Cube puzzled by Nintendo
Japanese gaming oracle Famitsu has revealed that Nintendo will release three classic (genuinely classic) puzzle games in a Nintendo Puzzle Collection for GameCube this January. The games will be Panel de Pon (known as Tetris Attack or more recently Pokémon Puzzle League outside Japan), Dr. Mario and Yoshi's Cookie.
Rumours abound suggest that each will feature four-player support (which is a first for all three) and that each can be individually downloaded to the GameBoy Advance for portable play.
Now, it's stretching us a bit, but as far as we can remember, Panel de Pon is a game where you have to match three or more icons of the same type on a board, using only a two-space cursor to switch the contents of adjacent squares. Getting combos and chains together remains a real skill. It's a very hectic game, particularly in Vs. mode, and arrived towards the end of the Super Nintendo's lifetime, to be subsequently rebadged as Tetris Attack (with that infernal Yoshi amongst others) for the US and eventually become Pokémon Puzzle League.
Dr. Mario is an easier one to remember. It's a more obvious Tetris rip-off, and was originally released in response to Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine as we recall. Players direct Dr. Mario to drop pills from the sky to try and wipe out germs threatening the Mushroom Kingdom. Line up blocks and repeat.
Yoshi's Cookie was a much simpler but faster Tetris clone released on the original monochrome Game Boy. Players have to line up columns of matching cookies, with the eponymous "Yoshi's Cookie" the key to birthing allies and eventual victory. Great fun in multiplayer, but I always used to thrash my sister at it and she would cry. Shame.
So, yours truly is obviously going to be buying this one, but we've had no confirmation of plans to release the game in the US or Europe and probably won't for some time. What's more, looking at it a bit more objectively, it's another tiring example of Nintendo's readiness to recycle its back catalogue to try and service the Cube. How about an original puzzle game instead?