TrickyLeaks – a review of the indie pipe challenge for Android

TrickyLeaks for Android - boom
TrickyLeaks – a review of the indie pipe challenge for Android

Platforms: Android

Game Name: TrickyLeaks

Publisher: Happy Monster

Developer: Happy Monster

Genre: Puzzle, Action

Release Date: Apr 26 2011

Developer Summary

“Trickyleaks” puts you in the hot seat of one of 8 big, bad evil mega-corporations with plenty of secrets to hide from the world. You’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for Julian and those darn TrickyLeaks!

You’ve got to stop him and get all your secrets back through your pipes before the world uncovers all your dirty laundry! Watch out though, your series of tubes isn’t safe: Julian is wandering around, and he stole himself a huge bulldozer. So quick: you’ve got to get out there and stop TrickyLeaks!

What We Think

Putting humor and current affair satire first, TrickyLeaks uses a Pipe Dream play style to lampoon Julian Assange’s famous outing of any and every large organization with secrets.

A Gripe With The Pipes

A man in a suit dashes away from a gaping hole in the side of a factory, and it begins! Julian has busted the place wide open, allowing thousands of secret bugs to escape. They slowly gravitate towards the right side of the screen, where they will share their secrets with the Web. It’s time for some damage control!

Players must take the reigns of eight “evil” corporations, one at a time, and run some serious PR campaigns. In this case, however, PR stands for Pipe Routing. There are a few pipes already scattered on the ground with arrows indicating which direction things will flow through. Bugs passing within suction range of a pipe will be hurtled along inside and deposited on the other end. By taking careful stock of the next available pipe, the player must assemble a working network of pipes to propel the precious secret bugs back inside the factory, where they can be locked back down.

There is no pivoting of the pipe joints available before or after placement, and the flow direction of the pipe is also crucial. Connecting two pipes with opposing flows will cause the older of the pipe joints to explode. The next pipe is generated randomly, and must be placed as is. If the next piece in the queue won’t fit with the pipes already in place, it can still be used as a barrier against the wandering secrets.

As later levels are reached, some pipes will only transport some types of secrets. Also, Julian will pilot a bulldozer that can knock out an entire column of your pipes. Building a working network of pipes is hard. Maintaining one can be maddening.

The premise of the game is clever, creating send-up representations of real corporations and providing a slew of fake cables that appear once the bugs start to reach the scrutiny of the unwashed masses. For example, one cable reveals that the company Sawwit (Reddit, no doubt) was created by foreign interests as a means of causing American productivity to plummet.

Drip Drip Drip Drip

On the other hand, the attempts to veil the true subject matter can get a little ham-fisted at times (Bank of Omerica? Yeesh…). The random nature of the appearance of pipe fragments is frustrating and it often felt as though there were no rhyme nor reason programmed into it. Later stages made it feel as though Julian were the true hero of the game, wildly destroying networks of pipes in seconds and leaving nothing of worth with which to connect. It’s not simply that the game can be difficult; even after mastering the flow of pipes, a level will be lost due to the horribly uneven scattering of pipes and the wonky delivery of available placement joints more often than not.

There aren’t any sound effects or music to speak of. Explosions are registered by vibrating the phone (a feature that can be turned off). The graphics are passable, but on my Atrix, I had a ghost sprite of a running Julian occupying the far right side of my screen for the entirety of the game.

For USD $0.99, TrickyLeaks can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it does seriously lack polish and the skittish AI keeps it from being anything stellar. In a lot of ways, it feels like TrickyLeaks may have been leaked early.

Pick up TrickyLeaks at the Android Market for USD $0.99

[xrr rating=”2.5/5″]