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About the game
Puyo Pop Fever is a puzzle arcade game for the Nintendo DS.
Published in 2004 by Sega the game further builds on the popular arcade game of Puyo Pop.
Based in the imaginatively named "Some other world"! You will adopt the role of a trainee magician girl called Amitie with the goal of defeating your opposition through a combination of magic spells and fever attacks!
The game offers three modes of play Single, Everybody and Endless mode.
In Single Mode you play against the artificial intelligence of a computer opponent, in Everybody Mode you can play wirelessly against another human opponent and the Endless Mode challenges you to survive play for as long as possible.
I'll review the game play of Single mode as the method, skill required and puzzles encountered are the same in all three modes (with the Endless Mode being the only exception as you don't have an opponent).
On starting Single Mode you have the options of playing three multi staged courses.
The first course named the "Run Run Course" is a three stage training course that will introduce you to the fundamentals of how to play the game.
The first thing for those of your unfamiliar with previous versions of the game is to explain that a Puyo is a small round coloured gel looking blob (with googley eyes)!
The game play takes place on the Nintendo's upper screen. Each player has a playfield that is six Puyo wide and several deep which will be similar to those familiar with the game Tetris. Small shapes made up of between 1 to 4 multicoloured Puyo will drop horizontally from above and start to stack on the floor of the playfield.
Using your control pad to move the shapes left or right and using the A and B' Buttons to rotate the shapes clockwise and anticlockwise the object is to interlock the Puyo shapes so that four Puyo of the same colour are touching. A graphic of the next Puyo that will fall onto the playfield is also displayed on the upper screen so you can carefully pre-plan how you will stack the shapes for best effect.
If the middle two columns of the playfield are filled to the top with Puyo then that player has lost and it's game over.
Matching four of the same coloured Puyo has 2 main effects. The first thing that will happen is that the Puyo will pop (hence the game name). This popping is referred to a chain. Once the Puyo have popped any Puyo that are stacked above will drop into the space they have created and potentially cause further chains.
Carefully planned strategic rotation and stacking can lead to a series of several chains popping that can cause great problems for your opposition.
How? Well the second effect of creating a chain is that a translucent Puyo is sent to your opponents screen. This translucent Puyo is referred to as a nuisance Puyo as it inevitably interferes with the Puyo that your opponent has already stacked and disrupting possible chains.
The game play detailed above describes the standard game of Puyo Pop; however this game offers a further twist on game play called the Fever attack. The more chains that you complete will add time a fever attack time bar. By completing chains quicker than your opponent will mean that you are passing more nuisance Puyo to their playfield than they are sending to yours. If you have lots of nuisance Puyo on your playfield it's not all bad news as you can offset you own nuisance Puyo and then enter fever mode.
In Fever mode your playfield is automatically filled with several stacks of Puyo. The Puyo have been stacked in a puzzle arrangement and if you drop the next Puyo into the correct place then you can create a series of chain explosions that will totally clear your playfield and add a severe amount of nuisance Puyo onto your competitor. A series of these puzzles will continue until either your time on the fever bar runs out, your opponent is beaten or you have laid your Puyo badly and knocked yourself out of the game! I found that in this mode that you can almost certainly win the game if you place your falling Puyo wisely although if it is placed wrongly then you have an almost full playfield that can prove difficult to clear.
If you successfully beat an opponent then an end of game screen shows your score plus details the highest amount of simultaneous chains that you have achieved in the game. If your score is high then you are prompted to enter three initials for the high scores list.
And that's the game explained.
I mentioned that there are other courses available in Single Mode and these follow the same game play but with increasingly more challenging computer opponents and rather more difficult puzzles to solve whilst in Fever attack.
Whilst the levels are increasingly more difficult there aren't that many unique levels to play and you may finish these quite quickly. Thankfully the game can be played wirelessly against another human player and this breathes a new lease of life into the game.
The only other Mode that I have not covered is the Endless Mode in which the main objective is to survive a continual wave of Puyo for as long as possible without having an opponent. There are three variations of play in this mode - Fever, Mission and Original. In the Fever game you must survive as long as possible whilst completing puzzle after puzzle of stacked Puyo whereas Mission mode gives you a continual list of challenges such as 'Clear 5 Puyo'. The final mode Original is based on the Original style Puyo Pop game and challenges you to survive as long as possible by keeping the playfield clear of Puyo without the option of a fever attack.
Sound, control and graphics
The musical soundtrack is a jolly and happy computer generated music that is combined with lots of enthusiastic voice samples that work well together and give the game great classic arcade feel. The voice samples used in training are clear and well pronounced and easy to understand and the jubilation of creating multiple Puyo chains is rewarded by a jingling audio feast!
Other than the menu's the game is controlled by using the D-Pad and the A and B buttons and the Nintendo's touch screen and microphone are redundant. The game does work well with these controls alone and the movement, accuracy and response are all impeccable.
The Sonic Team have done an excellent job on the graphics too and they are colourful, vibrant and animate smoothly.
It's is a fun game to play and the learning curve required to play is low so there is a great instantaneous appeal. The addition of fever mode breathes fresh life into a game that has been around for years. Gameplay is good and the computer opponents are challenging but pitched at just the right level and more importantly can be beaten. The ability to play wirelessly against a friend is a great option and opens a new level of challenge and gives the game longevity of play.
Being made by Sega the game has a polished quality to it. The sound, graphics and controls all work fantastically together which results in a game that is fun to play and has great repeat playability.
© M Jones (Otalgia) 2008
Everything that you loved about Puyo POP is here as you puzzle your way through the ultimate combo creator: Fever Mode! This is where you'll throw as many chains together as possible in order to crush your opponents with unbreakable Nuisance Puyos. When the Giant Puyo appears, change its color and watch those triple and quadruple Puyo combos pop. You can go it alone and go for top score in Endless Mode and the brand new Story Mode, or play with up to 8 players with single-card download play! Do you have the fever!?