Puyo Puyo (ぷよぷよ), called Puyo Pop outside Japan, is a puzzle game franchise created by Compile, currently owned by Sega after Compile's financial problems in 2001 caused them to sell the franchise and declare bankruptcy a few months later.
The original game in the series was released for the MSX and Famicom Disk System on October 25, 1991 to spin off Madou Monogatari 1-2-3, a trilogy of RPGs released a year earlier for the MSX that was being ported to the PC-98 at the time. Sega saw possibilities for the game to be a success in the arcades, and the two companies released Puyo Puyo on the System C2 the following year. The game was a surprise success for a company that had established a strong reputation making shoot-'em-ups, and so Compile created a sequel, Puyo Puyo Tsuu, released in 1994. The sequel was a runaway success, practically ending Compile's involvement in anything other than Puyo Puyo (in fact, some later Madou Monogatari games advertised themselves as Puyo Puyo RPGs!), though Compile would continue to develop other games on rare occasions.
Sadly, this model of business did not last long, and Compile was plunged into financial trouble over failures such as Puyo Puyo Da!. They never recovered, and in 2001 sold the franchise to Sega, who had worked with Compile since the company's founding in 1983. Compile's last game in the series was Da!. Sega handed control of the franchise over to Sonic Team, who quickly pulled Minna de Puyo Puyo out by the end of the year.
Sonic Team artist Takashi Thomas Yuda was put in charge of making a sequel to Yon for release in arcades. Yuda decided to throw out most of Compile's history in the franchise and reboot the series with new characters and a radically different art style set in a new world — though the key characters in Compile's series did make the transition. Puyo Puyo Fever was released in 2003, and was so successful it was ported to every system available at the time (even the Sega Dreamcast!). Fever's style is still used for the franchise today.
The franchise is notorious for not seeing many releases outside Japan. The Sega/Compile Puyo Puyo was brought overseas but reskinned around different franchises (specifically, Sonic, Kirby, and The Lion King). Sega brought the franchise untouched overseas in 2000 with the Neo Geo Pocket Color port of Tsu, called Puyo Pop. Other than that, Minna, Fever, a N-Gage game, the MD version of Tsu on the Virtual Console, and Columns Deluxe are the only other internationally released Puyo Puyo games.
Every game in the franchise shares the same fundamental gameplay, which will be described here for convenience's sake.
The playfield is a grid of spaces 6 columns wide. Two "puyo" of random colors fall from the third column in a vertical line. You can move the puyo left, right, or down (faster), and can rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise using specific buttons on the controller. Once puyo have completed their descent, if four or more puyo of the same color touch on their sides (but not diagonally), they are cleared from the board and every puyo above them fall down. The game ends when the third column is blocked, allowing no more puyo to fall. It is possible to get puyo above the other columns; whether or not they fall down with the visible puyo depends on the game.
Each clear is called a rensa. Chains of clears are denoted with a number, for instance 2-rensa means 2 consecutive clears.
In a two player game, each rensa will fill the opponent's queue on the top of the screen with a number of marks. After that player drops whatever puyo is currently falling, nuisance puyo in the amount specified by the number and size of these marks will fall. The nuisance puyo can only be removed from the board if a rensa occurs adjacent to the nuisance — that is, the nuisance is counted as puyo of that color. The game ends when a player fills the third column of their area so that no more puyo can fall; the other player wins.
Puyo Puyo Tsuu introduces several rules which have remained in every subsequent sequel. The most important is Offsetting (Sousai). Every time you remove nuisance, the nuisance will be offset to the opponent's field, and vice versa. If both players offset at the same time, the common nuisance is removed and whatever nuisance remains will be offset. Furthermore, Tsu now makes it possible to flip falling puyo stuck between two columns by tapping the rotate buttons twice (or in some games, once).
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