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Mikhael Gorbachev in a video game? I'm in.

If you’ve ever played a game and thought to yourself, “You know what would make this game better? Mikhael Gorbachev.” Then Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen is for you. Leave it to those crazy Japanese folk to decide that Mr. Gorbachev was a name that would push game sales. Granted, from what I’ve seen anyway, ‘Gorby’ only appears during the title screen...But the fact that he and the California-Raisin-looking birthmark atop his skull are even in the game still boggles my mind...But anyway, on with the review.

So, like you may have put together from the title, Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen, this game involves you setting up the pipeline system of mother Russia...Tetris style. ‘Cause, you know, Tetris is Russian, so everything they build is done in a similar fashion to Tetris. Anyway, the goal is to connect the piping on one end of the screen to the piping on the other end of the screen. Depending on the level that you’re on, you may only need to connect one pipe to advance on, or you may need to connect several. This is done by dropping squares with bits of piping within them while trying to match everything up. And yes, like in most puzzle games, you can rotate the blocks in an attempt to make it fit the pipe that you’re trying to build.

There are also power-ups that will aid you (sometimes) along the way. If you see a jar of water in the place of a block, you can drop the jar where water is flowing out of a pipe and the screen will flood a little, moving all piping upward, allowing you to get a bigger score when you finish the current pipe that you’re working on....Or possibly sending you to an early ‘game over’ screen. Next is the drill, which can occasionally be nice, but I found it annoying more often than not. The drill will drill through an entire column of piping...And sometimes you may be forced to drill through piping that you’ve got all laid out, or accidentally do so. When this happens, you’ve got to repair the pipe and that’s just a pain waiting for the right pipe piece needed to repair it. Though, in all fairness, the drill has also gotten me out of trouble a few times, too. The last power-up is great; a single drop of water. If you drop it into the end of the pipe you’re building, where the water is flowing out, the drop splits into two drops and each one travels to the ends of the screen...This is like an instant pipe. It counts as a pipe being built and it clears the screen of most debris, hurling plenty of points into your score. The only disappointing thing about the water drops is when your pipe isn’t in a position where it can take it.

The game controls fairly well. For the most part, you’ll be able to get the pipe blocks where you want them to be. However, the game can get frustrating during those ‘tight fit’ moments. Unlike in Tetris where you have a brief moment after one block touches another to move it into position, in Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen, when a pipe touches another pipe, it’s stuck for good. This had me thinking, “That was pretty cheap.” Several times...Until I realized that it’s not really cheap...I’ve just been spoiled by Tetris all these years. It makes you really plan out your placements during the game because taking a fraction of a second too long to think of where to put the piping could mean that you won’t be able to reach your destination before the block sticks to another one. I eventually accepted this and didn’t mind it so much...But folks used to Tetris may get frustrated when that occurs.

Graphically, the game looks pretty solid. Then again, it is a puzzle game, so there isn’t really a whole lot to see anyway. But everything on-screen looks pretty good. The audio is done well, and is based off of those ballets that the Russians are famous for...What ballet has to do with building a pipeline, I have no clue. But anyway, the audio is done very well and oddly enough, there’s something kind of neat about building pipes in a Tetris-like style while ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ plays in the background. There’s also a good variety of audio here – about ten songs, so you’ll likely never feel that the audio is getting repetitive. Overall, Gorby is a pretty delightful game cosmetically.

All in all, ‘Gorby’ is a fun game to play, especially if you’re a puzzle game fanatic. The game isn’t nearly as forgiving as most popular puzzle games like Tetris, Puyo Pop, or Columns, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad. It is a game, however, that may take a little getting used to, if you’re used to those puzzle games mentioned above, before you really start to feel like you’re doing well. Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen isn’t the best puzzle game I’ve ever played, but it’s inventive and enjoyable enough for it to be up there....Besides, you’d have to be a communist to hate a game that stars Mikhael Gorbachev.

Added by ape
10 years ago on 5 November 2009 10:19