The Nintendo Switch is a great platform for games that you can pick up and play in short sessions. The biggest advantage of the console is how mobile the device is. Puzzle games work well in this format as they are usually separated in individual segments; you can take on one puzzle at a time in short periods. Pipe Push Paradise is no different – it’s a minimalist puzzle game that has a set of challenges the player can take at their own pace and it will take you awhile because despite the cute exterior, this is a mind bending challenge.
The main idea of the puzzles is that you have to push a series of pipes in place to connect a pipe line together so water can flow, however you can only push the pipes, you can never pull them. So if you push a pipe against a wall it’s gone forever and you have to reset the puzzle from the beginning. Restarting is not a problem, in fact it’s a main part of the game and resetting is very easy and automatic, so if you screw up its very easy to start from the top again. The idea begins quite simple just manoeuvring different shapes of pipes through walls and openings, however as you get farther in the game the concept starts to evolve with more vertical pipes, holes that the pipes can fall in, and even magnetic pipes that connect to each other. The magnetic sections in particular are very creative and ingenious. The ways that the game can evolve with such a simple beginning concept is really impressive. Pipe Push Paradise is never stagnant and is always introducing new ideas at a steady pace.
The puzzles that are offered are hard too. Don’t expect a walk in the park, it will take some serious thinking to crack some of these trials. They are incredibly clever and become much more intricate as the game goes on. The solutions are joy to figure out, and you will feel like a genius when you finally get it. It took me near on 40 minutes in order to figure some of these puzzles out. There is certainly a lot of trial and error, trying out new combinations of movements to get the perfect fit of the pipes. The quick reset allows you to try many different things quickly so the game never feels like a slog or a chore.
In fact, the only thing that may frustrate some players is that the controls can – at times – be finicky and the character moves a little too fast; there have been multiple occasions where I would accidently move a pipe in the wrong place because the character would move one space too far. This is obviously not good in a game where precise movements are really key to solving the puzzle at hand, especially when its the last move you have to do to solve a lengthy puzzle.
Pipe Push Paradise on Nintendo Switch is a great bang for your buck as well with 47 puzzles spread out over the whole experience. Sections of the game are locked out at the start and you have to solve a certain amount of puzzles to gain access to the next area, which sees each one ramping up the difficulty the farther and farther you go on. That’s also where the game introduces the new concepts I mentioned earlier, with each new type of puzzle being signified by different colored tiles in the puzzle areas. It will start with easier puzzles each time something new is introduced, so you can get an understanding of how it works. All the puzzles are so varied that each segment of the island you play on feels like a new game entirely.
Pipe Push Paradise is set on a tropical island of unknown location and your job as the player is to fix the horrible plumbing that the island has, in the absence of your plumber grandpa. There’s no real plot besides that, the little story that the game has is delivered through these weird almost surreal conversations you will have with the island inhabitants. The dialogue is short and disjointed by design, making the game have an element of mystery and comedy. I enjoyed these short excerpts a lot, though some players might find them out of place or pointless. Overall though the short narrative does manage to give the game some much needed character.
Another aspect that adds a lot of flair is the gorgeous art style it has; a tropical boho feel. It looks almost like a child has drawn it, which makes it really endearing, and I never got tired of looking at it. All characters are well designed and cartoony, looking as if they are made of paper cut outs, adding to the childlike feel. The colors of the game are incredibly vibrant too, with strong natural hues that pop out of the screen. The soundtrack is really relaxing as well with a great acoustic guitar melody that follows you throughout.
If you love puzzle games, I can hardly think of another game right now on the Nintendo Switch that is more worthy of your brainpower and time than Pipe Push Paradise.
Release date: December 2018
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: Digerati