Puyo Pop Fever (DS) review
"I first experienced Puyo Pop on the GBA years ago. I donít know what made it so captivating, but lining up multicolored balls of goop was incredibly addictive. The campy storyline and goofy characters only managed to pull me into the game more. I embraced these nostalgic feelings as I loaded up Puyo Pop Fever. My thoughts were filled with happiness, glee, and even expectation (feelings I rarely get from video games these days). These feelings were crushed instantly by the music tha..."
I first experienced Puyo Pop on the GBA years ago. I donít know what made it so captivating, but lining up multicolored balls of goop was incredibly addictive. The campy storyline and goofy characters only managed to pull me into the game more. I embraced these nostalgic feelings as I loaded up Puyo Pop Fever. My thoughts were filled with happiness, glee, and even expectation (feelings I rarely get from video games these days). These feelings were crushed instantly by the music that pulsed out of my DSí tiny little speakers as the cartridge loaded up. I have never been so negatively affected by a soundtrack, which consists solely of a series of high-pitched whines accompanied by the sounds of bells and a few lower-pitched whines. The title-track is finally capped off by something thatís absolutely worse: the first in a series of awful voice-overs screaming out ďPUYO POP FEEEEEEEEEVER!Ē
These awful sound effects don't help the boring storyline at all. I expected a campy plotline in this edition too, but any charm is lost in Puyo Pop Fever because the developers decided to use the awful voice actors to narrate the tale. While Iíve probably heard worse actors in games before and Iím just blocking those painful memories out, the actors in this game stand out in my mind as some of the worst Iíve had to endure. Itís painfully obvious that theyíre simply reading straight off the script and not trying to be interesting. They all talk VERY slowly too, so even short conversations between characters seem unnecessarily drawn out and even a little retarded.
I turned the sound off rather quickly and skipped most of the story sequences. It's sad that I skipped so much of it, because the storyline is presented through colorful cutscenes with strange looking characters that are fun to at least look at. In case youíre wondering, there are little text boxes on the screen that have the storyline written out, but even still, I couldnít get all that interested in the quest to recover some sort of item for the main characters teacher when it's so painfully acted out.
Even if they did fuck the storyline and soundtrack up pretty badly, the fundamental gameplay that made me so addicted to my earlier Puyo Pop experiences is still intact. You still move your Puyo blobs as the fall from the top of the screen and line them up with the same color Puyo so theyíll disappear from your screen. Puyo globules come paired with opposite colors most of the time, so spinning and rotating them is essential. Getting rid of the Puyo on your side drops little blocks down on your opponents screen that make it harder for them, and if you can manage to score combos and drop several bits of Puyo, your opponent will suffer even more. Bottom line: whoever manages their Puyo better, wins.
Itís as simple as that. Itís a lot like Tetris in its simplicity, setup, and addictiveness. Thereís nothing too complex here and it really does little to innovate the puzzle genre, but even still, itís a lot of fun in a ďpick-up-and-playĒ sort of way. Puyo Pop Fever makes very little use of the DS touchpad. You can use your wand to spin the Puyo around on screen and the like, but itís unresponsive and itís a lot easier just to hit the face buttons. Even as I followed the instructions in the manual as best as I could, rotating the Puyo was too difficult. Iím sure itís pretty hard to come up with an implementation of a touchpad in a puzzle game, but I think they should have found some ways to make it a little more user friendly and, well, required.
As far as it goes, Puyo Pop Feverís gameplay is still addictive and rewardingly challenging, but it just wasnít the same for me this time around. Maybe Iíve just grown out of the franchise in the years that itís been dormant in the US. Or maybe Iím letting nostalgia cloud my judgment. Or maybe it just never was that good to begin with. I donít really know. While the core gameplay is fundamentally the same, Puyo Pop Fever just didnít grab me like Puyo Pop on the GBA did. This is a reasonably entertaining game that will keep your attention for a little while, but overall the franchise seems to have lost a little magic.
Community review by asherdeus (February 01, 2006)
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