- Games
  - Reviews
  - Articles
  - Hardware
  - Cheats
  - Comics
  - Wallpapers
  - Staff
  - About

Game Information | Preview |  Review | Screenshots | Forum

»Puyo Pop
  "Once you pop, the fun don’t stop! ...yeah, I’m not even trying anymore."

Graphics: 7

Gameplay: 8

Sound: 8

Value: 8
You know, as much as people may have complained about the number of fighters on the NGPC, I’m surprised there weren’t nearly as many who complained about the number of puzzle games made for it. I mean, seriously, it’s amazing to see the similarities between the two genres on this system. Sure, there were a few original puzzlers (the Puzzle Link series and the Japan-exclusive Delta Warp), but for the most part, it was ports and remakes – like Bust-A-Move Pocket, Crush Roller, and the subject of this review: Puyo Pop.

Simply put, Puyo Pop is a port of Puyo Puyo 2, a Japan-only arcade game that saw numerous releases on home consoles – Super Famicom, Megadrive, PC-Engine, Sega Saturn and the original PlayStation, to name a few – but was never released in the States…until Puyo Pop was released on the NGPC. As such, it retains the storyline of PP2.

Basically, players take on the role of Arle Nadja, a 16-year-old sorceress who’s adept at foiling the evil plots of Sat…err, the Dark Prince. After being foiled in the first Puyo Puyo, the Dark Prince devises a plan to steal Arle’s heart, as well as capturing her beloved pet, Carbunkle: he’s set up a tower, filled with numerous opponents bent on defeating the spunky spell caster. Can Arle make it to the top of this dreaded ziggurat and defeat the Dark Prince once more?

Puyo Pop plays pretty much like ever other incarnation of the Puyo Puyo series. Basically, pairs of multi-colored Puyos drop in typical “stack-‘em-up” fashion, and in order to eliminate these Puyos, four or more Puyos of the same color have to be arranged contiguously. Puyo. Of course, there’s also the standard garbage block system – in this case, the garbage blocks can be destroyed if they are bordering on a set of eliminated Puyos – as well as an extreme emphasis on chain attacks.

There are three game modes in all. First, there’s the standard single-player mode, which pits players against an onslaught of computer opponents, each with their own quirky appearances, gimmicks and voices. Next, there’s Versus mode, where players can match wits with a friend, provided that friend has access to a NGPC, another copy of the game and a link cable. Finally, there’s Self-Development mode, which in itself is split into two modes. While both modes allow players to hone their skills in an endless-type game mode, there are some other obstacles. In 1P mode, various groupings of garbage blocks will drop at random time intervals and it’s up to the player to counter them with Puyo chains. Then there’s Exam mode, which gauges one’s skills, based on how they react in a 3-minute time limit. This is all very nice, but I wish there were just a plain old Exercise/Endless mode on here as well. Oh well.

Overall, Puyo Pop is a pretty good game, and in the context of a NGPC puzzle game, it’s definitely a great game. On the other hand, looking at this game as one of the games in the Puyo Puyo series, it kind of falls short in certain areas. Well, it doesn’t so much fall short, as other incarnations have additional features. Take for example the GBA Puyo Pop – a game that has a different look and storyline, but retains the engine from PP2 – which boasts an amazing four-player versus mode. Needless to say, the NGPC version just can’t stack up – no pun intended. Still, it delivers the classic PP gameplay and is a great addition for any NGPC puzzle game aficionado.

Moving on, I’ve got mixed opinions based on the graphics. Sure, they look decent for the most part: the coloration’s good, everything looks pretty clear and the fact that there are options regarding the shapes of the Puyos are all stellar qualities. Unfortunately, these nice visual features are downplayed due to a graphical choice extremely common in NGPC games – blank screen. Yes, like many other puzzle games on the Neo Geo Pocket, the backgrounds in this game is mostly occupied by blank space, and it’s a little disappointing. I mean, a simple color inset would’ve made the game look a whole lot better in some areas. Alas, another game succumbs to what I call “blank screen syndrome”.

As for sound, well, actually it’s pretty good. I personally enjoyed PP2’s soundtrack and the Neo Geo Pocket’s sound card delivers a downgraded arrangement, while only losing very little (if any) of the original’s charm. Of course, what really impressed me would have to be the voice acting. Yes, that’s right, you read correctly: the voice acting. Those who read my review of CFC know that the little sound bite on the title screen really impressed me, but Puyo Pop blows that out of the water. There are numerous voice samples in the game, from numerous characters, and they all come out crystal clear. Amazing, simply amazing, especially considering how early in the NGPC’s lifespan this game was released.

As I said earlier, Puyo Pop is a well-made port of PP2, which maintains the original’s charm for the most part. Add in the facts that Puyo Puyo’s a great puzzle game to begin with, there are three different game modes, and one of them is a multi-player versus mode, and you’ve got a solid game. Still, there is one reason that I’ve docked a point or two, and it’s a fairly petty one: there are better incarnations around today, like the aforementioned GBA version with its four-player versus mode or Puyo Pop Fever for the DS (which allows up to eight [!!] players). Still, if you’re looking for something a little simpler or a little more classic in your puzzle game, Puyo Pop for the NGPC could be the game you’re looking for.

Article by:
Posted on: Oct. 1st, 2007

     Review Recap
Considering the fact that this game is based on a five-year-old (well, at the time) arcade game, it still holds up fairly well on the Neo Geo Pocket.

Eh, some of the graphics look okay, but the coloring’s a little dull. Worse yet, this game suffers from blank screen syndrome, like most other NGPC puzzlers.

Great music, and I’m impressed by the number and clarity of the voice samples.

 Replay Value
The three game modes each offer their own spin on the gameplay. Besides, it’s Puyo Puyo.

  Comment Posted on: April 8, 2008



  Comment Posted on: April 8, 2008

Platform: Neo Geo Pocket Color
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Release Date: 09/30/1999
Save Type: 1 Slot
Players: 1-2