The sequel/remake of the PC classic stands the test of time.
There is no shortage of puzzle games on the DS. Since the initial launch of the system there have been countless puzzle titles, satisfying every niche customer of the genre. One of the latest entrants, Pipe Mania, does its part in further expanding the puzzle category.
Pipe Mania has players simply completing a gap in a pipe between an entrance and an exit by placing pipe pieces on the board, thus directing the flooze and avoiding spillage. There are a few variations on this basic premise, which has remained intact from the PC original.
Players are given a block of time before the flooze starts flowing to build the piping structure. Initially, the time proves more than adequate to place the required number of pipe pieces to finish the structure, but as you progress through the game the allotted time will seem far too short to complete the massive structure required. Like other grid games, such as Tetris, the piece provider is random; thus every time a level is played, a new strategy must be built.
Unlike many other puzzle games which reward the most efficient, shortest path to a solution, Pipe Mania encourages players to build the most extravagant pipe flow and take advantage of every open grid on the board. More pieces ultimately equal a higher score, which in turn means a higher ranking (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). However, players must also learn to manage point loss in order to maximize score. Point loss is inevitable in every level of the game. Players will not be able to use every piece and must destroy unused pieces by placing a new piece on top of the old one, at a point cost of course. Any pipe pieces left on the grid without flooze flowing through it will cost players far more than simply destroying the pieces.
Players are presented with the original quest from the PC version as well as a new one, along with some other simple puzzles that involve completing a structure as quickly as possible to achieve the highest score. The basic mechanics of the game prove to be interesting and fun, with the ranking structure really working in the game's favor. Completing a level is never enough for the hardcore puzzler. With a ranking system, replaying each level is encouraged to achieve the highest score and ranking possible.
Both the music and graphical presentation of Pipe Mania are basic, complementing the overall simple style of the game. Each world provides players with a new musical track and look, but both vary only slightly from the preceding level.
Pipe Mania is a great pick-up-and-play title that anyone can enjoy, especially with the smooth touch screen implementation the DS version brings to the table. The game is best enjoyed in short bursts due to its very basic gameplay, making it perfect for work commutes or breaks throughout the day.