Who’d have thought that blending up the block-dropping elements of ‘Tetris’ and the bubble-bursting antics of ‘Puyo Puyo’ would make for such a charming puzzling experience? I mean, sure, Japanese gamers have known since 2014 when the game originally released on those shores, but now Western gamers can get a taste of the fun puzzling action of Puyo Puyo Tetris too. Whilst it’d have been easy to picture the two games clashing when merged together, you’re actually in for a surprise – Puyo Puyo Tetris is one of the most thoroughly entertaining old-school puzzlers I’ve come across in some time.
There’s really no need to talk about what Tetris and Puyo Puyo are, right? They’re two of the most well-known puzzlers around – I bet even your Nan has played ‘Tetris’. The two games blended together into one is a completely different experience though, with the amalgamation of the two puzzle giants proving to be a lot of fun. They say too many cooks spoil the broth, but putting these two games together is actually an ingenious idea.
As the title suggests, Puyo Puyo Tetris will see you popping-bubbles and constructing lines of blocks. Sometimes you’ll do these separately, whilst other times you’ll be mixing them up together in a freaky but effective concoction of bubble-block escapades in the game’s Fusion mode.
Fusion is probably the most zany of the modes available in Puyo Puyo Tetris, primarily because it’s so unpredictable in design. Puyo Puyo bubbles and Tetris blocks will switch around willy-nilly, with each of the pieces operating in a different manner; the Tetris blocks will annihilate any Puyo Puyo bubbles underneath them for example, though this is countered by the fact that the bubbles can’t be used to achieve a Tetris line. It sounds a little complicated on paper, but actually works incredibly well in-game. Everything happens so seamlessly and with the rules of each game being so simple to pick up, it won’t take you long before you’re popping bubbles and putting together well orchestrated lines with ease.
It’s in Fusion mode that both Puyo Puyo and Tetris see some levels of reinvigoration. Both are well-loved classic puzzlers, but there’s no denying that they’ve aged over the years with mobile releases such as ‘Candy Crush’ taking centre stage these days. This modernised re-invention of both puzzlers in one package works superbly though, offering a puzzle experience that manages to feel incredibly refreshing whilst maintaining the old-school charm that made both games fan-favourites for so many years. Playing Puyo Puyo Tetris is a breath of fresh air and shows that despite the countless iterations released of Puyo Puyo and Tetris over the years, both can still find ways to surprise you.
It’s not just the Fusion mode on offer in Puyo Puyo Tetris though, with the game also featuring Versus, Swap, Party, Big Bang, and Challenge modes. Versus sees you taking on other players with the freedom to choose if you play Puyo Puyo or Tetris, Swap sees you playing both games at the same time with each one randomly swapping in and out at set intervals, Party is all about chasing high scores and using items to make the action a lot more hectic, Big Bang mode sees players attempting to clear preset patterns as quickly as possible, whilst Challenge offers six different challenges that’ll push the player’s puzzling skills to the limit. There’s a surprising amount of variety on offer between all of the different modes that ensures you’ll never get bored of playing PuyoPuyo Tetris; the amalgamation of both games has given the developers a lot of flexibility with offering a diverse experience, with elements of each game utilised in a variety of different ways. Tetris fans be warned though – my experiences so far have shown that playing Puyo Puyo can be a bit easier than the block-dropping classic, so it’s something worth bearing in mind when taking part in competitive play.
There’s also a surprisingly in-depth single player story on offer in the game’s Adventure mode, with it seeing a tale play out featuring a group of kooky and colourful characters that you’ve possibly never even heard of. Hell, I only recognised a few faces from playing Puyo Puyo over the years, with each character’s name and personality completely unknown to me. Despite this, they provided a fun little adventure that added a good dose of charm to the game; it might’ve been a little over the top and incredibly bizarre at times, but Adventure mode offered a nice lengthy single player mode that’ll get you used to the ins and outs of Puyo Puyo Tetris in no time. I will admit though, there were times when I was tempted to completely skip some of the cutscenes in between puzzles – it’s not that they were bad, but rather so long and odd that it could be a struggle to maintain attention whilst watching them play out.
Outside of the competitive modes of the game, there are also the Lessons that teach you both the basics and the more advanced techniques of Puyo Puyo Tetris. This is a great place for beginners to start, with the Lessons covering almost every element of Puyo Puyo, Tetris, and the two mixed together. It’s a thorough guide to everything, meaning anyone can learn how to become a master of Puyo Puyo Tetris in no time.
Or maybe not. I spent a couple of hours in Puyo Puyo Tetris’ online modes and I got destroyed. A lot. It didn’t stop the online modes being fun though, especially when playing with gamers who match your skill level. It can be a nasty awakening though to come up against an experienced Puyo Puyo Tetris player who shows you just HOW inexperienced you are – more skilled players or sadists will be right at home though…
As far as visual presentation goes the game looks great. You can unlock plenty of different varieties of Puyo Puyo bubbles and Tetris blocks to keep games looking varied, whilst the background illustrations and character art look great too. It all follows a pretty simplistic style that works really well, with the game full of vibrant colours and cutesy designs. The background music is on point too, offering charming little tunes that’ll keep you entertained as you play through the game.
Puyo Puyo Tetris amalgamates two classic puzzlers into one enjoyable package, mixing up elements from both games to offer a charmingly addictive experience. It’s a breath of fresh air for gamers who have been used to seeing more of the same from both releases over the years, with each aspect of the game feeling distinctly old-school but also surprisingly refreshing at the same time.
It’s nice to see it coming together and working so well – I’d have easily wrote off a mixture of Puyo Puyo and Tetris as an outlandish idea, but it’s surprising how well both games compliment each other. With plenty of games modes, a lengthy single player adventure, and both local and online multiplayer to play through too, Puyo Puyo Tetris offers plenty of enjoyable fun to keep you busy for a long time. Just get ready to lose online… a lot…
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: 28/04/2017
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch