Puyo Puyo Tetris delivers a wonderfully chaotic experience that combines the fast paced Tetris gameplay and the more strategic Puyo Puyo formula that has been a staple of the franchise since its 1991 debut. As someone who has been a fan of Tetris since I was a kid with a Game Boy, the thought of playing a new iteration of the popular franchise on Nintendo’s Switch made me anxious. What makes Sega’s reimagining so memorable is the inclusion of the Puyo Puyo gameplay.
Until this game, I had not been acquainted with the Puyo Puyo franchise. The gameplay from that series differs so much from Tetris that I thought the game would just fall flat. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to satisfy fans of both franchises. What surprised me the most is just how many options players will have to choose from. Upon booting up Puyo Puyo Tetris, you can choose to play Tetris, Puyo Puyo, and Fusion (a mixture of the two gametypes). Doing this will immediately put you into a match against a bot.
From the main menu, you can choose to play story mode, plenty of game types as well as multiplayer modes, both online and offline. The story mode is often charming and very cute. Although it’s nothing amazing, I found myself delighted by the interactions between all of the characters. Fans of the Puyo Puyo series will enjoy seeing some of their favorite characters on screen interacting with new protagonists made specifically for this game.
There are 100 levels in the Puyo Puyo Tetris story mode and should take around 7 hours to get `through. Players who want to earn three stars on every level can add a few more hours of playtime. Doing this is no easy task. I was able to unlock three stars on the first 60 levels without much challenge, but then the difficulty spike stopped me in my tracks. Puyo Puyo Tetris suddenly became relentless in its difficulty. I found myself spending way too much time trying to “perfect” the game. Instead, I decided to finish the campaign and plan on going back to those levels soon. If the story mode isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of game types to try out.
Big Bang is a fast-paced mode that gives players a health meter. When the match starts, there is a time limit on the screen and each player must race to complete the puzzles found on the board. At the end of the time limit, you’ll deal damage to your opponent based on the amount of lines that have been cleared. The winner is the first player to deplete your foe’s health meter.
In Party, items will appear on the board. Clearing a line that contains an item will activate it. Some items are buffs for yourself while others will cause havoc for your opponent. These can include: decreasing your enemy’s score, causing a blackout on their screen, making Tetriminos blocks fall faster, locking rotation, and even increasing the size of each Tetrimino block. This mode is often hectic and can cause some seriously stressful moments.
I spent the most time playing Swap. In this mode, players will have two boards; one for Tetris and the other for Puyo Puyo. Every thirty seconds, the boards “swap” and the players will then work on the next board. The constant switching between Tetris and Puyo Puyo kept me on my toes. Since Tetris is my strong suit, I often tried to win while on this board. The winner of Swap is the first person to successfully eliminate their opponent on any board.
Lastly, there’s Fusion, the game type that caused me the most frustration. This is surprising because Fusion is ultimately what Puyo Puyo Tetris advertises; a blending of these two loved games. In this mode, Puyos and Tetrimino blocks can be played on the same board. This blend just doesn’t work at all. Whenever a Tetrimino appears on the screen, I noticed that the game’s speed suddenly felt slower. That speed had nothing to do with frame-rates, it’s just that both of these games have completely different feels, so mixing them together resulted in a weird experience. Putting a Tetrimino on a Puyo crushes these squishy blobs in order to make room for the blocks. Then, the crushed Puyos rain down from the top of the screen, changing the playing field. It’s a jumbled mess that I hated to play.
Puyo Puyo Tetris looks and sounds great. The visuals are appealing, especially the Puyos and the pulsating Big Bang mode, while the audio aspect is pleasing to the ear. I enjoyed the music and sound effects while I found the voice acting to be cute and oftentimes funny.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is my favorite multiplayer experience on the Nintendo Switch. Simply put, it’s addictive, fast-paced, chaotic gameplay will keep people coming back for a long time. I often sat down aiming to play a few rounds and then found myself glued to my switch for a few hours. While the story mode and other gametypes (except Fusion) are fun to play, the online mode is where I spent most of my time. Once the game launches and people start to buy Puyo Puyo Tetris, I expect the online community to be very lively. Not only is it a blast to play against other players, I think it will be a hit at parties. Since the Switch is a console that can be carried around, I predict that many people will be sitting around the table with friends for long periods of time. I expected to have fun with Puyo Puyo Tetris, but I didn’t think that it would be one of my favorite games to be released on Nintendo’s new console. If you decide to pick up Puyo Puyo Tetris, you’ll definitely be playing this for months to come.