While many of us might be lamenting the lacklustre launch of a certain big-budget dystopian RPG, Sega might just have the pallette cleanser you need with the launch of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 on Sony’s PlayStation 5.
Unleashed on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox Series, and Xbox One consoles back on 8 December, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is the latest iteration in Sega’s long-running puzzle crossover. Twisting Puyo Puyo and Tetris into a single puzzle adventure come competitive multiplayer, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 dabbles in a multitude of drop down scenarios that grab players by the optical jack and plug them into a boisterous, if seemingly simple set of encounters that will end up feeling unexpectedly entertaining.
The Game You Remember
Rather than thrust players into an epic quest that delves in the nature of the human soul, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 does manage to tell a tale of sorts. Returning to the same cast as the first Puyo Puyo Tetris, this reinvention of the genre classics has come a long way since Tetris flickered onto the scene back in 1984. Now, both of these seemingly simple puzzlers have their own game worlds, filled with curious characters, distinctly Japanese mascots, and a ton of silly puns. When these two outlandish worlds collide, a cast of starship captains, animated robots, and chirpy teenagers must find out exactly why they are face to face and correct a range of wrongs in this adventure with comparative block building battles.
If this genre warping sequel seems a bit surreal sounding then it looks just as over the top. A bright stylised cartoon aesthetic welcomes new players to a cast of block builders that wouldn’t be out of place in a 2D version of Nitnendos’ Splatoon or Ninjala. It’s a world away from what I remember on my ancient Game Boy, but fans of the first Puyo Puyo Tetris will adore it and that’s really all it needs to be, utterly adorable.
Players plunged into the main story mode will find that picking Tetris or Puyo Puyo up doesn’t take much practice. Sure, a tutorial mode comes as standard but there are very few controls to memorize and this single-player campaign largely focuses on the changes that this competitive approach takes to both puzzlers. Even hardened fans of the first Puyo Puyo Tetris will find a range of new tweaks.
For anybody that hasn’t played the previous crossover title, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, pits players against an AI across a series of stages throughout an animated narrative. Between the 2D puns, the old-style Tetris changes form a solo survival crawl down a monochrome screen, into a mad dash to line up as many lines as possible. Puyo Puyo similarly throws caution to the wind, encouraging gamers to stack up as many combo colors as possible. Here combative puzzle play generates attacks by blasting together multiple rows of matching tiles and overcoming an enemy means being first to put together some stunning combos. Just like any competitive beat ‘em up, Puyo Puyo Tetris battles is a fast-paced run to land the most punches, and ultimately handicap your opponent with extra building blocks. This combination of strategy, planning, and unpredictable outcomes mean that there are plenty of ways that everything can spiral out of control given just one or two fatal slip ups.
While Puyo Puyo is arguably more complex, it can scroll down the screen at a slower pace, providing players with more time to strategize for maximum impact. Tetris blocks are easier to orientate but this results in a manic rush to build that can spill over the top if you don’t build wisely. This juxtaposition of different playstyles will either feel like a problem if you can’t get to grips with one of the games, or a refreshing change, depending on your own opinion. Me, I felt the change-up kept the game from getting overly repetitive.
Players busy picking up the basics might also notice a new change to the solo play mode in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. For the first time, the Puyo Puyo x Tetris platform adds in something of an RPG mode. Players powering through this fast paced puzzler will find themselves picking up a party and adding extra skills to their array of options as they battle through a Skill Battle game mode. Like the traditional player versus player standoff, this style of play pits gamers against each other, or an AI in story mode, but anybody trying out this standoff can put together a group of characters, each with their own appropriate skill, as both sides battle to inflict damage upon their opponents critical HP bar. The addition of this new idea means that despite a lot of the same for fans of the crossover franchise, there’s still a reason to pick up and play once again.
It’s clear, however, that Puyo Puyo Tetris isn’t meant to be played solo. An utter plethora of game types, online competitive modes, and multiplayer party play are also crammed into Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. If you’ve seen it all before then this won’t exactly blow you away, but for anybody that hasn’t picked up the first, swapping out Puyo Puyo for Tetris mid-match, crushing your friends, or trying out the Skill Battles against a human opponent make for plenty of friendly Christmas competition, just incase you didn’t manage a family feud over the Scrabble board this year. A total of six game modes are given the multiplayer treatment with swap, big bang, party, versus and more all proving sufficiently different that somebody will suck at something when you go head to head. To top it off, a decent enough cosmetic reward system provides a little sticky for any in game progression, meaning that you’ll end up ploughing more time than you’d expect into this cute follow up to Puyo Puyo Tetris.
Play It Again?
As a follow-up, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 does manage to add the occasional extra twist, some tweaked timing, and a whole new round of puns to the mix. For absolutely anybody that’s already got Puyo Puyo Tetris on their digital shelf, this probably won’t justify the price that you’ll pay for a fully fledged new game. The look, feel, and audio aesthetic of the previous title has made its way across largely intact and if you used to reign atop a castle of tetrominoes then Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a great alternative to spending a festive afternoon around a jigsaw puzzle.