One of the puzzle games featured in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is an excellent example of a tile-matching puzzle game – simple to understand but difficult to master. It’s colourful, addictive and available on a multitude of devices. Simply put, it is far superior to other tile-matching puzzle games.
The other game in this mash-up is Tetris.
But whichever of the two games you prefer, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a bountiful load of various modes that is cleverly able to mash together different elements, all whilst keeping them distinctively individual at the same time.
For those that don’t know, Puyo Puyo is a match-four tile game where pairs of Puyos drop from the screen. As long as they are adjacent to each other orthogonally when you add the fourth – or more – Puyo into the mix, they will disappear and any above them will fill the spaces below. This allows experienced players to get some very long and extremely impressive combos chained together.
And then if you have been living under a rock for the best part of the last 40 years, there is Tetris. Rather than matching colours together like in Puyo Puyo, you aim to make horizontal lines using falling Tetrominoes. Complete a line and it is removed from the field of play.
In Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, these two games are smashed together for both single player and multiplayer modes. Particularly when going up against an opponent – CPU or carbon-based – do you start to see how this fusion works; anytime a combo is performed in either game, blocks are dropped or lines are added on your opposition’s screen to block and infuriate.
Upon loading up the game for the first time, there is a busy main menu to contend with. Even sub-menus contain a lot of options – a by-product of so many different modes. Adventure mode is arguably the ‘main’ mode and introduces you to the concept of Puyo Puyo and Tetris being from two different dimensions. Just like in the first Puyo Puyo Tetris game – not available for Western Xbox owners – these dimensions begin to merge together. It is up to the many familiar characters from the world of Puyo Puyo to bring the world back to a normal balance. You will play various games of Puyo Puyo or Tetris, with a variety of different objectives to meet in order to restore parity.
Did I pay full attention to the story? No. With very little prior knowledge, a lot of it flew over my head. It is surprisingly convoluted and in-depth. Plus, a little annoying: many of the characters are that kind of bubble-gum cute and sickly sweet. One character literally pops up on the screen to just shout “Pipiiiiipiii” all the time, something my ears did not enjoy.
Solo mode gets you into the action quicker without the need for any story to bog the pace down, and there is a huge selection to choose from in here. Certain modes such as Fusion and Swap allow you to play both Puyo Puyo and Tetris alongside each other, but the rest of the modes all feature them as separate games. Don’t let that put you off though: if you are a fan of either franchise there is more stuff here than you can shake a very long stick at.
One of the new modes available is Skill Battle. This gives the huge roster of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 unique stats and abilities that you can use against your opponents. Such abilities range from recovering HP to changing Puyo colours or erasing lines of Tetriminoes. And the more you play with the characters, the better they will become through levelling up and equipping item cards. Yet again, there is a surprising amount of depth here.
Most of these modes are also available in local multiplayer mode too.
And if you have only ever dabbled in either Puyo Puyo or Tetris, there is a substantial Lesson mode that goes into a lot of detail. The sheer amount of detail in there is once again very impressive. After playing through the tutorials, there are 100 puzzles to really put your skills to the test in.
There is also online multiplayer where you can even watch uploaded replays of clutch moments in matches or just some skilful play. Performance in any of these modes will award credits that can be spent in the in-game shop. It features all the standard stuff you would expect such as different skins for Puyos or Tetriminoes, voice packs for the playable characters and player icons to show off online.
The shop can be found in the Options and Data area, where there is also a ton of information for those looking to further fine-tune their skills. You can view replays of your play to see if and where you could improve, check out all your high scores and stats across all the modes, and choose your online loadout.
Initially, the colour palette of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 on Xbox made me feel sick, in that sickly kind of way after eating too much sugar. In fact, it was made all the worse as everything was popping out in 4K on the Xbox Series X|S version. I was expecting a shallow take on both puzzle franchises, but even after a short time with the game, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The sheer amount of content and variety in here more than justifies the £34.99 price tag.
And it is designed to make you a better player at both Puyo Puyo and Tetris; my skills have improved massively in Tetris, and I have developed a newfound love for it in the process by understanding its nuances. The lack of more modes fusing the two games together is a bit of a disappointment, but Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is one of the best ways to play pure versions of either franchise, alongside a ton of interesting variations.