Two puzzle games coming together into one, combined game sounds like a bit of a messy proposition. And it kind of is. But a heart-pounding, exciting messy. A summer love fling kind of mess. Combining the worlds of both Puyo Pop and Tetris manages to create something unique, a brand new type of puzzle game that’s never been seen before — and one of the best puzzle games of recent years.
There’s not a lot to say about the Adventure Mode. The story is as you’d expect from previous Puyo Pop games. The little that is there just serves to move you from one round of puzzling to the next. But, what is there is cute, fun, and works surprisingly well — introducing brand new Tetris characters in the style of many returning Puyo favourites.
Brilliant renditions of the core puzzle games.
There are some pretty tough stages, but the difficulty curve is a bit varied, and will obviously depend vastly on your own skill and experience with Puyo or Tetris. Lacking in one may lead you to bang your head against a wall for at least a little while until you get it. Especially if you want to master all 3 stars on every stage.
There are 4 puzzle modes on offer in Puyo Puyo Tetris. No prizes for guessing the first two: simply Puyo Puyo, and Tetris. These are both brilliant renditions of the core puzzle games, which is more than enough to make the game great in and of themselves. You can even jump right into either from the main menu without digging through menus, as well as the “Fusion Mode” (more on that in a second).
You don’t have to only play one puzzle type against the same, either. Someone can play Puyo Pop against someone else playing Tetris, with “junk blocks” being applied regardless. These are essentially bad blocks that fill up the opponent’s puzzle board, making them more likely to be unable to prevent their blocks reaching the top of the screen and losing. You might be able to argue one puzzle type has the advantage over the other, but as mentioned before, that’s more than likely going to depend on which you’re more comfortable with.
They operate entirely independently from one another, so you end up needing to try and remember what you’re building towards on the other board, as your struggle with the one in front of you.
The two new game modes are “Swap” and “Fusion”, which combine both Puyo Puyo and Tetris together in different ways. Swap basically gives players two puzzle boards each, one for Puyo Puyo, and one for Tetris. These switch for both players after a timer countdown, which get quicker as the match goes on, and the board grow more intense. They operate entirely independently from one another, so you end up needing to try and remember what you’re building towards on the other board, as your struggle with the one in front of you. It’s pretty hardcore.
Conversely, Fusion challenges you to play both Puyo Puyo and Tetris on one board at the same time. The two block types don’t interact to form solutions together — you’re still trying to essentially clear Tetris lines and clumps of the same coloured puyo. It’s two games taking place in a shared space.
But they do interact together physically. Tetris are heavier, and can both smash some junk blocks, and also push puyo up above the tetris blocks, which can help create puyo pop chains. Or ruin the chains you’d been planning, if you’re not thinking in the unique way Fusion mode demands. Fusion mode definitely takes some getting used to, as you need to become familiar with not only both games, but how these pieces interact together in whole new physical movements on the board.
All of these four modes seem super polished and well thought out, but these modes alone don’t make up the entire game. On top of the story in Adventure Mode and normal matches in Versus Mode — you can also hop into Big Bang Mode that challenges you to clear pre-set puzzle board; or Party Mode, which is like Versus, except gives out special blocks that have unique affects on the match, a bit like Mario Kart power ups for puzzle games. There’s more than few ways to apply your puzzle game knowledge.
It might have taken a while to head to the west, but it’s been worth the wait, especially to get a port of the game on Switch. It almost feels like the game was made specifically for the system. Taking it on the go just feels natural for a puzzle game like this, and having the option to get stuck into harder matches on the big screen is definitely appreciated too (fair warning, a lot of players online are almost definitely going to devastate you).
Not only does Puyo Puyo Tetris breathe fresh life into both puzzle games, it does it in a way that somehow feels perfectly natural.
Multiplayer on the Switch also works fantastically in this version, as you can challenge your friends, family, or strangers to matches absolutely anywhere. There’s always time for a Puyo Puyo Tetris showdown.
Not only does Puyo Puyo Tetris breathe fresh life into both puzzle games, it does it in a way that somehow feels perfectly natural, despite being some of a clash of a puzzle mechanics. If you get one puzzle game for Switch, make it this one.
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