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06-19-16 02:22 PM
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06-19-16 02:22 PM
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Pokemon Puzzle Challenge - A really good, addicting Match-3 puzzle game!

 
Game's Ratings
Overall
Graphics
Sound
Addictiveness
Depth
Story
Difficulty
Average User Score
9.1
9.3
9
8.3
7
7.5
5.3
Stevie 764's Score
9
10
10
9
7
8
4

06-19-16 02:22 PM
Stevie 764 is Offline
| ID: 1277583 | 3591 Words

Stevie 764
Level: 98


POSTS: 2840/2840
POST EXP: 272741
LVL EXP: 9549349
CP: 3681.0
VIZ: 296758

Likes: 1  Dislikes: 0
You could remember back to when you were a person in either the late 90's or the early 2000's with a Game Boy Color, the successor handheld of the original Game Boy. Imagine if you were looking through your collection for some puzzle games, and all of a sudden, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge flashes through your eyes. Aren't Pokemon games really cool, even in spin-off titles?

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge is a spin-off game, where you manage a 2-block cursor around a 6x9 puzzle grid, and create matches of 3 horizontal or vertical blocks of the same type. You can create chains of blocks, and score impressive combos to throw against your opponents. Wait a minute, opponents? Imagine knocking out a Pokemon through a gigantic string of chains. With that out of the way, you defeat opponents, and go on your journey to become the Puzzle League Champion of the Johto region, and show off through a variety of game modes, such as the Challenge mode (The main game), an endless Marathon, solve perplexing puzzles, or just get a simple warm up through the training mode. You don't catch Pokemon in this game, though.

The game is reminiscent of Tetris Attack, and even Planet Puzzle League, following certain types of game play, including the different casts of characters in each title, the nature, and even the features the games hold.


- Graphics - 10/10

The Pokemon, first off, pop out very well. Each look really unique with their shining characteristics, such as Totodile shooting out water streams, Chikorita whipping out her leaf moves to do critical damage, and even Cyndaquil throwing out fire from its back! Text pops out really nicely with the outlines, and even with the small resolution of the Game Boy Color, it still manages to make everything stand out in their own way. The landscape when the three Pokemon are introduced in the game opening looks astonishing and gorgeous, being close to an actual grass field, like the traditional grass acres in the main Pokemon games. The block types are also of awe, and they are also energetic, making faces during chains and even bouncing when about to fill the screen with blocks.

As for the Heads Up Display (HUD), the backdrops contrast nicely against each other, giving a pleasureful way of seeing what you need to know relating to what is going on and processing such information in a quick, efficient manner. The Pokemon stage backgrounds also do a good job at still making the block types pop out so you can go strain-free of the in-game surroundings. There really isn't too much other to say. I give the graphics category a perfect 10 for an innovative, pleasing graphic interface, with no real issues involved. It's very accessible, again, despite the resolution limits of the hardware.

- Sound - 10/10

The soundtrack contained in the game is a good collection of up-beat remixes of music from Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (released before Puzzle Challenge). Music includes Cherrygrove City, Goldenrod City (my top favorite), the Poke Centers, and even some self-composed bits of music. I've honestly never gotten tired of listening to that, even after many, many hours, and maybe never will. The danger music is just a little tiring if you are a person who goes for really high chains though, but that's okay.

The sound effects and the cries the Pokemon shout and exclaim as they battle are satisfying as all things. It's harmony! As blocks are being cleared in successful strings, it all gets intense to form into a special fanfare for scoring a high chain. Clearing huge combos brings on a pleasing factor of listening to little bursts of excitement rocking out of the Game Boy Color. At this point, I rate the music/sound category a 10, too.


- Game Play / Addictiveness - 9/10

In the game, you control a 2x1 block-wide cursor around a 6x9 puzzle grid and slide blocks around to score matches of 3 or even higher. Scoring chains by having blocks continuously falling onto adjacent-type blocks below can score massive bonuses when done even further. Point values from chains increment up to x13, but damage dealt in Challenge mode can still increase via skilled use of Exploding Lift and garbage blocks to keep even more chains than otherwise possible. There are 6 different modes in the Single Player menu, each with certain goals and gimmicks set in stone.

