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|Release Date: April 26, 2005
|Available On: DS and GCN
Puyo Pop is Sega’s premier puzzle game. Its origins date back several years. Those lucky enough to own a Genesis might have owned Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, which in many ways, is much like the Puyo Pop of today. The Puyo franchise itself has seen only a few iterations in the US, including a GameCube and N-Gage version of Puyo Pop Fever last year. The DS version is coming stateside thanks to Atlus, a publisher that brings Japanese games to America that otherwise would go unpublished.
Puyo Pop Fever is tailored to puzzle game fans of all stripes. You have the single-player story mode, multi-player wireless mayhem, and “Endless Puyo Pop”. The story mode is broken into three courses: the first (and easiest) with 3 stages, the second (intermediate) with 8 stages, and the final (expert) with 8 stages. You also have the choice to “Free Battle” any opponent of your choice.
Everybody Puyo Pop is the multi-player part of the game. Up to eight friends can hook up with you in a game. You can create a room of your own, or join an existing room, or download play with friends that do not have a cartridge of their own. You may also play multiple computer players if friends are not available. Three different multi-player modes are available, including Normal, Classic, and Trap.
For those of you not familiar with Puyo Pop, different colored blobs fall from the screen, just as they would in Tetris, and must be matched with like blobs, otherwise known as puyo. Once a group of at least four puyos is created, the puyos atop it will fall vertically and fill the space.
The puyos themselves have two to four sides. The four-sided puyos can be cleared simply by placing them on a flat surface. If a puyo is multi-colored (or even a solid color, actually), you can drop one of the puyos by placing one of them on a ledge. You can imagine this in your head by picturing a stack of puyos, where the puyo you bring down horizontally will rest on the edge, while the second side hangs over. If this happens, the side hanging over will drop.
You can gain bonus points from creating chains. This is done as a result of puyos that fell from an elimination of four or more puyos, followed directly by an elimination of four or more puyos. If two colors are eliminated at the same time, you will also get a bonus, but it does not count as a chain.
One of the best modes is Endless Puyo Pop. You can understand by the name that it won’t stop until you “die”, since you won’t face an opponent, but instead try to stack up as many points as possible. Mission is an interesting game mode in Endless Puyo Pop. You need to comply with the instructions, whether it is erasing X puyos simultaneously, chaining 2 or more times, etc. You will need to beat the clock, so be quick.
Other game modes in Endless Puyo Pop include Original, which is a simple version without “Fever” (more on this in a minute). I went 40 minutes before dying. Finally, Fever lets you play in Fever mode until time runs out. Fever is a speedy mode where the goal is to clear the screen of all the puyos. If you drop the puyo in the right spot, they will drop and start a chain until all remaining puyos are gone.
How is Puyo Pop Fever different from past versions? For one, it is a mobile version with a moderately large screen. With local-area wireless multi-player, it separates itself from other versions, except the N-Gage version does allow for two players. Other than that, you have the two screens and touch-screen control. Drag the stylus, tap the screen to rotate, etc. There are also traditional controls, which I prefer.
Once all the puyos settle, you will find yourself satisfied with the DS version of Puyo Pop Fever. There’s enough frantic gameplay and variety to keep fans of the series salivating for more. Maybe next time we will see wi-fi multi-player, but until then, the 8 player LAN play should be sufficient. If you are into puzzle games, look no further, Puyo Pop Fever is your long-awaited DS entry into the series.
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|Written by Kyle