This is the Nintendo 64 remake of the always excellent and perennially poorly marketed game originally known as Panel De Pon, but known more popularly as Tetris Attack (and, no, it has nothing to do with Tetris).
The difference? Tetris Attack made rather poor use of a completely irrelevant Yoshi franchise in order to spur interest in this very intense, demanding puzzle game. Pokemon Puzzle League makes very good use of the Pokemon franchise in order to do the same thing. The cutscenes are great, the sound effects are classy and well-integrated into the gameplay, and the game graphics not only feature all the iconic Pokemon the kiddies know and love, but sport a head-to-toe Pokemon "feel," recreating the distinctive use of color and shape that has made the TV show immediately recognizeable.
Be warned, though. This game is very difficult. My little sister got it for her birthday, and, upon bringing it to me so we could play it together, found it to be too much for her. This is the ultimate twitch-puzzle; sliding the blocks around looking for matches of three that fall into place, forming "combos" and "chains" that can be over ten moves coming is hard enough, but doing it in real-time can be overwhelming.
You'd expect me to say that the Pokemon franchise doesn't change the fact that the game is out of reach of most players, but it actually does. There's something about the hilariously simplistic voice samples (Pokemon can speak, but they can only repeat their own names) that turns the frenzy of this game away from "maddening" and toward "madcap." And there are all sorts of bells and whistles to make you feel good about yourself; a "combo" causes your "character" to utter some trademark one-liner or other, and a "chain" causes your "Pokemon" to shout in triumph in increasing ecstasy, culminating in a trumpet fanfare for exceptional plays. It all just makes you smile, and that's a good thing, because that is what games are supposed to do.
All in all, I'd say this is a soundly above-average puzzle game, with more to recommend itself in terms of Look & Feel than Dr. Mario 64. So, if you're digging through the Funcoland shelves looking to fill out your N64 collection, give this one a try. Nobody ought to be selling it for a very high price these days.
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