As much as we love Nintendo, we do sometimes wonder if it's taking the piss a bit when it comes to pimping out its big-name franchises. We're all for proper iterations of Mario, Metroid and the like, but it's sometimes a little difficult to swallow Metroid Prime Pancake Lady II and Super Mario Swimwear Fetish Brunch when they roll out onto shelves. It's with some trepidation then that we approach Nintendo's latest Pokémon-branded tumbling block puzzler, Pokémon Link!
Admittedly, we're probably more suspicious about that enforced exclamation than anything so we're willing to give Pokémon Link! (previously known as Pokémon Toruze in its Japanese incarnation) the benefit of the doubt at the moment. Using the DS's touchscreen and stylus, you're tasked with lining up four of the same Pokémon faces (from a roster of 380 of the critters), by shifting their ever-tumbling maws up, down, left or right. Once you've successfully formed a link, the Pokémon in question is added to your Link List for later perusal and a chain reaction opportunity arises. For a short time, the cleared link of four can be followed by a link of three, then two and so on, producing more opportunities to add Pokémon to your Link List.
Alongside the story mode, Pokémon Link! also features wi-fi multiplayer, head-to-head Link Battle Mode, as well as a co-operative Pair Link Mode. Thrillingly, you only need one cart and the magic of DS Download Play to rope your friends into a fiendish game of wits and occassional swearing.
Pokémon Link! is set for release across Europe from May 5 - coincidentally, the same day that Metroid Prime Hunters arrives in stores too. Decisions, decisions, eh?