Puyo Pop is a puzzle game series that has been around for a while. Some of its iterations include Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche, but this time around it's titled appropriately. Puyo Pop Fever features classic Puyo Pop gameplay with some welcome additions that make for one addictive puzzle experience.
For those new to Puyo Pop, the game is played by moving and rotating blocks that fall from the top of the screen a la Tetris. These blocks are composed of different coloured Puyo. When 4 of the same coloured Puyo touch each other, they pop. The game is over once the Puyo reach the centre Xs at the top of the playfield. It's simple yet mastering the ability to create massive chains and beat difficult opponents can get very challenging. While playing against an opponent, creating chains will dump garbage (called Nuisance Puyo) on your opponent's playfield which they can get rid of by popping adjacent Puyos. It's extremely rewarding to be able to pull off large chain-reactions and worth the patience and effort to learn how to do so.
Puyo Pop Fever features some additions to the classic Puyo Pop formula. There are now blocks that compose 3 and 4 Puyo instead of just 2 Puyo as in previous games. This helps mix up the gameplay a bit and clever players can use these blocks to their advantage. There is also the addition of Fever Mode which is activated by offsetting enough of your opponent's pending Nuisance Puyo. This is done by performing chains and moves that would normally dump Nuisance Puyo on your opponent while Nuisance Puyo is about to be dumped on you. While in Fever Mode, easily chainable Puyo appears in the playfield. The player can keep performing these easy chains as long as their Fever Time doesn't run out. If they are fast enough, their opponent can potentially get bombarded with Nuisance Puyo. These mechanics make battling opponents a constant back-and-forth dynamic with attacking and counterattacking which makes for a hectic and tense yet extremely enjoyable game. Players can also save replays of matches which is a nice feature.
The game looks great with fun and colourful characters and backdrops, 3D animated Puyos, and silly cutscenes. Some gamers will find the cutscenes and voice acting annoying. Luckily, you can turn off the cutscenes but it's too bad that the voices can't be disabled as well. Unlike many other puzzle games, the music isn't that catchy but it is fun and adds to the frivolous and chaotic atmosphere. Sound effects as Puyos move, rotate, drop, and pop are done well and add even more fun to the audio.
There are 3 main modes in Puyo Pop Fever. Single Puyo Pop is a single player mode in which players battle against computer controlled characters. There are 3 courses with an increasing level of difficulty. These courses act like an arcade mode where you battle opponents one after another until the course is complete. There is also Free Battle in which you can choose the difficulty and characters for yourself and your opponent. There are 16 total characters in Puyo Pop Fever, 2 of which are unlocked by playing the Single Puyo Pop courses. As you play the courses, you will also unlock the cutscenes that occur between battles. There isn't much incentive to keep playing these courses (other than to climb leaderboards) after you unlock both characters and all of the cutscenes. However, considering only Puyo Pop masters can accomplish this, there is a significant amount of gameplay and challenge to be had.
Double Puyo Pop is a multiplayer mode in which 2 players battle each other. Only 2 players can play which is a missed opportunity as being able to play with 4 players would be great fun. There are many ways to play this mode which is great as players can easily maximize the amount of fun they will get out of each match. You can choose Normal rules with Fever Mode active or a more traditional Puyo match by selecting Classic rules. There are also Trap rules and Edit rules. Trap rules make Fever Mode disadvantageous so players will try to trap each other into activating Fever Mode. Edit rules allows players to set their own rules which are confusing and aren't explained in-game. Most players would never choose these rules since playing Puyo Pop on its own is challenging enough without complicating things, but they are nice additions for Puyo experts. Most players will pick either Normal or Classic rules and have a great time battling each other.
Finally, Endless Puyo Pop is another single player mode. Players don't battle any opponents in this mode and it can be played in 3 variations; Fever, Mission, and Original. Fever is played in constant Fever Mode and the game is over when time runs out. Constant chains and quick thinking will get you the highest score in this variation. Mission involves players accomplishing randomly assigned tasks in a limited amount of time such as create a certain number of chains or pop a certain amount of colours at once. This variation is probably the most challenging as it forces players to switch strategies after completing each task. Original is the simplest of the 3 variations as it only involves playing until the game is over. This is the most relaxing variation as there are no specific tasks to accomplish or time limit. There is no incentive to play Endless Puyo Pop other than to chill and have fun or try to climb the leaderboards.
Puyo Pop Fever is a great addition to any puzzle enthusiast's library. There is much fun to be had in the many modes that the game offers. Besides a few flaws, this is a puzzle game classic.
- + Simple gameplay yet mastering the game is very challenging and rewarding
- + Nice additions to the classic Puyo Pop formula
- + Solid presentation with many fun characters
- - Not enough single player incentives
- - No multiplayer for over 2 players is a missed opportunity
- - Voice acting can get annoying