Aomori apple-based version of ‘Puyo Puyo’ doesn’t fall far from tree

The “Puyo Ringo” video game unveiled by Aomori Prefecture.

The Aomori prefectural government unveiled a version of the “Puyo Puyo” online game featuring apples in an effort to raise the profile of the prefecture’s best-known export.

In “Puyo Ringo,” up to eight varieties of apples (ringo), such as Fuji, drop from the top of the screen instead of blocks.

The game has gone viral on social media because it’s “tough to tell the difference between [apple] varieties” or the difficulties “get even Aomori locals rattled.”

In “Puyo Ringo,” players connect at least four apples of identical color horizontally or vertically to “harvest” them.

The game is designed to be more difficult by using only hard-to-distinguish hues of red such as those representing the Sekaiichi and Jonathan varieties.

The game was created with the help of experts, using programming learning materials offered free by video game giant Sega Corp.

The game features three levels of difficulty, in which four, five or eight varieties of apples are used. As players advance, the speed at which the apples fall is ratcheted up. The number of connected apples is displayed as a harvest score in kilograms.

The tweet the prefectural government’s tourism planning division sent out on Nov. 23 about the release of the game had received 30,000 retweets by Dec. 16.

Puyo Ringo has been well-received. Some reviewers have said, “The apples came down before I was able to figure out what kind they were” and “Three of us Aomori residents tried the game, but it was a struggle.”

According to the prefectural government, the sales of Aomori Prefecture apples produced in 2020 was ¥108.19 billion, exceeding ¥100 billion the seventh consecutive year.

Ninety percent of apples exported overseas come from Aomori, whose apples are highly popular, especially in Southeast Asia.