Hexacto's Bob The Pipe Fitter (BTPF) is one of those pieces of
entertainment that you don't know what you are getting into until you
actually experience it for yourself because of its ambiguous and
enigmatic title. As I recall, there used to be some games that revolved
around plumbing. These puzzle titles would revolve around organizing
plumbing pipes to facilitate the flow of something through them. It was
a cross between The Incredible Machine's contraption building and a
brainteaser. BTPF plays a little like Tetris. Pieces of pipes drop
down from above but instead of arranging them into neat little rows, you
have to connect the pipes such that something can flow through them.
Once you do that, the pipe pieces will disappear.
Using a variety of L-shaped or straight pipes, you can construct some
pretty elaborate pipe systems but you do so under a time limit. For any
length of time that you don't remove pieces, the difficulty will
increase and the game will be quicker. This prevents people who, in
Tetris, like to stack their pieces ten rows high and organize it such
that one piece will apply the coup de grace on the entire level. I know
this first hand because I like to do it a lot but found it impossible to
do so in this game. The concept is pretty novel and the more pieces you
can put together, the happier your persona's boss (Bob) will be.
Such a premise may not demand much in the form of visual splendor but
Hexacto has added some anyway. The visual style is very cartoon-like
and it is complemented by some equally cartoonish commentary. There
were some sound effects but I was hoping for maybe a soundtrack or a bit
of variety in the effects themselves. Still, one cannot discount the
effort put in by the developers to make this look like something beyond
a typical Windows application.
The controls for the title are very easy to pick up. You simply have
left, right and a drop button to drop the piece you are holding.
Moreover, they are fully configurable as well. With that said, I
normally complain that there is no down button to gradually land the
piece because more often than not, you can drop them in the wrong
position. In BTPF, this is a moot point because the pieces are so large
and the different types of pipes make it easy to determine what should go
where. The operation of the game lends itself easy to play even with
one hand. It also avoids the simultaneous button issue with the iPaq as
Altogether, BTPF is a polished and professional puzzle title. It brings
together a few tried and true motifs into a solid game. At the end of
the day though, I found myself wanting more, in the way of customizable
features or at least something to extend the replay value. Perhaps it
would be fun to have a pipe designer for the various pieces in the game,
or maybe some mode with pre-set pipes already in place that you have to
clear could somehow be added. Still, this intriguing name has spawned a
fairly intriguing game.
[07/10] Program Size
[12/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer