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August 18 2019

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  NGP - Puyo Pop · ©SNK/Sega 1999

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Game Stats
1 or 2 players
(with link cable)

Puzzle Game

8 Megs

Japanese Name:

Puyo Pop



Reviewed By:
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After buying a variety of different games for my Neo Geo Pocket color, it suddenly dawned on me that I did not have a Puzzle game! Luckily the NGPC isn't short on Puzzlers, with games like Puzzle Bobble/Bust a Move, Magical Drop, Puzzle Link and a few others. I was on the verge of buying Magical Drop (one of my fave Neo Geo arcade games), but I decided to be different and buy Puyo Pop instead (without actually reading any reviews on it!). All of the other games I mentioned are pretty good, but I thought I'd try this one out.

This is another NGPC title made by Sega... in case you don't know, there have actually been many different versions of it on other machines, such as the Gameboy, Saturn, N64, Playstation and more - I'd never heard much about it myself, but apparently Puyo Puyo has been very popular in Japan! The first thing I noticed when I played it was that it is similar to their old Game Gear/arcade (and also others!) title "Columns", a cool game in its own right.

A basic Puyo Pop game is played against either a CPU player or a 2nd player via the link cable. The basic aim of the game is to align the "Puyo's" which fall from the ceiling so that there are 4 or more of the same colour in a row. When that happens they pop and by doing this, you send a few "Ojama's" over to your opponent's side of the screen. Ojama's can only be removed by popping some Puyos next to them. Obviously the more Ojama's that you send over, the harder you make it for them. As in all puzzle games like this, if your pile of Puyo's reaches the top of the screen, then its game over! If possible, you need to set up as many chains (where you pop one set of puyos, causing more to fall down and pop too) as you can, which will send even more Ojama's across.

There are a few other tactics that can be used as well. First off, if you check the top of your screen, you will see an indication of how many Ojama's are about to fall down on your side. If you can pop a few Puyo's before they drop however, you can counter them and maybe even send them back to your opponent! As well as that, if you manage to clear everything on your side of the screen, more Ojama's will be dropped onto your opponents screen from then on.

There is another playing mode called "Self Dev." which lets you test your playing skills out in an Exam where you have to pop all Ojama's on screen as quickly as possible, and also a practice mode where you play on your own and try for the highest score you can. While in this mode there are a couple of special helpers that appear now and then to help you out by clearing loads of stuff off the screen for you... although you can turn these off if you want.

So, it all sounds good so far... but there are one or two minor flaws. The main problem I have is that I found it VERY hard, even if you are only playing the game on the normal difficulty setting. I got through easy mode very quickly, but it took me AGES to finish just one game on normal... I dread to think what it is like on hard! I'm the first to admit I'm not the best at puzzlers, but I still thought that it was very tough. Luckily you can save your game after each stage and infinite continues are available, so it's not all bad.

The other minor niggle is that the blue and green coloured Puyo's are easy to confuse with each other if you are not playing your NGPC in perfect light (Puzzle Bobble has a similar problem sometimes). It would have been nice if they had made them stand out a little better so that you could see them easier. Thankfully there is an option available that changes the shape of the Puyos to other things (see the screenshots above for an example)... there are LOTS of different shapes and colours to choose from, so you should be able to find one that suits you best. Otherwise it is very smooth and other than the slight blue/green problem it is extremely clear. Its a shame that there aren't any backgrounds, instead its just plain white. Detailed backdrops would probably make it less clear so that's no big deal.

The sound quality isn't bad, although it not exactly awesome. There's quite a lot of speech, but turning the speech on means that you don't get any music. To be honest I would recommend turning it off and listening to the squeaky little voices; it makes it sound a little bland, but its far preferable to the rather annoying in game tunes, which got on my nerves very quickly.

In Conclusion, I'd recommend Puyo Pop to anyone who appreciates a good puzzle game. This type of thing is perfect for a handheld machine and is great entertainment if you need to while away a few hours while travelling or whatever else. It's probably not quite as good as Magical Drop, but all the same it is still a good buy for any puzzle game addict.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Overall 8/10

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