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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Zaurus games

Lavaman, by Digital Geyser, $4.95
Reviewed August 2002, updated May 2003 to reflect Pocket PC version

I’ve played many pipe games, but Lavaman is one of the funniest pipe games I’ve ever played. Developed by Digital Geyser, Lavaman sets your pipe work on a small island called Pooky Tooky, an island sitting on top of a frequently erupting volcano. There is only one thing Pooky Tookians fear more than the eruptions: that some day the lava flow misses the volcanic crater and reaches pockets of explosive gas underneath the surface and causes a huge explosion that will sink the whole island. Only you, the expert in geoplumbing can save the island and its people.

The story may sound funny, but the game opens with seriously challenging levels. The objective of the game is to direct the lava flow from the bottom left corner to the volcano in the top right corner by connecting pipes. You will see different pipe pieces lined up at bottom of the screen, and you will need to make quick decisions on whether to use the next piece and where to fit it. As soon as you place the first piece, the lava will start to flow. As levels increase lava flows faster through the pipes. If you can’t complete the pipeline before the lava reaches the end, it will go “Kaboom!” You have just killed the whole island and will get messages like “Cartographers are erasing Pooky Tooky from maps as we speak” or “Pooky Tooky is no more.” Never has so much responsibility been placed on a pipe man before, and you have to succeed or die trying. If you do succeed, you will see some very nice compliments like “Pookytookisans decided to name you their tribal chief! Sooky’s mad at you, but who gives a damn about him anyway?” The comments remind me of Snails for Pocket PC.

The game play is simple yet addictive. There is something about lava chasing you; it just makes you want to keep going. Another thing I liked about this game was the good use of the screen, where the major portion is the game window, yet with shortcut keys on top and the upcoming pipe pieces at the button, I felt that everything I need from the storyline to fast forward the lava flow, from help file to pause button, all within one click. There is also a score and level tracking at the button of the screen as well.

The witty story, the wacky comments and the fast paced game play are the winning tickets for Lavaman. So what are you waiting for? Grab your wrench!

Playing Hints and Tips

Cross pieces can be used to gain extra points. Get familiar with the pipe pieces and where each piece fits. You won’t have much time to think in the higher levels. Change your strategies a bit, otherwise it’s boring always form straight lines.



screen shot

Pocket PC

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Good graphics, not flashy, but good interface design for this game.
Sound No volcano eruption sound, no islanders cheering for you on Linux. Pocket PC version has great sound effects.
Fun Meter Other than lack of sound, this game was totally enjoyable. I had to keep playing just to read what it has to say at the end of each level.
Addictivity I got very addicted to this game. It’s a good choice for both kids and adults.

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