The Game: Let’s get one thing straight – flooze is bad. Flooze is green, smelly and toxic, and you don’t want to spill any of it. You’re in charge of building a maze of pipes around various obstacles to carry the flooze from its point of origin to a drain that appears at a predetermined time, or when certain objectives have been met (such as running the flooze under a series of floating stars, or getting it to cross a bridge). As with other great puzzle games like Tetris, you can’t just build a great drainage system for the flooze – you’re stuck with whatever pieces are next in the random rotation. You do get a look at the next four pieces in the pipeline – literally – so you can plan ahead strategically. If you fail to keep a continuous run of pipe going, the flooze spills out, costing you points and eventually a life. (Empire Interactive, 2000 – for Playstation)
Memories: Essentially a bit of a rethink of Loco Motion, Pipe Dreams for the NES dispensed with the sliding-tile-puzzle basis of the game and substituted a very Tetris-esque random assortment in its place. The game was still maddeningly fun, and for its revival on the Playstation, not much was changed – just a somewhat gratuitous 3D view of the playing field.
(You can still switch the game’s “camera” to something much more like, but not quite the same as, the more traditional direct overhead view.) There’s also a so-called “swing view” which zooms in and out almost inmperceptibly depending on what you’re doing on the screen – it’s not really useful for focusing on the action, just for being annoying.
Pipe Dreams 3D is seriously addictive – and it’s one of many “twilight” games which are finally adding some much-needed variety to the Playstation library after its heyday. (A console cannot live on first-person shooters, driving games and RPGs alone, y’know.) It’s also about as violence-free as you can get, and an excellent game for the kids. Not that this means I can avoid spending hours on it in my thirties, mind you – and that makes it a rare gem of a game you can play with your kids. Very, very highly recommended.