It’s not often that a spin-off title completely overshadows the series it originally spun off from. Sometimes some spin-offs even reach a point where they become the main series!
Puyo Puyo (localized as Puyo Pop) was conceived as a puzzle game spin-off of the Madou Monogatari dungeon crawler RPGs from Compile (now known as Compile Heart). The game’s name comes from it’s use of the slime enemies from Madou Monogatari (called Puyo) as puzzle pieces. Like Tetris, Puyo Puyo features falling objects (in this case, groups of colored Puyo). Unlike Tetris, the goal is to connect Puyo of the same colour in groups of 4 or more to make them “pop”, removing them from your game field. The main gimmick of the game that gives it depth is the ability to create chain reactions of popping Puyo. As Puyo are popped, any Puyo resting on top of the popped Puyo will fall down to take up the empty space left by the popped Puyo. This feature can end up connecting Puyo of matching colour together which could make them pop and create a cascading effect which can result in large score bonuses or significant penalties for your opponent in battle mode.
Being a spin-off, Puyo Puyo borrows various characters and story elements from Madou Monogatari to create a puzzle game with personality (something puzzle games lacked at the time). Eventually, as the spin-off series grew in popularity, new characters and storylines exclusive to the spin-off were created until the spin-off developed its own identity and become the main focus of the developers while the main series was essentially abandoned.
Although no longer under the care of Compile, Puyo Puyo still lives on with new games being handled by Sega’s Sonic Team. The latest release in the series was Puyo Puyo Tetris (a crossover between the two puzzle games which we featured at our last event during Anime Shogatsu) and is available on the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.