Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flavor's Random Pick: Pipe Mania

Pipe Mania, aka Pipe Dream, has been around for quite some time. I think that I still own a GameBoy cartridge of it somewhere in my basement, though versions of the game even predate that. On top of those, there are countless clones and spin-offs with similar gameplay. I have even played one called "Home Before Dark" on my daughter's Webkinz account in which your goal is to line up paths for pets to get to their houses before the sun sets.

The current incarnations of Pipe Mania have been released recently on the PSP, Nintendo DS, PS2, Wii, etc.

Pipe Mania is a simple game to learn. The different incarnations throughout the years and on different platforms may present the playfield differently and the input mechanism may vary, but the game is always the same. You are in charge of placing pieces of pipe in such a way so that the liquid can safely reach its destination. These pipe pieces are arranged in a queue so that you can see the upcoming pieces which allows you to make better decisions about where to place the current piece. That's really about all you need to know to play the game, and it ends up looking something like this (screenshot from the PSP version).

The new (PSP, DS, PS2, Wii, etc.) versions of the game introduce some new elements: attacks that come while building your pipeline, hidden treasures, and unlockables, but at the heart of the matter, it's still the same game that you've either come to love or you should try and see if you love. You're not going to find deep storyline, strategy, or role playing elements here. My recommendation is to pick this game up on a handheld console (which will probably be a recurring theme for my posts since that's where my interests really lie). You can pick up Pipe Mania and play a level in for a few minutes, run through many levels, or really try to maximize your points in any given level by making long and interesting pipelines. It's a great game that way, so you can easily play it whether you have 5 minutes or several hours.

I have tried both the Nintendo DS and the PSP versions, and I have to say that I prefer the game on the PSP. I found that after a while, I didn't even use the stylus on the DS, and PSP's larger screen seemed to fit the playfield better. Of course, you get an extra screen on the DS, but it didn't seem to add anything to this particular game. All I'm saying is that if you own both, pick up the PSP version. If you only own a DS, don't hesitate to grab it for that platform, though. It's good either way, and I have to assume it's just as fun on the PS2, Wii, or PC.

As always, Play-Asia has all of the Pipe Mania versions you could possibly care for here.

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