[Review] Puyo Puyo Tetris - Nintendo Everything

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[Review] Puyo Puyo Tetris

Posted on April 24, 2017 by (@jakovujo) in Reviews, Switch

System: Switch
Release date: April 25, 2017
Developer: SEGA / Sonic Team
Publisher SEGA

Puyo Puyo Tetris – a crossover of Puyo Puyo and Tetris – has been around in Japan since 2014, having released on just about every platform. With the Switch version as a Japanese launch title, it’s finally getting localized, albeit two months late. It goes without saying that Tetris is well known in the west with its release on every platform imaginable, though SEGA’s Puyo Puyo series is far less renowned internationally as it is in Japan. The last time a Puyo Puyo game saw an official international release was on GameCube in 2004.

Going into Puyo Puyo Tetris, I was well acquainted with Tetris and just sort of floundering around with the Puyo Puyo game modes. If I really need to explain this, in a regular game of Tetris you place falling blocks in a grid. A complete horizontal row scores points and disappears, leaving more room to stack more blocks. Complete multiple lines subsequently to score extra combo points. In Puyo Puyo, the player directs two-piece falling jelly-like puyos, each one a different color. Match four or more of the same color and that group will disappear. Combos here require a different kind of forward planning than Tetris. Because puyos have more elaborate physics than tetronimos, combos have to be stacked and set up vertically, keeping in mind how puyos at the top of a stack will land on a matching color set up at the bottom.

It’s these two very different ways in which each puzzle game approaches the thought process behind combos that makes Puyo Puyo Tetris an interesting crossover. This fusion makes it into something of a game of rubbing your belly and patting your head – managing two cognitive functions – as much as it’s the regular challenge of playing either one game effectively.

The mileage this game gets out of having these two prominent puzzle games in terms of the breadth of game options and extras makes it seem like Super Smash Bros. director (and creator of a forgotten DS falling block puzzle game Meteos) Masahiro Sakurai was secretly at the helm. There’s a shared meticulousness to all the extra skins and game options that cater to the most obsessive tastes. Even the menus have a similar flair in the way that their many, many layers and sub-menus are filed away.

There are typical non-crossover modes that would be found in a regular Puyo Puyo or Tetris title. These are nice to have, but the crossover modes are where things get interesting. As someone who feels they’re at least competent at Tetris but a fledgling-at-best puyo plopper, I found myself gravitating toward the “Swap” crossover mode. Either playing against a CPU or another person, you play either Tetris or Puyo Puyo. After a set interval of time the Tetris game board is put on hold and swapped for Puyo Puyo, or vice versa. Play the games better than your opponent and you’ll send them junk blocks or puyos until they become unmanageably screen filling. Keeping my lopsided skill set in mind, this was the easiest crossover mode for me to wrap my head around. It achieved that belly rubbing and head patting coordination balance just right for my brain.

By comparison, the other crossover modes are like eight dimensional chess. Where Swap mode has you playing fairly vanilla versions of these two games, each on their own neatly squared away boards, “Fusion” mode has both puzzle games played on the same board. Tetronimoes and puyos will be cued up randomly, with certain pieces that even periodically switching between one or the other as they fall. This mode isn’t a totally incomprehensible mess of blocks and blobs. Like mixing oil with water, tetronimoes always sink to the bottom of the board and puyos float above them. In many ways Swap mode is really just training wheels for this more fully realized crossover. The onus is on the player not only to become proficient at both games, but to develop a reflex to juggle them together. While seemingly unmanageable at first, Fusion mode is the game mode that I keep coming back to.

All of these game modes can be played in any configuration of single or local multiplayer that anyone might need. Want to play with four players in the Switch’s tabletop mode? The screen is impractically small for that setup but they let you do it anyway. Do you have multiple consoles? You can create local multiplayer rooms.

Online play is also well featured. You can join a friend’s game directly or play any game mode with a stranger in either a competitive ranked mode or regular free play. If you feel so inclined, there’s even the option to upload and view saved matches. Considering that everyone I encountered playing online was in Japan and my Switch’s unusually weak Wi-Fi signal, there was only a small amount of latency and stutter. Performance online wasn’t ideal but it’s hard to say how that will fare when your opponent isn’t halfway across the globe.

