I needed a break from Final Fantasy XII. Or rather, I feel that significant progress is needed before I post about it again. So let me interrupt that series with a couple posts about a Pokemon spin off.
Pokemon Puzzle Challenge was released for Gameboy Color in 2000. In it, the player swaps blocks on a rising wall. Matching three removes the blocks and matching more or setting chains will lead to bonuses. You control a Pokemon trainer who goes from gym to gym battling against other trainers. The gameplay doesn’t exactly fit the Pokemon setting, but I don’t know if anybody actually cares about that. Puzzle games tend to lack coherent themes and as far as slapped on themes go, Pokemon at least has a look I enjoy.
When I started up Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, I was struck by the surprising enjoyability of the music. While I do enjoy chip music, I think the various scores in this game may actually be enjoyable outside of the game. The music does not hinder the experience nor did I want to mute it – instead I let the brief tunes play as I made my way through the game. Props to Minako Hamano and Taishi Senda, the credited composers. Please enjoy the video embedded below.
Getting on to the actual gameplay, there isn’t much to say that can’t be said about other basic puzzle games. It is fun to an extent but can be difficult to play lengthy sessions. Luckily, a play through of the “campaign” on normal took me about forty five minutes. The battles were easy early on, but by battle seven, I had lost twice and had to redouble my efforts to make it through. Completing the “campaign” doesn’t amount to much. After defeating the final trainer I was told to play the game on hard and sent to the credits sequence.
There are several other game modes in PPC, but outside of marathon and the puzzle challenges I couldn’t determine the actual goal of some of the modes. The puzzle challenges are all about clearing boards in limited moves and were pretty difficult by the time I completed about half of them, which took about a half an hour.
While it has limited appeal in gameplay, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge does offer decent puzzle fun and a soundtrack that was meant for a more original title. If you can pick it up on the eShop and want a light puzzle game, get it. Not attached to gen 2 Pokemon and hate Tetris-esque puzzlers? Stay away and enjoy the music on youtube.