Pipe Trouble

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Pipe Trouble App Poster Image
Adaptation of classic arcade game gets overly political.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Pipe Trouble wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Ease of Play

The trick to the game isn't laying out the pipe from Point A to Point B; it's doing so without disturbing as many people, animals, and trees/crops as possible. 


Some environmentalists, when sufficiently angry, will blow up sections of your pipeline. Additionally, some people get sick if there's a gas spill. 


"Gol'durned" is used in substitution of the more, similar-sounding offensive slogan. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pipe Trouble is a politically motivated remake of the 1990s arcade hit Pipe Dream. Players must run a pipeline between two points, but the app adds a very heavy political agenda to the gameplay, as the company laying the pipe is a Big Oil and Gas distributor that, inevitably, must go through farmland, around houses, or through forests, upsetting the residents. Although the game describes itself as "over-the-top satire," a more fitting definition would be propaganda.

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What's it about?

Players attempt to connect two areas of pipeline in a short time period before gas begins flowing. Pipe pieces are offered at the top of the screen, and players must select the right ones -- horizontal, angled, or vertical -- to reach from Point A to Point B. At the same time, players must try to keep from further angering locals, who are upset at the impact on their land and block building by protests or blowing up the pipes. Pipes laid too close to pastures or people bring about environmental penalties.

Is it any good?

Whether PIPE DREAM is a good game may well depend on your political beliefs. The game is very much a propaganda tool about the dangers of natural gas mining, and it's very anti-business. That could be enough of a distraction to permanently annoy some players. 

The heavy political message is frustrating, since the game is built off the framework of the '90s arcade hit Pipe Dream, which is a challenging, fun puzzle game. That fun is overshadowed this time around, though. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about propaganda. How can you identify it?

  • Families also can talk about the importance of understanding facts when someone is trying to sway your opinion.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: $.99-$1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: February 27, 2013
  • Category: Strategy Games
  • Size: 30.60 MB
  • Version: 1.18.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 and up
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love arcade games

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