Marathon - Marathon is an endless block-clearing game where you get the highest score you can while keeping either of the 6 columns of blocks from reaching the top, which results in the game ending. There are speed levels that determine how fast the blocks scroll up from the bottom independently, going up to 50 or as high as 99. After a period of time, the level goes up, and it really becomes noticeable around level 15, but then it gets so fast you need to have good reflexes to match blocks coming up so quickly. Clearing 4 or more blocks at once results in a stop, making the stack stop rising automatically for a period of time. This can be taken up to 15 seconds by scoring high chains. Sometimes, doing a chain after making a stop may not increase the period of time you get to rearrange your blocks before the stack rises. This can be very advantageous, especially when at speed level 50, where it becomes crucial to surviving longer before you eventually lose. The score you have when the game ends determines what ending you get., where having under 10,000 is just "Game Over' but reaching 10,000 or more can yield you a bonus ending as a reward. The bonus ending can be taken further by getting an even higher score, where you can actually view the credits along with your final tallies, and even a little play-time section showing how long you were in the game.

Challenge - In this mode, you must battle through 8-13 stages against opponents Pokemon by using chains/combos to drain their HP and eventually defeat them. You select a Pokemon from your party to battle. The opponent Pokemon attack at random times with a certain number of chains, relative to the game difficulty you selected. The more chains you get in a row, the more damage you can deal on the opponent. It's extremely satisfying to pull a really big chain against a Pidgey and knock it out, complete with your Pokemon showing off in victory. Cyndaquil, you might wanna watch how you bring your body forward, there! Back to the Challenge mode topic. When you lose a battle, you lose the Pokemon you used against the opponent, but you can always get it back, as once you have a Pokemon, you will permanently have it. If you lose all your Pokemon, you get a "Game Over" and must continue where you left off, which lets you regain your Pokemon. Using continues slightly affects the ending on the lower difficulties, but on the much higher difficulties, the ending remains the same, regardless.

Time Zone - This mode is reminiscent of Marathon, but instead of it being just endless, it's a timed high score challenge. You have two minutes to score the highest you can. Take great advantage of chains to score high. Just don't top out at 5 seconds or so like I did before. When time runs out, depending on how many points you earned, you can get a Top 5 spot on the highest scores you got on the difficulty you selected. If you played Time Zone enough, you could end up having your whole top 5 filled with your own scores. Getting top 5, or earning over 10,000 points, regardless of not getting top 5, earns you a victory celebration with confetti, and all.

Line Clear - In Line Clear, you still clear blocks like in Marathon, but instead, it's a game in itself. You must clear blocks and eventually reach a certain line that ascends from the bottom where you must bring all the blocks below to clear the stage. There are 5 levels in each stage, and there are 6 stages total. Speed levels go up slowly as you progress through the mode, eventually reaching speed level 40. Sometimes, the speed levels are set to a certain number when advancing to the next level.

Puzzle - The Puzzle mode is very unique, as here, you are given a set board of blocks, eventually becoming scrambled in a perplexing way, and you must clear the whole board within a certain number of turns (as low as 1 to as much as 5). The ways you solve the puzzles can really leave you going nonstop to wonder how the puzzle is done out. At first, it's pretty simple, but the further you go in, the more of a pain it becomes. There are 6 stages, and 10 puzzles in each. You must clear 6 out of 10 to progress to the next stage. You get 3 hints at the start, and you can use them by pressing the Select button to see the first move in the puzzle given to you. If you use up all your moves and fail to solve the puzzle, it must be restarted. You can, however, use the B button to back up one move, or if it was a chain, it may back up more than one move.

Garbage - The last of the Single Player modes. Garbage plays very similar to Marathon, this time, garbage blocks occasionally drop down, in forms of 3, 4, 5, a whole row, or even multiple rows. The scroll speed of the stack below do not go up, only the level of how big the garbage is, goes up. There are also metallic block rows that may drop down onto your field, coming in single row bursts. These are formed by matching ! Blocks, also known as "Shock Blocks" in Challenge mode. Unlike regular garbage, Shock Block garbage can only clear out similar Shock Block garbage rows if blocks are matched next to one. The goal is to get the highest score you can before you either top out, or the Garbage piles on you enough to make you run out of blocks to match. Garbage mode endings are the same as Marathon, but Garbage is often much harder than Marathon, due to garbage blocks (especially on higher levels) being a nuisance, and at level 99, the amount of garbage it spits out is very staggering. You actually have to watch what blocks you clear and when you decide to raise your stack.

