Pipe Mania DS takes a classic idea and adds a goal to it. The objective is simple: on the playing grid, players must lay out enough sections of pipe to not only clear the level, but score enough additional points to unlock new modes. It is similar in design to classic arcade games like Centipede, but this time, the point is to take up as much room on the field as you can.
The plot is bare bones, but serves its purpose. Alfonso Senior has made a fortune in the plumbing industry, and even enough to retire to his private island, The Isle of Ducts. However, the plot focuses on a group of cowboy plumbers who are ravaging the island. The most notorious of these plumbers is called Buffalo Bonzo. Playing as Alfonso's children, Junior and Fawcett, you'll try to stop Bonzo, but the game focuses around the player preparing themselves for the challenge.
The point of each game is move a substance called Flooze from the "start" piece to the "end" piece, without a set number of Flooze spilling out of the pipe networks. Using the control pad, you will move pieces around the grid, and with A and B you can set the pieces. The stylus can also be used to move the pieces around. You can replace set pieces, but doing so takes up a larger amount of time than simply placing a piece. Each game has a set time limit: exceeding the limit means defeat.
Players will achieve better scores by using more sections of pipe, but they must also watch out for the Flooze Meter, which increases when Flooze reaches an open section of pipe, or from damaged pipe pieces. A maxed-out Flooze Meter means defeat. Some levels also feature special objectives to complete.
There are also four modes of play, which keeps the game from becoming repetitive. These are the World Mode, Arcade Mode, Bonus Mode, and Classic Mode. Each mode tests the player's ability to adjust to different rules, play styles, and in Bonus Mode, controls, and adds some welcome variety to the gameplay.
The game mechanics work sufficiently well. Sometimes the pieces seem to be a bit too sensitive to control pad movements, and with the number of buttons that trigger Fast Flooze, which causes the Flooze to come out faster (which can result in a better time), players may unintentionally activate the feature and do irreparable damage to their game.
In addition to all the modes listed above, there exists multiple difficulty levels in Arcade and Classic, keeping the experience at least interesting. On top of that, players can find treasure chests through the course of each mode, and these treasures can add additional features to each game and are well implemented. Players can also keep track of their success / failure rate in the Statistics option found in the Extras section, and players are given many incentives to continue improving their performances.
Overall, Pipe Mania DS is a well-designed port of a classic game idea, and aside from a few control and implementation problems, is a continuously interesting title for those interested in classic arcade action on the DS.
Final Verdict - 7/10
Pipe Mania DS is at the very least worth a rental for those inclined to the more casual audience, but the plethora of modes and additional difficulty modes help keep the game interesting to a more dedicated audience.