Thanks to Digerati for the review code
Title: Pipe Push Paradise
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 12/24/2018
In this puzzle adventure, you take control of a nameless girl who explores an island trying to repair its plumbing by pushing and connecting the scattered pipes littered all over the place. Besides what a few NPCs tell you from time to time, the story is very, very minimal.
Right off the bat, I have to give Pipe Push Paradise praise for the nifty art style. Looking like art ripped directly out of an abstract picture book, this game looks pretty, with colorful backgrounds, a perspective that makes the puzzles easy to see, and goofy characters that feel at home, this game’s a looker for sure, and I found it helped Pipe Push Paradise stand out a lot more compared to similar games I played growing up.
The music is surprisingly good, too, even if it’s very brief. The game plays environmental noises for the most part, but every now and then you’ll hear a melody start up, being played with strings, and it manages to be surprisingly catchy, and doesn’t overstay its welcome thanks to not looping so often.
Pipe Push Paradise is a game where you must guide the nameless girl across the island and solve each one of the 47 puzzles in order to successfully make your way to the northwestern part of the island, where something is waiting for her. Each part of the island is broken up into sectors, each with a new set of pipe puzzles that gradually increase in difficulty, from Easy to Extreme. The first few puzzles will teach you the basic controls and mechanics, tasking the player to push the pipes around by moving against them, while also being able to flip them depending on the position you were at when pushing, and even being able to undo a move with the B button or restart the entire puzzle with X, making it a very quick and painless process to undo a mistake or start over.
Later in the game, more mechanics are thrown into the mix to make things more tricky, from a tile that rotates any pipe on it 90 degrees if you step on a corresponding one, to pits you may have to make use of by dropping pipes into them in order to use as a bridge. It gets surprisingly tricky, but also manages to do so at a gradual, slower pace that doesn’t overwhelm the player. Outside of the first few puzzles, the game doesn’t really force you to do the rest of the puzzles in a specific order. You can pop into each and every single room available in a sector, find one you think you can do, and solve it. Once you solve enough levels in a sector, the next one will open up, and rinse and repeat until end game.
This means that even if you unlock a lot of sectors, you can still go back and do the remaining levels in any order you wish, adding to a lot of fun, since you won’t be permanently stuck if you happen to get stumped at one particular level. (though you can kinda still get stuck in this game, if you get stumped on a bunch of levels at once and can’t open a sector)
With 47 stages to clear, it’s very reasonable to be able to clear 25-30 before you’ll have to look up a guide or try for hours in order to finally clear them, and these solutions manage to be pretty clever regardless, so even the hardest, most brain-crushing puzzles are a lot of fun, even if it may require that you do something abstract or unusual, such as having a puzzle get solved by having a pipe tilted upwards just to reach a higher pipe to connect with, and leave it in that position in order to properly clear it.
In conclusion, Pipe Push Paradise was a surprising gem in the eShop’s puzzle library. While a lot of them feel samey or wear their welcome out after a while, Pipe Push Paradise’s colorful art style and clever puzzles manage to make this a short adventure worth taking up. While it’s only a few hours long, these puzzles are still tough, so you may end up spending even more hours on the harder ones if you aim to 100% all of them. In fact, even if you do clear a puzzle, you can restart it from the beginning by revisiting it and pressing X, so this game can still offer some replay value if you just want to challenge your brain every now and then. While the $11 price point is a bit odd, since this title is a bit cheaper on Steam, I still found the experience to be charming and enjoyable enough that Pipe Push Paradise manages to barely be worth the markup.
I give Pipe Push Paradise an 8 out of 10.