It seems that everyone is getting in on the Tetris action, with Sega being the latest and while the game came out in Japan back in 2014, it is now only making its way here, but is it worth a three year wait?
The game does feature an abundance of modes, so you can rest easy there, it comes with the standard Puyo Puyo game type as well as a Tetris mode as well, but it also comes packed with a range of variants as well and finally it does include an adventure mode. Each mode will attract players of all types and that is the fun of the game, playing against people, I mean as much fun as the CPU is, when you take on real opponents, the fun is easy to find. But for those that want to play on their own, you will find the bulk of your experience in the adventure mode, here there is something of a story, which explains why the two worlds, Tetris and Puyo Puyo are mixing and you will have to find out as you play through each chapter.
The adventure mode takes place after the events of Puyo Puyo 6, don’t worry I had to look that up as well; Ringo the Puyo Puyo main character is talking about how the day is so plain and ordinary and how perfect the plain and ordinary day is, so much that something happens. That something is that Amitie, Arle, and Carbuncle fall into her world, which brings the characters back together again, this is the part where I started to look things up, as there is clearly history, something the game fails to explain. But as the group are starting to enjoy their reunion, Tetriminos start to fall from the sky and the gang is teleported onto the spaceship that is floating above the planet and here is where you meet Tee, Captain of the spaceship Tetra. As the group from the ground mix with the group from space, personalities clash and to calm down, everyone battles, sometimes just Tetris battles, other times Puyo Puyo and sometimes, the two blend together.
That there, is my biggest issue with the adventure mode, not only does it feel like a bad 90’s anime plot, battling as someone is scared, angry, repairs are needed for the ship or to locate someone, there is no set rhythm to the gameplay offered. One moment you are battling against someone, the next you have to complete a challenge, only to then swap back to battles, it bounces around so much it is hard to keep track of just what the story is attempting to tell. The other part of the adventure mode that frustrated me, was as I said above, the complete lack of history for the characters from past games, there is not even any backstory located elsewhere in the game, you either know them, learn about them yourself or ignore all the references to past events.
Thankfully, the modes outside of the adventure mode will take up the bulk of your time and here is where you can customise the experience to suit you. The basic mode will let you play either Puyo Puyo or Tetris, straight up, without too many changes, however if you want, you can play them together in Swap mode, where you have a limited time to play each game type, before your board is swapped for the other one. The challenge here comes from the fact that you need to keep on your toes about which game you are playing, as Tetris is all about clearing lines, but Puyo Puyo is about building up the biggest combo you can. For those looking for a much harder challenge, you can try your hand at Fusion mode, where you have to deal with both Tetris blocks and Puyo Puyo in the one game board. The same two rules apply, clear lines of Tetriminos and build chains of Puyo Puyos, however things are slightly different, while you can stack the same object on another, Tetris blocks will actually pass through Puyos, so you need to be careful that dropping a single Tetris piece won’t undo all of your planning.
Big Bang mode is more like a battle mode, where you will have to clear the board of either Puyo Puyo blobs or Tetriminos, but each piece has a set place to go, mess it up and the board clears and you get a new board and you need to start again. As you clear the boards, by matching the pieces, your score increases and the reason to do this, is that once the timer runs down, you launch an attack at the opposing players and if their health bar depletes, then they are out of the game. While clearing the board is simple for Tetriminos, it is where you need to clear the Puyo Puyo boards where the challenge will come to those not familiar with the games mechanics. Party mode and Challenge mode round out the offerings, with Challenge mode giving you a set time to achieve a set goal, Party mode however will let players add items to the mix, scoring one will trigger a rotation lock on other players, maybe make their entire play space dark, except where the light is shining and so on.
Each of the games modes can be played online as well, letting you play against not only your friends locally, but also players from around the world. When you head online, you will need to create a room, this can be set to public or private and then from there, you can choose your other options. In all the matches I played online, I never encountered any lag, which is a good thing as when you get up there in levels, the players you compete against have some serious skill. Given that the game supports 4 players locally, online might not be something you play with and that’s ok, local multiplayer is much more enjoyable, for this type of game.
Where the game has issues though is with its presentation, due to the different looks of Puyo Puyo and Tetris, finding a balance might have been a challenge for the designers, but blending the two puzzle types is not the issue, it’s the characters that are the problem. Even if you are playing solo, doing a simple challenge, you are assigned a character, their outline is usually shown in the play window, the problem is that every time that you clear a line, make a chain of Puyo vanish or such, the character says something. The problem is, it is the same lines for the same action, clear a single line of Tetriminos and you hear the same line, two lines and the same words are spoken, the problem is, you can’t turn the voices off on their own. You can disable sound effects, which does turn them off, but then you lose that snap of blocks into place, which is really disturbing when you can’t hear that noise.
As you play through the adventure mode, you will unlock new backgrounds and music, which you can customise as you desire, which is nice, the problem with that, is that is given to you, the rest you need to buy. Thankfully you earn the games currency pretty easily, the problem is, you can purchase skins for the Tetriminos or Puyos or alternate voice packs, but the repetition stays the same, just with new lines. The game has a cool little touch, where you actually can jump right into a standard match of either game from the title screen, the problem there, is none of your preferences or settings carry over, the game loads up the default each and every time, which means the same person, the same music, the same background and the same lines said over and over and over again.
Puyo Puyo Tetris, is actually a wonderful game, if you can look past its weak story mode and repetitive voice overs. At its core is a wonderful puzzle game, you can enjoy either part, Puyo Puyo or Tetris on their own, but when you combine them, the fun really kicks into gear.