Sifting Through the Sewers: A Guide to Sewage Surfer
Most games on Neopets that have an avatar associated with them have had countless articles in the Neopian Times. One game, however, is conspicuously missing. Perhaps because of the unusual premise, there have been no Neopian Times guides to Sewage Surfer. I do wonder why, as during the game I had some great random events- I found both a codestone and a piece of the lab map! Those sewers really do hold treasures... and a lot of trash.
The basic premise of Sewage Surfer is that the Neopian Central Sewer System hasn't been repaired in years, and they've broken and flooded. You are helping a blue Wocky named Matt repair them all- he has all the pieces, and you put them together. You receive an assortment of random pieces in random order, and using them, must connect the source and the drain so the water can flow without leaking. You can place one piece of sewer pipe per blank square, but they cannot be removed or replaced. You are also given a certain number of discards for each level. Once you've made a path from one end of the sewer to the other (be careful not to leave openings!), you can click on the green 'Start Flow' button to complete the level. For each level completed, you earn a certain number of points.
TIP: You can always see the next three pieces you'll have available, so sometimes it works best to plan around what you know you have coming up.
If you have filled up a sewer system, but not managed to connect the two ends, pressing Start Flow will flood the sewer. You'll then forfeit 50 points to restart the level. You can also just press the red "Start Level Over" button once you've gotten to a point when it's impossible to complete the level as you're going. Each time you restart a level it costs you 50 points, so think carefully!
When you've gotten to the point where you're ready to quit the game and collect your points, press the grey 'Quit Game' button. If you've scored over 5000 points, you'll receive neopoints for your efforts. If not, you don't receive anything (unless you quit at the proper place to receive the avatar). If you haven't yet received the avatar, and you quit at the proper place to do so, you will not be granted Neopoints.
TIP: Placing an opening against one of the grey walls does not count as blocking it; if water flows through that pipe to the wall, the entire sewer will flood.
TIP: Although you only have a certain number of discards per level, you can also place excess pieces in areas of the sewer you won't be using to connect the two ends of the sewer. Just make sure you don't place them in the middle of your path!
So, now that we know the rules, let's go over the pieces you'll encounter when playing Sewage Surfer.
Bars: There are two types of bars, one which has openings at the top and bottom (a vertical bar), and one which has openings at the right and left (a horizontal bar). Depending on the level, you may have quite a few of these, or none at all.
Corners: There are four types of these pieces, each of which has two openings. One of the openings is at the top or bottom, and the other is on the right or left. In this guide, we'll be referring to them as TR (top and right), TL (top and left), BR (bottom and right), and BL (bottom and left). Keep in mind that when forming a square with these pieces, they'd be in the opposite position that their openings imply- a BR would be on the top left of a square.
Open-hole bars: These are much like bars, but they have an extra hole, giving them a total of three openings. The vertical ones may have a hole on either the right or left, and the horizontal ones on either the top or bottom.
Crosses: These pieces look like a lowercase t, and have openings on every side.
Blocks: These little nubs block openings on the ends of pieces. They can be very useful when dealing with crosses and open-hole bars. If the nub is at the bottom, it blocks the top of the hole below it, and vice versa.
To help you out, I've compiled a list of the first 20 levels, the number of discards available on almost every one, and the pieces you'll come across. You'll also find helpful tips alongside some of them.
Level 1: Sewer Access. 5 Discards available, and the only two types of pieces are vertical and horizontal bars. For this level, simply connect three horizontal bars and press 'Start Flow'.
Level 2: Detour. 5 Discards available, and the pieces available are one horizontal bar at the start and assorted corners. To complete this level, place the horizontal bar either in the top or bottom center square, and set up the four different corners so you have a straight flow. Whether your bar is on the top or bottom affects only the order of pieces used, not the actual pieces necessary.
Level 3: Initial conditions. 5 discards available. In this level, you start with a cross in the middle, and you'll need to use every available part of the sewer to complete this one correctly. Your available pieces are corners, crosses, and horizontal open-bars. You should place the crosses on the right and left of the center cross, a horizontal open-top on the bottom center, and a horizontal open-bottom on the top center. Each of the corners should contain the opposite piece; the top left corner should have a corner piece with openings in the bottom and right.
