Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Pipes Review

By , on May 25, 2012

Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Pipes
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • A nice twist on classic Pipe Dream gameplay.
  • Each level feels like there's an ultimate solution even if pipe placement seems random.


  • Having to destroy all your earned points by placing stoppers is quite disheartening.


Removing the stress inducing time limit of Pipe Dreams, this pipe placement puzzle program has you thinking about each move, and then dreading your decisions soon afterwards.

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Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Pipes is certainly an odd title for a game. The setting falls along the same lines. Moles, an engineer on a royal flying vessel unwittingly crashes the majestic airship and now through his engineering prowess has to remodel all the pipes to fix his mistake.

Pipes plays like a new spin on the classic Pipe Dream formula, only without the fear of the ever-present encroaching goo hurrying you along. No, each level here is part puzzle, part high score grab. There's a central pipe, and along the outer edges of the stages, pipes that are worth different points. With the pipe pieces you are given, you need to rotate and place them, connecting the central unit to the point pipes (preferably the ones worth more), all while minimizing the damage of having to place stoppers on the board. See, there are two pipe types, thin and thick. There are multiplier bonuses for creating a linking pipe consisting entirely of one of these types, and of course, a thin pipe cannot link to a thick pipe. This can create scenarios where you are unable to connect your latest pipe piece to anything, and thus must choose a tile on the grid to place it as a stopper, which halts all pipe flow. The stoppers dramatically reduce your score, creating a game of highs and lows as you create fantastic pipe connections, watch the points roll in, and then watch them dwindle away as you're left filling in the rest of the board with stoppers due to some less than ideal pipe placement.

Perhaps it's the way the game is presented, with a classic steampunk style and the swelling orchestral music on the title screen, or the addictive quality of chasing that high score once the game clicks, but usually the random element of what pieces you get in a game like this would be viewed as a negative to our review team. For some reason however, Pipes feels like there is method to the madness. You find yourself restarting levels and wrestling with pipe placement to create optimal point paths, to reduce the inevitable drain of the stoppers as much as possible. It could also be due to the three star system tied to point barriers that you find yourself trying to surpass (with the star collection itself leading to the unlocking of the gold secret levels). It could all be an illusion, but till the spell is broken, Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Pipes is certainly easy to play, and hard to put down.


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