Panel de Pon (universe)
The Panel de Pon universe (パネルでポン, Panel de Pon) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of properties that hail from the Panel de Pon series of puzzle games developed and published by Nintendo. Since the series' debut in Japan, it has been re-branded internationally under several names, such as Tetris Attack and Puzzle League.
Panel de Pon is a tile-matching puzzle game series developed by Intelligent Systems, where gameplay involves matching three or more tiles of the same color at once to remove them from play. The first game in the series was released on the Super Famicom in Japan in 1995, and starred a series of fairies as its main characters. Its storyline involved the Flower Fairy, Lip, setting out to free her friends from the control of the demon king Thanatos and save the world of the fairies.
In bringing the game outside of Japan, Panel de Pon's original characters were completely replaced by the cast of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, and it was renamed Tetris Attack (referencing the name of unrelated puzzle series Tetris), setting the precedent of keeping the Panel de Pon gameplay but replacing its characters. This was followed up by a port of Tetris Attack for the Game Boy, which retained the Yoshi series theming; the two Tetris Attack games were also re-released in Japan as Yoshi no Panepon (ヨッシーのパネポン, Yoshi's Panepon).
Another pair of rebranded Panel de Pon games, Pokémon Puzzle Challenge and Pokémon Puzzle League, used the cast of the Pokémon series. Both of these games were originally unreleased Panel de Pon titles, as indicated by unused Panel de Pon GB content found in Puzzle Challenge and a prototype of Panel de Pon 64 using the same engine as Puzzle League. All English installments of the series moving forward continue to use the Puzzle League name.
The last game in the series to use the fairy-based theme of the original game was the version of Panel de Pon included in the Japan-only Nintendo Puzzle Collection for Nintendo GameCube. This version of the game, based on the unreleased Panel de Pon 64, starred a new generation of fairies similar to those of the Super Famicom game; Nintendo Puzzle Collection was planned for release outside of Japan, but was canceled for unknown reasons, despite receiving an ESRB rating. The next two games in the series, Dr. Mario & Puzzle League and Planet Puzzle League, featured no characters at all (barring Pupuri from Puzzle Collection appearing in the former, and Lip's stage being an unlockable theme in the Japanese version of the latter). These installments instead solely featured the gameplay without any story or theming from other series.
After nearly a decade of absence, the series made a reappearance as a minigame in Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo under the name Animal Crossing: Puzzle League, featuring the Animal Crossing cast. Reaching certain milestones in the minigame allows the player to unlock Lip's outfit for their Villager to wear. In 2020, 25 years after the series' debut, the original fairy-based Panel de Pon was released internationally for the first time, via the Nintendo Switch Online service.
The Lip's Stick returns as an item in this game. Additionally, Lip's Theme (Panel de Pon), a remix originating from the first game of the series, appears as a track in My Music for PictoChat. There are also several stickers of characters from the series: specifically, Furil, Pure, Sala, and Cecil from Nintendo Puzzle Collection, along with one of the titular Panels. However, in localized versions of the game, these fairies are incorrectly named as Lip, Ruby, Elias, and Seren; these are the names of their respective counterparts from the Super Famicom version of Panel de Pon. Equipping the Furil/Lip sticker in Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary will grant the player a Lip's Stick when spawning into a level.
While there is no new content for the Panel de Pon series, Lip's Stick returns once again as an item in this game, and the Lip's Theme (Panel de Pon) remix reappears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on the Wrecking Crew stage.
In this game, Lip makes her first on-screen appearance in the Smash Bros. series (as well as her first physical appearance in any form of media released in Western territories) as a Support Spirit. She is also the basis for a costume for Mii Swordfighters and a Friend Icon for online play. The appearance of the flower effect has been changed, now resembling those seen on the title screen of Panel de Pon. Lip's Stick also returns as an item.
The following characters from the series are spirits.