Pokémon Puzzle League doesn't utilize the N64's capabilities very much, but it's fun nonetheless. Besides, video games are about fun, not the technology behind them.
The story is pretty bland, but most video games don't have very gripping storylines. Ash, the hero of the Pokémon anime series, is selected to compete in a special Puzzle League tournament. Lots of trainers are showing up for the event. Some are characters who only appear in the anime, while others, such as Gym Leaders, are from both the video games and the anime. Ash must defeat all of these challengers in puzzle matches to reach the final foe... well, you'll just have to see for yourself who this last character is!
If you've ever played Panel De Pon/Tetris Attack, this game needs no introduction. Your playing field is a rectangular pile of multicolored blocks, and the pile is constantly growing higher and adding new blocks to the area. You control a horizontal cursor which can switch two blocks that are next to each other. You earn points by creating horizontal and/or vertical "combos" of three or more blocks that are the same color. By switching blocks quickly so that falling blocks create new combos, you can make a "chain", which gives you more points and also dumps garbage pieces on opponents. These garbage pieces hinder your opponent's progress, but remember, they can (and will) do the same to you. If your stack of blocks goes way over the top, you lose.
As aforementioned, not much has changed about the gameplay, except for one thing: 3D mode. In this mode, you have a big cylinder of blocks to work with instead of your normal 2D playing field. It keeps you on your toes, but with more blocks also come more chances for combos and chains.
And of course, there's the Puzzle mode, in which you must clear a preset array of blocks in a limited amount of turns. It starts out simple, then gets so difficult that it makes you create combos in very weird ways. There are lots of levels, so it will definitely keep you busy.
All in all, PPL is an excellent and thoroughly addictive puzzle game, and you don't even need to be a Pokémon fan to enjoy it. The one-player mode is a bit short, but the frantic multiplayer experience is right up there with puzzlers such as Tetris, Puyo Puyo, Bust-A-Move, and Dr. Mario. 9/10
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