Two puzzle classics come together
As the best-selling video game on the planet, no other game can hold a candle to Tetris. This legendary puzzle game has graced virtually every gaming platform, and now it’s Nintendo Switch’s turn. Only this time worlds collide as Tetris gets mashed up with SEGA’s awesome, yet lesser known puzzle franchise, Puyo Puyo.
The game I’m referring to, of course, is SEGA’s Puyo Puyo Tetris (also available on PS4.) This unique crossover title feels like practically three games in one. You get full versions of Tetris and Puyo Puyo, in addition to the all-new Fusion mode that combines both games. To top it off, there’s also a lengthy story mode that will take you at least 8-10 hours to complete.
Best of all, the game supports up to 4-player matches, both local and online. Puyo Puyo and Tetris both have hugely competitive communities, and now fans can battle it out under one roof. I’ve had so much fun playing the game, and without hesitation recommend it to Switch owners looking for a fantastic multiplayer game!
What’s in a name?
Although the name Puyo Puyo might not be as recognizable here as Tetris, it’s still had its share of success. Back more than 20 years ago, popular versions came out for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo—but had altered names. Genesis got a Sonic-themed version called Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, while SNES received Kirby’s Avalanche. If you’ve played either of these games, the basic gameplay principles remain the same in this new Nintendo Switch game.
Familiar tile-matching fun
For those new to Puyo Puyo, the concept is fairly straight-forward. Groups of coloured slime-like creatures fall from the top of the screen and must be matched to “pop” them. You need to connect four or more puyos to eliminate them, and then any stacked above them will fall down.
Where the real challenge lies is chaining multiple puyo pops, one after another, which gives you a mega combo. Combos not only award you a huge score multiplier, but against players they also flood their screen with garbage puyos. This in turn can block your opponent from making combos of their own, giving you a major edge in battle.
Switching over to Tetris, you’ll find the classic gameplay hasn’t changed a whole lot from what you remember. Your primary goal remains rotating tetriminos of various shapes to complete lines and lower your stack. Despite playing Tetris for nearly three decades now, I still find the core gameplay to be as satisfying as ever.
When worlds collide
As touched upon, Puyo Puyo Tetris contains a robust story mode that takes more than eight hours to complete. Adventure mode, as it’s called, spans 10 acts with 10 stages each, for a total of 100 playable missions. It’s a huge amount of content that adds tremendous value to the overall package.
Not only that, SEGA went all-out to make sure this campaign is a memorable one. You’ll meet a huge cast of characters just dripping with personality, and go on a wild and wacky interplanetary adventure. In a nutshell, the story revolves around the sudden merging of the Tetris and Puyo Puyo worlds, with characters from both games coming together to solve this mystery. Best of all, the entire tale is voice acted with some downright witty and charming dialogue.
Like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Puyo Puyo Tetris offers a variety of ways to play with friends. You can have up to four players on one TV, or you can wirelessly connect using separate Nintendo Switch consoles. Since two Joy-Con controllers are bundled with the system, you can immediately enjoy two-player action out-of-the-box.
Five different multiplayer modes are included, and each one offers thrilling competitive play. First, there’s Versus where you compete head-to-head in either Puyo Puyo or Tetris. Everyone choses their preferred game, so you can actually have Puyo Puyo players face off against Tetris players. This is excellent news because it means everyone can pick whatever game they’re most comfortable with.
Next, there’s Swap, a mode where every 30 seconds you switch between playing Puyo Puyo and Tetris. Each game uses its own board, so you have to manage two separate games at once. The cool part is both games can interact with each other, if you time it correctly. By completing Tetris lines right before the swap, you’ll send garbage to your opponent’s Puyo Puyo board. Likewise, get a Puyo Puyo chain before the transition and a heap of Tetris garbage will fill your opponent’s screen. It’s fast, it’s fun, and there’s tons of strategy.
Thirdly, there’s the insane new Fusion mode that mashes Puyo Puyo and Tetris into a single game. As such, you’ll need to contend with tetriminos and puyos dropping on the same game board. To spice things up, tetriminos are “heavier” than puyos and will squish the slime creatures on their way down. What I love most about this new mode is it requires completely new ways of thinking beyond traditional Tetris and Puyo Puyo strategies.
The fourth mode is Party, and this one introduces items into the mix. Some items will disrupt your opponents, while others may protect you from incoming attacks. For example, one item disables your opponent’s ability to rotate blocks, while another shields you from incoming garbage. It’s an intense, thrilling mode where everyone has unlimited lives and competes for the highest score.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the fastest, most chaotic mode of them all, Big Bang. Here you’ll compete to clear preset tetriminos or puyo patterns as quickly as you can. Instead of battling for points or to fill your opponent’s screen, your goal is to make huge combos. Each player has a health bar and the bigger your combos, the more you’ll deplete your opponent’s bar. If you’re looking for high-energy excitement, Big Bang mode is where you’ll find the most frenzied action.
Multiplayer is the clear highlight of this game, but naturally you can play all modes against A.I. opponents. In addition, you can test your skill at six single-player challenges—three for Tetris and three for Puyo Puyo. For Puyo Puyo there’s Endless Fever, Endless Puyo, and Tiny Puyo, and for Tetris, you have Sprint, Marathon, and Ultra.
Most of these are of the “clear the fastest” or “clear with the highest score” variety, and your best results get recorded. My favourite is Endless Puyo, as I love seeing how long I can survive, but it’s too bad there’s no endless for Tetris as well.
For the highly competitive type, Online mode is where to get your fix. Free Play lets you create matches with customized options and is great for inviting your friends. On the other hand, Puzzle League pits you against players from around the world in ranked matches. As mentioned earlier, Puyo Puyo and Tetris both have very competitive communities so be prepared for a stiff challenge. In terms of matchmaking speed, from my experience it was excellent—usually within seconds. Very encouraging for such a new game on the market.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is an exceptionally fun and well-polished game. With Tetris, Puyo Puyo, and the all-new Fusion mode it’s virtually like three games in one. As well, the sheer variety of multiplayer game modes keeps the action fresh over the long haul. Add in a beautiful and hilarious 8+ hour Adventure Mode and you have a must-have game for any puzzle fan.
+ Adventure mode is fun and hilarious
+ Bright, beautiful, crisp graphics
+ Great selection of game modes
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Vast multiplayer and online options
– More single-player challenges would have been nice
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5