Panel de Pon
(Or Tetris Attack
, or Puzzle League,
or Puzzle Challenge,
or one of any innumerable names for the same series) is a Match Three Game
developed by Intelligent Systems
and published by Nintendo
. While not the Trope Maker
for the Match Three Game
, it certainly helped popularize the genre.
Gameplay is simple. You have a screen full of differently colored blocks (also marked by different shapes). You can swap the blocks freely horizontally, but you cannot swap them vertically. Get three or more of the same block in a row, and they vanish. Get more than 3 in a row, clear multiple sets of 3 at once, or create a chain—the blocks that fall in to replace the ones that you just cleared form more sets of 3 or more—and you get more points. However, the stack of blocks is constantly growing, and if it reaches the top of the screen, you lose. While a simple formula, it lends itself well to many variants: Play until you lose, score as many points as possible in a limited time, clear all the blocks on screen with limited moves, face off against a CPU to see who loses first (with unclearable "garbage" to speed up the process)...
The original Panel de Pon
came out for the SNES in 1996, along with a Game Boy version. The plot (such as it was
) starred a fairy named Lip trying to rescue her friends. Since no self-respecting gamer would buy a game featuring 'girly girls' in those days, Nintendo decided to do the infamous palette and name swap, the same way they did to Super Mario Bros. 2
. The US version was dolled up
as Tetris Attack,
with identical gameplay but with a very
, a few extra options and character profiles, and nothing to do with Tetris at allnote
. It later saw two Pokémon
-themed reskinnings: Pokémon Puzzle League,
for the N64, introduced a "3D" mode with a cylinder of blocks instead of a stack, and Pokémon Puzzle Challenge,
which was almost a proto-Puzzle Quest.
It had "battles" between Pokémon played out in puzzle matches, and some adventuring on the side. The name "Puzzle League" stuck: A Game Boy Advance compilation release (along with Dr. Mario
) simply entitled it "Puzzle League," as did the DS version.
Aside from a Super Smash Bros.
cameo, Lip has been nowhere to be seen in puzzle land for quite some time. She did, however, show up as a character in Captain Rainbow.
This series provides examples of: