Pokemon Puzzle Challenge
Game Boy Color
Brightly colored blocks and Pokemon, all in your hand.
Pokemon Puzzle Challenge (Game Boy Color)
By Ridwan Khan
The latest addition to Americaís Pokemania, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge has crept itís way to the Gameboy Color. As the bell begins to toll for the original/Color Gameboy hardware, we can take some pleasure in the fact that the machine is leaving us well, with games like Dragon Warrior, Pokemon Gold and Silver, and Puzzle Challenge.
Puzzle Challenge is the sequel to Nintendoís Tetris Attack (pretty much the Japanese Panel de Pon with Nintendo characters). In a new version of the game, both the Japanese and American versions are filled with the super cute Pokemon characters. Not related to the Nintendo 64 Puzzle League game, Challenge features the Pokemon and characters of Gold and Silver.
The game play mirrors that of nearly any other puzzle game Ė colored blocks fall from the top of the screen and your job is to set them up so that you can make rows of three. When three blocks of the same color are in a vertical or horizontal row, they disappear. Your goal is to clear as many blocks as possible, making sure your blocks never reach the top of the screen. Itís basically the same formula since Tetris came out with the original Gameboy.
Where Puzzle League stands out is itís myriad of options. Game play modes include Challenge, where the player battles Gym Leaders and their Pokemon and Marathon, where blocks continually push up from the bottom of the screen. In the Time mode, players try to get the highest score in a limited amount of time. In Line mode, clearing a certain number of blocks allows you to proceed to the next stage. There is also a Garbage mode, where garbage drops down from the top of the screen. A two player mode is available, with normal competition and the Line and Time modes. If it sounds a bit confusing, it isnít, the game has an excellent tutorial, and the various modes play in the same fashion.
The game makes full use of the Pokemon license. The Gym Leaders in the challenge mode are all from the G/S games, as are the Pokemon the player uses to compete. At first, the game gives the player the starter Pokemon from G/S, Cyndaquil, Chickorita, and Totodile, but by meeting special goals in the Challenge mode, other Pokemon, including Pichu, Elekid, Togepi, Marril, Cleffa, Sentret, and the veritable Pikachu may be "caught". However, the different Pokemon have little effect on the game, other than facing new trainers and eye candy.
Puzzle Challenge isnít perfect, though. For example, like Mario Golf or Tennis, the game could have easily had transfer pack features with the Nintendo 64 League game, though admittedly, the games are unrelated, except in that they both are puzzle games with Pokemon. Also, the many different modes have a tendency to feel the same, after a while. If youíre not a puzzle game fan, PPC will wear on your nerves quickly.
The Pokemon theme of the game may be a put off to some (not me!), but if youíre looking for a puzzle game on the Gameboy, this is the best one for the Gameboy, beating even Mickey's Magical Challenge.