The first Puyo Puyo Tetris cleverly combined two classic falling block puzzle franchises, but it almost stayed in Japan. I wrote an import guide for the Japanese Xbox version! The first game did eventually make it to English markets on some platforms, but not poor Xbox. Thankfully, Sega has seen fit to release Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 in English on all platforms this time, including Xbox! This sequel features 4-player online co-op, plus a fully voiced story mode, lots of new characters (including Sonic), and numerous modes that will please Tetris and Puyo Puyo fans alike.
Like the first game, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 offers a meaty single-player Adventure Mode. This one consists of 7+ chapters and more than 80 levels spread across several maps, each with 3+ stars to earn for completing optional objectives. The story involves a mysterious figure who is merging the separate realities of Puyo Puyo and Tetris in order to facilitate puzzle battles. Each level starts and ends with a whole lot of dialogue between characters – perhaps too much. The English voice actors do a great job, though, and the cinematics are skippable anyway.
Adventure mode starts out pretty easy (even if the star objectives are sometimes a pain), but the difficulty ramps up quite a bit later on. To succeed in Adventure Mode, players must develop a proficiency in both Puyo Puyo and Tetris puzzle mechanics, as every level involves battling AI opponents in one game mode or the other – and sometimes even both. Thankfully, the game includes robust tutorial lessons for both core game types as well as Fusion and Skill Battle types.
Puyo Puyo, for the uninitiated, is a puzzle game in which pairs of colored blobs called Puyos fall from the sky. Matching four or more Puyos causes them to disappear. The emphasis is on setting up chain reactions in which multiple groups of Puyos get eliminated in one move. This sends clear “junk” Puyos to the opponent’s playing field, potentially pushing the enemy towards defeat. Puyo Puyo nearly always involves battling against an AI or human opponent. The on-screen representations of these characters react and shout as matches play out, instilling Puyo Puyo games with plenty of personality.
Whether engaging in Puyo or Tetris battles, pretty much all matches (other than six single-player Challenge Modes, such as the traditional Tetris Marathon) involve battling against an enemy. Most game modes don’t force both players to use the same style, so it’s possible to play Tetris while dueling with a Puyo player and vice versa. The attack pieces that get sent to the other side will simply match the opponent’s game type. Thus, even if you must know how to play both types for Adventure mode, you can still choose to play with just one style or the other a lot of the time.
The following game types are available for local or online play for up to 4 players:
- Versus: Two challengers battle it out using traditional Puyo or Tetris rules as described above.
- Skill Battle: New for this sequel, Skill Battle has both opponents assemble their own teams of 3 characters and battle it out with RPG-style HP meters, special moves, and equippable items dropped from Adventure Mode battles. Characters even gain XP and level up, increasing their stats. Up to 10 teams can be saved, encouraging players to build teams for different situations. It’s a fun way to play, even if stat differences between teams can lead to imbalanced matches. The online co-op Boss Raid mode is based on Skill Battle.
- Swap: During the match, all playing fields will swap between Puyo and Tetris fields at timed intervals. The inactive field has no effect on the active one, so players just need to focus on doing as much damage as possible to opponents with whichever field is currently active. Switching back and forth between styles can be tricky, but Swap is still decently fun.
- Party: Each opponent plays for score during these timed matches. Various items can appear that really mix things up, throwing an opponent’s pieces into overdrive, preventing piece rotation, and more.
- Fusion: The worst mode by far, Fusion sees Puyos and tetrominoes falling into the same field. Tetrominoes don’t help make Puyo matches or vice versa, so making matches is incredibly difficult. Fusion is a cool idea, but it’s about as enjoyable as smashing your hand with a hammer.
- Big Bang: Each player must make rapid-fire matches on playing fields that are pre-populated with blocks or Puyos. Clear the field and a new one appears. Whoever makes their matches faster wins. Big Bang is a fast-paced, good time.
Boss Raid Team Select
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 also features an online component consisting of ranked Puzzle League matches, unranked Free Play matches, downloadable replays (the game saves every match you play), and co-op Boss Raids. The online mode is completely dead on Xbox but might be more populated on other platforms. It’s a shame that Sega didn’t opt to implement cross-platform multiplayer, a feature that was recently added to the other big Tetris game, Tetris Effect: Connected!
Boss Raid supports 2-4 online players (local multiplayer is not supported, sadly). Each player selects one of their Skill Battle teams and then does battle against a randomly selected raid boss. Teammates’ HP and MP are visible to each other, but not their actual playing fields.
The boss battle starts with a random Chance Time condition, such as delivering a certain amount of damage or everyone surviving for a set time. If the team meets the condition, everybody gets a short time in a Big Bang-style rapid-fire mode. The more matches the team makes during this time, the more damage they’ll deliver to the boss. Should a player run out of HP, that player will respawn after a while if any other player remains alive. The raid bosses can be extremely tough, especially when just starting out. Sega offers a free DLC containing several equippable stat-boosting items that will give the co-op team a fighting chance.
Rewards for winning Boss Raid matches include character XP and random item drops. The host player can also select from several difficulties, though the higher difficulties have minimum team levels that prevent low-level teams from skipping ahead to them. Boss Raid doesn’t have a huge amount of staying power, but it’s a good way to farm items, and certainly fun for a few matches with friends now and then.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is an excellent sequel that combines two of the world’s most beloved puzzle franchises into one robust package. Between the lengthy Adventure Mode, numerous competitive modes, and the (admittedly inactive) online modes, this game offers a huge amount of puzzle bang for the buck. The co-op component isn’t much, but it’s still a welcome addition. Whether you’re more of a Tetris or a Puyo Puyo player, every fan of falling block puzzle games is sure to love Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. Get it for $39.99 on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, or Steam.
An Xbox download code was provided by the publisher for this review.
The Co-Op Experience: The online Boss Raid mode supports 4 co-op players. Each player selects their own team and then battles against the boss simultaneously. If a player is eliminated, they will respawn after a short while if the remaining players survive.
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