Does Puyo Puyo Tetris really need an introduction? The fusion of puzzling legends first hit Western shores back in 2017 and proved a hit with gamers, with the mish-mash of Tetromino and… uh… ‘Puyo’ dropping antics making for a surprisingly deep and challenging experience. Add to that a decent single player campaign and addictive multiplayer mechanics and you’ve got the recipe for success.
Well, three years on from the game’s debut, we’ve now got a sequel in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. It’s great to see that it wasn’t just a one-off, but it did leave me wondering what changes SEGA could bring to the formula to justify a sequel. Well, it turns out there are quite a few, with Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 not only introducing an addictive new RPG-like game mode but also streamlining the multiplayer experience to make it more accessible to new players.
One of the first things that needs mentioning about Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is that it’ll appeal to fans of both games, with Puyo Puyo and Tetris playable directly from the main menu as soon as you boot the game. I actually found myself running through a few marathons of Tetris from the get-go – I’ve played it on pretty much every other gaming platform out there over the last twenty-odd years, so it seemed right that I’d play it on my PlayStation 5 too.
Of course, it’s the mash-up of both games that’s most interesting, with the hybrid still making for an addictively anarchic experience today. You’ll get a variety of Puyos and Tetrominos dropping together and will have to work around both, with Puyos needed to be made into a block of four to pop and Tetrominos into lines. I won’t patronise readers by explaining it in too much depth, but yeah, it’ll take a bit more thinking and clever tinkering than you’d usually find when playing the games separately to succeed in. It might sound strange and there are different ways to approach the game that really spice things up, but believe me when I say that it works REALLY well.
One of the big new additions to Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 comes with the Skill Battles, which adopt RPG-like mechanics to add an extra emphasis on strategy in each showdown. You can take a team of up to three characters into each battle (you’ll increase and level-up your roster in the game’s Adventure Mode) that bring with them different stats and skills, with the ultimate goal being to deplete your opponent’s HP. How do you do this? By popping Puyos and clearing Tetromino lines of course, which will then send garbage blocks your opponent’s way and dish out damage. The different skills that each character has can affect the flow of each showdown (whether that’s by healing you, increasing your defence, or handing out more damage), whilst the fact that your success comes down to each player’s HP means that a full screen of Tetrominos or Puyos doesn’t necessarily mean game over. Add some Item Cards to the mix that change up your stats and playstyle in a variety of ways and you’ll quickly find that there’s a heck of a lot of depth to the Skill Battles.
They’re a real fun addition to Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 that really do give players a whole new way to experience the puzzling. Whilst I’ll admit that the mode can take some time to get used to, it’s designed in a way that feels both deep and accessible at the same time.
Players who enjoyed the Adventure Mode of the previous game will be happy to see that it returns here, with the wacky antics of Captain Tee and his crew continuing once more. Again, it ties into the fusion of Puyo Puyo and Tetris in a quirky way, adding a weird sense of context to the puzzling hybrid. It’s all fully-voiced, there are some wacky but fun interactions to be seen between characters, and playing through the mode brings with it plenty of unlockables to use in the main game… it’s definitely worth checking out, even IF the story doesn’t really go anywhere too interesting. It’s a good way for newbies to get to grips with Puyo Puyo , Tetris, and the combination of the both too, with levels made up of the varying game modes that’ll give you a simple introduction to the experience as a whole – it’s also a bit more fleshed out that in the original game, with a lot more to see and unlock during your journey.
Those who are more interested in competing with other players will be happy to see that there’s support for up to four players locally across different game modes, whilst online has been streamlined to make it easier to face off against friends too. There’s also the addition of Puzzle Leagues this time around which make it easier to match with players of your skill level across the different game modes, whether that’s in Tetris, Puyo Puyo, or even the Skill Battles. There’s nothing worse that facing off against a highly-skilled player in these kinds of puzzlers that’ll absolutely batter you, so being able to match up with players of your own calibre makes diving into multiplayer a heck of a lot more fun.
It’s worth pointing out that there is a Lessons mode included for those who are new to Puyo Puyo, Tetris, or the combination of both, so even complete newbies can get to grips with the game. In fact, even I, a Tetris veteran, managed to learn some new tricks from the lessons. I remember watching ex-Easy Allies member Kyle Bosman stream his Tetris games and being blown away by his skills – the lessons of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 will teach you how to embrace some of the tricks of the trade to make even experienced players more sharper than before. It’s good stuff!
At the start of this review I questioned whether Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 could bring enough new additions to warrant its existence, and yeah, between the Skill Battles, the improved online modes, and the promise of free content in the coming months (including new modes and characters) I think it’s definitely a mighty fine sequel. You’ll see a lot of the same things that you saw in the original game here, but the new content (and the Skill Battles in particular) are a real treat.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 brings enough new content to the core experience to make it a worthwhile addition in any puzzling fan’s library, with the new Skill Battles, the fleshed-out adventure mode, and the streamlined online gameplay coming together nicely to make for a mighty fun experience.
Add to that the promise of even more free content in the future and I think it’s safe to say that puzzling fans will be hooked to Puyo Puyo Tetris 2’s wacky fusion of classic puzzlers for some time…
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC