Reviewed: June 29, 2005
Released: May 3, 2005
Ever since the release of the first major handheld (Nintendoís Game Boy) every new handheld system has had its own original puzzle title to coincide with it. As most of you know, Tetris was shipped with the original Game Boy back in the good old days when Mario and Michael Jackson were big. Since then, several new handhelds have been released such as Segaís Game Gear, Neo Geo, the Wonderswan (if youíve ever heard of that), the Playstation Portable (PSP), and many others which have all had their share of unique and creative puzzle games. Another well known puzzle series has arrived on the Nintendo DS with the release of Puyo Pop Fever.
Created by The Sonic Team (Sega), the Puyo Pop series debuted three years ago on the Game Boy Advance and has since been seen on the Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and N-Gage. Itís gone through many changed with upgraded versions of the game and additions such as more levels and characters. Itís a very well known series and one thatís an established puzzle game in the industry.
The latest version of the game features:
Puzzle games like this one donít have a lot of complexity to them. For one, this game is essentially a variation of Tetris with some unique and exciting features that give it a slightly different feel. First, Puyo Pop games feature funny and colorful tiny blobs (known as Puyos) which you must match up in a series of three or more to pop them. Secondly, Puyo Pop games have a special mode called ďFever modeĒ which is where you get as many chains of same colored Puyos as possible in order to crush your opponent with unbreakable Nuisance Puyos.
Nuisance Puyos are solid blocks of puyos which can only be broken down and eventually eliminated by the opponent by forming new chains of same colored Puyos against them. Itís extremely fun when you enter this mode because the more chains you create the more damage you inflict upon your opponent. This is definitely the selling point of the series and is what makes it so addicting and fun. And finally, Giant Puyos appear randomly and allow you to change their color helping you create some amazing triple and quadruple Puyo combos.
In addition to all the Puyo puzzle madness, Puro Pop Fever includes several modes in which to play. Endless Mode is the first and itís pretty self explanatory. Play as long as you can survive. The second and main mode is the Story Mode in which you play against other computer opponents while following the simple and extremely short story that goes with it. It may be included in the game, but I found it to be silly and pointless. I ended up skipping it and just concentrating on the addicting game-play.
As far as the controls go, most DS games use the stylus and while this one does, it isnít preferred. The touch screen controls work ok, but youíll tend to use the standard buttons instead. The main reason is because itís easier and quicker, but the controls are solid on each end.
The graphics are a stronger suit for Fever, which features vivid backgrounds and an exciting Fever mode which looks very cool and techno-like. Everything is two-dimensional, and the characters react to the game while you are playing creating some funny reactions to watch. True, the game is simply designed, but it works well for an entertaining puzzle game, which was never really meant to be fullly 3D or very complex for that matter.
Sound is normally not a strong selling point when it comes to puzzle games and Fever is no exception. The game features several repetitive fast paced background tracks which get old quickly and minimal noises and sound effects. I really donít expect people to listen while they play, instead Iíd recommend listening to an MP3 player while you enjoy this fun game. Overall, the sound isnít terrible, but rather something I personally didnít care for.
Puyo Pop Fever is packed with gameplay making it a great value. At the core it features a really creative and addictive puzzle experience that most people will love. On top of that it has two game modes that can keep you busy for an endless number of hours. Most people will try Endless Mode and keep trying to improve your scores like I did while others may simply keep playing through the story mode.
A huge part of the lasting value is the inclusion of multiplayer. Up to eight players can duke it out using only one cartridge. Thatís awesome and is one of the main selling points of the game. I bet you canít name another DS game at this time which has an eight player multiplayer mode using one a single game cartridge. Truth be told that the load times arenít extremely friendly, but thatís not a big deal at all. The overall value that Fever has is awesome, especially for $30.
Puyo Pop Fever is an extremely fun and addicting puzzle game, which is just as fun as or more so than any previous version of the series. The game-play is still what makes it such an enjoyable game to play and with the addition of the new multiplayer mode, eight players can now join in on the action with a single cartridge.