As you get to the later levels, you start getting some special pipe pieces, such as one-way pipes (indicated by an arrow). Some stages also have reservoirs, which slows down the flooz for a brief time, pumps, which cause the flooz to tempoarily speed up, and tunnels which allow you to wrap around to the other side of the board. In addition some stages have end pieces you can build toward for double the bouns points, but remember you must still meet the required distance. At any time (preferably when you already have the minimum distace) you can also press SELECT to shoot the flooz out at top speed. It ends the level quickly but any pipe the flooz goes through in the fast mode nest you double points. After every four levels you take part in a Tetris-like bonus round, where you're dropping pieces down fromt eh ceiling to make the pipeline. This game does let you set several options before you begin, such as game type (normal, tournament or one-shot), game speed and starting level. Two players can also play simultanteously; you both lay down pipes at the same time and you can either play cooperatevly (work together to lay down the pipeline) or competitively (try to get the higher score).
Like most puzzle games, the graphics of Pipe Dream aren't very elaborate but they get the job done. You only see the playfield and the pipes, but the pipes do have a nice look to them and the colors change with every level. It's also easy to see the flooz flowing through the pipes so you're never lost on where it's going. Just like the visuals, the game's audio isn't special but still adequate. You can choose from three types of background music, and while the second tune isn't fun to listen two, the first and third tunes actually sould pretty good and manage to fit the game action (you can also turn the background music off). The warning music that plays when the flooz starts geting close to busting of your pipeline is also nice. The sound effects, such as the boom of pipes being blasted, are also pretty decent.
Not much to say about the controls. Just move the marker around and push A to drop the pipe piece. (The B button is not used at all). The controls are simple to use so there's no problems here.
The major part of any puzzle game is the gameplay, and Pipe Dream does not dissapoint. The game is a blast to play. It's simple design makes it easy to get into and it also has a good learning curve. The first few levels are pretty easy, allowing beginners to find their legs, but before long the cart gets challenging, espiecially when the flooz starts flowing more rapidly. The later levels will definetly strain your brain, forcing you to think ahead, and many times you'll have to improvise. The levle select feature is a nice touch, allowing puzzlemasters to go to the tough levels right away. This game also has that addictive charm and offers different ways to go about it; you can either try to move through the stages quickly or go for high scores using the different methods of getting bonus points. Sometimes the game can get frustrating, especially when you can't seem to get the piece you desparately need in the higher levels and you have no way of saving yourself. The two player mode is a nice touch as well, though it can get confusing at times.
In the end Pipe Dream proves to be another great puzzle game in the NES line. This game is fun, addictive, and features simple gameplay that anyone can get into, but also features differnet skill levels to challenge both novices and experts. The variety of ways to play and the randomness ensures you won't get bored with it pretty quickly. Plus trying to devise complex pipelines never gets old. Bottom line is this is a puzzler that NES gamers sould definetly check out and not flush away.
- Review posted on January 31, 2007