That ends describing the game modes, so how about the replay-ability factor? This game is something I really cannot put down, due to the insane flow it keeps on the player, bringing them back in, similar to how Bejeweled, Candy Crush, Crossy Road, and etc. keep players in! You'll want to become the Pokemon Puzzle League champion, and be the best of them all! The game is a pastime that people back in the days adored to the point of having become addicted to playing the game on the go. You would want to get all the Pokemon, and hatch the Pokemon eggs. You would dream of beating Intense mode without using a single continue. Yes, you actually can level up your Pokemon when using them, but it doesn't do anything to influence the Pokemon other than bragging rights to your friends. The stuff shows in the records section of the Main Menu. Hey, if you still had a Link Cable and 2 cartridges lying around, don't you want to relive the obscure 2-player battle mode? The category is being given a 9. I don't see how I am going to give up on this game in the future.

- Story - 8/10

The primary focus of the game is becoming the Puzzle League champion of the Johto League, where you battle trainers, and eventually make your way to the Indigo Plateau (Where the last part of Generation II Pokemon takes place), to overrule and become the next best Pokemon Trainer. This totals to 13 battles. Depending on the difficulty you select, you might be restricted to just battling the Gym Leaders, for the sake of the difficulty curves. Along the way, you battle trainers and use the Pokemon you have to take their Pokemon down in a puzzle battle. It may sound short, but the battles can be a stretch if you aren't prepared. In fact, the trainers you battle are all from the Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal games; the Gym Leaders, and all. It's like, lets say, playing a condensed game of Pokemon Silver, where instead of exploring the region and slowly making your way to the top, you simply meet up with the trainers and battle. Sounds like a slight disadvantage, but it suffices for a quick game. I give the story a 8, mainly due to it being quite similar to the Generation II games (Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal), as the order you fight the trainers, is actually the same order you go through in Gold/Silver/Crystal. That finishes off taking a view at the story line.

- Depth - 7/10

You'll look all over the game, wondering how you find all the Pokemon, hatch all the four eggs, complete the Gallery, solve all the puzzles, complete Line Clear beat Challenge mode on all difficulty settings, and fill in all the statistics in the game modes! Challenge mode is 8-13 stages of block-matching chaos. There are not 3, but actually 5 difficulty settings! If you can beat Challenge on Hard, you'll see what it really takes to be up at the top. Puzzle mode contains 60 puzzles, and if you are able to actually complete it, there are more, awaiting your puzzle solving skills! Let me tell you, it only gets worse. The dream you might have, is to someday beat Challenge mode on Intense. There are also secret options that allow you to configure more settings in-game to spice things up. I'd say for the average person, this is quite a load of objectives the game has to offer, marking the Depth factor with a 7.

- Difficulty - 4/10

Controls for a great game must first of all, be simple and easy to learn. The D-pad moves the cursor, the A button swaps blocks that the cursor is highlighted over, the B button raises the stack of blocks manually by 1 row, and the Select button is used for getting hints in Puzzle mode. Just be careful where you put your thumb over the A and B buttons, because heaven forbid, you raise blocks near the top and you accidentally cause yourself to lose, you must teach yourself how to efficiently utilize the control setup. It's easy to start learning the controls as you play, since there is a Training mode that lets you learn how the game plays, and also practice in Slow Motion, a modified version of Marathon where the goal is to reach 9,999 points under the condition of the game being much slower, allowing for easier chain setups. Challenge mode ramps up slowly and has more stages on the later difficulties, giving a slow difficulty curve that rewards more on the harder difficulty settings if you can make it far. With how easy the game can be to start playing and the varying difficulty settings all players could use, this category is given a 4. Just be careful you don't cause a ruckus when losing on Intense.

