Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
A lot of strategy games think they need a bunch of complicated systems to have depth. But a simple game with simple rules can still have plenty of strategy if it’s designed well enough. Pi-Pi-Ee is that game.
Pi-Pi-Ee - and that’s "Pi" as in math, not desserts - vaguely resembles an Othello or Reversi type of puzzle strategy game. Players want to cover the board with their pieces by converting enemy pieces. However, its mechanics have a distinct sci-fi flavor. Here the pieces are tiny alien blobs with a few different behaviors. They can move up to two spaces, but if they only move one space they will leave behind a clone in their spot. After moving, any enemy pieces they happen to touch will then transform into player pieces.
From these simple rules tons of strategic options emerge. Move two spaces and stay aggressive or hold back and fortify the base? Taking a single piece deep into enemy territory can turn the tide of battle, but poor positioning can leave one’s own forces vulnerable to leapfrogging counterattacks. The risk/reward balance in planning each approach is just sublime. As players win matches they’ll also unlock a wide variety of board types featuring new shapes and connections. Taking proper advantage of the field layout is crucial, so it’s great that there are plenty of new ones to keep players on their toes.
The computer opponents put up a fine challenge, but playing against a friend on the same device is really where the game shines. Unfortunately, no matter who the opponent is they’ll both have to look at Pi-Pi-Ee's bland visuals. The little blobs are kind of cute, but the overall look is flat and boring while the music and sound effects are almost nonexistent.
But who cares how mundane a game looks when its gameplay is this fun and intellectually satisfying? Pi-Pi-Ee is like pie for the brain.