Pipe Dream (NES) Retro Review

Pipe Dream (or Pipe Mania for the original Amiga release) is a 1990 puzzle game for the NES develpoed by The Assemby Line and published by either Lucasfilm Games (NA) or Empire Interactive (EU). The aim of the game is to place pipe pieces on a grid (and obviously make sure they’re) fast enough so that the ‘flooz’ doesn’t spill out until you place enough pieces to go to the next round.

The title screen was ok looking although the options screen was much although i had no real idea what the difference between the game modes until i looked it up (A is the full experience with 4 rounds per level slowly getting faster, B is 1 round per level at whatever speed you choose and C is a one off round of whatever level and speed you choose). You could also play 2 player and like some other puzzle games it gives you the choice o of 3 tunes which were all pretty decent.

Getting into the game i noticed the graphics were ok, after all they aren’t evgen slightly important in a game like this. I found that while the controls were easy to work out the gameplay itself took a little while to get used to, especially how to get a good amount of points (playing via emulator means i don’t have a instruction manual to read). Rushing to place pieces down was actually a bad thing as replacing pieces cost you points and gave you a delay while any unused ones after you finally lose pretty much murders your score if theres too many. This was clever as it meant you not only needed to use tactics but you also had to use the que in the left to start building the pipelines in advance, i found this rather enjoyable to do. The crossover bonus you can get is quite nice too.

The game is oviously a bit more complicated than simply placing pipes though i didn’t actually screenshot any. They include quite interesting things like pieces that only work in one direction, pieces that take longer to fill up and give you more time and even tunnels that let you go off one side and go to the other. This makes the tactics/strategies you’d need to use (to get a highscore) quite vast which in turn also makes the replayabilty very high for someone like me.

Overall i can easily recommend it to people that like puzzle games. In fact its almost obvious that this would be good since alot of people are convinced that this inspired alot of minigames in later games and it did actaully get a few remakes itself.


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