Data Sheet

Publisher: Nintendo of Japan
Features: GameBoy Color Only, 2-Player Link-Cable Support.
Format: Puzzle
Reviewer: Shoji and Valerie

Screen Shots


It's a puzzle game! - I love puzzles.
It's got Pokemon! - Yes, gotta catch 'em all.
It's for the GameBoy Color! - Yippee!

So what more did I need to know before buying POKeMON de PANEPON? Well, most importantly, since this is a Japanese import, is whether or not I could understand the instructions and game play.

As some of you know, I'm not adverse to Japanese imports. But this time around, I wanted to be really sure I could play POKeMON de PANEPON. The memory of stumbling blindly through the Japanese version of Pokemon Gold and Silver was still fresh in my mind, and I really didn't feel like going through the tedium again.

So before buying it, I asked the shop keeper if I could test the game first. He smilingly obliged, knowing from past experience what a sucker I am for any Pokemon game. Suffice to say, his intuition was correct.

The moment I popped POKeMON de PANEPON into my GameBoy, I was sold. Firstly, because I've been dying to play a new Pokemon game for a long time now, and secondly, because I could see that it wasn't very text intensive. Lastly? I didn't want to wait like 50 years before NOA finally decides to release the translated version.


The object of the game is to clear as many blocks of colored cubes as possible. Match them by color or by shape, whichever you find easier, and points are awarded according to the number of blocks you have cleared - 3 being the minimum you have to match for a clearance.

POKeMON de PANEPON is pretty much Tetris-like and the only difference here is that it isn't falling shapes that you're after, but colored blocks that come up from the bottom of the screen. Also, instead of maneuvering shapes, you switch the places of the colored blocks so that they match up. I found this much more appealing as there are lots of ways you can make possible matches. Clearing a set of blocks is only possible horizontally and/or vertically. Not diagonally. But that in itself, is already a very challenging task.

There are 3 levels of play and you can choose from Easy, Medium and Hard. At the start of the game, you also get to choose the Pokemon you want to play with and the speed of which you want the blocks to appear.

Play alone, with speed and difficulty that increases at each level, or play head-to-head with a friend using the link cable. You can even compete with Gym Leaders in a VS computer mode and evolve your Pokemon.

It's all really very simple and what needs to be done is quite apparent from the moment the countdown of the game begins. Still worried about not being able to understand POKeMON de PANEPON? Well, thanks to Shoji, our Japanese correspondent,
here is a translated breakdown of the menu system.


It's fast paced, puzzle-type background music, but it would have been nice if there was some character voices between stages to break the monotony. Actually, the tune is quite addictive and I can hear it in my head even as I'm writing this review.


Graphics for the game is simple and colorful but what do you expect? It's a puzzle game. What was impressive was the animated introduction which I thought was like a short cartoon which had Chikolita going in search of his friends. Very cute!

Final Comments

So there you have it, Poke-Fans. Don't hesitate! POKeMON de PANEPON is one game you might really want to consider buying on import. It's a fun and addictive game, and it'll also give Pokemon fans a chance to familiarize themselves with some of the new Gold & Silver characters before October 15th, 2000 (that's when NOA officially releases Pokemon Gold and Silver for North America).

Translated Screens

Screen 1 - Select

A. 1 player Game - Game for 1 person
B. 2 player Game - Game for 2 persons
C. Demo Play - Game play Techniques
D. Operations - Key Configuration Display
E. Records - Your Game Record
F. Option - Option

Screen 2 - Play Game

A. Endless
B. VS Computer
C. Score Attack
D. Stage Clear
E. Puzzle
F. Ojama Attack

A. Endless : The game continues until the colored blocks panel reaches the top. There are three levels of game play here - Easy, Normal and Hard.

B. VS Computer : Play the game with the gym leaders that appear one after another. There are three levels of game play here - Easy, Normal and Hard. The number of the stages here varies with each level and for Hard mode, there is even S-Hard and V-Hard which can be activated by doing so:

  • For S-Hard - Push the A button when the cursor is at the [Hard] menu. Then push Select.
  • For V-Hard - Push the A button when the cursor is at the [S-Hard] menu. Then push Select.

C. Score Attack : High score at the end of 2 minutes of game play. There are three levels of game play - Easy, Normal and Hard.

D. Stage Clear : If all the panels on the borderline are cleared. There are 7-Stages in all.

E. Puzzle : When that all the panels in screen are turned off. The panels of the screen will be indicated at the top right of the screen when you're playing this mode. There are 60 pages in total and 60 new stages that can be played when 60 sets of blocks have been cleared. Here's how you get each Pokemon:

  • Pikachu: When six panels are turned off at the same time.
  • Pichu: When you've played for more than four minutes, and a stage is cleared.
  • Togepi: When ten panels are turned off at the same time.
  • Kireihana: When a stage is cleared within 25 seconds.
  • Mariru: When 4-chains are completed.
  • Otachi: When 7-chains are completed.

A "chain" refers to the clearing of blocks in succession.

F. Ojama Attack : A mode which obstacle blocks which begin from the top are turned off. There are three levels - Easy, Normal and Hard.

Screen 3 - Endless Game

Game Level
[Easy] [Normal] [Hard]
Speed Level - The speed of the rising panels.
Slow <-----> Fast

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