Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 29: Game I Thought I Wouldn't Like But Ended Up Loving

This was a contender for my guilty pleasure game a while back. For my penultimate game challenge, I present to you the wonders that exist within the N64 game Pokemon Puzzle League.

Pokemon Puzzle League is, in many ways, a VERY random game. All of a sudden, it seems there is a new challenge within the world of Pokemon, which centers upon this puzzle game which is played competitively. The game you play is essentially a variant of Columns, where you have to match 3 (or more) blocks of a kind together to eliminate them. When played against the computer, every time you get a cool thing (4+ blocks at once) you drop more blocks on the opponent. On top of this, the whole setup is slowly getting higher as more rows appear at the bottom. All of a sudden, what was at first a pleasant puzzle to pass the time turns into a fast-paced competition that has your brain moving at lightspeed to try and stay ahead of the computer.

The actual puzzle game itself is great. You have multiple different variations on this game to play, including the most impressive (and most difficult) Cylindrical game grid, as you can see in the picture, where you have to rotate the cylinder round as you match blocks up. The background to it is just wierd though. The very idea in the Adventure Mode that you should choose which Pokemon you're going to fight with is silly. It makes no difference to the game whatsoever, but you still get to choose which creature will be standing in the background as you play the game. Team Rocket getting up to mischief by setting up a Spa Service which you can thwart by... playing this challenge? It really doesn't make any sense. On the other hand, it doesn't have to, because everything in the game is there to give some justification and background to the puzzle playing.

That said, the puzzle is fun, addictive, very challenging at the highest difficulty level, fast, and visually appealing. Even the sounds and music are decent. It's a silly, childish game that overall makes very little sense, but the puzzle that it is built around is solid and makes everything else worthwhile. Besides, there's no such thing as an unenjoyable Pokemon game!

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