- Overall - 9/10

What may you think with a game like Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, that caters to all ages and remains as a popular puzzle game worth going back to, is a stylish compilation of Pokemon attacking with profound chains, a catchy 8-bit soundtrack that rarely gets old, a high replay-ability value, a condensed story line from the main Pokemon games, including easy-to-learn controls, and slow difficulty curves, allowing you to practice and challenge yourself! If you want to play a match-3 that is addicting, and fits to you a pastime for Pokemon, then this game is for you. In conclusion, the game was based off of Tetris Attack, and even lead to a sequel named Pokemon Puzzle League, which takes advantage of the newer hardware, and even introduced new game modes, such as the 3D mode, which honestly is confusing for me, or a puzzle creator where you can make your own puzzles and have your friends attempt to solve them, or even use it as a sandbox for creating chains. A new coat of paint makes for a pleasing sequel that followed in the footsteps of the original Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Go on, and become the Pokemon Puzzle League champion, to be the very best of them all! In general terms, the game is given a 9 for how well it was crafted. Had there been just a little more end-game content, I would boost the rating up a few ticks.


- Extras -

The game has a handful of cheats that you can enter into the game to unlock some cool ways to spice up your gaming. A few of these codes must be inputted as the game boots up, specifically when Pikachu smiles on the copyright screen. You can increase the speed level up to 99, or even disable all STOP combo pauses, even if you make a good combo. There is a Gallery option where you can view images from what you have managed to see in the game, but only under precise circumstances that have been met. Believe it or not, but the game was delayed for a few months before the actual release due to Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal being released around the time Puzzle Challenge was formerly planned.

There is a CHR set viewer that can be accessed via Game Genie, which lets you view basically everything in the game, from the Pokemon characters, to the stage backdrops, to all the cutscenes, and images found throughout the game.

Want a way to blow your mind? A few years ago, prototypes of a supposed Panel De Pon GB were found inside the game ROM, over a decade after the game released! If you are running the game on GB hardware, you will need to enter a button code, and once done, you get to access the bare-boned prototype and what was left before it re-branded into Pokemon. To do so, you must press the A button 24 times, and then once you hear a confirmation sound, press the B button 24 times. If you are using a Game Boy Color or newer, you must enter a more complex code to first get the game into GB-Mode and show a screen saying it can only be played on a Game Boy Color, then enter the code like aforementioned to unlock access to the prototype. There are quite some things left in there, such as the original characters, and some of the composed music originally from the SNES release in Japan, Panel De Pon. The graphic colors honestly are a strain to look at, due to the limitations of the GB hardware's color, the handheld this prototype was planned for. The only modes that are playable in the prototype include Marathon and Garbage, which function the same as the Pokemon Puzzle Challenge release.

There are no endings implemented (I honestly tested this) that can be found in the game modes, and complete with some slightly misleading options settings. Fireworks? That is the Explode Lift option that later came into Puzzle League, and then its sequel, Planet Puzzle League. Dancing? I don't know. Some of the options aren't even present in the actual game, such as disabling STOP just by toggling a setting, or turning off... the Speed Limit? I tested that, and it allows setting the speed level over 50, but either way, you can just set it to 99 in the mode options, making that option rather useless. Both those settings are button codes in Pokemon Puzzle Challenge instead of being setting toggles. If you turned off the STOP function and went to play Garbage mode on level 99, you will not survive for long!


That ends my look at Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Being a Puzzle Challenge player myself, I still have a lot of fun with this game, primarily trying to challenge myself to get the fastest Challenge mode clear times that I can, and even beat Intense mode with as few continues as possible. I am at 6 currently, but quite a few dedicated speed runners have done Intense without continuing once. Why is this a bigger deal than beating Super Hard without continues? Let me tell you how it works. From Easy-Super Hard, losing a match results in just losing one Pokemon, and the Game Over condition is losing all your Pokemon. In Intense mode, there is a new gimmick where losing a single match results in a Game Over. I have in fact beat Super Hard without losing one match, but only time will tell when the light shines on me to plow through Intense without losing a single match.

