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Puyo Puyo Tetris Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . After waiting so long for Puyo Puyo Tetris to finally come to America, I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. It's a good game with a ton of modes and gorgeous graphics that help each puzzler pop, but feels a bit limited when it comes to the standard single-player experience. A lot of the modes you've come to expect from these two classic games are either barebones or missing altogether. While that's certainly disappointing, there's still a lot to like about Puyo Puyo Tetris. Rating: 71%
Puyo Puyo Tetris
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Batman vs Superman. Freddy vs. Jason. Alien vs. Predator. These are the epic battles of our time. Now you can add a new rivalry to the list, because Puyo Puyo Tetris is finally here to decide which old school game is king of the falling blocks. And while this turns out to be an enjoyable mash-up with a lot to offer, I would be lying if I said I didn't spend most of my time wishing these two puzzlers would put aside their differences and team up to fight the real enemy -- Columns!

First released in Japan all the way back in 2014, Puyo Puyo Tetris is one of those games that looked like it was never going to find its way to the United States and Europe. In fact, a couple years ago I seriously contemplating importing the PS Vita version, figuring that the fight over the licensing was going to keep it out of North America for good. But I was wrong, and Sega has somehow managed to jump through enough hoops to bring the puzzle game to both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. This is great news, because those import fees are outrageous.


As the title suggests, this is a game that mashes together both Tetris and Puyo Puyo. While I'm pretty sure everybody knows what Tetris is, the other game in this collection is not as well known to Western audiences. At least, not under the name Puyo Puyo. When Sega and Nintendo decided to port the old school puzzler to the Genesis and Super NES, they went through and replaced all of the characters to create Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche. Since then, we've seen more than twenty iterations on the series, but most of them never made it out of Japan.

For those uninitiated, Puyo Puyo has us placing colored blobs in an effort to match at least four together. The trick is to not just combine like-colors, but also set up chain events where one match leads to another, and another, and so on. What it does well is stand on its own, never coming across as just another Tetris clone with one or two minor tweaks. That said, I've always been unacceptably bad at the game, so I was hoping this brand new installment might make me a high-level player.

More than anything else, I was eager to see if these two disparate puzzle games would be able to come together to create one harmonious package. As it turns out, Sega has done a good job of taking what works in both games and using it to construct a series of competitive modes that are mostly a lot of fun to play. And as bitter rivalries go, Puyo Puyo Tetris turns out to be much more entertaining than Sadako vs. Kayako.

Instead of simply being a compilation with two classic puzzle games, the focus here is on the multiplayer battles. The game comes with a staggering amount of modes and challenge stages, most of which center around Tetris on one side and Puyo Puyo on the other. At its most basic, the two puzzlers will battle it out head-to-head, constantly throwing obstacles and other impediments in the way to fill up the opponent's screen and win. That's fun, but I assure you, we're just getting started.

Puyo Puyo Tetris (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The Swap mode, for example, doesn't just pit one puzzle game against the other, but will rotate between the two every few seconds. This means that you'll set up a bunch of lines in Tetris before the game throws you into a short round of Puyo Puyo. You'll jump between these two boards until one of the screens fills up and the player can't make any more moves.

Then there's the Big Bang mode, which has you clearing a bunch of puzzle stages in hopes of earning big points. After both sides have gone through a series of these increasingly complex levels, the pieces will be sucked into a black hole and whoever has the most points will inflict damage on the other player. You'll win if you can shatter the other player's screen, which adds an extra layer to the competition.

One of the more interesting modes is Fusion, which literally combines the two games into one chaotic mess. The pieces will alternate between puyo bubbles that stack up and tetriminoes that will crush everything in their path. This takes some getting used to, but presents a fun challenge that will really mix up the way you play Puyo Puyo Tetris.

There's also the Party mode, which tosses bizarre power-ups into the mix. Apparently it's not enough to throw extra blocks back and forth like other games, because this crazy mode is all about going on the offensive with unique powers. You'll be able to grow the Tetris pieces, remove the ability to rotate blocks, cover the opponent's board in darkness and more. As you might imagine, it doesn't take long for this mode to spiral out of hand in the best way possible.

These may be the main modes, but they're not the only ones found in Puyo Puyo Tetris. The challenge section sees us trying to delete a certain number of lines before time runs out, playing a game of Endless Fever and even trying our hand at a game of Puyo Puyo with extra-tiny blobs raining down from the sky. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this game is jam-packed full of unique and compelling modes you won't find in any other version of Tetris or Puyo Puyo.

Puyo Puyo Tetris (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While all this is interesting, I had the most fun going through the game's lengthy Adventure mode. This offers a series of simple cinema scenes that lead into dozens of challenging levels. Most of these adventure stages are pulling from the various game types we've already talked about, but it's doing it in a way that will allow you to get to know the characters and unlock a bunch of extras. As a single-player mode, this is both the most interesting aspect of the game and the one you'll probably spend the most time with. It's one of the main reasons to get Puyo Puyo Tetris.

What I didn't expect going in was just how much focus there was going to be on the multiplayer modes. I naively thought that we would get more variations on the traditional single-player puzzles that made the two games so popular in the first place. But that's not the case here. In fact, you have to jump through hoops just to play a standard game of Tetris that doesn't involve a time limit or head-to-head match with another player. I'm not joking, in order to start a single-player match, you'll have to go into the Solo Arcade section, then select Challenge, start a Marathon and change the options to endless instead of timed. And even when you do that, we're left with a barebones mode that doesn't even have a leaderboard. It's as if Sega spent so much time trying to come up with weird multiplayer games, that they forgot to flesh out the traditional modes we fell in love with.

It's this emphasis on multiplayer that left me a little cold. I'm not saying the head-to-head battles aren't fun, but they can get out of hand in a hurry and tend to take away from the way I like to play both Tetris and Puyo Puyo. If what you're looking for is a highly competitive multiplayer experience with a ton of modes and exciting four-player action, then you're going to be more than satisfied with what Sega has to offer. But as somebody who tends to play these puzzle games for score, going toe-to-toe with the computer didn't do much for me.

After waiting so long for Puyo Puyo Tetris to finally come to America, I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. It's a good game with a ton of modes and gorgeous graphics that help each puzzler pop, but feels a bit limited when it comes to the standard single-player experience. A lot of the modes you've come to expect from these two classic games are either barebones or missing altogether. While that's certainly disappointing, there's still a lot to like about Puyo Puyo Tetris.
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