That Piper is Distracting!
Piper Panic is a mixture of strategy and quick thinking. You must be able to solve the puzzle quickly and efficiently to obtain a high score. The first thing you need to know about the game is that the arrow keys will be guiding the cobrall through all the mazes. The cobrall is only allowed to move in a straight line from basket to basket. If your cobrall at any point runs into the wall, you will lose a life and need to restart the level. I should also mention that you are timed in every round. So, if you fail to complete a level before time runs out, you will lose a life and need to restart the level again.
There are a total of 10 levels in the game, each with different amounts of allotted time. The main goal of the game is to collect all the baskets within the timeframe, and more importantly, collect the star baskets last. The scoring with be discussed a little later on.
The Items and Points
Basket – There are two types: plain and star. Each basket is worth whatever level you are currently on (e.g. Level 5 – baskets are 5 points). Both the plain and star baskets count for the same amount of points. The star ones will give you a bonus, but that will be discussed with the scoring.
Gems – Here, there are three types: what I call “solid-stationary,” “solid-moving” and “flashing”. The scoring for these gems are exactly like the baskets as the value is equivalent to the level number.
1) The stationary gem stays in one spot and you can grab it whenever the cobrall passes over it.
2) The moving gem will move back and forth in a line; here you can get the gem by it either moving into your space or you pass over it while moving.
3) The flashing gem is stationary but you are only allowed to grab it when the gem sparkles.
Ankh – This item gives you an extra cobrall (no points awarded).
Green Scarab – Grabbing this scarab will add 5 seconds onto your timer (no points awarded).
Headdress – The headdress will change your multiplier which will eventually give you more points at the end of each level. Do be aware that once at a 4x multiplier, the next headdress will bring you back down to either 2x or 3x.
Before I mention the scoring system, I would like to point out that each level has 4 variations of it. There are no changes to the basket setup. It is just that the board is rotated at 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees. Do not get intimidated by the new looking board; it is the same puzzle you have seen before.
Scoring and Timing
Alright, now on to the key part of the game. In each level, you will need to collect all the baskets and try for most of the gems. Your main concern is getting the baskets. Once you have grabbed all of the baskets, the “after-level” screen will show you how many bonus points were awarded. The two categories are “Time Bonus” and “Star Bonus”. The time bonus is based on how quickly you complete the level, and the star bonus is based on the number of star baskets you collected to end the level. To clarify this bonus, if you end the level by collecting a plain basket, then you are awarded 0 star bonus points. But, if you get at least 1, then the bonus comes in to effect. The bonus increases as you make a streak at the end of the level. The way the scoring works is that the star bonus is worth 5 times the level number (e.g. Level 4 – 5 x 4 = 20 bonus points per star basket). In the case that you complete the level with 2 star baskets in a row, the bonus would become 40 points (20 for each basket, 2 star baskets in a row).
As mentioned before, each level is presented with a time frame. The times are listed below:
Level 1 through 4 = 30 seconds
Level 5 through 8 = 20 seconds
Level 9 and 10 = 15 seconds
The actual relationship for your ending time is not known to me right now. If you are really curious, do some trial runs and see if a pattern is made.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the game and its scoring, there are plenty of things to work on.
1) Work on mapping out each level and finding the best path, meaning the path that will give you the most star baskets at the end.
2) Mark out key items or setups in the later levels to trigger your mind as to which way to begin. I find that starting as early as level 5 is very helpful. A good example is on level 8, from various attempts at the level, I have found that my first move should always be towards the green scarab. So before I begin, I think of “green scarab” and quickly spot it in the level. From the triggers, you can begin to work on my final tip.
3) Complete each level quickly. The decision to grab the gems is up to the individual, as I have found it doesn’t make a significant difference if you are just trying for the 1,000 neopoints.
The Next Step
Once you feel like you have mastered those tips, it is time to go compare how well you do with other players. You can either attempt to get a trophy, which is always nice to show off to the friends, or compete in the World Challenges against fellow Neopians.
One final task is to set the highest score possible. As of right now, I have only been able to achieve a score of about 5650; however, I have seen/heard of scores ranging upwards of 6100!!
And with that little statistic, I hope you enjoyed my guide and start practicing the game. Nothing comes easy, so keep practicing and those high scores will start coming! Best of luck and feel free to neomail me with questions!