Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties is not a good game. Some people know this from first-hand experience with the title (although probably not many due to it being released on the Panasonic 3DO), but I’d say that most got their opinion from the Angry Video Game Nerd 2011 video on it.

Whilst I’m not one to judge a game based on popular opinion alone, especially as many games condemned as ‘bad’ are actually not as terrible as the mob would have you believe, the more you look into the title the more you realise that there may be some truth behind the general opinion.

So, here I am. Trying out a game I’ve never played to see whether or not it’s worth playing today and also finding out why the hell Limited Run Games bothered to remaster it.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties opens up with a decision to make: does John (the titular plumber) make a move on the stunning Jane, who he bumps into in an office car park, does she make a move on him, or does their first meeting have to wait? This decision sets the stage for this story of love between two idiots, and it also introduces you to the only gameplay mechanic in the entire game.


Regardless of your decision, you will be ‘treated’ to a segment of the game’s story. Despite appearing to be FMV at first glance, it actually plays out through a series of static low-quality images. It feels like somebody has added voices to the world’s worst power-point presentation, but at least LRG put in the effort to sharpen the crappy originals. You can switch between the old and new images at the press of a button in order to see the difference, which is certainly a nice touch, but there’s really little reason to do so unless you have a thing for grainy photos that you can barely make out.

After enduring a badly acted scene, complete with poor audio quality and a lack of subtitle support to even understand what is being said, you’ll eventually be given another choice which leads you down the next branching path. Some of your choices will lead to dead ends, thus prompting the cringe-inducing host of this dating sim to tell you to try again, but others will ‘reward’ you with more nonsensical crap and maybe even one of the game’s endings. There’s a decent amount of pathways to work through, as can be seen in the confusing mess of a scene-map that you have to decode should you wish to quit the game and resume later, but very few of them are worthwhile. There’s an off-the-wall one featuring the game’s villain – a sleazy boss by the name of Thresher – as he successfully manages to seduce our pipe-fitting protagonist, but this is probably the biggest highlight of a really short and incredibly dull narrative.


So, why would you bother playing this remastered release of a terrible game? Well, as Limited Run Games themselves put it: there’s a certain degree of value in preserving even the worst of gaming’s history. And so, to make things worthwhile, they’ve presented it in a wonderful package that is bathed in 90s nostalgia. Whether it’s the main menu that looks like an old desktop screen, or the bonus mode that has you wandering the iconic Windows Maze screensaver scouring for extras to unlock whilst fending off a giant pixelated version of the boss, there’s loads of tongue-in-cheek fun to be had outside of the main game. Perusing everything outside the actual game is far more entertaining than the dreadful dating sim, although you will actually have to play it in order to actually unlock any of the extra content. Your suffering is, therefore, inevitable – one way or another.

Unless you just watch the videos on YouTube, of course.

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties: Definitive Edition is a lovingly crafted package that demonstrates an amount of care and attention that the game itself completely lacks. It’s an atrocious mess that barely qualifies as a videogame, yet somehow this package almost makes it worth experiencing. But not quite.