Puyo Puyo Fever, localized as Puyo Pop Fever, is a 2003 entry in the Puyo Puyo series of competitive Falling Blocks games; it is the first major arcade/console Puyo Puyo game developed under Sega, the final Puyo Puyo game released for arcades outside of spin-offs, and, with its Sega Dreamcast port, the final first-party game released on a Sega console. Initially released for the Sega NAOMI arcade hardware, Fever represents both a gameplay Retool and an aesthetic Soft Reboot not too different from what Sonic Adventure had done for Sonic.
On the gameplay front, the game no longer strictly drops pairs of Puyos, instead giving players sets of two, three, or four Puyos at a time to drop based on a character-specific sequence known as a "dropset". Instead of the player receiving one chance to offset garbage waiting for them, garbage will not fall until the player fails to clear any Puyo by dropping a pair. Finally, there's the titular Fever mode, activated through offsetting Garbage Puyos enough times, that challenges the player to quickly clear preset formations of Puyo in hopes of neutralizing the garbage waiting for them and potentially turning the tables on the opponent. All of these changes combine to make a game with a much greater emphasis on Victory by Endurance than most of its predecessors.
Fever also introduces an almost entirely new set of characters. Ms. Accord, teacher at Primp Town's magic school, has lost her flying cane; she tasks her class with finding the cane and promises a reward if they do so. Bright-eyed magician Amitie, as well as her haughty rival Raffina (referred to as Raffine in English subtitles), battle their classmates and other strange creatures while searching for the cane.
It was the first main Puyo game since the original arcade game's obscure European arcade release to see the light of day outside of Japan, which up until that point, relied heavily on significantly overlooked handheld ports of the original and Tsu, Minna de Puyo Puyo, or simply Puyo Pop which was a mix-and-match of the first three arcade titles (leaning more towards Puyo Puyo Tsu), and the usual Dolled-Up Installments. Following Fever's final European release, there was a gap in internationally-released Puyo Puyo games that lasted more than a decade; outside of direct, often untranslated ports of older games, the next major game to be localized and released outside of Asia was Puyo Puyo Tetris.
Tropes present in Puyo Puyo Fever:
- Advertising by Association: The American cover art for the GameCube port displays a symbol in the corner saying it's from the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Another Side, Another Story: Amitie is the main character of the RunRun and WakuWaku course, and Raffina is the player character for the HaraHara course, akin to Puyo Puyo Sun having different player characters for each difficulty level.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The spaces on the field that will end the game if covered are marked with X's in order to lessen the chances of the player accidentally eliminating themselves.
- Art-Shifted Sequel: The game notably marks a massive shift in the franchise's art style, ditching the anime aesthetic of previous games in favor of a more simplified, exaggerated and cartoony style, courtesy of modern Sonic the Hedgehog artist Yuji Uekawa. Fever's art style would become the norm going forward, only seeing refinements over time.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation:
- Unlike Puzlow Kids and the Neo Geo Pocket Color Puyo Pop, Fever's translation is not grammatically busted; instead, it is rife with highly-questionable name romanizations, some of which would persist all the way until Puyo Puyo Tetris more than ten years later. By far the most notable example is Lidelle, with the game using three different names for her.
- ...except for the Puyo Puyo Fever DX version, which has a translation that borders on absolute nonsense.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: At the end of the HaraHara course, Ms. Accord says "Oh, la-ti-da yourself, Raffina!", using said student's "la-ti-da" catchphrase, after bonking her on the head to make her forget about Popoi and the fact that the flying cane that everyone was after was never actually lost.
- Character in the Logo: Calling the Puyos "characters" might be a bit of a stretch, but at any rate, a Puyo appears on the logo.
- Chicken Joke: Raffina references the joke when she dodges Hohow Bird's attack and responds with "Hey! Which way are you looking? I'll bet you don't even know why you crossed the road!"
