The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Pipe Push Paradise
Following its successful launch on Steam just over a year ago, Canadian duo Corey Martin and Teodoro Zamudio’s challenging open world puzzle game Pipe Push Paradise ($3.99) arrived on Nintendo Switch last December, PS4 and Xbox One earlier this month, and finally on iOS and Android this past week. Coupling the soothing guitar soundtrack and art style that “wouldn’t look out of place in a dusty old travel guide to Puerto Rico" from Zamudio with the brilliant and often pleasantly maddening tile-based puzzle designs of Martin makes for one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in a while in Pipe Push Paradise.
Block puzzle games are in abundance on mobile, like the excellent Blockwick games from the Keiffer Bros. There’s also a fair amount of pipe-based puzzle games similar to the classic Pipe Dreams where you need to use a smattering of different pipe shapes and arrange them on a board to create one continuous connected pipeline for liquid to flow through. Pipe Push Paradise is sort of like a mixture of the two, but with some hardcore spatial puzzling similar to something like Campfire Cooking or Stephen’s Sausage Roll. Ok, ok, I know I’m throwing a lot of names around, but it’s important to know that Pipe Push Paradise is a really clever blend of a lot of different elements but also pulls off feeling very much like its own thing in the process.
You show up in a town in desperate need of plumbing assistance. See, your uncle was the town’s plumber but he seems to be in the midst of a months-long nap. The townsfolk are hoping that plumbing runs in the family which is why they’ve called you in to help. And lucky for them, plumbing flows through your veins. Badum tish. Your job in each level is to simply connect the two water sources with the pipe pieces available to you while still allowing yourself a clear route to get to the exit. That’s of course just the very basics of Pipe Push Paradise, and additional elements are introduces as you move along through the game. It sounds so simple on paper but this game is extremely difficult. Difficult in a very good way, mind you. Pipes can be pushed around as they lay but they can also be rolled upright, meaning you can change their position entirely. You’ll need to consider how to orient each pipe piece as well as plan out how you’re going to accomplish it in the limited space you have available. Oh, and don’t accidentally block yourself in either.
Pipe Push Paradise is the type of puzzle game where you might have to think many moves ahead, and even still one tiny wrong move can cause you to get stuck. There’s a very handy undo button though so it’s easy to try out multiple ideas without ever really permanently screwing yourself. The solutions are often absolutely delightful and some will put a big smile on your face simply by how clever or unexpected they are. The quirky characters, irreverent story bits, charming art style, and relaxing music all combine to make a puzzler that will test your brain but also put you in a good mood at the same time. Even when I get stuck or don’t know what to do, I just feel happy playing this game. I will say that the touch controls can be a bit fiddly at times but due to the relaxed nature of the game (aka no timers) and the undo functionality, it’s never more than a minor annoyance. Certainly not enough to bring down what is otherwise such an excellent puzzler. If you enjoy puzzle games and aren’t afraid of really testing your brain, Pipe Push Paradise will be the best fistful of dollars you’ve spent in a long time.