FYI, what are your Pokemon levels in the Records menu, if any? My Totodile is at level 957 at the time of writing this, seriously! There is no level cap for the stats, not even at the thousands! These old video games have a limit to counting, so it's probably at 65,535 but who knows?
You could remember back to when you were a person in either the late 90's or the early 2000's with a Game Boy Color, the successor handheld of the original Game Boy. Imagine if you were looking through your collection for some puzzle games, and all of a sudden, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge flashes through your eyes. Aren't Pokemon games really cool, even in spin-off titles?

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge is a spin-off game, where you manage a 2-block cursor around a 6x9 puzzle grid, and create matches of 3 horizontal or vertical blocks of the same type. You can create chains of blocks, and score impressive combos to throw against your opponents. Wait a minute, opponents? Imagine knocking out a Pokemon through a gigantic string of chains. With that out of the way, you defeat opponents, and go on your journey to become the Puzzle League Champion of the Johto region, and show off through a variety of game modes, such as the Challenge mode (The main game), an endless Marathon, solve perplexing puzzles, or just get a simple warm up through the training mode. You don't catch Pokemon in this game, though.

The game is reminiscent of Tetris Attack, and even Planet Puzzle League, following certain types of game play, including the different casts of characters in each title, the nature, and even the features the games hold.


- Graphics - 10/10

The Pokemon, first off, pop out very well. Each look really unique with their shining characteristics, such as Totodile shooting out water streams, Chikorita whipping out her leaf moves to do critical damage, and even Cyndaquil throwing out fire from its back! Text pops out really nicely with the outlines, and even with the small resolution of the Game Boy Color, it still manages to make everything stand out in their own way. The landscape when the three Pokemon are introduced in the game opening looks astonishing and gorgeous, being close to an actual grass field, like the traditional grass acres in the main Pokemon games. The block types are also of awe, and they are also energetic, making faces during chains and even bouncing when about to fill the screen with blocks.

As for the Heads Up Display (HUD), the backdrops contrast nicely against each other, giving a pleasureful way of seeing what you need to know relating to what is going on and processing such information in a quick, efficient manner. The Pokemon stage backgrounds also do a good job at still making the block types pop out so you can go strain-free of the in-game surroundings. There really isn't too much other to say. I give the graphics category a perfect 10 for an innovative, pleasing graphic interface, with no real issues involved. It's very accessible, again, despite the resolution limits of the hardware.

- Sound - 10/10

The soundtrack contained in the game is a good collection of up-beat remixes of music from Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (released before Puzzle Challenge). Music includes Cherrygrove City, Goldenrod City (my top favorite), the Poke Centers, and even some self-composed bits of music. I've honestly never gotten tired of listening to that, even after many, many hours, and maybe never will. The danger music is just a little tiring if you are a person who goes for really high chains though, but that's okay.

The sound effects and the cries the Pokemon shout and exclaim as they battle are satisfying as all things. It's harmony! As blocks are being cleared in successful strings, it all gets intense to form into a special fanfare for scoring a high chain. Clearing huge combos brings on a pleasing factor of listening to little bursts of excitement rocking out of the Game Boy Color. At this point, I rate the music/sound category a 10, too.


- Game Play / Addictiveness - 9/10

In the game, you control a 2x1 block-wide cursor around a 6x9 puzzle grid and slide blocks around to score matches of 3 or even higher. Scoring chains by having blocks continuously falling onto adjacent-type blocks below can score massive bonuses when done even further. Point values from chains increment up to x13, but damage dealt in Challenge mode can still increase via skilled use of Exploding Lift and garbage blocks to keep even more chains than otherwise possible. There are 6 different modes in the Single Player menu, each with certain goals and gimmicks set in stone.

