Review by cannedpasta
Planet Puzzle League is Out of this World
Tetris Attack on the SNES. Pokemon Puzzle League on the N64 (and Challenge on the GBC). Puzzle League on the GBA. These are some of the best puzzle games ever made.
Now, Planet Puzzle League, the newest game in the series, has come to the Nintendo DS and it is better than ever. In fact, it may just be the best puzzle game to come out on the system. Mind you, I don't say that lightly. Tetris DS was great, and the two Meteos games were also wonderful. However, this game is even better.
If you are new to the series, you can think of this as the spiritual predecessor to Meteos. That's the best way I can think to explain it. Blocks rise from the bottom of the screen, and you have to line them up in groups of at least three to clear them out before they reach the top.
This time around, along with the usual Endless, Puzzle, and Vs. modes, there are a few additions. The most notable of the two are the Daily Play mode and, of course, the Wi-Fi play. Daily Play is a set of three challenges for you to play once a day, and it keeps track of your progress. The Wi-Fi mode is, what else, playing against people over the Nintendo WFC. Voice chat is included for those of you who exchange your FC with other people. One of the stranger additions to the Wi-Fi mode is the Birthday Battle, where you play against other people who share the same birthday as you. As new as this game is, I was already able to play with someone who shares my b-day, and I was very surprised at that. There is absolutely no story mode to this game, so if you're looking for one, this is not the place to look. Try Trion Cube or either of the Meteos games.
The audio and visual presentation in this game is extremely well done and are some of the best on the DS. There are ten unique dynamic backgrounds in the game, each one with it's own BGM. My only gripe is that some of the backgrounds are a little too distracting because of the way they move. The game by default is played by holding the DS vertically ("book" style), and the backgrounds are made with this in mind. If you decide to play the game with the D-Pad and buttons instead of the stylus, and change the game to horizontal style, you can tell, and some of the backgrounds seem a little out of place. One thing I've also noticed about changing the game to horizontal is that it doesn't affect the title screen, and that will still be displayed vertically.
Speaking on the controls, while playing it the classic way with the D-Pad is adequate, playing with the stylus is a ton faster and just as precise. I started playing the regular way with the D-Pad, then decided to try using the stylus. Now I will never be able to go back to the D-Pad. It just seems too slow for me.
As I previously stated, this may possibly be the best puzzle game yet released on the DS. If you like puzzlers, this one is a must have. Even if you don't normally like puzzlers, you should still try this one out. If you know someone with the game, they can send you a demo of it. Be warned though, once you play it a bit, you are going to be hooked, and you're going to want to run right out and buy it.
Replay Value: 9/10
Pros: Easy to learn, hard to master gameplay. Great controls. Wi-Fi multiplayer w/ voice chat.
Cons: Free Play on Wi-Fi has no ranking system, too easy to get matched against an expert player.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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