Puyo Puyo Tetris has a story mode, too. I didn’t ask for it, but it is certainly there. You might think “what took them two months to bring out a localized game in a genre with notably little in the way of words?” While I can’t say I know for a fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the overwrought nonsense story is the reason. It’s at least self aware at how contrived its vignettes are to give an excuse to sample its many game modes. That doesn’t make it any more tolerable. They’ve created a whole crossover cast of characters. Who knew that Tetris universe was so rich with personalities like Zed the alien caretaker robot that exclaims “vitamins” and “minerals” every time a combo hits? Zed and the puyoverse’s dancing fish Suketoudara really redeem the otherwise generic cast. To the music!

The Verdict

thumbs up review

Puyo Puyo Tetris is really all you could ask for in a full console version of these two falling block puzzle games. There’s a borderline obsessive attention to detail when it comes to configurations and game modes. I can’t really imagine a scenario where someone who is either into Tetris or Puyo Puyo would be left wanting, especially when the crossover features are excellent and unique in their own right.

Puyo Puyo Tetris review copy provided by SEGA for the purposes of this review.

Leave a Reply

  • JasonBall

    Fascinating. I love Tetris, but am not sure about this. Puyo sounds like Dr. Mario to me, a game with killer music and setting but that I’m unable to play worth ****. The ways things fall into other things during a combo is just unintuitive for me.

    • SpaceLud35

      GaijinHunter did a video preview of the game. Give it a watch.


    • Vive

      You can try the demo on the eshop. Even that is addictive as hell.

      The only downside to me are the english dub, japanese voices are much more interesting.

      • I can understand that, but honestly the equivalent of Sig’s voice in Japanese was borderline insufferable. I think the dub voices are very serviceable, heck I love Riffina’s.

        • Lance Devon

          I am in this boat too, though the voices and characteristics of them remind me of the first time I played Super Bubble Pop in the arcades back in the day, so it’s probably nostalgia for me.

    • My husband is kind of the same. He loves Tetris and is great at it. Can not get the hang of Puyo. He’s been trying at it and went through the tutorial for some brushing up though.

      I’m a Puyo gal all the way though, and suck at Tetris, so that works out for me, lol.

  • Kenshin0011

    I need this NOW! lol

    Anyone know what time in the USA it will be available to download on the eShop?

    • Brian

      It’ll probably be 12 PM ET / 9 AM PT.

  • NeptuniasBeard

    I’m glad to hear that the story mode is wacky nonsensical silliness. I can never get enough of that stuff. It’s why I’m a Yugioh fan lol

    Incidentally, I’ll be off work the day this game drops, so anyone wanting for an intense Puyo battle… know that I can’t give one to you because I suck, but I’m willing to play with anyone who wants to~

    • Heyo! Me too! We should play~! And maybe get in a Bomberman match. x’D

      • NeptuniasBeard

        You know I’m always down to play a game with you Miss Puchi ^_^

        Just let me know of any good times to try to reach you

        • Yay~!
          Certainly! I’ll be free starting 10am PST. Should be free most of the day, too.

          • NeptuniasBeard

            That’s perfect! 10am PST is when I’ll be able to pick up the game. So maybe an hour or so after that?

          • Yay, excellent! We got lucky and Gamestop allowed us to pick it up tonight at closing, so I’m going to be brushing up tonight in prep for out battle tomorrow! ^o^

          • NeptuniasBeard

            Alright, im as ready as I’ll ever be right now I guess. so whenever you’re free… I guess you can just respond to this comment with like a 10 minute advance warning or something so you won’t have to wait so long. I’ll check my phone fairly often so I won’t miss you

          • I’m ready~. And I’ll be good to play for the next half hour, maybe a little longer.

          • NeptuniasBeard

            Cool, hopping on now

          • I think my husband just took the Switch with him somewhere. . . so if you’re puzzling already, well, he got the jump on me.

          • NeptuniasBeard

            Well, good, I don’t need you to see me embarrassing myself…

          • He had a lot of fun too~! ^o^ We;ll rotate next time so you and I can embarrass ourselves together. And, my husband said, “lets play as a team some time.” I’ll be available in the evenings this week to play again, if you are. And he probably will be too~.

          • NeptuniasBeard

            That’s good to know, I’d hoped I didn’t bore him lol.

            I’m down for playing as a team, I just didn’t want to gang up on the other players. But hey, if they don’t get it, that’s on them I guess lol

            Unfortunately I work into fairly late into the evenings. But if you folks are ever up for post 10pm gaming…

            But if not, then hopefully we get our days off aligned again soon

  • Linkavitch Chomofsky

    Awesome! I think I’ll pick up the Japanese release for the voices.

    • James Fox

      You realize the Japanese release (known as “Puyopuyo Tetris S”) is already out, yes?

      • Linkavitch Chomofsky

        Yeah, I just want to finish Zelda first. One game at a time!

  • Addy

    Looking forward to this, got it pre-ordered but won’t be here until early May. Soon my Switch will finally be unboxed.

  • Umegames Official

    So ready for this game. hours of online play will be in my hands.

  • R.Z.

    I loved the demo, but I’m a bit weary of spending a full 40€ on a puzzle game.
    I’ll probably end up giving in though, and shockingly enough on a digital version too, I want it on my console permanently as the ideal time killer.

    • Pachirisu

      The digital version is cheaper! t and don’t be fooled by it being a puzzle game, it’s very rich in content and gameplay 🙂

      • James Fox

        Not to mention it has the DLC from the japan only Vita, Wii U, PS3 and 3DS versions included free of charge (alt. voice packs, Puyo and Tetrimino skins and all)

        • Pachirisu

          i wondered about the dlc, as i heard the game had some… but i had no idea this version came packed with them included! 😀

      • R.Z.

        Unfortunately it’s not cheaper. It’s 39,99€ on the e-shop in the EU, same as the physical Switch version on Amazon (the PS4 version is at 29,99€, yay ! Switch tax ! ).
        But I bet it’s worth it all things considered, I’ll just have to wait a bit since DIsgaea 5 drained my bank account a bit earlier than I thought it would.

    • Indielink

      Given how much time my girlfriend, roommate, and myself (all with our own Switch) have dumped into just the demo, this game will be well worth getting at least one copy. It will be in constant multiplayer rotation.

  • James Fox

  • Pachirisu

    I can’t wait for this game. I was always a tetris casual who enjoyed the game in small bursts and never played puyo puyo. though after playing the japanese demo i fell in love, not sure why… because i’m terrible at both and can barely chain more that 2 in puyo puyo. none the less i really wanna get good and maybe one day do a 3 chain lol
    glad to see the game is great and jammed full of content and modes because that only makes the purchase the more easier 😛

    • James Fox

      this will tell you more about Puyopuyo

      • Pachirisu

        i get the concept behind chaining, but im practice that’s where i have trouble lol

  • ≈ KobobKC ≈ ^.^

    Is there a way to turn off the voices of the characters? They were pretty annoying in the demo.

    • James Fox

      There is alternative voice packs you can unlock in the full game

      • ≈ KobobKC ≈ ^.^

        Oh that’s nice. You you turn them off though?

  • DeltaPeng

    The demo’s fun, but in recent practice it seems like Puyo mode is many, many times stronger at attacking (sending blocks to your opponent) than Tetris, made it feel very unbalanced.

    This might be different in the main game, idk, but at least per the demo, and it’s possible that the balance was created based on competitive play (perhaps pro tetris players clear lines much master than pro puyo), but for casual gaming it feel unbalanced, if someone chose puyo and the others chose Tetris, the puyo player would tend to win. Still fun, but seems to hinder the game.

    The Swap mode worked well to balance this bc everyone swaps between tetris and puyo, but if it is the same in the main game, I hope they balance them both (or provide options in general of how many blocks tend to fall per combo)

Related Game Info

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA / Sonic Team
Release date: April 25, 2017
OWN IT: 4 [I own this game]
BEAT IT: 1 [I beat this game]
Buy now