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Puyo Pop
Platform:  Neo Geo
# of Players:  1-2 (Linkable)
Developer:  Sega
Publisher:  SNK
Features:  Link Cable
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://www.snkusa.com
Puyo Pop is an addictive puzzle game that's been seen on many platforms and in many formats. I first encountered the Puyo series on the Mac a few years ago. It basically plays exactly like Tetris in terms of strategy, but it definitely has a persoanlity all it's own. The level of difficulty of this game is very high. Even set on Easy mode you can't breeze through the game. There are 3 modes of play, 1P vs. Com, 1 Player, and 2 Player link mode.

Gameplay consists of two "Puyos" (cute little multi colored drop shapes with eyes) falling from the top of the screen, ala' Tetris. You must line up four of the same color to make them disappear, and the Puyos above drop down allowing for "chain combos". As you play, the pace of the game keeps getting faster and faster. Making it increasingly hard to keep the Puyos from crossing the top line and ending your game. To add to matters, if you take too long (or in 1P vs. Com mode, if your opponant chains a big combo together)black dots drop blocking off your Puyos, and the only way to get rid of them is by chaining some combos together. PRONTO! This game is fast and furious, definitely not for the faint of heart. So it safe to say that if you're looking for a challenging puzzle game, you've found it.

1P vs Com you must defeat all the opponents on the first level of a tower to go on to the next level (and there are quite a few more). This is definitely NOT easy. On the first level you must defeat 8 characters. The characters in the top row are easy while the bottom row of characters are insanely hard. Not too hard mind you, but you won't sail through the first level in a couple of tries.

In the regular 1P mode you just play by yourself getting bonuses for time, etc. This is by no means an easier option. You do have lil' helpers along the way though. One helper is a cute Sanrio style bunny who erratically crosses the screen turning all the puyos it comes into contact with into the same color. The other looks like a manhole Cover with Amime' eyes, it just drops and smashes everything in it's path.

This game is insanely addictive, and challenging. If you're tired of Tetris, beaten Puzzle Bobble with your eyes closed, and are looking for a new challenge, Puyo Pop is it!


John Cooper

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