‘Puyo Puyo Tetris’ Review: Two Classics Get A Fresh Coat Of Paint

NOTE: This article is a contribution and do not necessarily represent the views of Player One.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Puyo Puyo Tetris Photo: Sega

I didn’t expect Sega to bring Puyo Puyo Tetris to North America after the project hit Japanese stores in 2014. That’s why I’ve been playing an imported copy of the puzzle game mash-up, thanks to the PS4’s lack of region lock, for the last few years. But a localized version of Puyo Puyo Tetris heads to North American stores next week. And it’s just as delightful.

Puyo Puyo Tetris is exactly what you’d expect: a Blu-ray disc (or digital download) featuring two of the most popular puzzle franchises in video game history. PPT features several game modes, including an entirely nonsensical campaign — that Sega of Japan is weirdly protective of — and a plethora of on and offline multiplayer modes for groups of two to four players. Swap, a match type that jumps back and forth between Puyo Puyo and Tetris, has been a personal favorite. But those in search of other challenges can also explore Big Bang, Challenge, Fusion, Party and traditional Versus matches. There’s also a Solo Arcade section, for testing your mettle against the computer, and tutorials who want/need to learn more about Puyo Puyo and/or Tetris.

The game incorporates a variety of characters from across the Puyo Puyo franchise, some of whom have been part of the series for more than two decades. They’re joined by a new cast of Tetris -playing heroes who serve as the PP team’s counterparts. We’re partial to Ai, a bipedal canine who also serves as chief engineer of a spaceship, because how can you not love a dog whose also capable of fixing a warp engine or repairing a faulty life support system?

Puyo Puyo Tetris also features a surprising number of customization options for a project that doesn’t do much more than cram two of gaming’s oldest puzzle series onto the same disc. The game includes alternate voice packs for its entire roster of more than a dozen heroes, along with alternate background music, puyo and tetromino skins and even alternate interfaces. We’re big fans of Puyo Puyo Tetris’ vibrant colors and anime-influenced default UI. But we don’t blame anyone who’d prefer to get their Tetris fix from a reasonable facsimile of the 1984 classic.

Puyo Puyo Tetris
Puyo Puyo Tetris Photo: iDigitalTimes

Even the value proposition is pretty agreeable. Some might balk at the $30 price tag ($40 for a Switch cartridge), given the sheer number of ways one can play Tetris in 2017. It even comes on business cards these days. Puyo Puyo players have options too. But Puyo Puyo Tetris provides the only avenue, we’re aware of for those two fanbases to go head-to-head without sacrificing their “home turf.” It also nails its presentation, offers some pretty catchy background music and generally succeeds in giving both franchises a fresh coat of paint without taking anything away from either property. Puyo Puyo Tetris even includes a mode that swaps back and forth between the two games; the ultimate challenge to determine whom in your social circle is truly the master of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris.

Puyo Puyo Tetris won’t make converts out of those uninterested in Puyo Puyo or Tetris . Neither has been changed substantially for their latest outing. But those who still enjoy the occasional round of either puzzle game shouldn’t hesitate to add the new mash-up to their PS4 or Switch collection. Puyo Puyo Tetris probably won’t dominate your play sessions for weeks on end, as we’ve seen with recent releases like Breath of the Wild or Horizon Zero Dawn. But even the worst Tetris player -- and I’m not exactly approaching this with the mind of a champion -- should be able to enjoy a multiplayer session during your next IRL (or PSN-hosted) game night.

Puyo Puyo Tetris heads to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on April 25.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more Puyo Puyo Tetris news in 2017 and however long Sega supports Puyo Puyo Tetris after launch.

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