Marathon - Marathon is an endless block-clearing game where you get the highest score you can while keeping either of the 6 columns of blocks from reaching the top, which results in the game ending. There are speed levels that determine how fast the blocks scroll up from the bottom independently, going up to 50 or as high as 99. After a period of time, the level goes up, and it really becomes noticeable around level 15, but then it gets so fast you need to have good reflexes to match blocks coming up so quickly. Clearing 4 or more blocks at once results in a stop, making the stack stop rising automatically for a period of time. This can be taken up to 15 seconds by scoring high chains. Sometimes, doing a chain after making a stop may not increase the period of time you get to rearrange your blocks before the stack rises. This can be very advantageous, especially when at speed level 50, where it becomes crucial to surviving longer before you eventually lose. The score you have when the game ends determines what ending you get., where having under 10,000 is just "Game Over' but reaching 10,000 or more can yield you a bonus ending as a reward. The bonus ending can be taken further by getting an even higher score, where you can actually view the credits along with your final tallies, and even a little play-time section showing how long you were in the game.

Challenge - In this mode, you must battle through 8-13 stages against opponents Pokemon by using chains/combos to drain their HP and eventually defeat them. You select a Pokemon from your party to battle. The opponent Pokemon attack at random times with a certain number of chains, relative to the game difficulty you selected. The more chains you get in a row, the more damage you can deal on the opponent. It's extremely satisfying to pull a really big chain against a Pidgey and knock it out, complete with your Pokemon showing off in victory. Cyndaquil, you might wanna watch how you bring your body forward, there! Back to the Challenge mode topic. When you lose a battle, you lose the Pokemon you used against the opponent, but you can always get it back, as once you have a Pokemon, you will permanently have it. If you lose all your Pokemon, you get a "Game Over" and must continue where you left off, which lets you regain your Pokemon. Using continues slightly affects the ending on the lower difficulties, but on the much higher difficulties, the ending remains the same, regardless.

Time Zone - This mode is reminiscent of Marathon, but instead of it being just endless, it's a timed high score challenge. You have two minutes to score the highest you can. Take great advantage of chains to score high. Just don't top out at 5 seconds or so like I did before. When time runs out, depending on how many points you earned, you can get a Top 5 spot on the highest scores you got on the difficulty you selected. If you played Time Zone enough, you could end up having your whole top 5 filled with your own scores. Getting top 5, or earning over 10,000 points, regardless of not getting top 5, earns you a victory celebration with confetti, and all.

Line Clear - In Line Clear, you still clear blocks like in Marathon, but instead, it's a game in itself. You must clear blocks and eventually reach a certain line that ascends from the bottom where you must bring all the blocks below to clear the stage. There are 5 levels in each stage, and there are 6 stages total. Speed levels go up slowly as you progress through the mode, eventually reaching speed level 40. Sometimes, the speed levels are set to a certain number when advancing to the next level.

Puzzle - The Puzzle mode is very unique, as here, you are given a set board of blocks, eventually becoming scrambled in a perplexing way, and you must clear the whole board within a certain number of turns (as low as 1 to as much as 5). The ways you solve the puzzles can really leave you going nonstop to wonder how the puzzle is done out. At first, it's pretty simple, but the further you go in, the more of a pain it becomes. There are 6 stages, and 10 puzzles in each. You must clear 6 out of 10 to progress to the next stage. You get 3 hints at the start, and you can use them by pressing the Select button to see the first move in the puzzle given to you. If you use up all your moves and fail to solve the puzzle, it must be restarted. You can, however, use the B button to back up one move, or if it was a chain, it may back up more than one move.

Garbage - The last of the Single Player modes. Garbage plays very similar to Marathon, this time, garbage blocks occasionally drop down, in forms of 3, 4, 5, a whole row, or even multiple rows. The scroll speed of the stack below do not go up, only the level of how big the garbage is, goes up. There are also metallic block rows that may drop down onto your field, coming in single row bursts. These are formed by matching ! Blocks, also known as "Shock Blocks" in Challenge mode. Unlike regular garbage, Shock Block garbage can only clear out similar Shock Block garbage rows if blocks are matched next to one. The goal is to get the highest score you can before you either top out, or the Garbage piles on you enough to make you run out of blocks to match. Garbage mode endings are the same as Marathon, but Garbage is often much harder than Marathon, due to garbage blocks (especially on higher levels) being a nuisance, and at level 99, the amount of garbage it spits out is very staggering. You actually have to watch what blocks you clear and when you decide to raise your stack.

