Panel de Pon
North American cover art.
|Platform(s)||SNES, Satellaview, Game Boy|
Tetris Attack, also known as Panel de Pon[a], is a 1995 puzzle video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. A Game Boy version was released a year later. In the game, the player must arrange matching colored blocks in vertical or horizontal rows to clear them. The blocks steadily rise towards the top of the playfield, with new blocks being added at the bottom. Several gameplay modes are present, including a time attack and multiplayer mode.
Produced by Gunpei Yokoi, Tetris Attack was released as Panel de Pon in Japan, featuring fairies as the main characters with a mythical, fantasy setting. International versions instead replace these with characters and settings from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Though international releases have the name Tetris Attack, the game bears no relation to the Tetris video game series, leading Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers to regret giving Nintendo the license to use the name. Both Panel de Pon and Tetris Attack were later broadcast through the Japan-only Satellaview peripheral, the latter renamed to BS Yoshi's Panepon[b].
Tetris Attack was well-received by critics for its graphical style, addictive gameplay and multiplayer modes, with some noting the North American version was superior to the original Japanese release. It was followed by a series of sequels and remakes for multiple platforms, most of which instead use the name Puzzle League. The game is referenced in other Nintendo games, such as the Super Smash Bros. series, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Captain Rainbow.
Tetris Attack is a puzzle video game. The player must use an on-screen cursor to arrange colored blocks into horizontal or vertical rows — matching together three or more blocks of the same color will destroy them. Any blocks above cleared lines will fall, which can be used to cause chain reactions if they touch other matching blocks. The player can also earn combos clearing more than three blocks in a single move. As the stage progresses, the blocks will begin to rise steadily towards the top of the screen, with new blocks generating from the bottom. Should the blocks touch the top of the playfield, the game will be over.
Several different gameplay modes are included, such as a Story Mode that pits the player against a series of computer-controlled opponents. In Endless Mode, the player is challenged to play as long as possible with a continuously rising stack of blocks, which increases in speed over time. Timed Mode challenges the player to score as many points as possible within a two-minute time limit. Stage Clear mode takes the player through a series of stages in which the objective is to clear all blocks underneath a "boundary" line. A Puzzle Mode is also provided, which presents the player with a number of puzzles where he or she must clear all of the blocks in a set number of moves — the blocks here do not rise towards the top. Several multiplayer modes are also present with interchangeable difficulty levels.
Development and release
Tetris Attack was released in Japan on October 27, 1995, August 1996 in North America, and November 28, 1996 in Europe. Development was headed by Intelligent Systems and produced by Gunpei Yokoi, known as the creator of the Game Boy. The Japanese version of the game is titled Panel de Pon, featuring fairies as the main characters with a fantasy setting. International versions instead replace these with characters and settings from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a game released earlier in 1995. Though international releases have the name Tetris Attack, the game has no relation to the Tetris video game franchise, leading to Tetris Company co-founder Henk Rogers saying in a 2009 interview he regrets giving Nintendo permission to using the name. Although Rogers liked the game, he believed it "got lost in history" due to it using the Tetris branding.
A Game Boy version of Tetris Attack was released in 1996. Two years later in 1998 a special version of Panel de Pon was broadcast through the Satellaview peripheral for the Super Famicom in Japan, renamed BS Panel de Pon - Event '98 as part of a contest by St. GIGA. Tetris Attack was later released for the Satellaview the same year, renamed BS Yoshi no Panepon. A remake of Panel de Pon was released for the GameCube in 2003 as part of Nintendo Puzzle Collection, alongside Dr. Mario 64 and Yoshi's Cookie. A North American release was planned, but later cancelled for unknown reasons. The original Panel de Pon was digitally re-released for the Japanese Wii Virtual Console on November 27, 2007. Tetris Attack will be added to the Nintendo Switch Online service on May 20, 2020 under its Japanese name Panel de Pon.
Tetris Attack was met with very positive reviews, earning a 90% average rating on GameRankings. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it an 8.25 out of 10, lauding the addictive gameplay, colorful and cartoony graphics, use of Mario characters in the North American localization, and two-player mode. GamePro gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 in graphics, control, and FunFactor, and a 4.5 out of 5 in sound. The reviewer commented that it has "a gentler, slower style of gameplay that requires learning some easy new controls, but this game's no less addicting than the original Tetris."
GamePro gave the Game Boy version a brief positive review, saying it "updates the age-old Tetris concept by inverting the basic action".
Electronic Gaming Monthly editors named Tetris Attack Super NES Game of the Year, Hand-Held Game of the Year, and Puzzle Game of the Year, commenting that "The simple premise makes it a game of mass appeal; its depth makes it a hardcore gamer's delight." In 1997 Electronic Gaming Monthly editors ranked the Super NES version the 16th best console video game of all time. They cited its accessibility and addictive quality, confessing that their boss had confiscated the office copy of the game because of how much time they spent playing it. GamesRadar+ listed it 87th on their list of "The 100 best games of all time", stating "you haven't lived until you've played Tetris Attack two-player and dropped an immensely satisfying five line garbage block on your opponent." Game Informer featured it on its own best games of all-time list at 96 and called it one of the most addictive puzzle games made. GameSpot called it "absolutely brilliant".
Tetris Attack was followed by several sequel games, most using the name Puzzle League in western territories. The first of these were Pokémon Puzzle Challenge for the Game Boy Color and Pokémon Puzzle League for the Nintendo 64 in 2000, featuring characters from the Pokémon anime series, followed by Dr. Mario & Puzzle League for the Game Boy Advance in 2005. Planet Puzzle League was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007 (renamed to Panel de Pon DS in Japan and Puzzle League DS in Europe), featuring online multiplayer support via the now-defunct Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service and touch-screen controls. A similar game for DSiWare, Puzzle League Express, was released in 2010 for the Nintendo DSi with many of the same features as Planet.
Several Nintendo games reference Tetris Attack and Panel de Pon. The "Lip's Stick", the primary weapon of the main character of Panel de Pon, appears throughout the Super Smash Bros. series since Super Smash Bros. Melee, poisoning the opponent. Super Smash Bros. Brawl features multiple characters and a red-colored block as collectible stickers, from the Nintendo Puzzle Collection version of Panel de Pon. A remix of Lip's theme song can be played on the PictoChat stage. The song is in Super Smash Bros for Wii U for the Wrecking Crew-inspired stage and in its Nintendo Switch followup Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Lip appears in the Japan-only Wii game Captain Rainbow and as a Spirit and Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A 2016 update to Animal Crossing: New Leaf adds a minigame based on the Puzzle League series, titled Animal Crossing Puzzle League. Completing the minigame will award the player a costume based on Lip.
- Perlee, Ben (8 June 2009). "Interview with Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers on Tetris". Destructoid. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- Plunkett, Luke (May 14, 2020). "Four More Games Added To Nintendo's Switch Online Library". Kotaku. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
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- "The 100 best games of all time". GamesRadar+. 2011-03-31. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
- Jeff Cork (2009-11-16). "Game Informer's Top 100 Games Of All Time (Circa Issue 100)". Game Informer. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Cameron Davis (2012-02-02). "Tetris Attack Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2018-01-10.