Puyo Puyo Tetris (Playstation 4 Review)
When I set out my plans for my weekend, I would never have imagined spending it in a Puyo Puyo Tetris fever dream. In the midst of a rather fierce bout of illness,, I lost myself in the delirium of falling blocks and popping Puyos–their hypnotic colours soothing the dull fire in my throat while demanding every precious morsel of my concentration.
Like any Tetris or Puyo Puyo game, players can expect to battle with cascading Tetriminos/Puyos. But where Puyo Puyo Tetris stands out is in its Arcade Mode: tasking players to progress through 70 levels of varying Tetris and Puyo Puyo challenges in a bid to uncover the mystery that has forced to two worlds to collide, much like Powerman 5000 prophesied. At least, I think that’s what Powerman were singing about. It’s colourful, charming, and a little lacking. Even among a large cast of characters, there is very little to really grab you in the otherwise stale delivery in a large portion of the dialogue. One character in particular suffers far more than the rest of the cast as his delivery of poorly chosen words just comes across as forced instead of happenstance.
Although, for what the story lacks in delivery, Puyo Puyo Tetris makes up for it tenfold in diversity. Mixing up between the laundry list of game modes; Swap, VS, Big Bang, Challenges, and a whole sleuth of tweaks. Fusion, Puyo Puyo Tetris’ most defining game mode, splices both games and requires players to juggle both Tetriminos and Puyos on one board. Fusion’s mechanics allow for Tetriminos to crush and displace Puyos and creates some really mind-boggling set ups to clear large portions of the screen. Then you have Big Bang, a mode that lives and dies by precision placement and speed. Big Bang presents players with a series of Tetriminos or Puyos that have a specific formula to complete and fires them at the player in quick succession in a VS battle. The player who clears the most will deal a chunk of damage to the opponent based on their performance. It’s a refreshing and frantic mode that I found unbelievably cathartic.
The rest of the modes available are far more “vanilla” than Big Bang and Fusion, but they are classics for a reason. Stuff like Endless single player modes that see you improve on your own high scores time upon time still prove incredibly addictive. And for the more experienced players, you might want to take on the various challenge modes present. Single player modes like Sprint challenge the player to clear 40 Tetris lines as fast as possible and Marathon sets the player to score the highest score while clearing 150 lines with increasing drop speeds. On the Puyo Puyo side, there are modes like Challenge Fever, which requires the player to reach a certain level within a time limit, and Tiny Puyo, which is much like the standard Puyo Puyo game mode but with more space and smaller Puyos.
Those game modes are expected in Tetris and Puyo games, but what sets Puyo Puyo Tetris apart from previous titles is the comprehensive online system. With Puyo Puyo Tetris’s release, there will be a fully functional online ranking system, one which we were not able to test during our brief time with the game due to a sparse online population. Although, Puyo Puyo Tetris’s online looks promising and the ranking system allows for players to customise their experience and decided which modes they will compete in. Previous online Tetris games have suffered immensely when it comes to new players finding their footing due to the online being populated by fully automated Tetris gods, so a well thought out ranking system is exactly what is needed.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is clearly a targeted game. If you don’t like Tetris/Puyo Puyo, there’s little to no reason to pick it up. But, for those that do love Tetris, it’s a delight and more than makes up for the lack of a good Tetris game on modern consoles. Even as somebody that was fairly unacquainted with the Puyo Puyo side of things, I quickly took to it with the help of Puyo Puyo Tetris’s tutorials. The only major downside is that it did start to grate on me with continued play, the story missions are sharp and precise while the characters twitter on for far too long between these missions. Everything you do builds towards unlocking different aesthetics, but they are only really surface changes and the overall experience is undeterred in its monotony. Personally, I loved every minute of the game but struggled with the cluster of Fusion game modes at the end of the story mode. When played with friends you are bound to have a lot of fun, and if that carries over to the online we are looking at a very solid entry for the series.