When Pipe Mania was released in 1989 it was an original and addictive puzzler. The game involved building a pipeline to carry gooey ‘flooze’ to a drain without spilling it out over the play area. If you’ve played BioShock you’ll recognise it as the hacking minigame. And you may also have chanced upon various free Java-based versions on the internet. Nearly 20 years on from the original release and Empire has decided it’s time for an official remix. So, is it worth it?
The 56 stages are divided into seven themed zones including sewers, the internet and railroads. New plumbing problems posed include valves that speed up the flooze; rubber ducks, rocks and flames that are impassable; and fists that come randomly smashing down on your carefully laid out pipeline forcing you to make hurried repairs. You’ll also find one-way pipes and treasure pipes that award bonuses if you can pump your flooze through them.
These are reasonable twists that liven up what is aging, tired gameplay. The trouble is, it’s just ridiculously bad value for the money. For what is essentially three to four hours of entertainment you’d expect to download something like this onto iPhone or some other handheld digital receptacle for no more than a few bucks. While Pipe Mania is a pretty good remake, shelling out considerable cash when you can play perfectly good Java-based versions for nothing online is simply money down the drain.
Oct 3, 2008