Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle-dama

this will be a 2-parter. in the first post, I will generally talk about Taisen Puzzle Dama (TPD) and how it differs from Puyo Puyo, and I wanna talk about a specific option in one of the first games in this series. in the second post, I will do a retrospective about this series.

so everyone knows about loves puyo puyo 2 for arcades and mega drive. it was nearly as big of a hit as street fighter 2 over in Japan, puyo puyo 2 is an excellent 2p vs game, it was the perfect followup to puyo puyo, and so on and so forth.

but there's a great similar series done by konami called taisen puzzle dama which spans nearly as many games as the mainline puyo puyo series but seems to be heavily overlooked by the gaming crowd. now let's examine what I consider to be the two main differences in the original games (taisen puzzle dama and puyo puyo):

1) garbage. in puyo puyo, garbage is received as empty colorless balls. to destroy them, you must make a match that is touching them non-diagonally. in tpd, garbage is received as "covered" balls of regular color, which must be "uncovered" by making a match that is touching them non-diagonally. once the "covered" balls become "uncovered", they are the same as regular balls. maybe I didn't explain it well, but the system should be easy to understand once seen.

2) matching. in puyo puyo, you match with 4 like-colored balls. in TPD, you match with 3 like-colored balls. BIG difference here, folks.

what I believe to be the second game in the TPD series is a super famicom exclusive from 1994 called "Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle-dama".


here is a vid of someone playing Tsuyoshi Shikkari for SFC:


it's based off of a now-obscure anime, it's neat, it's fun, it's got pretty decent music, it's the whole package. it's basically a perfect game on it's own, and then it has this amazing little option I will go into describing next.

by default, Tsuyoshi Shikkari features only 4 colors of balls. I assume all TPD games are the same way. however, the devs were kind enough to leave in a little option to change the game to *6* colors of balls! from title screen, select the last choice. then, (screenshots below), change this option from 4 to 6.



okay - mindblowing, right? has anyone done a Deep Think on the ramifications of this? I am STUNNED just by going into all the thinking here. how does this affect 2P vs? garbage? what about 5 colors? THIS IS WILD STUFF, FOLKS.

so for this TPD retrospective, we can take a look at what's listed under the Franchise @ GameFAQs:


1) TPD for arcades - 1994. The first game that started it all off. I will try to do a "fun fact" for each game, and the fun fact for this one is that it was translated into English for Europe as "Crazy Cross". I read somewhere that the music was changed and/or sound effects removed, so if that is the case it's really too bad, but it is still neat to see it in English!


this game is pure, this game is playable, this game is NICE.



2) Tsuyoshi Shikkari for SFC - 1994. Detailed in the previous post, I love it, please try it, it's wonderful. fun fact: there are two different 1P modes - the first where you can choose any character to play as, and the second is a story mode where you play as the protagonist and battle the other characters in order. after you defeat each character, you get access to their 'drop pattern'. differing drop patterns are a huge reason why I think TPD is a great game, and it's one huge differentiator over Puyo Puyo 2, where every chr has the same drop pattern. This mechanic was used by SPF2X and Sakura Taisen Columns, amongst other games.

3) TwinBee TPD for PS1 - 1994. I can't really get into this one. The bells just aren't my thing. But! fun fact: there is a code, I think you just hold down triangle at boot, and you can play the original TPD on your PS1 instead of TwinBee TPD. so that is really cool.


4) Tokimeki Memorial TPD for PS1 and Saturn and arcade - 1994 as per gamefaqs. maybe the arcade was 94 and the console releases 96? so this is where the series begins to go off the rails, in my opinion. this game introduces two new ball types:
bombs - if this tile touches an "uncovered" ball, it will change that ball to be "covered"
smilies - if this tile touches a "covered" ball, it will change that ball to be "uncovered"
these can come down any time, along with your regular balls. they just aren't fun! it turns the game into "where can I put this trash", and it sucks. "fun" fact: they can be turned off in the options of the home versions, but still.

5) Chibi Maruko-Chan no TPD for Saturn - 1995. oh my god. I love this game. while it's pretty barebones, it's just got an amazing aesthetic. based off a very popular anime, you have to try this one. really neat that it's a saturn exclusive too. fun fact: this game does NOT have those annoying bomb and smilies tiles!

6) Susume! Taisen Pazurudama for PS1 and arcades - 1996. this is TPD2. the aesthetic has been upgraded, but not only does it have those SHIT tiles the bombs and smilies, it adds another new one which is even worse. it's an "eater" ala pacman, and you can rotate it and however it is facing when it lands is how it will eat. it will keep eating a line until it reaches no tiles or the wall. sometimes you will wait a LONG time for it to eat. REALLY boring!! also, the title screen of this game has an ugly mosaic style that I hate. fun fact: this game also received an English translation for Europe, and it was titled "Let's Attack Crazy Cross".



