Neo Geo Pocket (Color) part 2: Puzzle Games – Mini Reviews
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Arcade
Developer: SNK, Taito, Namco
Publisher: SNK
Platform: NGPC

Neo Geo Pocket (Color) part 2: Puzzle Games – Mini Reviews

Site Score
Good: Accessible for all, Able to compete with puzzle games nowadays
Bad: Somewhat blurry graphics
User Score
(4 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (4 votes cast)

Last time we discussed the viability of the Pocket Fighting Series for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Luckily this wasn’t all the already underappreciated portable had to offer. In the small library the handheld was able to offer us, there were a decent amount of games that are still considered classics up to this day. Some of them may fit amongst the category of ‘puzzle games’ whilst some may be considered a tad more on the arcade side.


Unlike the fighting series, the puzzle games didn’t have to fight the prejudice of the control scheme of the Neo Geo Pocket being too simple. In fact, puzzle and arcade games tend to be the most fun if you can play them without having too complicated controls. This will make it clear why some of the current classics were a few of the NGPC’s top titles.

Puzzle Bobble Mini:

Plenty of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) owners will immediatly recognize the ‘protagonist’ of this title. Puzzle Bobble used to be called Bubble Bobble on the NES and happened to be more a puzzle platformer instead of the puzzle arcade game that made it’s way on the Neo Geo Pocket. Puzzle Bobble Mini has one mail goal and it’s pretty much all about ‘popping bubbles’ by shooting, and thus combining, colored bubbles to clear your playfield. Making bubbles disappear will require you to combine a minimum of 3 bubbles of the same color.

Being a fairly simple game, Puzzle Bobble Mini offers us 3 different game modes. These different modes of playing the game might be the same in essence, yet they feel totally different when playing them. These modes are respectively called the Puzzle, VS-CPU and Survivor modes. Whilst the Puzzle mode consists out of several predetermined stages which you simply have to clear in a specific time frame, the other modes will offer more random stages. The VS-CPU mode will allow you to battle an artificial opponent, which you can defeat by clearing your bobbles, which will in turn be added to his screen. (and vice versa) Last but not least, the Survivor mode offers us the same gameplay but pretty much without end. You will have to keep playing until the end of time or simply when you grow tired or lose.

Puzzle Bobble Mini may look a bit ‘old-school’ but it surely is a game that could still compete with plenty of modern day puzzle games, when it comes to fun and gameplay. Even when it comes to aiming where you fire your bubbles, the Neo Geo Pocket Color’s D-Pad/Joystick hybrid will feel as if it was made for these kind of games.

Note: If you haven’t heard of Puzzle Bobble or Bubble Bobble, you’ve probably heard of ‘Bust-a-Move’.


PuyoPop might not be the most famous one of the 3 titles we are discussing here, but it surely counts as one of the ‘classics’. When starting up the game you might get the impression Puyopop is some kind of action-adventure game, because the intro lets us feel as if we’re in for a treat. We actually are but more in the sense of a Japanese, Tetris – Columns crossover.

Like Puzzle Bobble Mini, this game is a colorful and cheerful game in which you need to combine several bubbles of the same color to score points. Instead of having to clear a level, this game works like tetris and columns, which means you will have to reach a certain amount of points. If scoring points does not suit you, you simply go for matches against a CPU opponent.

Musicwise the game is as cheerful as its appearance, yet every time you drop a set of ‘bubbles’ you will hear a girl moaning in the background. It’s probably meant as a cheer but tends to feel so wrong after a little while. All in all, this game is surely worth it if you’re a fan of games like Puzzle Bobble, Tetris, Colums and other games in the genre.


PAC-MAN is a game that needs no introduction or even an explanation, however some things can be said about the Neo Geo Pocket’s version. The game offers us the simple option if we want to look at our ‘map’ in full screen, or only in portions. Which means, it will be harder to clear if you are zoomed in, preventing you to see your opponents.

A fun, yet simple attribute was supplied with the game, to make it feel a tad more authentic. A rubber ring could be placed on top of the joystick, to prevent it turning in too many directions. This means, like the old school game, you are only able to tilt your joystick in 4 directions.

Lastly, there is only 1 remark that can be made about PAC-MAN that is actually negative. The game looks as if they ported it and added some colors, which makes it feel as if the developers could have given it a new appearance, instead of going for that same old look.


Good old fashioned fun is the keyword in this entire article. If you happen to have a NGPC at home, these games might help you relax just as well as the current generation of puzzle games or the newly created facebook games in the genre. Again the score is an average of the 3 games.


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Neo Geo Pocket (Color) part 2: Puzzle Games - Mini Reviews, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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