Puyo Puyo Tetris (NS) - ReviewDan Carreras , posted on 24 April 2017 / 12,631 Views
Growing up in a family obsessed with gaming, we were always on the lookout for the next game that would allow us to compete with one another. Super Puzzle Fighter was a common pick for a few years, but then we discovered and fell in love with Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. The level of skill involved in placing pieces down as quickly as possible while simultaneously looking to set up chains made it an addictive family experience.
Now, almost 20 years later, Sonic Team have developed Puyo Puyo Tetris. It combines Tetris, the world's most renowned puzzle game, with Puyo Puyo, a popular Japanese puzzle series based around matching tiles, which makes for something that's both new and positively nostalgic. On the surface it's a simple fusing of the two series, but dig deep enough and you’ll find that it's actually a lot more than that.
One way it achieves this is through its story mode, which is surprisingly intriguing and manages to incentivise you to keep playing for a good five or six hours. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Puyo Puyo series features a lengthy cast of characters that stand out and allow for some brilliant marketing in their home country. These characters go on adventures and battle people using the titular Puyos, which are strange blobs that exist within the game's world and which disappear when four or more of the same type touch.
The crossover concept allows the two series' worlds to collide and this combination of two entirely different worlds is fun to witness. It also allows for some interesting battles. A Puyo chain, for example, has the potential to 'dump' more junk on the opposing player, should you construct it well enough, while Tetris players have the advantage in terms of speed. Every character will comment on how crazy the opposing side’s battle is and eventually the campaign introduces battle modes that are unique to Puyo Puyo Tetris.
It’s unlikely to be the reason you'll purchase Puyo Puyo Tetris, but this story mode is a very much welcome addition to the game.
You can play either puzzler - Puyo Puyo or Tetris - but the strength of any crossover is really in how the two interact. The Puyo Puyo Tetris-exclusive mixed mode throws both Puyos and Tetrominos at you, which really pushes your abilities to the limit. The two don't destroy one another, so Tetrominos will gradually pile up and make it increasingly difficult to destroy the Puyos you're given. The upside is that Tetrominos can destroy the stage's 'junk', and they also force Puyos on top, so Tetrominos will always stack up together at the base of the stage. Still, this is an incredibly tough mode, even with those advantages, and it tests your mastery of both games.
Another great mode that's been included is swap mode, in which every 25 seconds you’ll be flipped onto a new stage that has you either playing Tetris or Puyo Puyo. This adds a new layer of challenge because it encourages you to set up blocks to be destroyed shortly before you're forced to switch play styles. This, along with a myriad of other unique game modes, including battle mode (where you destroy blocks that grant power-ups), makes Puyo Puyo Tetris one of the best puzzles packages to have on any platform.
It's also easy to understate just how much fun this all is when played with friends in local multiplayer. Screams, shouts, and laughs are commonplace whenever one player manages to get the upper hand and then dump a bunch of junk on another's screen just before they were about to unleash their master plan. I received a Switch copy of the game and it was an absolute delight; being able to pop round a friend's house, undock the Joy-Cons and then play without any fuss is great. The only downside is that you have to use the analogue stick to move pieces about when playing like this.
At the time of writing I'm unable to comment on Puyo Puyo Tetris' online functionality. Local multiplayer is a joy with friends and family, and one hopes that the online multiplayer is able to partially replicate this when the game launches. The prospect of making use of replay saves to learn best practices looks promising at the very least. Time will tell.
There are some slight problems with Puyo Puyo Tetris. The dialogue in the campaign can sometimes feel a bit off/awkward, as if it's not quite been accurately translated. Surprisingly there's also a bug which causes Puyos to get stuck at the top of the screen and not land. This is rare - it only happened twice in my 12+ hours with the game - but unfortunately it's match-ending when it does happen
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a love letter to strategic puzzle games the world over and just so happens to also be one of the best puzzle packages currently on the market. Time will tell if the only multiplayer pans out, but otherwise Puyo Puyo Tetris is easy for me to recommend.
This review is based on a digital copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris for the NS, provided by the publisher.