Game Review

A Little Bit of... Puzzle League Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Adam

A bit of a rehash, but a good rehash nonetheless.

The Puzzle League or “Panel de Pon” series as it is known in Japan is one of the lesser-known Nintendo flagship gaming series. Over the years the game has appeared under various guises coupling well-known characters from both Pokémon and the Super Mario titles. “Planet Puzzle League,” released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS, is arguably the first game in the series to be released in the West without any gimmicks or “support franchises” attached to the game. The game was well received overall by critics who praised the game’s simple yet intuitive gameplay and excellent online capabilities.

This DSiWare release offers a scaled down, cheaper alternative to the original game. In short, the game pretty much does what it says on the tin – it offers much of the same gameplay, but lacks the online multiplayer mode and instead has only Vs. CPU gameplay available.

For those unaware, the object of the game is to slide blocks using the touchscreen into rows of three or more of the same colour in order to clear rows and thus increase your score. Although seemingly simple at higher levels, this can be quite challenging. In order to get a high score combos are needed, which can only be achieved by lining up blocks that will cause other blocks of the same colour to align, thus clearing multiple rows.

Puzzle League has four available modes of gameplay available: Vs. Com, Score Attack, Endless and Clear. Vs.Com is pretty self-explanatory and has the player facing off against an in-game opponent. By making combos the player can send “garbage” to their opponent and hinder their row clearing progress. Vs.Com is available in three difficulties, each with ten stages and optional items can be activated which add another level of depth to the gameplay.

Score attack challenges the player to earn as high a score as possible in 2 minutes using combos and chains to up their score. Once again there are three levels of difficulty to choose from. Endless is as it suggests, endless. The game continues on until the player is wiped out. Finally, Clear features a more traditional puzzle layout and challenges the player to move through progressively more difficult levels.

Like the original release, the game can be played vertically and horizontally, though horizontal play is most definitely the best suited to the game. Overall there is a fair amount of content for a scaled down version of a game released two years ago. However, much of the praise given to the original game focused on the online capabilities of the title, so it is arguable that much of what set the game aside from others in the same genre has since been lost. On the other hand, the game is a quarter of the price of the original and indeed is perhaps best suited to quick bursts of play rather than lengthy sessions. For those that have played the original it is worth mentioning that the DSiWare iteration of the game also lacks the Daily Play mode present in the original game (Daily Play offers a time attack challenges available once a day and the player’s progress is recorded in a graph).


Overall this stripped down DSiWare version of Puzzle League is a pretty solid puzzler with clear and concise gameplay. There is a fair amount to keep avid puzzlers busy and for the price tag the game really is a bargain. It’s a pity that the game lacks the multiplayer action of the original, but then for only 500 Nintendo points, the game is still a steal. For owners of the original game, there is absolutely nothing new here and it really wouldn’t be worth a purchase unless you just absolutely don’t want to carry the cartridge around to play. For those without the original game and in need of a good puzzler this is a pretty safe purchase.

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User Comments (35)



MetalMario said:

I would have gotten Planet Puzzle League, but I can't stand those awful touch controls.



Cryptonic said:

this is only in EU now right? because i never heard of it. anyways, i dont really like puzzle games



Olimar_91 said:

Since I never bought the retail game (shame on me) I'll probably download this one. :^)



Jazzem said:

@MetalMario You can play it with the dpad+buttons. Personally though I think the touch screen does wonders to the game, it allows for much more combo-potential!

This seems like an alright version, shame it's missing the multiplayer and puzzle modes. If you could get it cheap enough, the cart version is probably the better option. All the same, quick on-board Puzzle League isn't too shabby an idea



warioswoods said:


If it's like the original DS game, you should be able to switch between buttons and touchscreen, I believe, but I'm not sure on this one. Also, I've played plenty of these games before (Tetris Attack, Pokemon PL, etc), and I find that I'm far faster with the touchscreen controls, so much so that it's hard to go back to buttons now that I'm accustomed to it. Each to his own, I suppose.



Outrunner said:

I second that warioswoods. The touch controls are great for this game. I've downloaded this though and the option is there to use the buttons and have the display horizontal.



Hardy83 said:

sigh can we just get real games on the DSi? I'm getting tired of puzzle games.

Come on Nintendo, just open up the shop to have retail games for download.



