Pokémon Puzzle: A Retro Review

In July 2022, the second wave of games for Nintendo 64 Online kicked off with “Pokémon Puzzle League.” First seeing release in the year 2000, this spinoff has made a worthwhile addition to the many N64 titles to revisit via the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.

Developers Intelligent Systems, best known for their work on the “Paper Mario” and “Fire Emblem” series, have crafted a puzzle spinoff that ended up being a fan-favorite title for over twenty years.

The gameplay is based on the Super Nintendo classic “Tetris Attack,” which, in turn, was based on the Japanese Super Famicom title “Panel de Pon.” The cast of the hit anime TV series is also featured prominently in the visuals, with the English voice actors of the time even reprising their roles. There are even a handful of fully-animated cutscenes that have held up remarkably well since the game’s original release on the Nintendo 64.

The game features a variety of modes, with the main draw being the “Puzzle League Challenge” against a wide range of AI opponents to face the “puzzle master.” It’s a gameplay loop that’s easy to get into, but difficult to truly master (especially as the true “puzzle master” can only be fought on higher difficulty settings).

With Nintendo confirming more titles coming to the N64 Online service in the near future, “Pokémon Puzzle League” is a great start to the second wave of titles as it slides onto Nintendo Switch Online.

Publisher: Nintendo/Game Freak/Creatures, Inc.

Developer: Intelligent Systems

Platform: Nintendo 64 Online for Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack (Originally released on Nintendo 64)

ESRB Rating: E

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