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Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Review

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2

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Release: 12/08/2020
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Genre: PS5 Reviews, Switch Reviews, XBox One ReviewsXbox Series X Reviews
PEGI: 10+
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8.0 - Gameplay
          
 
7.0 - Video
          
 
6.5 - Audio
           
 

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Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 – a game title that deserves a Kingdom Hearts style “2.5D Ultima Super Dream Final Edition” if I’ve ever heard one.

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People know what Tetris is, and a good chunk of those will know what Puyo Puyo is if you explain it in Mean Bean Machine terms. It says what it is, for better or for worse.

But hidden behind that slightly mystifying name is a potent mix of puzzling fun that never gets old – although the story just might.

This game is chocked full of game modes and rule variations, both single player and multiplayer. For that reason alone, it’s a must-buy for those that love either franchise.

A Match Made in Heaven

Tetris: the ultimate game of putting falling blocks into lines for points. And Puyo Puyo: squeezing small animals together by colour and watching them explode.

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The beauty of both Tetris and Puyo Puyo is that they are simple to play, but near impossible to master. If you ever want to feel inadequate, go ahead and look up some of the Tetris grandmasters on YouTube. It’ll put your efforts to shame.

Combining the two into one game is a stroke of genius. Combining their seemingly uncombinable rules into individual matches is an even bigger stroke of genius, and one that we’ll talk more about later.

But to start off with, know that this is exactly what it should be. Two brilliant puzzle games combined into one title. Add in an anime visual novel involving giant Tetris blocks, interdimensional shenanigans and a “Mom’s Halloween costume” Pikachu and you’ve pretty much got a grip on what this game is.

Wait, what? It’s true – the bulk of this game’s single-player is built around reading pages and pages of anime-style dialogue.

There are people out there that will love it. I’m not one of them.

Lost in Space

So really, there are two different games to review here. One is the straight puzzler, because in many ways its in its own class here. And the other is as a narrative adventure, connected by small portions of Tetris/Puyo Puyo gameplay.

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I’m going to start with the latter, because it’s probably where most non-competitive players will start, and potentially where they’ll spend most of their time.

The first thing I noticed about this game’s adventure is that it was unspeakably easy. There are so many levels to choose from, each with up to three stars to earn. It took most of the first chapter to come across a level that was even slightly fiddly to three-star – and that was because the level was so easy that I couldn’t drag things out long enough to get the points needed to complete the challenge.

This soon changed, thanks to an auto-difficulty setting in the options. About half-way through, levels went from ridiculously easy to eyewateringly difficult. I’m talking 60 second domination by a computer that placed Puyos while looking 10-15 steps ahead. At first I was certain it was a bug, and it may well be, but once that’s turned off, we went back to plodding and simple. I wish I’d found a nicer middle ground. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out to be the problem I thought it was, and I could get back to the story.

Let me reiterate: this game is so anime, it hurts. Girls of indeterminate but probably young age say slightly creepy things in baby voices, world-saving adventures are put on hold for side stories about stalkers and, in the Japanese version, LITERALLY SATAN turns up to perv up the place. He’s Dark Prince in the English version, but still. The dialogue is purposefully light and cheesy, to the point where it will say “*grunts*”, “*grunts more intensely*” instead of dialogue.

These are all style choices that will bother some. Others will eat up the “lol, spork” until the totally-not-a-Pokemon comes home. I played on despite the story, not because of it. Frankly, if not for this review, I’d have probably stuck to more arcade-based modes, and not played nearly as much.

Puyo, Can You Spare a Dime?

It should go without saying, but outside of the story, these Tetris and Puyo Puyo games are pretty damn good.

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In their individual modes, both titles play exactly as you’d expect them to. Puyo Puyo feels pretty great, although a little slower than Tetris because of the inability to drop a “block” straight into place. Tetris doesn’t feel as tight as Tetris Effect, which is disappointing. It’s difficult to put into words exactly what works better in that than in this, but it’s there, and you’ll know it the second you switch between them.

What you lose in a touch of quality, you gain in extra modes. Arcade is full of awesome combinations to try. Whether it’s a mode where you play a game of both at the same time (with a timer clicking you between the two), or an actual combination of the two where you can get both Puyos and Tetris blocks in your next queue, there’s plenty to try out. Some modes are more fun than others. Some are simply lousy. With this much choice though, you’ve got enough variety to last you a long time.

There are online modes as well as couch-competitive modes, and so you can play it for an awfully long time if you’d like to. Which is helpful, because that’s what it’ll take to get 1000g. I imagine it’s the same on PlayStation. This is a hard 100 per cent, folks. You’ll need to master the Tetris – clearing four lines simultaneously – as well as getting All Clears and combos in Puyo Puyo. You’ll need to get tens of thousands of clears. I got tired just thinking about.

One last note: in both arcade and adventure modes, the loading time is beautifully quick on next-gen devices. This is the sort of game that dies with long loading times. Now, getting into a game is instantaneous.

Graphics and Sound

That cartoony anime feel goes through the entire game. Everything is colourful and bright, and that goes for the music as well.

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It’s nice to see a game that’s just unapologetically nice. I think it’s something we’ve forgotten how to do in the west, across all kinds of media. We frown a little bit on sentimentality, on goodness. Everything needs just a little bit of edge and, if you don’t count all those girls grunting, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 has no edge. Doesn’t need it. That’s true for the graphics and sound as much as anything. Cheese, excitement and that feeling you get when you eat too many E numbers are all well at the forefront.

This, unfortunately, stretches to the voice acting. It’s well within the style of the game, and I don’t want to harp on about the same point over and over. If you can stomach it elsewhere, you’ll stomach it here.

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Review

This is a fantastic puzzle game, combining the kings of the genre in a creative and surprising way. It would be even better without the story, without the endless stylization – but that’s entirely subjective.

If you are even at the point of reading reviews, you won’t be disappointed by this purchase. If you’re more into Tetris, get Tetris Effect. This is still an awesome all-round package.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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