Grumble said:

I actually heard all the great reviews about Planet Puzzle League on here and went out and bought a used copy (still quite pricey) and i must tell you, i absolutely hate it, and i love puzzle games! So DO NOT GET THIS. You will be disappointed... I was and I love puzzles. At least try it out first.



Pegasus said:

Just because you didn't like it doesn't mean others will feel the same way. Not every game is for every gamer, regardless of genre.



Big_A2 said:

Since my copy of Pokemon Puzzle Challenge is serving me fine, (and I don't have a DSi) I really don't need to download this.



Grumble said:

Oh no, Pegasus... I always say the same thing. I'm just saying... buyer beware. Try it out first if you can in a Gamestop or something because it was not what I expected after reading various glowing reviews about this game. I actually dislike it very much, and I was surprised by that since I love everything from Polarium to Pac-Pix!



Slapshot said:

Sounds a lot like Meteos and I really like that one. Might have to get this one.



blackknight77 said:

Everyone should check this out if you don't have the full version. Excellent puzzle game and should not be missed



thewiirocks said:

@ballistikboy - If you want to find the fun in Puzzle League, you need to find someone to play against. Preferably, someone who already knows how to play.

I learned about Tetris Attack (the original American name) when a friend brought it over to my house and challenged me to a few games. When the action got heavy, you'd get chains, garbage blocks, RAWRs, and just absolute CRAZINESS going on! I'll tell you what, that game was one of the most incredible adrenaline rushes I've ever had!

If you want to get to that experience, you need someone to play against. The computer is a softy that can be beat with little more than speed and persistence. No fun there. Kick the butt of someone sitting next to you, however, (especially if they're smack talking the whole time) and you'll feel immense satisfaction with your purchase.



nagareboshi said:

If you like Henry Hatsworth puzzle-game then you'll like this as well. Isn't it exactly the same kind of puzzle? Reminds me of Zoo Keeper as well. Anyways, I love this game. I prefer D-Pad controls



Doogle said:

Very good review Adam, I don't have the original DS cart so I might pick this up to play on my travels. It's nice sometimes to not have to carry a load of carts around with me.




An absolute essential in retail or DSiware form. If you haven't got the retail you could possibly consider the dsiware an 8 or a 9 imho. The retail is a 9 imho. What's this about "awful touch controls"? What? The controls are fine. Good in fact. I would consider a bit of a let down if it was only controllable by d-pad considering the ds and its brilliant stylus control gameplay!

Get this in one form or another...now!



JoeDiddley said:

I bought a dsi for my birthday yesterday & downloaded this today. A great little game. I wouldn't want to pay for the full version anyway. I would lose online & would perhaps choose to carry around other carts over this. Like Pictobits and Dr Mario a great dsi puzzler.
Will there be a little bit of Tetris??



legochesser said:

Hehe, I knew this one should be good, but it does not only lacky the multiplayer modusses, it lacks even the singleplayer puzzle modus (!)
But...There is something extra, in VS. COM stands an little star next to the stage and when you'll clear it, you'll see an orange star! That's the only new thing (Ok, there is an mini manual in it...) but it is still an good game!

@Joe Diddley: I hope that there will be an little bit of.... Tetris DS comes to the DSiWare, (But the puzzle modus must then be included!



retro_player_22 said:

Planet Puzzle League is good and all but I want a port/remake of Tetris Attack (complete with all the Nintendo characters) with regular button control and optional stylus gameplay, and WiFi online and local multiplay.



StarDust4Ever said:

So, basically, this version is like the fabled tetris attack SNES game japan got, without Yoshi and the tetris brand attached to it, or Poke-E-Mon Puzzle Leeague without Peek-At-You, LOL

In that case, I'll take it. Seems the DS has already become the de-facto system for playing puzzle games, and DSiware is no exception It had better be less than 36 blocks though, because that's all I have left on my DSi system since I rescently downloading Pop+, that racing sim, and the entire Art-Style library all last week. It's De-ja-vou all over again, like with the pre- system v4.0 Wii



Kyloctopus said:

Puzzle league should be an awesome games if you like puzzles. The graffix should bring in a few nonpuzzlers but If you bought pokemon puzzle league and loved it, you should get this. Should be an 8/10



sonic_brawler95 said:

I agree with the 8/10, I loaded this up on my old DSi, and I remembered how addicting it was. I one the DSiWare's ignored gems.

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