7) Susume! Taisen Puzzle Dama: Toukon! Marutama Chou for N64 - 1998. this is a combo cart of Susume! and an offshoot of the series called Taisen Tokkae Dama which is like a shitty version of Panel de Pon where you are switching out just 1 tile. it's pretty neat for being one of the few 2D N64 puzzle games. fun fact: I ain't got one!


8) Tokimeki Memorial 2 TPD for PS1 - 2001. wow, what a late release for the PS1! it's exactly the same gameplay as far as I can tell. haven't put much time into this one, but I would love for someone to tell me what the differences are between this and Tokimeki Memorial 1 TPD. it definitely has those pacman eater tiles from Susume. fun fact: no saturn release.

9) Wagamama Fairy Mirumo de Pon Taisen Mahodama for GBA - 2003.


beware if you want to play this game - it takes like 20 minutes of fast forwarding through dialogue to get to the gameplay.


fun fact: not listed in gamefaqs under the franchise!

10) Pop'n Taisen Puzzle-Dama Online for PS2 - 2004. totally trash looks. copypasted audio. fun fact: it had net play, which is awesome.

Puzzle game reskins are nothing new but Konami milked the absolute shit out of Puzzle-dama–there are a zillion reskins on consoles, keitai and elsewhere, plus it's stashed away as a minigame in a handful of other games–and yet they released very few of them internationally… the RPG-esque Castlevania version they did for iOS years ago is probably the version that got the most attention overseas and that was a blip.

The version I usually recommend is Susume! Taisen Puzzle-dama, the one true arcade sequel, just because they went a little overboard with the aesthetic and let Tak Fujii record a ton of silly guitar music. (It's one of those soundtracks that shows up on Japanese variety shows a lot, actually.)

The N64 version is particularly interesting because it's not a straight conversion, it's more of a remix that includes crossover content from the spin-off Tokkae-dama (which is to Panepon what Taisen-dama is to Puyo) and you can even pit the two game styles against each other in versus play, years before Puyo Puyo Tetris.

@gsk#3821 what do you think about the differences between TPD and PP2 as VS games? ie matching 3 vs matching 4, and the different garbage styles? and individual character garbage drop styles?


@bankbank#3822 what do you think about the differences between TPD and PP2 as VS games? ie matching 3 vs matching 4, and the different garbage styles? and individual character garbage drop styles?

Puyo's more interesting to me–the real big difference is the offset system, which adds a little more nuance to how your chains are constructed & when to attack, vs. Puzzle-dama where being able to effectively counter requires building very specifically around the opponents' drop patterns and thus shoehorns you into character-specific approaches, which is fine but doesn't appeal to me as much. It's a reasonable counterbalance to 3-block chaining being simpler to grasp, I suppose.

(The first Tokimemo version, and specifically the arcade version, is the one that gets the most serious play, by the way: the drop patterns are the most balanced, but the home versions changed them for the worse and also suffer worse input response.)

That said, it's not like I've put tons of time into any version of Puzzle-dama–it's hard enough just getting anyone to play Puyo Puyo Tetris without going straight to TvT, let alone anything else.

As it happens, Athena made their own game that splits the difference between Puzzle-dama and Puyo:


@gsk#3825 never thought I'd ever hear someone bring up pukunpa on a message board! there is a totally hidden skin of the game, check this out:



There are a couple versions of Pukunpa on Saturn, right? Maybe there aren't, but I sure keep thinking there are!!

Anyway I've played a bunch of these, and while I like some of them, it's definitely not quiiiiiite there for me as a puzzle system. There are aspects I really like, but its reliance on color makes it tough for colorblind folks (not me, but still), and some of the innovations (like putting two blobs in one protected bubble) wind up pretty confusing to sort out on the fly for me.

It is pretty astounding just how many of these they made though, and it makes me wonder whether the original designer got any sort of credit for it long term, or just was tasked with making a puzzle game they could farm out a bunch of licensed titles with, and it was off to the races.

It makes me think of other puzzle game systems that got turned into license fests - even before it got cloned to death, puzzle bobble had some licensed variants.

Azumanga Puzzle Daioh:

Psychic Force Puzzle Taisen

etc?? those are the two I can think of off the top of my head, but there must be more.

I wonder also how y'all feel about tokimeki memorial taisen tokkaedama.

it's largely similar to the taisen puzzle dama series in terms of how matches and ojama blocks are dealt with, but you have a floating angel cursor instead of falling balls to deal with. It's like a variant on the system in a way, but maybe too far out there to be included??

