so far. I have played 5 levels in the first mode (world mode) and found the game to be quite enjoyable. You get pieces of pipes and have to place them so that the flooze can travel from one end to the other. Some pipe pieces won’t exactly fit into your pipe structure, so you either have to put them to the side or create another path. You don’t get forever though… the pipe starts pouring out the flooze after about 45 seconds so you must build your pipes fast. There is also a distance requirement you have to achieve in order to beat the level, and the longer your pipe the more points you will receive. The more points you receive, the better the medal you will receive (i.e. 2,500 for a silver medal). You can also speed up the outpour of the flooze to gain extra points.
Graphics and polish is all very nicely done. Menus, loading screen, etc. are all nicely designed to fit the whole pipe theme. Level select screens are also easy to use and figure out. Each world is laid out like, well, a world and you can select each world with a tap of a finger. I didn’t quite like the tapping mechanic when selecting an option on the main screen and found it a little confusing (i.e. tapping the button then waiting for the next screen). Other than that, the graphics are nicely done and well designed.
All in all, I found this game to be quite enjoyable. I’m guessing that people who haven’t played this game but want a nice puzzle game will like this one, and the puzzles are puzzling. Who knew making pipes were so difficult? The gameplay is similar to the likes of Tetris in the way that the pipe pieces are chosen for you and you must match it with other pieces. So far, the experience has been a good one and the polish is just the icing on the cake to make it fun. One thing I did find though is that the game is a bit difficult with no difficulty settings, and for casual gamers it might be a little hard to understand at first. The basic pipes in the beginning are a nice help, but the descriptions and tutorial can get confusing. Once you get it down, it’ll be worth the $4.99 asking price, but again, some people will find this game difficult and frustrating. But hey, aren’t all puzzle games like that?
The price is $4.99, and the creators of this game are Robosoft and Virtual Programming Ltd. along with a few more companies.
Here’s the developer’s trailer: