Puyo Puyo and I’ve at all times had an advanced relationship. We’ve crossed paths over time, and have often flirted; however each time it appeared prefer it was going to occur, it at all times turned out that we had been seeing different platforms.
After I first encountered the sport again in 1996, I used to be working a summer season job with Nintendo selling the upcoming Nintendo 64 at Ontario Place, the place we had a demo SNES unit with Kirby’s Avalanche—the Western localized model of Tremendous Puyo Puyo—operating day by day. For sure, I performed it OFTEN. I had subsequent to no curiosity in any respect in Kirby or his weirdo mates, however I used to be genuinely intrigued within the recreation’s core puzzle mechanics and the way they differed from Tetris when it comes to aggression and one-upmanship.
As soon as I began to grasp the fundamentals behind stacking Puyos to create chains and immediately drop a mountain of rubbish Puyos on my opponent, or felt the burning need for revenge after the identical techniques had been visited upon me; I found simply how frantic and enjoyable a aggressive puzzle recreation could possibly be.
Since I didn’t personal a Tremendous Nintendo anymore—having traded it in for a PlayStation the yr prior—I had little interest in shopping for an N64 and wasn’t all that eager on the import scene; so, I made a decision I’d watch for a brand new model of Puyo Puyo to return out on a console that I did personal or deliberate to personal. Little did I do know that then this could result in the Puyo Puyo franchise and I always lacking one another for over 20 years—with Puyo Puyo not often displaying up on consoles in North America, and when it did, it was by no means on any of my most well-liked consoles of selection. The infernal chase lastly led to 2019, once I lastly caved and acquired a Japanese copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris for PS Vita throughout my final go to to Japan (which after all, had no English language assist, however was moveable and made a terrific memento)
Apparently although, Sega’s unusual concept in to hitch Puyo Puyo’s wagon to Tetris again in 2014 was a sensible one, because it in the end led to the writer seeing match to start out releasing absolutely localized Puyo Puyo-related video games in North America on each main platform, together with PC/Steam. Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is the third such recreation, and the Steam model has lastly arrived, trailing the launch of the console variations by practically 4 months. So how has this model fared?
Properly, as one would count on, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 received’t be taking residence any awards for its story. As nonsensical and saccharine because the plot of the primary recreation was, this recreation doubles-down on the cringe—counting on all the forged having misplaced their recollections of one-another simply to allow them to all be launched to one another once more. Basically, the heroines: Ringo, Arle, Amitie and their fellow earthling mates who characterize the Puyo Puyo universe are steadily reunited over the course of the story with the aliens Tee, Ess, O and others who’re cleverly named after the completely different Tetriminos from the Tetris Universe.
As their two worlds are merging because of the alleged interference of a mysterious younger lady named Marle, issues naturally ensue and the one method they are often solved is thru pleasant battles of Puyo Puyo and Tetris. Ringo even lays out the philosophy of the sport franchise in a single sentence: “When issues don’t make sense, battle till they do.” Have wiser phrases ever been spoken?
In all equity although, with out the window-dressing that constitutes the plot, the solo marketing campaign of this recreation can be nothing however a near-endless gauntlet of battles towards random Puyo Puyo Tetris characters. Whereas that prospect may attraction to skilled gamers who simply wish to hone their expertise, it serves as a good way to slowly introduce newcomers into this collection—since house owners of the unique Puyo Puyo Tetris may need little cause to buy the sequel. Additionally, whereas the story and dialogue are about as irritating as I’ve described; the precise English voice abilities behind the characters are fairly good, in a Saturday Morning Anime Cartoon type of method.
Arguably, this may give one the impression that Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a recreation primarily geared toward children, and I’d probably agree with that assumption too if it weren’t for the problem. As puzzle video games, each Tetris and Puyo Puyo have each earned the fame of being straightforward to study, troublesome to grasp; and it’s not far into the educational curve earlier than the AI takes the training-wheels off, and turns into an absolute beast of an opponent, forcing a number of retries. That’s to not say that the marketing campaign battles grow to be inconceivable to beat—however for gamers that hope to complete story mode with out skipping battles (and sure, you’ll be able to truly try this), they might want to study and grasp the numerous intermediate and superior strategies revealed within the recreation’s Follow Mode to considerably enhance their probabilities of successful. It’s a worthwhile time funding, because the expertise realized aren’t solely straight transferrable to the sport’s different modes, but in addition different standalone Puyo Puyo and Tetris video games that use the identical commonplace guidelines, equivalent to Puyo Puyo Champions and Tetris Impact.
A brand new wrinkle that Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 provides that was not current within the earlier recreation are “Talent Battles,” the place every character within the recreation brings with them a particular means that can be utilized to tip the scales of their favour, equivalent to the flexibility to show a given variety of “rubbish Puyos” already despatched over to at least one’s facet from their opponent into crimson Puyos, probably leading to one or a number of “prompt clears” relying on if there are sufficient crimson Puyos adjoining to the affected ones to create 4+ chains. One other means may be to routinely clear all Tetriminos on the underside two rows of 1’s board, or to spice up the protection of your allies and multiply harm dealt to your opponents.
Take be aware that I stated allies and opponents—that’s as a result of in Talent Battles, a number of characters can group up and mix their talents to enrich each other. Every character additionally possesses a passive means that’s at all times lively (often a well being or protection increase for instance), in addition to particular expertise which have cooldowns to stop gamers from abusing them. Gadgets will be unlocked for every group and slotted-in for added buffs as effectively. Whereas in story mode, ability battles happen when the story so dictates; gamers can even have interaction in such battles by way of the devoted Talent Battle mode in Solo Play.
Past Talent Battles, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 provides a number of different modes for solo gamers to spend hours upon hours battling in, equivalent to Versus: a single match towards one or a number of opponent; Swap: the place opponents swap Puyo Puyo and Tetris recreation types on a set timer; Get together: an infinite lives, excessive rating mode that drops in gadgets that modify recreation conduct to an insane diploma; Fusion: a mode that mixes Tetriminoes and Puyos on the identical board which I’m nonetheless attempting to get my head round; Huge Bang: a time assault mode by which you straight harm your opponent by clearing successive Tetris traces or popping Puyo Chains as quick as you’ll be able to; and Problem Mode: which dares gamers to show their Puyo Puyo Tetris prowess in six distinctive modes, like “Infinite Puyo” or “Extremely Tetris.” After which after all, there’s On-line Play and Native Multiplayer modes. Whereas all these modes of play that I’ve talked about could seem compartmentalized, there’s plenty of overlap. Nearly each mode can add as much as 4 human gamers or CPU opponents, and lots of will be performed in endurance mode, moderately than only a set variety of matches.
Visually, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 doesn’t attempt to repair something that isn’t damaged, sticking to the “elongated” anime artwork fashion and “elastic” animation that has served it effectively ever since Sega dared to place its prized puzzle recreation in the identical room with Tetris. The music choice is moderately restricted and repetitive at first however turns into extra various as gamers progress additional within the recreation, encounter new phases, check out new modes and unlock bonus BGM tracks. Talking of secrets and techniques, there are 40 characters to unlock, together with a minimum of one which isn’t usually related to the Puyo Puyo Tetris universe and appears an terrible lot like a sure blue hedgehog. If that isn’t sufficient to fulfill diehard Puyo Puyo followers, there are dozens of background phases, character avatars and alternate voices to unlock too.
The query to ask your self when deciding if Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is your jam is an apparent one, however nonetheless value emphasizing: “How a lot do you benefit from the core mechanics of Tetris and/or Puyo Puyo?” In case you had enjoyable with the unique Puyo Puyo Tetris, or have loved both Puyo Puyo or Tetris in their very own standalone video games, and even in different types, like Kirby’s Avalanche or Dr. Robotnik’s Imply Bean Machine; you’re certain to get pleasure from this recreation sufficient to have the ability to put up with its few shortcomings. Like its predecessors, it’s extremely fast to select up and play for a couple of minutes on a espresso break, and even an hour or two on a lazy night once you don’t wish to decide to something too concerned or intense.
I performed predominantly on my Home windows laptop computer with an Xbox controller and nearly at all times forgot I used to be utilizing a PC once I did. Lastly, at $34.99 CAD on the Steam the value is nearly proper for what you’re getting, and is significantly cheaper than its console equivalents too, making it a extra enticing purchase even in the event you’re simply casually .
Finally, gameplay is king, and gamers that crave the core mechanics that puzzle video games like Tetris and Puyo Puyo ship are those that can get probably the most mileage out of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2.