Though the Puyo Puyo series has become one of the more popular puzzle games out there, in the mid-1990s the series was still getting off the ground. In order to get the series some attention in its western release, the game was given various makeovers that implemented established video game characters into the puzzle game. While the Genesis version became Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and used aesthetics from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon series, the Super Nintendo version became Kirby’s Avalanche.
As you may have guessed, Kirby’s Avalanche gave Puyo Puyo a heavy dose of Kirby. In single player, you take control of Kirby, who challenges various enemies from his series as he makes his way to King Dedede and claim the title of Avalanche champion.
Of course, the aesthetics are as far as the Kirby element goes for the game. This is still very much Puyo Puyo title. But the Kirby characters give the title a great sense of charm, and the game includes some excellent remixes of classic Kirby music.
If you’re familiar with Puyo Puyo, you know how the game plays. Groups of two colored blobs fall onto your board, Tetris-style, and you have to match up four blobs of the same color in order for them to disappear. If the blobs stack to the top, you lose.
The blobs come in five colors: red, blue, yellow, green and purple. The blobs can be connected vertically or horizontally, which not only gives you a greater opportunity to clump four of them together, but if you can strategize quickly enough and react fast enough, you can link one elimination to another, which will send marble-like blobs onto your opponent’s board. Naturally, your opponent can do the same to you, and the only way to eliminate the marbles is to complete a set of four blobs adjacent to the marbles.
That’s really all there is to the gameplay. But as simple as it is, it’s equally fun and addicting. It really will have you strategizing every little move in hopes you can outlast your opponent. It can become a genuinely hectic, head-scratching challenge.
As fun as the gameplay is however, it should be noted that the game becomes devastatingly difficult pretty quickly. The first few stages won’t be a problem, but later levels increase the speed in which the blobs fall drastically, giving you very little time to plan ahead. The later stages will leave you absolutely no room for error, which becomes very difficult with how your every decision becomes an on-the-fly one.
Kirby’s Avalanche also features a multiplayer mode where two players can go head-to-head. Sadly, the game lacks any additional modes of play. So unless you haven’t played a number of the other Puyo Puyo games before, there’s not a whole lot here that you can’t find elsewhere.
Really, the only real problems with Kirby’s Avalanche are the insane difficulty and the lack of freshness for those with previous Puyo Puyo experience. Still, it’s hard not to get sucked into the gameplay, and the addition of Kirby characters and music just adds that much more charm to it.