Fifty bucks if anyone even knows what game I’m talking about. It’s one of those obscure Gamecube games that looks childish and lame but is in fact really, really good. The game’s small, simple, and lovely. It doesn’t try to bloat itself up to look cooler or more interesting than it is. It’s an honest game, and it’s freakin’ great.
The premise of Puyo Pop Fever is to connect at least four of the same colored Puyo blobs together as they drop down. Kinda like tetris, but instead of needing to fill a row, you just need to match blobs. You try to keep your screen devoid of Puyos while using combos to fill your opponent’s screen with blank Puyos. These nasty colorless bubbles only go away if you clear Puyos that are touching them directly, and if you have one blank Puyo on your screen, you’re bound to have more.
The ultimate goal of the game is to fill your opponent’s side with so many Puyos that they don’t have enough space to drop any new ones in. If you make that happen, you’re the winner! Hey, alright. You don’t unlock anything. Just pride.
Before I describe the characters, I need to talk about the kinds of Puyos that drop. Difficulty scales from 1-5, and that directly relates to the colors of the Puyos that drop. 1-2 consists of red, green, and blue Puyos. Pretty easy. 3-4 gets yellow Puyos added to that, and a slightly increased drop speed. Difficulty 5 has red, green, blue, yellow, purple, and the increased drop rate. It gets pretty difficult to micromanage combos at that level.
Now, the types of Puyo drops that appear: A two-Puyo pair, either multi-colored or all one color; a triple Puyo L, either a double-color plus a single or all one color; and a four-Puyo cube, either two single-color pairs or one huge single-color block. If you get the giant blob, you change its color instead of rotating it. Sweet.
The second to final aspect of Puyo Pop Fever gameplay is Fever. There are several dots alongside your Puyo zone that light up when you clear colored Puyos with blank Puyos in your queue. When you hit the top, you go into a flashy mode where pre-set keystone combos are presented to you. You only need one color to complete the entire thing, and doing so will cause the following combo to be bigger. If you don’t drop the keystone Puyo right, you lose the combo and it gives you a crappier combo that’s easier to solve. So why Fever? Your combos have multiplied attack power, meaning you drop loads and loads of blank Puyos on your enemies when you pull a nasty chain off.
Characters are pretty important as well, considering each character has a specific playstyle defined by the kinds of Puyo drops they get. Some get a lot of simple drops for easy combos. Some get a whole lot of uneven, chunky drops that build up to fever faster. All the characters are different, so try each one out to find what you like.
There is a little tiny story mode in which the player takes control of the protagonist, Amitie, and Puyo Pops against a bunch of random people. There are several different difficulties that take you farther the higher you go, and if you kick enough ass, you can unlock maybe two hidden characters. They’re not overpowered, they’re just in-game milestones.
So yeah, Puyo Pop Fever. Great for killing time with/without friends, waiting for a hot date, trying to keep your micro-managing skills sharp, whatever. It’s cute and fun, even though some of the voice acting will make you vomit rainbows. Oh, and no dirty jokes about popping Puyos. It’s a kid’s game for cripes sakes.