Puyo Puyo Tetris released to a Japanese audience back in 2014, at the time forgoing a western launch due to licensing issues. With those now resolved, the puzzle game mashup arrives on our shores this week, having lost none of its charm in translation.
With licensing issues now resolved, the puzzle game mashup arrives on our shores this week, having lost none of its charm in translation.
There’s an absolute wealth of modes to choose from, each boasting their own further customisation options, all of which are playable solo, but Puyo Puyo Tetris has quite a heavy multiplayer weighting. For the most part, this isn’t your standard high score-chasing fare: though the classic modes are tucked away in the menus, the focus is very much placed squarely upon versus variants, in which you battle up to three opponents. Completing lines in Tetris and grouping Puyos in Puyo Puyo litters an opponent's board with garbage pieces, making it harder for them to stay afloat and bringing you closer to victory. This goes both ways, naturally, but as these pieces are annoying to deal with by design, some will inevitably lament the change in direction.
For those that take to it, however, there’s a lot on the multiplayer front to keep you busy. We can easily imagine the game securing a dedicated player base between its ranked and casual match offerings, largely because it doesn’t place restrictions on Tetris or Puyo Puyo purists competing against one another. That inevitably raises questions with regards to balance, as players are engaging in two fundamentally different games, but, in our experience, SEGA managed to pull it off.
If online leagues seem a little intimidating, you can also play locally, whilst finding a mode to suit any player’s skill set. Party adds power-ups that hinder opponents in a variety of ways, but to counteract any frustration that might cause everyone has infinite lives. Big Bang offers up frantic fun as you slot missing pieces into a range of preset boards as quickly and accurately as possible. Meanwhile, Swap sees each player juggle simultaneous games of Puyo Puyo and Tetris, switching between boards at frequent set intervals.
There’s an absolute wealth of modes to choose from, each boasting their own further customisation options.
While these modes are undoubtedly a good time, they don’t quite match the staying power of the game’s Challenge mode, which offers a more traditional take on its resident duo by (for the most part) tasking you with securing high scores in time-sensitive tasks.
Then there’s our personal favourite - Fusion. Fusion places Puyos and Tetriminos on the same board, each sticking to their established rule set, while also interacting with one another to afford the player new and exciting opportunities. Namely, this involves heavy Tetris blocks smashing through stacks of jelly-like Puyo, which then re-emerge from the top of the board and land atop the piece that ousted them, allowing you to setup and execute some impressive combos with a bit of lateral thinking. Throw in new piece configurations, and you have one harmonious take on two old school properties.
Puyo Puyo Tetris could easily have been a Frankenstein’s monster of a game, though it’s anything but. It’s a fresh-faced and modern reimagining of a couple of all time greats, offering a huge amount of choice and longevity to players at a budget price, making it the best puzzler we’ve played in a good long while.