So if you have somehow missed out on a lot of the offshoot Pokemon games, most people might tell you to go and play them, like Pokemon Snap or the Mystery Dungeon series. However, on the Game Boy we witnessed an addition to the Pokemon offshoot family and that is Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. You can grab it on your 3DS or if you have a Game Boy, sure I guess. But you really do not need that stress in your life.
First off, lets get the basics of the game out the way. Pokemon Puzzle Challenge is a Tetris variation, meaning you deal with a small segmented screen and falling parts that you have to line up and get rid of as fast as possible. The variation part is that the pieces come up from the bottom one line at a time instead of falling down unless you are fighting other Pokemon.
FIGHTING YOU SAY?
Yes, there will be times where you are in battle with other Pokemon and throw random certain sized blocks on top of your cubes and you have to get rid of them as well for they make your time to fill your screen even shorter. You control a small horizontal two cubed outline that you move over the cubes to show what you will swap, two cubes at a time. This is constricting because you can only move one cube and swap it with its left or right cube. While it may sound not too flexible, it does at least help with some forms of strategy to where you can combo more cubes instead of the 3 cube minimum you normally have to meet. For the cubes to be a combo there has to be 3 or more or the cubes won’t disappear from your screen. Matching more than three actually will do an attack to your opponent if you are in combat, but we will get to that.
Now for some puzzling Puzzle Challenges. From the start up, you get a menu that lets you choose 1 Player, 2 Player, Training, Controls, Record, or Options, but since I couldn’t play 2 Players with my 2DS, I just stayed in 1 Player, because Training is for bitches. After selecting 1 Player, you get 6 modes to choose from and we will address them one by one. The first is a Marathon mode, a play till you die type game where you just knock out lines and cubes as the speed progressively gets faster. You get to choose your difficulty and speed to start off the game before you get to select your Pokemon to play with as your avatar. You start off fine, but after about 30 speed, you could start sweating.
Challenge mode is for the cool kids. You actually get to go through the gym leaders from the Johto region in a back to back battle mode where you fight one Pokemon from each leader until either beat the mode or lose all your Pokemon, which act as lives. If you play on easy mode, you only go through the Gym Leaders. But if you step up to normal you can actually unlock new Pokemon under certain conditions like ‘do so many combos’ or ‘beat a certain speed’, where you fight a different trainer, like unlocking the Gentleman who will give you Pikachu if you beat him. Apart from new Pokemon, you actually get to fight the Elite Four after you beat the Gym Leaders, so its a 12 fight run instead of 8.
Time zone did not keep my attention too long, it’s just completing lines and getting high scores in so much time, so I passed after a few rounds.
Line Clear was a fun mode where you do challenge modes with the Gym Leaders. Each Gym Leader has 5 stages that you clear to unlock the next one, but the only way to clear it is to clear lines until you hit the white line Clear line, which after you get all the cubes above it gone, the stage is clear. Hope you got all that.
Puzzle is probably the most challenging mode. Professor Oak has Rounds with 10 Stages each, and after you beat 8 of the 10, the next round is unlocked, but after you do all 10, you unlock a picture of one of the baby Pokemon like Elekid and Magby. It’s not too glorifying but it is super challenging because you have a certain number of moves to clear the board, and fighting move restrictions are a lot harder than fighting a timer.
Garbage mode is a mode where you choose a Pokemon and go against it instead of having it be your avatar. It throws blocks on top of your board just like fighting a Gym Leader. I think it’s more of just another fodder mode like the Time Zone one but if you like challenging yourself, go nuts.
This was not a fun offshoot. I realized that I am not a puzzle guy, and Pokemon Puzzle Challenge showed me how frustrated I can get with this type of stuff. I just don’t find as much reward completing things for high scores or beating my times, I would rather just go through a story mode instead of a Time Zone. The Pokemon you unlock don’t provide a different play style, and they don’t get to evolve them or anything, so where is the progress you make? If you like Candy Crush time waster games and are a fan of Pokemon, boy do I have a game for you, but if you like stories, actual progress, and something worth working for, I would say take a pass on this one.