Tetris and Puyo Puyo are two of the most successful puzzle games in the world. Sure, Puyo Puyo barely makes it way out of its homeland of Japan these days, but gamers will have played it in some form or another since it’s conception in 1991. With Sega now responsible for the Puyo Puyo series they called in the Tetris licence to smash the two franchises together. The result is a crazy, bizarre puzzle mashup bursting with personality.
Conveniently for the player, on the starting menu you can instantly choose if you want to jump straight into the action with a quick game of Tetris, Puyo Puyo or the mental mashup of the two presented in this game.
Let’s start with Tetris. I feel I’m wasting my energy to talk about Tetris seeing as it’s the most well known game in the world. With a random selection of seven differently shaped tetriminos falling to the Earth you have to create lines to clear them out. The more lines you clear out at one time (up to four) the more points you earn. The more you do this the faster the game becomes until it’s too much for you to handle and the game overwhelms you and reaches the top of the playing field.
You can rotate the falling blocks 90 degrees at a time in order to fit your needs. As with later games of Tetris you can hold a block for later use and press up to instantly slam the current block right to the ground. It’s a timeless game, almost perfection at this point. This version has the perfect difficulty curve as it gets harder as the time goes on. It’s not the kind that seems to go on forever, nor the one that gets stupidly difficult too quickly.
Puyo Puyo is a little different and most certainly the one you’re least familiar with. It shares very similar mechanics to Nintendo’s Dr. Mario series, only this time without the viruses to clear. While I have much less experience with Puyo Puyo compared to Tetris, the feeling I get is that it’s much more tactical than the latter. Each time, two randomly coloured blobs fall down together. The idea is to get four blobs of the same colour together in order to make them disappear. That’s the basics anyway. But the real point winner is creating combos. Make one blob of four disappear, that makes other blobs fall together to create four and disappear, which lets four more blobs fall together to disappear. A triple combo. Setting this up is more difficult than you’d think, at least for me as a beginner. But when it does happen, my God it’s glorious, especially during competitive play where it completely destroys your opponents.
Then there’s the mashup. A weird thing where it throws both Puyo Puyo blobs at you and then the occasional oversized Tetris blocks which automatically throw themselves under the Puyo’s. So you have to create Tetris lines as well as making combos. It’s by far the most difficult to get a grip on since you need to think of multiple things at once, but it is genuinely fun.
Those are the three modes available from the off. But that’s not the only mashup available, once you pass through the quick start menu and into the main game menu.There’s just so many different and crazy options, I just want to talk about my favourite mode. It’s another Tetris – Puyo Puyo mashup game. This is where there are two plains of gameplay. A Tetris on and a Puyo Puyo one. You begin on one of the two but every 20 seconds or so it switches between them. It makes multiplayer hilarious as it constantly switches between the two. It’s my favourite gameplay of them all in a game packed with awesome modes.
Surprisingly there is a story mode connected with this game. My copy is in Japanese but aside from the quirkiness of a developer trying to wrangle a story out of a puzzle mashup game, I don’t think I was particularly missing out on anything. There are story missions which offer varied gameplay goals with achieving up to three stars in each. It will actually take you quite a while to complete, no thanks to the surprisingly drawn out cutscenes.
Where Puyo Puyo Tetris shines is in its couch multiplayer mode. Having friends over to compete against each other is so fun and the ability to have three other friends play with you is great. The only problem that can be apparent is the skill levels of the player. In a straight match, generally, if one player is better they will always win. But in order to combat that you can set up a handicap which helps even the playing field.
Sadly, there are a few performance issues. Despite being a simple game and something that shouldn’t really be a strain on the Switch’s hardware. Puyo Puyo Tetris does freeze on occasions right in the middle of the action for no apparent reason. Yes, the game does start again after a few seconds right where you left it, but it’s still puzzling as to why this happens. It didn’t happen all the time but it really can take you out of the game. Hopefully a patch will be incoming in time for the international release.
Boy did I used to think I was pretty handy at Tetris. That was until I went online in this game. The handful of times I tried online with Puyo Puyo Tetris I got my arse absolutely handed to me and I’m not even sure what I was doing wrong to get completely annihilated. Online is not for the faint hearted here. It’s worth mentioning I had no problem whatsoever connecting with people online. There are various random modes to enjoy also.
Overall, Puyo Puyo Tetris is an easy puzzle party game to recommend especially if you have friends of equal skill around. It has so much content and options, and once you see this you will understand the retail price. Aside from a few technical difficulties, at least in the Japanese version, it’s got so much going for it.