- Comeback Mechanic: Fever mode, a Limit Break that can only be activated by offsetting garbage waiting to fall into the player's field. During Fever Mode, sets of already-built chains drop into the playing field, just waiting for you to pop them and unleash a huge attack on your opponent.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: By mechanic, chaining in Fever mode is slightly weaker but much faster than in normal mode.
- Demoted to Extra: Arle and Carbuncle, protagonists of the Compile Puyo Puyo games, are here. However, Arle is a normal opponent without story relevance while Carbuncle is a Superboss.
- Ditching the Dub Names: The localization of the original arcade game changed Arle's name to Silvana, this game would change it back to Arle. (There's still some work to be done, though, as it's erroneously pronounced as "Ar-lee".)
- Drop the Washtub: The Frankensteins’ damage animation features a washtub being dropped on the dad’s head.
- Early-Installment Weirdness:
- Among Sega's Puyo Puyo games, Fever is very clearly an arcade port and has far less content than almost all of its console-based successors.
- Yu is a solo character, not being accompanied by her brother Rei.
- While many areas of Amitie's hometown are featured in this game, it would take until the sequel for its iconic name, "Primp Town" to be mentioned. Even "Primp Magic School" is only called "The Magic School" in this entry.
- Easter Egg:
- For, of all things, the Sega Dreamcast, where a special save game icon option on Puyo Puyo Fever also unlocked a secret alternate mode for the Dreamcast's menu screen. As far as is known, no other game has this special key file.
- Said Dreamcast port also has an option for all of the text and dialogue to be output in English like the other ports despite the Dreamcast version being Japanese-exclusive, making the game very import-friendly.
- Excuse Plot: Especially compared to the games that followed it. To summarize, the Primp Magic School students are out on a search for Ms. Accord's lost flying cane, the one who returns it to her gets an award. Depending on your difficulty choice, either Amitie or Raffina gets the cane. Except the HaraHara course reveals that the cane wasn't even lost in the first place.
- Got Me Doing It: In the story mode, Amitie discovers her friend Lidelle is also looking for Ms. Accord's flying cane. Lidelle has a stutter that catches onto Amitie by the time she asks her to go easy on her in their Puyo match.Amitie: Y-you too. (Now she's got me stuttering.)
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Goes as follows, being onomatopoeia for excitement.
- RunRun: "euphoric", for the shortened Easy difficulty.
- WakuWaku: "exciting", for the Normal difficulty.
- HaraHara: "thrilling", for the Hard difficulty.
- Lighter and Softer: Puyo Puyo was never particularly dark, but this game is even more lighthearted and cute than its predecessors.
- Luck-Based Mission:
- Donguri Gaeru uses "Nohoho AI", staking everything to the right side in hopes of creating a lucky chain.
- If you have bad luck with Fever mode, you'll end up getting the wrong type of Puyo. Crafty players can build onto the chain, otherwise the Fever is pretty much wasted.
- Mocking Sing-Song: In the English version, the Frankenstein kid explains that his dad is telling Amitie "End! We won't let you pass!", saying that second part of the sentence in the mocking sing-song.
- Mythology Gag: The "stuttering" audio effect used on the characters' voices at the end of large Fever chains references the damage-doubling Diacute spell from Madou Monogatari, which had a similar side effect.
- Precision F-Strike: Dropped by Raffina in the English version after bumping into Klug."Damn, if it isn't Mr. Goody Two Shoes"
- Quirky Town: Primp Town's residents include a ditzy student mage, a fishy prince, a Camp Gay fashionista skeleton, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. It has its fill of odd residents that still manage to keep the peace in town.
- Soft Reboot: The game is largely in the same continuity as the previous games. However, it shares an entirely new cast of characters and is set in a different universe than the one shown in past games, with Arle and Carbucle being the only returning characters to appear (and even then, both are Demoted to Extra).
- Shout-Out: One of Yu's spells in the English version is "Who you gonna call?"
- Theme Music Power-Up: Entering Fever mode changes the music to a more up-beat song.
- Think Nothing of It: ...and Amitie realizes that she just lost out on a reward for finding the magic cane.
- Two-Teacher School: Accord seems to be the only teacher at Primp's Magic School.