That ends describing the game modes, so how about the replay-ability factor? This game is something I really cannot put down, due to the insane flow it keeps on the player, bringing them back in, similar to how Bejeweled, Candy Crush, Crossy Road, and etc. keep players in! You'll want to become the Pokemon Puzzle League champion, and be the best of them all! The game is a pastime that people back in the days adored to the point of having become addicted to playing the game on the go. You would want to get all the Pokemon, and hatch the Pokemon eggs. You would dream of beating Intense mode without using a single continue. Yes, you actually can level up your Pokemon when using them, but it doesn't do anything to influence the Pokemon other than bragging rights to your friends. The stuff shows in the records section of the Main Menu. Hey, if you still had a Link Cable and 2 cartridges lying around, don't you want to relive the obscure 2-player battle mode? The category is being given a 9. I don't see how I am going to give up on this game in the future.

- Story - 8/10

The primary focus of the game is becoming the Puzzle League champion of the Johto League, where you battle trainers, and eventually make your way to the Indigo Plateau (Where the last part of Generation II Pokemon takes place), to overrule and become the next best Pokemon Trainer. This totals to 13 battles. Depending on the difficulty you select, you might be restricted to just battling the Gym Leaders, for the sake of the difficulty curves. Along the way, you battle trainers and use the Pokemon you have to take their Pokemon down in a puzzle battle. It may sound short, but the battles can be a stretch if you aren't prepared. In fact, the trainers you battle are all from the Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal games; the Gym Leaders, and all. It's like, lets say, playing a condensed game of Pokemon Silver, where instead of exploring the region and slowly making your way to the top, you simply meet up with the trainers and battle. Sounds like a slight disadvantage, but it suffices for a quick game. I give the story a 8, mainly due to it being quite similar to the Generation II games (Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal), as the order you fight the trainers, is actually the same order you go through in Gold/Silver/Crystal. That finishes off taking a view at the story line.

- Depth - 7/10

You'll look all over the game, wondering how you find all the Pokemon, hatch all the four eggs, complete the Gallery, solve all the puzzles, complete Line Clear beat Challenge mode on all difficulty settings, and fill in all the statistics in the game modes! Challenge mode is 8-13 stages of block-matching chaos. There are not 3, but actually 5 difficulty settings! If you can beat Challenge on Hard, you'll see what it really takes to be up at the top. Puzzle mode contains 60 puzzles, and if you are able to actually complete it, there are more, awaiting your puzzle solving skills! Let me tell you, it only gets worse. The dream you might have, is to someday beat Challenge mode on Intense. There are also secret options that allow you to configure more settings in-game to spice things up. I'd say for the average person, this is quite a load of objectives the game has to offer, marking the Depth factor with a 7.

- Difficulty - 4/10

Controls for a great game must first of all, be simple and easy to learn. The D-pad moves the cursor, the A button swaps blocks that the cursor is highlighted over, the B button raises the stack of blocks manually by 1 row, and the Select button is used for getting hints in Puzzle mode. Just be careful where you put your thumb over the A and B buttons, because heaven forbid, you raise blocks near the top and you accidentally cause yourself to lose, you must teach yourself how to efficiently utilize the control setup. It's easy to start learning the controls as you play, since there is a Training mode that lets you learn how the game plays, and also practice in Slow Motion, a modified version of Marathon where the goal is to reach 9,999 points under the condition of the game being much slower, allowing for easier chain setups. Challenge mode ramps up slowly and has more stages on the later difficulties, giving a slow difficulty curve that rewards more on the harder difficulty settings if you can make it far. With how easy the game can be to start playing and the varying difficulty settings all players could use, this category is given a 4. Just be careful you don't cause a ruckus when losing on Intense.

- Overall - 9/10

What may you think with a game like Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, that caters to all ages and remains as a popular puzzle game worth going back to, is a stylish compilation of Pokemon attacking with profound chains, a catchy 8-bit soundtrack that rarely gets old, a high replay-ability value, a condensed story line from the main Pokemon games, including easy-to-learn controls, and slow difficulty curves, allowing you to practice and challenge yourself! If you want to play a match-3 that is addicting, and fits to you a pastime for Pokemon, then this game is for you. In conclusion, the game was based off of Tetris Attack, and even lead to a sequel named Pokemon Puzzle League, which takes advantage of the newer hardware, and even introduced new game modes, such as the 3D mode, which honestly is confusing for me, or a puzzle creator where you can make your own puzzles and have your friends attempt to solve them, or even use it as a sandbox for creating chains. A new coat of paint makes for a pleasing sequel that followed in the footsteps of the original Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Go on, and become the Pokemon Puzzle League champion, to be the very best of them all! In general terms, the game is given a 9 for how well it was crafted. Had there been just a little more end-game content, I would boost the rating up a few ticks.


- Extras -

The game has a handful of cheats that you can enter into the game to unlock some cool ways to spice up your gaming. A few of these codes must be inputted as the game boots up, specifically when Pikachu smiles on the copyright screen. You can increase the speed level up to 99, or even disable all STOP combo pauses, even if you make a good combo. There is a Gallery option where you can view images from what you have managed to see in the game, but only under precise circumstances that have been met. Believe it or not, but the game was delayed for a few months before the actual release due to Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal being released around the time Puzzle Challenge was formerly planned.

There is a CHR set viewer that can be accessed via Game Genie, which lets you view basically everything in the game, from the Pokemon characters, to the stage backdrops, to all the cutscenes, and images found throughout the game.

Want a way to blow your mind? A few years ago, prototypes of a supposed Panel De Pon GB were found inside the game ROM, over a decade after the game released! If you are running the game on GB hardware, you will need to enter a button code, and once done, you get to access the bare-boned prototype and what was left before it re-branded into Pokemon. To do so, you must press the A button 24 times, and then once you hear a confirmation sound, press the B button 24 times. If you are using a Game Boy Color or newer, you must enter a more complex code to first get the game into GB-Mode and show a screen saying it can only be played on a Game Boy Color, then enter the code like aforementioned to unlock access to the prototype. There are quite some things left in there, such as the original characters, and some of the composed music originally from the SNES release in Japan, Panel De Pon. The graphic colors honestly are a strain to look at, due to the limitations of the GB hardware's color, the handheld this prototype was planned for. The only modes that are playable in the prototype include Marathon and Garbage, which function the same as the Pokemon Puzzle Challenge release.

There are no endings implemented (I honestly tested this) that can be found in the game modes, and complete with some slightly misleading options settings. Fireworks? That is the Explode Lift option that later came into Puzzle League, and then its sequel, Planet Puzzle League. Dancing? I don't know. Some of the options aren't even present in the actual game, such as disabling STOP just by toggling a setting, or turning off... the Speed Limit? I tested that, and it allows setting the speed level over 50, but either way, you can just set it to 99 in the mode options, making that option rather useless. Both those settings are button codes in Pokemon Puzzle Challenge instead of being setting toggles. If you turned off the STOP function and went to play Garbage mode on level 99, you will not survive for long!


That ends my look at Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Being a Puzzle Challenge player myself, I still have a lot of fun with this game, primarily trying to challenge myself to get the fastest Challenge mode clear times that I can, and even beat Intense mode with as few continues as possible. I am at 6 currently, but quite a few dedicated speed runners have done Intense without continuing once. Why is this a bigger deal than beating Super Hard without continues? Let me tell you how it works. From Easy-Super Hard, losing a match results in just losing one Pokemon, and the Game Over condition is losing all your Pokemon. In Intense mode, there is a new gimmick where losing a single match results in a Game Over. I have in fact beat Super Hard without losing one match, but only time will tell when the light shines on me to plow through Intense without losing a single match.

FYI, what are your Pokemon levels in the Records menu, if any? My Totodile is at level 957 at the time of writing this, seriously! There is no level cap for the stats, not even at the thousands! These old video games have a limit to counting, so it's probably at 65,535 but who knows?
Vizzed Elite
Vizzed's former Osu! player and TASer


Affected by 'Laziness Syndrome'

Registered: 05-28-10
Location: Enfield, CT
Last Post: 1767 days
Last Active: 1760 days

(edited by Stevie 764 on 06-19-16 02:25 PM)     Post Rating: 1   Liked By: jnisol,

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