Aqueduct [rating: 4/5]
One of my first computers was the great Commodore 64 and along with Barbarian and Crazy Comets one of my favourite games was a little puzzle game named Pipe Mania where your task was to lay pipes as quickly as possible on a grid before the flowing liquid spewed out of the end of the pipe. It was simply addictive and in reviewing Aqueduct it reminded me of this retro classic.
Now I don’t know if Aqueduct was inspired by Pipe Mania but there are many similarities although with no time limit or the potential of spewing liquid the pace is a lot more relaxed with the game being more of a puzzler than a fast paced arcade game.
Each level has a faucet and a drain and your task is to complete the path between the two so that the water can flow from the faucet to the drain. The faucet and drain are fixed in their location but spread across the rest of the level are other pieces that can be moved by dragging them across the screen with your finger. As you would expect the initial levels are all relatively easy and it’s just a simple case of going from A to B and then turning on the flow of water to complete the level.
From then though the difficulty is raised by the introduction of additional features and complexity. That being said the difficulty curve is relatively smooth and it’s not until the later levels that you will find yourself re-starting the levels as things get a little more advanced. These additional features include conveyor belts, fixed pieces, gates and switches and ports where moving one of the pieces onto it will result in it materializing to another part of the screen.
The physics of the game are really nice too with the pieces moving smoothly across the playing area and around the various obstacles. The crayon style graphics also look great and the minimal music and sound effects are subtle and thankfully not annoying!
Aqueduct is great value for money too with 6 levels and apparently, (I haven’t completed all the levels at this point), 20 plus puzzles per level there is enough to keep you entertained for quite a while.
The one downside to the game is that there are a lot of button presses to be made between completing one puzzle and moving onto the next. For example with all the puzzle pieces in place you still have to manually click the faucet that appears to complete the level, then you have to click the tick box to move on and then click the next puzzle to start on that one. A simple complete and next option would make things a lot easier and smoother.
It would also be nice to have an option to complete the levels against the clock to add a little pressure and the possibility of a high score table to encourage you play the game again once you’ve completed it to beat your previous scores.
Overall Aqueduct is a well put together puzzle game with enough content to keep you going for quite a while and stimulate your brain while you play.
- Lots of challenging puzzles
- Fun graphics
- Smooth physics
- Limited re-playability
- Moving between levels requires multiple button presses
Aqueduct for iPhone will be available on June 29 (Tuesday) for $2.99