If you're unfamiliar with Pop n' Pop, we're not going over the basics here. Read our RetroCollect review instead

You there! Yes, you, with that copy of Pop n' Pop! Finished the Story and Versus Modes, have you? Wondering what else is there to do? You're still a hundred years a long way from finishing this one, sport! Enter Checkmate Mode, Pop n' Pop's real Puzzle Mode, which offers 100 levels where you have to clear all the balloons off the screen, with only a limited amount of pre-set shots at your disposal (minimum of 1, maximum of 4). You have to use all the power of your brain to put the balloons in the right place so they all explode! Also, for some reason, you can only play as Bibby. Anyway, it's a rather robust extra mode, and while the first 50 stages are actually pretty easy, by the time you get to Stage 58, the kid gloves are off and the game gets real nasty.

I have a tendency to harp on about this, but Pop n' Pop was never released in America, and I'm almost certain this is why almost nobody talks about it (see also: Super Fantasy Zone) so I thought it'd be useful to crank out a guide to Checkmate Mode. I've done my best to make this as clear as possible, so most of the shots are explained to you as clearly as possible. We'll be using three important terms for explaining how your balloons should be set up, though, and they're below:

When I say 'Keep the balloons as they are', don't switch them from the state they're given to you in.
When I say 'Switch to Horizontal X-Y', that means switch the balloons so that X is on the left, and Y is on the right. So if I put Horizontal Yellow-Red, then the Yellow would be to the left, and the Red to the right.
When I say 'Switch to Vertical X-Y', that means switch the balloons so that X is on top, and Y is beneath. So if I put Vertical Blue-Dark Blue, then the Blue would be on top, and the Dark Blue beneath.

So let's get this over with. Let's play Checkmate Mode and finish it!

That's enough for me, I'm going back to the main Pop n' Pop page.