Taking a page almost directly from the book of Pipe Mania, the hilariously titled Working Dawgs: A-maze-ing Pipes is a puzzle game that involves moving water from one place to another using a complex series of tubes. If you've played this type of game before, then you know exactly what to expect, while newcomers to this particular form of puzzler might be pleasantly surprised.
There’s no real plot here besides “these pipes aren't connected,” so don’t expect to be bogged down with unnecessary dialogue or story elements. This is pure pipe puzzling action. Each puzzle is displayed as a grid on the DSi's touchscreen, and the goal is to create a water-way that connects an active water spigot to its corresponding exit pipe before time runs out and the water starts flowing. At the beginning of each level you are given a certain amount of differently shaped pipes to be used, all of which are displayed at the bottom of the touchscreen. If you run out of the pipes or tools that you need to complete the job, an animated dog will run out on the DSi’s top screen and drop more pipes and tools down to you. There’s no way to control what he gives to you, but the sentiment is appreciated nonetheless.
The controls are basic, but they function just as well as one might expect a game of this calibre to perform. The bulk of the controls rely on the DSi's touchscreen, and they’re accurate enough to not have any unexpected hiccups. To lay pipes, you simply need to tap and drag the pieces in your inventory onto your game grid, and you’re good to go. You can move the stage around to see the off-screen parts by using the D-Pad, and these controls work perfectly as well.
As is the case with many puzzle games, detailed graphics and audio aren’t the most important things involved, and Working Dawgs is no exception to that. Regardless, the game grid and pieces of pipe are clearly visible and well designed, so there’s nothing to gripe about as far as visuals go. The three-dimensionally rendered dog on the top screen dropping pipes down to you isn't completely necessary, but he doesn't look bad either, and his presence adds a bit of charm to the whole thing. The soundtrack, on the other hand, consists of repetitive midi tracks that do absolutely nothing to enhance gameplay.
There are 10 stages with eight levels in each, so you’ll definitely be occupied with this one for a while. Each stage also has a ranking system that judges your performance based on how quickly you can complete the level and how many pipes you use. For those gamers obsessed with perfecting everything, getting gold on every level can prove to be quite a challenge.
Working Dawgs: A-maze-ing Pipes is one of those games that - silly name aside - really does nothing wrong. The problem is that it also fails to do anything impressive enough to make it stand out among other games of its kind. This is by no means a bad game, and it’s a good option if you’re looking to kill some time with relaxing puzzles that won’t put too much of a strain on your mind or wallet, but its relative mediocrity is what stands out the most.