The pipe puzzle is a fortress of order in a chaotic universe. Galaxies may be exploding, cats and dogs may be living together, but you can always find reassurance in a simple grid and a few dots to connect.
That’s certainly the case with Flow Free: Bridges. Each level of the game is a square grid with three or more pairs of colored dots on it. You need to draw a line from each dot to the other dot of the matching color. What makes the game a little tricky is that you have to fill the whole grid with lines, and you can only cross the lines in one location on each grid.
Too easy, bro.
There is a beautiful flexibility in a pipe puzzle game. The elements are so simple that they can be rearranged in an almost infinite number of combinations. The ‘Free Play’ mode of Flow Free: Bridges offers 300 different puzzles, ranging from 5-by-5 grids to 9-by-9 grids, with as many as ten different colors to connect. If you love this sort of puzzle, then this game offers a lot of value as an absorbing time waster.
However, there’s a trap hidden in the flexibility. There may be an infinite number of combinations, but it’s hard to pick out the ones that are interesting. Most of the free play puzzles are so easy that they can be solved in seconds, which is great in the early levels but disappointing near the end. There are a few unusual patterns where colors cross or snake around each other in unexpected ways, but most of the time you’ll run a few colors around the outside of the board and the last few lines will become obvious.
The levels would be more challenging if the designers used more than one bridge, but that doesn’t happen in the levels that have been released so far. Big Duck Games has released additional levels for their previous Flow Free game, though, so perhaps there will be more brain teasers in future updates of the game.
Better, but still too easy.
If you do get stuck, there is a hint system. The first five hints are free, and you can buy more with an in-app purchase. We never needed any hints in Free Play mode, though they can be handy if you get blocked in the ‘Time Trial’ mode.
Time Trial adds a lot to the game. You’re working through the same levels as in the Free Play mode, but they’re shuffled up in a random order and you have a limited amount of time to solve as many puzzles as you can. You can choose the size of your grid and the amount of time you have, so you’ll quickly find a level of challenge that you enjoy. It’s too bad that there’s no online leader board or sharing system for high scores, but that’s a minor omission.
All in all, Flow Free: Bridges is a pleasant diversion. The Free Play puzzles may be easy, but they’re fun when you’ve got a few minutes to kill and nothing better to do. And for those who want a little more challenge, just trying to draw all the lines of a 9×9 puzzle in thirty seconds should keep you busy for a while.