While Panel de Pon is a pretty popular puzzle series in Japan, it had to be “altered” for it to be successful in America. The first time was with Tetris Attack on SNES, which had a Yoshi theme. Next up was Pokemon, which is actually based on the anime not the video games. Ironically Japan never saw this game, it was only available in Europe and America.
But since it was based on Panel de Pon it played almost virtually the same. The point is to arrange blocks in 3 or more links either horizontal or vertical lines. The game also featured a 3D mode exclusive to the title.
But unlike it’s SNES predecessors, this game had some extra modes set right in the Pokemon anime universe. You can play as Ash Ketchum, meet up with Brock and Misty, and fight against Gary Oak and Giovanni.
Critics loved the game at the time, calling it highly addictive and some very competitive tournaments sprung up around the country. I never played it myself even though I loved the anime at the time. I didn’t like puzzle games back then, so I skipped it. I played Tetris Attack later on and loved it, but since it’s so similar I didn’t have the motivation to get this as well.