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Puyo Puyo Tetris Review

Can Tetris and Puyo Puyo live in perfect harmony?

Review by Caty McCarthy, .

It feels like everytime I try to rest nowadays, a rainfall of the blobs and blocks of Puyo Puyo Tetris dance across my closed eyelids. That's probably because I’ve spent the past few weeks with the ever-dropping Puyos and Tetriminos.

I’ve made a habit of playing the game nightly from the comfort of my bed. Without fail, the game would keep my eyes glued, making me always end up staying awake far past my alarm-regulated bedtime. Whether I'd waste late hours poking at its surprisingly lengthy Adventure mode (which amounts to nothing more than fluff and character unlocks, as expected), or battling against my partner in one of its many arcade modes, my time with Puyo Puyo Tetris was always varied. Sometimes for the better, sometimes less so.

There have been better Puyo Puyos (Puyo Puyo 2). There have been better Tetrises (Tetris DS). Nonetheless, Puyo Puyo Tetris is still a game that exists, and has actually already been around for three years overseas. Now it’s here in the West at last, with a PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch version in its saddle.

On the surface, Puyo Puyo and Tetris look the same, both utilizing similar vertical playgrounds. But their strategies couldn’t be more different. Tetris is a game of clearing lines through the blocks laid out. Puyo Puyo relies more on foresight, towering your Puyo blobs into a series of grouped twos and threes, before chaining up multiple chains-of-four to send it all towering downwards—thus spelling doom for your opponent. And that’s how a player finds success in Puyo Puyo Tetris: clearing multiple lines at once or chaining multiple Puyos in a row builds up an offensive attack on an opponent, sending a wave of silver rocks to inconvenience their progression.

A rare picture of me shortly after winning anything.

Puyo Puyo Tetris has a lot, too. From the Start Menu, you have the option to hop straight into a plain ol' Puyo Puyo match, a plain ol' Tetris match, a Fusion match (which combines both simultaneously), or just click the handy Main Menu to see everything else the game has to offer. There’s three modes from there: Adventure, Solo Arcade, and Multiplayer Arcade. Adventure is straight-forward: working through a story mode, meeting characters like Tee (a humanized T-shaped Tetrimino, basically) and Witch (a Puyo Puyo character that looks like—yup!—a witch) along a journey through space and beyond, wielding Tetriminos and Puyos through each refined battle.

Juggling both Tetris and Puyo Puyo on the same map becomes a mess, quickly.

In Arcade Mode, both solo and multiplayer, there are six particular types of battling: Versus (choosing your poison before battle: Puyos or Tetriminos), Fusion (a combination of Tetris and Puyo Puyo in the same field), Party (where cleared items obstruct your nemesis in different ways, such as speeding up time), Challenge (a challenging six different modes in a row), Big Bang (where preset Tetrimino or Puyo patterns await you, and you clear them as fast as you can), and finally, my personal favorite mode, Swap. In Swap, the player musters through two games simultaneously: a Puyo Puyo match and a Tetris match. The maps shift back and forth between the other every 25 seconds, and as your maps build, the game grows increasingly tense with each swap. One slip-up, and it could spell the end.

Not every mode in Puyo Puyo Tetris is a rousing success though. Some modes—like Fusion and Big Bang—feel tedious and not as frenetically quick-witted as the others. In Swap, I had to be agile and constantly be aware of my maps' structures. In Fusion, the mixture of Puyos and Tetriminos operating in the same space just makes for a cluttered, frustrating experience. Big Bang, while fun for a match or two, only works on the pretense of its repetition. And once that’s been seen, it loses its fast-paced feverish joy, and becomes the most boring of all the modes.

Adventure Mode is sweet-natured, but packs a variety of challenges.

There are 24 characters in total to unlock in Puyo Puyo Tetris. Their likenesses are familiar to any of the Puyo Puyo games, or wholly original ideas of what a sentient human (or even dog) shaped Tetrimino block might be. The Adventure mode’s story is endearingly outlandish, as the world of Tetris (complete with a holy Tetris King) and Puyo Puyo are cataclysmically combined. Over the ten chapter quest, with ten "stages" per chapter (which consist of miscellaneous battles against a CPU or a timer), the Adventure mode far outstays its welcome. But it's also not really bothersome, as the cutscenes are entirely skippable if the player so chooses. The battles per stage are varied enough to retain interest beyond its bland story.

Despite some modes being lesser than others, it doesn't change the fact that Puyo Puyo is timeless. Tetris is timeless. And while this isn't a perfect blend of the two methodically similar games (especially in the mode where its embedded concept should sing: Fusion), it sure gets close. It doesn’t change the fact that Puyo Puyo was always a game best played with friends; battling others to the bitter end. I imagine I’ll be hopping back into Swap mode whenever a friend visits, only to destroy them at the Puyo Puyo portion (and them destroy me at my weakness: Tetris). And I can't wait to strain all my friendships through it. As the adorable yellow marshmallow-cloud-creature-thing O might say, "Pi-pi-pi-pi-pi!" (which roughly translates to: "hey, this game is all right!").