@exodus#3871 I bought a new sealed copy of Psychic Force Puzzle Taisen shipped from Japan for $10 last year, lol. kind of my preferred way to play Puzzle Bobble, some awesome looking character graphics.


RE tokkaedama - we touched on it earlier. I think it isn't good, it seems heavily inspired by Panel de Pon (Puzzle League), but as it is played by just swapping one single tile it has no dynamism, the gameplay is flat.

there are a couple tokkaedama reskins on GBA, one is Animal Anime themed


and the other is Handsome Boy Highschool Tennis Anime Themed.


I would love to hear someone tell me I'm wrong and it's actually a great system!

Now here is a game in this genre (which BTW i have no idea how to describe. "puzzle game" is way too general. "falling blocker" doesn't encapsulate panel de pon and starsweep) that needs some attention: Gyakuten Puzzle Bancho!


This is a fairly bare-bones, Japan only, Arcade only match-3 (like TPD) with an interesting garbage system. Matches which occur while touching garbage will then change that garbage to be the same color. And it's also got per-character drop patterns, which I used to think were Good Gameplay but then gosokkyu in this thread has put forth the idea that it creates a meta around counterpicking.


oh and interestingly enough it appears to use 5 colors. hadn't really taken that type of thing into consideration previously when analyzing these games.


it's kind of astounding that the be-all-end-all of competitive play in this genre was released in 1994 and hasn't been bested since, even by sequels in its own series. I suppose Puyo Puyo's match4 instead of match3 gives more room to thoughtful players to build up their chains. I also love the Mega Drive, I see it as a system for everyone, and the fact that it has a bazillion clone consoles and SNES has only a handful is evidence of this.

And I love Megapanel!



@exodus#3871 It is pretty astounding just how many of these they made though, and it makes me wonder whether the original designer got any sort of credit for it long term, or just was tasked with making a puzzle game they could farm out a bunch of licensed titles with, and it was off to the races.

One of the devs had a blog about the making of the original that has since been purged, once Konami reacquainted itself with the internet, and from memory it was a fairly transparent but sincere effort on the dev's part to make a Puyo-style game, but outside of the first Tokimemo version, the zillion spinoffs and even the non-branded sequel were made without their involvement or approval.


@exodus#3871 It makes me think of other puzzle game systems that got turned into license fests - even before it got cloned to death, puzzle bobble had some licensed variants.

It has a new one right now: Touhou Spell Bubble, made by Taito themselves —specifically, some of the people behind the recent Space Invaders Extreme remaster—and released digitally in Japan for Switch a few months ago. This new version has a rhythm component, and if it weren't a full-price local-only versus game released in the middle of a pandemic I'd recommend it a lot more frequently:



@bankbank#3896 And it’s also got per-character drop patterns, which I used to think were Good Gameplay but then gosokkyu in this thread has put forth the idea that it creates a meta around counterpicking.

Just to be clear, I don't think this is bad design, necessarily, it's just not my preference in terms of set play.


@gsk#3900 outside of the first Tokimemo version, the zillion spinoffs and even the non-branded sequel were made without their involvement or approval.

I guess that's about what I expected! too bad for that guy, got a weird long legacy almost nobody knows about and which he probably got paid 4 months of salary for.

I‘m really surprised I didn’t stumble across this series sooner! I did a real big action puzzle deep-dive about a year ago and wound up orbiting around Taito-related stuff for a lot of it.

A lot of action puzzle games I've tried seem to have the "character specific drop pattern" thing going on, which I always thought was kind of an unsatisfying way to differentiate characters - I feel like in most games with multiple characters, which character you pick has an effect on how the game feels to play, but when the only difference between them are their drop patterns, instead the major factor in how the game feels is the character the OTHER player picks, which always seemed a bit off to me.

I also feel like drop patterns are a lot harder to balance, and you'll either wind up with some patterns being clearly better or worse, or patterns not feeling meaningfully distinct at all. Can't win!

So now that we are discussing this delicious topic, this unnamed genre (to me, action puzzle refers to games like Kickle Cubicle and Lolo/Eggerland), we can bring up one of my all-time favorites: StarSweep. but to get there, we have to go through a different game, the already-mentioned Panepon.

Panel de Pon is a wonderful game in this genre by Intelligent Systems for SINGLE PLAYER GAMEPLAY. it was, I feel, revolutionary, it moved the needle, it was a great step forward. when playing endless by oneself. where the game's biggest fault lies is in it's 2 player VS game.

