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Pokemusings, week 42

There's a ton going on in the Pokemon world! The US Darkrai event has beenannounced, Pokemon Ranch is out inJapan and inching towards a worldwide release, and the new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are out! The last part got us thinking about some of our favorite Pokemon spin-off games. While the mainline RPGs and the console "colosseum" titles have been coming out on a regular basis, Nintendo has thrown some interesting curveballs into the mix. Here are some spin-offs that we remember fondly.

Above: Classic puzzle gameplay melded with Pokemon

Game: Pokemon Puzzle League
Platform: Nintendo 64
The Skinny: Pokemon Panepon

Read more: Pokemon Let's Go review: "A wonderful blend of old and new, and an exciting glimpse at the future of Pokemon"

This game wasn't much of a spin-off in terms of effort, but it's hard not to love it. It melds the awesome gameplay of Panel de Pon (Panepon) with adorable Pokemon graphics. What's not to like?

If you're not familiar with Panepon (and shame on you if you're not!), it's a puzzle game that dates back to the SNES days. You manipulate a series of blocks to clear out your mess, create large "combo" blocks, and send junk to your opponent in order to impede their efforts. Some of you might be familiar with the Tetris and Yoshi variants of this excellent game.

As for the Pokemon flavor, there are numerous Pokemon and trainers that are featured in Pokemon Puzzle League. Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Vulpix, Horsea, and more appear in the game. There are plenty of familiar trainers to play as, including Ash, Brock, Misty, Koga, Blaine, and Bruno. You can even have a showdown with Giovanni and Mewtwo!