The Nitty Gritty

  • Lasting appeal: With a variety of Adventure, Solo Arcade, Local and Online Multiplayer Arcade, there's plenty of Puyo Puyo and Tetris to fill time.
  • Sound: Even if I grew tired of some characters' in-game call-outs over time, the music is bubbly, cute, with more to unlock in Adventure Mode.
  • Visuals: The character designs are adorable, as expected from the Puyo Puyo namesake. Also, in Adventure Mode players can unlock different skins for their Puyos and Tetriminos, adding a layer of customization.

While not the best game in either series, Puyo Puyo Tetris is still a great combination of two puzzle classics. Sometimes going together like peanut butter and jelly, other times more like peanut butter, and uh, something that doesn't go with peanut butter. All in all, a worthwhile addition to the slowly growing Switch library (or PS4 library, if spontaneous on-the-go multiplayer is not your jam).

3.5 /5

Puyo Puyo Tetris Review Caty McCarthy Can Tetris and Puyo Puyo live in perfect harmony? 2017-04-24T16:00:00-04:00 3.5 5

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Comments 18

  • Avatar for Keldorek #1 Keldorek A year ago
    Fantastic game! Playing with the joy-cons (using the analog sticks in 2-player) isn't my favorite thing, but it's nice to have the on-the-go option in a pinch. Happily, the "directional" buttons on the Switch work terrifically well as a d-pad in everything I've played from Puyo Puyo Tetris to Shovel Knight, which genuinely surprised me.
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  • Avatar for nilcam #2 nilcam A year ago
    I downloaded the demo the day it released and I have played it daily since. Sega's Puyo tutorials have helped me improve my game exponentially. I cannot wait for the official release!
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #3 Modern-Clix A year ago
    Good write up! I personally feel it's the best puzzle game in years so I'd probably say it's a 4.

    One quick note! The Switch version is 29.99 too! The 39.99 is the physical version with the two keychains!
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  • Avatar for ReptilianSamurai #4 ReptilianSamurai A year ago
    I've been waiting for another Puyo Puyo to get localized forever! I even imported 15th anniversary on ds and Puyo Tetris on vita, but it'll be good to actually be able to understand the menus and complex options and game mode explanations!
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  • Avatar for link6616 #5 link6616 A year ago
    I must say it's quite say fusion mode doesn't work so well.

    I adored the swap mode in the demo (and frankly, learning fusion mode isn't that great makes me tempted to just stick with the demo forever.)
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #6 Modern-Clix A year ago
    @ReptilianSamurai last year I paid 40 bucks at a con for the Japanese Vita import, which I have to use a graphical translation page often lol I feel like a sucker now, hence why I am getting this one digital since I got a physical copy already.

    Now if only Nintendo would re-release the best Tetris game ever: Tetris DS!
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  • Avatar for Barelyhomosapien #7 Barelyhomosapien A year ago
    I was going to buy this, when I realised what I wanted was a straight up Tetris game, like the much adored Tetris DS that I lost entire days to.

    So I'll leave it for now, but I end up owning tetris on every handheld I own (going back to the original chunky gameboy), so if this is the only Tetris that comes out for Switch, it's an inevitability!
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  • Avatar for JamesSwiftDay #8 JamesSwiftDay A year ago
    Wow, I did not realise Sonic Team was the developer for this. Legitimate question; when was the last time they made a good game?
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  • Avatar for JamesSwiftDay #9 JamesSwiftDay A year ago
    @Barelyhomosapien The licensing for Tetris is apparently a nightmare these days, so I suspect this will be the only one we get in the West on consoles for a while.
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #10 Modern-Clix A year ago
    @Barelyhomosapien Well you can play straight Tetris in this too :) Not just fusion :)
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  • Avatar for Modern-Clix #11 Modern-Clix A year ago
    @Barelyhomosapien Well you can play straight Tetris in this too :) Not just fusion :)
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  • Avatar for RushDawg #12 RushDawg A year ago
    @JamesSwiftDay

    Probably Sonic Generations in 2011. Sonic Forces looks promising though.
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #13 AstroDemon A year ago
    This is near the top of my list for when I buy a Switch. It seems like the perfect portable game.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #14 brionfoulke91 A year ago
    @JamesSwiftDay Sonic Lost World (2014) was also a pretty good game.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #15 link6616 A year ago
    @JamesSwiftDay I'm pretty sure the phantasy star online 2 game was initially developed by them. (but maintained by a different team I think?)
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  • Avatar for NightingaleXP #16 NightingaleXP A year ago
    "Puyo Puyo Tetris is a game that exists" fairly encapsulates this review, haha.
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  • Avatar for ReptilianSamurai #17 ReptilianSamurai A year ago
    @Modern-Clix eh, still worth it to play it on vita, which is a perfect system for this game.
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  • Avatar for johncolor #18 johncolor 8 months ago
    Deleted January 2018 by johncolor
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  • Avatar for johncolor #19 johncolor 8 months ago
    Deleted January 2018 by johncolor
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  • Avatar for johncolor #20 johncolor 8 months ago
    Happily, the "directional" buttons on the Switch work terrifically well as a d-pad in everything I've played from Puyo Puyo Tetris to Shovel Knight, which genuinely surprised me. Description here
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