We've been talking 'garbage' all through this thread, so let's acquaint ourselves with PDP's garbage system. When you do some action which will create garbage for your opponent, garbage blocks will rain down onto their playfield. The weakest garbage is, iirc, a 2x1 block: 2 tiles horizontally, 1 vertically. If you do a sufficiently strong attack, the garbage block can take up 1 whole row: X tiles horizontally (6? 8? I forget), 1 vertically. if you do a big chain, let's say a x10 chain, then the single garbage block that falls onto your opponent's well will be the entire well width and many tiles high, it could be 10 tiles vertically. it can easily go off the top of the screen.

Your opponent then must begin to dissolve this giant garbage block. To do so, they will make any match which touches the garbage block. Now, the garbage block will begin to dissolve ONE TILE AT A TIME. During this dissolving time, the player can manipulate already-existing tiles in their well, but they cannot increase their stack to bring new tiles up.


So what happens is, the garbage dissolving player can't do anything except for line up whatever pre-existing tiles he has with the dissolving tiles above, suspended in midair until the entire garbage block has been dissolved (which could take *FOREVER*). This means that in a 2P VS game of PDP, the whole meta is about 'defending your stack' by constantly ensuring that it's raised up as high as possible. Now that's kind of a neat and good idea. But what is awful is that most of the match will simply be both players doing NOTHING while looking at big garbage blocks dissolving. This is lame.


Now, you might say that there are some genuine similarities here with Puyo Puyo: when a player is making a big chain happen, they have ZERO control over anything in the game. If it's a sufficiently big rensa, the attacking player will literally be sitting there twiddling their thumbs with no actions to take for up to, I don't know, 10 or 15 seconds at a maximum? But the distinction here is that at least for this uncontrollable portion of play, it's due to attacking and not defending.

This criticism does not necessarily apply to Pokemon Puzzle League N64 or Dr Mario/Puzzle League on GBA or Puzzle League on DS - I have never played any of these games in 2P vs.

Well anyway, let's get to what I what I wanted to get to: StarSweep! This is an insanely unique spiritual successor (in my opinion) to PDP. It shares some of the staff, Ryuji Kuwaki was something like an assistant at IntSys and then was the producer of SS at Axela. My StarSweep shrine page is available here:


The game involves you placing pieces directly into the playfield. What other game has this? Anyone? It uses the 'rising from the bottom' style well of Panepon. My biggest criticism of the game is that the tiles which rise from the bottom of the well are not randomly generated but rather familiar patterns.

Let's take a look at a YouTube clip of some VS gameplay and see what we can see:



@bankbank#3957 The game involves you placing pieces directly into the playfield. What other game has this? Anyone?

Well, Tokkae-dama does! You pick and choose from the field.

Interesting that you equate Tokkae-dama to Panel de Pon. It’s pretty obvious now that you mention it but, personally, I had always rather likened it to other “tidy up” puzzle stacking games like Magical Drop, Money Idol Exchanger or Mōjiya. I personally prefer Tokkae-dama to Puzzle-dama because my brain understands the mission statement better. I am terrible at the chain-style logic of Puyo Puyo.

@exodus#3871 I don’t think there are multiple versions of PukunPa on the Saturn. Maybe you mistake it with the KururinPa! series ?


I had never noticed the alternative mode of PukunPa, what a cute and sad story. It seems the same designer released a Breakout-style game on the PlayStation a few years later.

Yeah, I know kururin-pa as well, but that‘s not what I’m thinking of. I'm probably just making something up!!

as far as games that let you put the pieces wherever, I guess wetrix counts kind of?? or tetrisphere?

Ohh, I had no idea StarSweep and Panepon shared any staff! I've played a fair bit of StarSweep but I was never able to get any good at it.

@bankbank#3957 Oh, that‘s your site? I’ve definitely stumbled upon it a few times.

RE: Panepon, there is an optional mechanic in later games called "bakuhatsu seriage"/"exploding lift" that lets you raise the stack during a combo, but it's not in the versions people commonly play.

My problem with Panepon as a versus game has always been that evenly-matched players can't really harass or pressure each other past a certain point and it just turns into a game of attrition, which is fun if you're the one playing and agony for anyone else. Exploding lift probably helps mitigate that at a high level but again, until they make a new version with that option we'll probably never know. (It's probably a thing in Panel Attack or whichever other clone people are playing nowadays but I've never looked into it.)

@FlutterSprite#3988 My impression is that the shared staff member didn't do all that much on Panepon and prefers not to flaunt that association too much.

He made a mobile puzzle game somewhat recently that sort of blew up in Japan; it's called SubaraCity and it's basically Threes as a city builder, and its available internationally for pretty much everything.

@gsk#4026 SubaraCity looks neat! I've been thinking a lot lately about hybrid-genre puzzle games like that, I should give it a shot!