Back in the mid-1990s, Compile licensed its competitive puzzle game, Puyo Puyo, to both Sega and Nintendo. In turn, Sega and Nintendo each developed separate but very similar Puyo Puyo games for their 16-bit consoles. Genesis owners ended up with Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, and SNES owners ended up with Kirby's Avalanche. Now, more than a decade later, both games are available for the Wii's Virtual Console service, and they cost 800 Wii points each.
The basic premise of the game involves rotating and matching pairs of colored blobs as they fall from the sky. If you make a line or cluster of four like-colored blobs, you'll help clear your pile and send junk blobs over to your opponent's side. A Puyo Puyo match is a one-on-one competition. Thus, unlike most puzzle games in which constant matching is a decent survival strategy, the best way to win in Puyo Puyo is to stockpile blobs for later chain reactions that will bury your opponent under a pile that he or she can't dig out from. Of course, your opponent is trying to do the same, and that's what makes Puyo Puyo matches so exciting.
Kirby's Avalanche offers a story mode, a practice mode, and a mode that lets two players duke it out. Visually it's colorful and vibrant, the music is catchy, and there's a few voice samples here and there. Optimally, you should make sure you have a friend or two who are willing to play with you. Some of the CPU opponents are tough to beat, but you'll gain significantly more satisfaction from exchanging blob-based attacks with living opponents than you will with CPU challengers that always behave the same way.
In any case, Kirby's Avalanche is an interesting puzzle game that you should check out if you have enjoyed games like Tetris, Columns, or Panel De Pon in the past. The game isn't necessarily good enough to pick up if you've already doled out the points to buy Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, but if you haven't spent the cash on either yet, Kirby's Avalanche is definitely the way to go.