Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Review
Developer: Sega | Publisher: Sega | Genre: Puzzle | Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S | Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
The surprise 2014 enigma is back with more flash and class than ever before. After multiple rereleases and a handful of downloadable content packs, Puyo Puyo Tetris has finally earned itself a sequel that perhaps may stand as more so a halfway point up rather than a full-blown successor. Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 may just focus on refining its predecessor rather than stacking up its content with more game modes, but it does so with complete succession as it manages to be another passionate collaborative hit. It truly is the second coming of a fan-favorite franchise for both Puyo Puyo and Tetris fans alike. Whether you love connecting rows of puyos or blasting lines of tetrominoes, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 offers the same and more than before.
The neuron-firing craze continues with more riveting puyo and tetromino battles.
Any fan of its predecessor will feel right at home as soon as they see the bouncy and feel-good title screen of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. From the moment returning audiences will hit the title screen, it will become clear that for the most part, this sequel is an upgraded edition of the first entry with a lot of visual refinement and bonuses- for better or worse. Before you can even jump into the six core modes featured on the main menu, options to play infinite marathon versions of each respective puzzle game still lie on the left and right hand of the screen. They might be such simple additions that stick to a predetermined and uncustomizable layout, but it is still welcoming that Sega has provided a way for players to simply and efficiently practice or ease their mind through endless Puyo Puyo or Tetris without the need of worrying about beating a computer player or conquering a list of potentially overwhelming challenges.
Before getting into the meat of the package, it is worth noting that Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 welcomes newcomers and veterans with the staple Lessons feature. Whether you are an avid player of Puyo Puyo, Tetris, both, or even neither and are just getting your foot in the door with the two, this game mode is targeted at every single component of the audience. The Puyo Puyo, Fushion, and Tetris guides are pulled directly over from the first game, however, there is a newly added tutorial section for Skill Battle (we will get to that later) and a “Problem” level difficulty in each subsection for the most advanced players. If you are seriously looking to improve your skills in either puzzle game, do not skip out on running through these tutorials once or twice. Even as a longtime fan of both franchises, there were some nifty tricks and skills I was personally able to pick up just by going through the Lessons mode- especially when it comes to Puyo Puyo which I am way less skilled at. It is a well-developed extensive look into the different game types featured in the title.
Diving right into the Adventure mode, if you have played the first title’s campaign then you already know what you will be seeing here again. Both Puyo Puyo Tetris entries feature cheesy, albeit well-written stories with a spunky and eccentric cast of characters that fuel a ludicrous plot for the sole purpose of seeing these two puzzle worlds collide. While the writing may not be as strong as the original entry at times, it is definitely for the most part on par with its predecessor the whole way through. A lot of the story sadly involves reintroducing characters, but once the narrative really starts moving forward its outlandish situations begin to pick up speed. Without going into story details, what Adventure does best is introduce players to the vast majority of the game’s different modes through various challenges based on a three-star system with of course a reward being more cutscenes. Where the Adventure struggles, however, is giving some of these modes a proper introduction such as the game’s latest and arguably most exciting addition, Skill Battle.
The sequel presents itself as a stylized modification that only adds more to the original title- which is great.
Skill Battle is Puyo Puyo Tetris 2’s largest, yet only new feature. It adds some extremely light role-playing game mechanics and team-based elements to the standard Puyo Puyo Tetris formula through one compact and customizable system. In this mode, your opponent has a health bar you have to eliminate by getting combos or alternatively you can score a victory through the traditional means of filling up their screen with enough garbage until they run out of room. Each team member players choose possesses unique abilities they may utilize during battle whether that be regaining health points, eliminating a line or two, or even swapping out your next few incoming pieces. Skill Battle is a deceptively simple mode that obviously comes with a lot of trial and error to see which playstyle you thrive most with. In the same vein as the idea itself, this mode requires a lot of experimenting, but it will no doubt find its dedicated audience seeking an immense reward. It will be interesting to see how insane the potential combinations of characters can get once the online community begins to bloom and top players start to ravage through its core mechanics.
Outside of the new Adventure and Skill Battle though, everything else from Puyo Puyo Tetris has been directly pulled over into this release. Party, Fushion, Swap, Big Bang, every single game type you either loved or hated is present in this package. Even the online that now contains more options is just as efficient, if not better than before when it comes to player connectivity and input latency. Aside from a new story and Skill Battle, what makes Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 undoubtedly greater is its satisfying and overall punchier visuals that have been incorporated into the user interface, battle, and just about every area you can think of in the title. While this arguably makes the first title antiquated in a sense, this is not entirely a horrible ordeal. The upgrades and extras being offered here allow previous fans to double-dip on a more stylized experience while supporting this breakthrough alliance that will hopefully see more successors in the future if it does well enough. On the other hand, newcomers looking for the ultimate Puyo Puyo or Tetris experience are getting everything they want in this suped-up package.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 suffers from only one real problem, however, it is something only the most competitive players will hold a major gripe with. When the first entry in the series released, it was relatively clear that there was trouble balancing the winning probability of both included puzzle games. Whereas Puyo Puyo is slower-paced and more methodically advanced in terms of moves and time usage, Tetris has always been about fast speed and building quick stacks to obliterate. The problem with this is that when a competitive Puyo Puyo player faces that of a Tetris user the odds are stacked against them due to that speed. The chances of recovery for a Puyo Puyo champion can grow slim during any game unlike that of a Tetris master. For casual players, this problem will likely never enter their puyo-tetromino thought bubble, but it is a noticeable problem that the competitive community will always face. Even the leading developers of the game do not think this problem is entirely solvable- which to be fair, how could you fully balance these two differently paced games? It does not derail the title’s fun factor by any means, yet this is something that avid users and creators will have to constantly work together on investigating if they are to find a proper solution.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is indeed the ultimate puzzle match for both of these momentous franchises.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2’s tagline claims it is “the ultimate puzzle match” and that is a perfect analogy for both the dueling franchises that have been slapped into this one familiar smorgasbord package to feast upon. It may not bring that much new content to the table in comparison to its influential predecessor and perhaps its balancing will always remain a bigger issue, but its various user interface tweaks, punchier presentation, and welcomed accessibility upgrades make Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 the definitive fushion title out of the duology. It lacks the breakthrough innovation its predecessor founded, but nevertheless, it will definitely be a hit for both combining franchises as it aims to one-up its first incarnation by taking multiple steps forward in improving its already admirable foundation. In a world where companies have seemingly mangled the Puyo Puyo and Tetris formula multiple times in recent years, leave it to Sega’s lead team of developers behind both titles to somehow combine two distinctively different types of puzzle games into one great time. Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 leaves players with one of the industry’s best puzzle games you can currently pick up as it manages to multitask and smartly reinvent its titular counterparts for fans and newcomers alike.