Level 4: Diversion. 10 discards available. On this level you have only corners and bars, but use them carefully- the best plan is to snake around the center blocks, and if you run out of discards, use the excess open spaces.
Level 5: Drop. 10 discards available. This level has only corners and bars available.
Level 6: Levels. 10 discards available. This level has only corners and bars available.
Level 7: Circular. 10 discards available. This is the first level where pieces have already been inserted already, and you'll need to work with them. The pieces you'll get for this level are corners and bars, and the easiest way to work this level is to make a square around the edge of the sewer.
Level 8: Grid. 10 discards available. This level has bars and corners available. If you are patient and willing to use both discards and spare areas of your sewer, you should be able to get through this level using only horizontal bars.
Level 9; Cluster. 10 discards available. This level is the second one that starts you off with pieces in it, and it makes it quite annoying to work around. The two pieces are open bars, and you'll need to block them off. You'll find that it's easiest to place other open bars next to them, and then use corners to keep the sewer from leaking.
Level 10: Sewage Plant Alpha. 20 discards available. This level is the biggest one yet, and starts you off with four open bars, in the middle, which you'll need to block off any way you can. Available pieces are bars, open bars, and corners. This level may take a few tries to complete, but your best bet is to circle around the top left and bottom right clusters of metal.
Level 11: Minimalism. 15 Discards available. EVERY type of piece is available on this level. Your best bet is to use blocks on the right and bottom openings of the cross, and use bars for the connection. A open-hole bar may be substituted on the top if one has the correct block. DO NOT USE CORNERS.
Level 12: Snake. 10 Discards available. Corners and Bars are the only pieces available. On this level, bars are infrequent, so the best option is to literally snake around using as many corners as you can.
Level 13: Minefield. 20 Discards available. All types of pieces except crosses available. This level starts out with a TON of crosses all over it, so you'll need to make good use of your corners and blocks. This one is likely to take a few tries, and a lot of luck.
Level 14: Roundabout. On this level, you'll need to use every open space to connect your path, so make sure you know which pieces go where. Only bars and corners are available.
Level 15: Choices. 5 discards available. This level is a trick, because your first piece will be a vertical bar, and all following ones are corners. Discard the bar, and you can quickly use the corners to connect through the horizontal bar at the bottom. There are only two open spaces, so be careful!
Level 16: Maze. This is one of the trickiest levels, and you'll have to make sure you have a path plotted out before clicking anywhere- one wrong click could connect you to nowhere.
Level 17: Pivotal. 10 discards available. This level is another tricky one, and solving it really depends on what pieces you get. Blocks, bars, corners, and open-hole bars are all possible, and it can take a few tries for the right combination.
Level 18: One Way or Another. 10 discards available. Bars, corners, blocks, and open-hole bars are all available. The best way to go is to set up both paths, but not make it so you have to use both.
Level 19: Wednesday. 10 discards available. The only possible pieces are bars and corners. On this level, take advantage of the corners to snake around, and use the bars in places where they're necessary.
Level 20: Sewage Plant Beta. 10 discards available. Possible pieces are bars, corners, and open-hole bars. Go for the shortest path on this level- when you run out of discards, you'll still have plenty of blank spaces to place extra pieces.
If you've made it this far, you're doing pretty good on your own. There isn't much more I can do to help you, except give you tips for a few of the future levels.
Level 32: You don't have ANY regular bars on this level. Use the open hole bars to cancel each other out, and block the ends on some, while using corners to connect others.
Level 37: The only times on this level that you have bars are the first two pieces; after that EVERYTHING is corners. Have a plan before clicking.
Level 43: You'll get plenty of crosses to use on this level, so plan on using the whole center area, top to bottom, and make it symmetrical.
Level 50: If you are wanting the avatar, do not press 'Start Flow'. You'll find the 'Quit Game' button may be more what you're looking for ;)
I hope this guide has helped you on your way to becoming a master of Sewage Surfer- Matt will be proud.