One genre that's highly underrepresented in today's gaming market is classic puzzle games. Puyo Puyo Tetris combines two of the most iconic puzzlers into one addictive experience so let's get ready to pop some Puyos!
That's right; Puyo Puyo Tetris combines the chain-reaction thrills of Puyo Pop with the classic block-falling fun of Tetris. So, how does this work? Basically, you could consider it a two-games-in-one sort of deal except competing players can each choose their favourite of the two before a match. Doing well in Puyo may make junk rise up in a Tetris player's board while executing Tetrises will have junk fall on a Puyo player's board. It's an interesting dynamic indeed that can make for some seriously exciting matches. Swap mode even has you alternate between a Puyo and a Tetris field in mid-game. However, the most complex mode is Fusion where you drop Puyos and Tetrominos down the same field. Honestly, even I'm a bit stumped by that mode and I've been a huge fan of both series for decades. Overall, I'm impressed by how they combined both games into one cohesive puzzler.
Puyo Puyo Tetris takes place in the Puyo Pop universe with plenty of familiar characters, colourful visuals, cutesy voices, and cheerful music. If you've ever played a previous game in the series, you'll feel right at home. The mixture of clean and vibrant graphics and charming audio makes it a very enjoyable game to watch as well as play. However, there is one aspect that's rather disappointing. The Puyos themselves are quite lifeless when you compare them to the ones in Puyo Pop Fever. That game rendered them in 3D and they would have adorable animations from time to time which elevated the presentation to a higher level. Also, the camera would zoom in and rotate cinematically when you performed chains and that feature is unfortunately absent here. Keep in mind; Puyo Pop Fever debuted way back in 2004 so why they couldn't add that level of detail here is beyond me.
As you can probably already tell, there is a ton of ways to play Puyo Puyo Tetris. First of all, you can play either solo or multiplayer via local or online for up to four simultaneous players. Aside from the previously mentioned Swap and Fusion modes, you can also challenge friends or strangers to simple Versus matches, Party mode (where power-ups are in play), and Big Bang which acts like a constant Fever mode. There are oodles of options, too, so you can customize everything from the garbage rate to the required amount of matching Puyos to make them pop. While online, you can enjoy Free Play matches or try and increase your rank via Puzzle League. If you're a puzzle game aficionado then I should mention that this isn't Puzzle League as in Panel de Pon. That would've been too awesome.
If you prefer playing solo, there's a surprisingly lengthy Adventure mode that'll have you face various opponents in different kinds of matches. It's great fun working through it but I found that a lot of the goals to earn stars are very counterintuitive. For example, I beat an opponent in less than a minute and was quite proud of myself. On the results screen, I was disappointed to see that I only earned one star because I didn't get a high enough score. Therefore, did I have to play less efficiently to earn more stars? That's just silly. Anyway, you can tackle computer opponents in any of the available modes and can even attempt Endurance variations to see how many foes you can beat in a row. Additionally, there are six Challenges (three Puyo and three Tetris) to take on.
Although this is a lot of content, I was hoping to see more Tetris variations such as the cascade variant like in The Next Tetris (my personal favourite). All you get here is classic Tetris which is great but extra variants would have made it a more complete package.
Puyo Puyo Tetris mixes two classic puzzle formulas into one seamless experience that'll keep you hooked. Although it's far from the complete package, what's here will surely keep any puzzler fan entertained for hours.
- + Lengthy Adventure mode to master
- + Tons of online and offline multiplayer modes, options, and variations
- + Cheerful setting and delightful audio
- - Many Tetris variants are absent
- - A lot of the goals to earn stars in Adventure mode can be quite counterintuitive
- - Previous Puyo games had flashier visuals