Line 'em Up and Pop 'em!: Puyo Puyo Tetris Review
Crossovers are nothing new in the world of video games, from the well-known crossovers like Marvel vs. Capcom or Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games to lesser known outings like Project X Zone or Cross Edge. While we’ve seen our fair share of crossovers, there are those that are occasionally so out of left field that the name alone makes you want to scratch your head, which brings us to Puyo Puyo Tetris. The idea of a crossover between two puzzle games is an odd concept, to begin with, but the meeting of these two long-running seems an odd one indeed. While Puyo Puyo may not be as well-known in the West as Tetris, the franchise has seen a lot of success in Japan and has been around nearly as long as Alexey Pajitnov’s classic puzzler.
This strange mashup, which surprisingly does feature a story mode, beings aboard the SS Tetramino. The Tetramino features characters that were created to represent the Tetris franchise since, unlike Puyo Puyo, Tetris doesn’t traditionally feature player characters in its games. The crew of the SS Tetramino is led by their young captain, Tee. When Tee finds a stowaway named Ringo, the protagonist from Puyo Puyo 7, aboard his ship. He is surprised that, when challenged to a Tetris battle, the girl used strange blobs called Puyo instead of Tetraminos. After the ship is forced to make a crash-landing on an unknown planet, the crew of the SS Tetramino must work together with Ringo, Amite, and other characters from the previous Puyo Puyo titles to fix their ship and help return everyone to their proper home.
The story of Puyo Puyo Tetris is typical fare, as far as crossovers are concerned. The story isn’t anything special, and it serves more like a pilot to introduce the player to the game’s various modes than to tell a convincing story. The Tetris characters are boring and, as they were created exclusively for this game, they come off as shallow and fit into your generic anime stereotypes. Meanwhile, the Puyo Puyo characters merely rehash character traits from their previous outings, while not doing anything out of the ordinary. Aside from earning credits for the game’s unlockables, the story doesn’t offer any real incentive to finish it, outside of familiarizing yourself with the basic concepts of the game’s modes without playing the tutorial modes.
If you’re familiar with either series, then you should have an idea of what you’ll be getting into with this title. While each title plays as you’d expect, there are some changes that you’ll see when playing the various game modes. If you play Tetris against Puyos, you’ll see things like garbage Puyos come into play, which helps mix up the standard Tetris formula by helping you flood your opponent’s side of the field and apply extra pressure. Aside from the traditional Tetris and Puyo Puyo gameplay, several modes mix things up for either single or multiplayer gameplay. These include Fusion mode, which combines Tetrmaoninos and Puyos together, Swap, which has you switch back and forth between Puyos and Tetraminos, among several others. Puyo Puyo Tetris offers plenty of game modes for those looking for a strong multiplayer fix. Thanks to this and a tutorial suite that can teach you to play either style or improve your skills in either style, there’s a lot to like in this package. Switch owners will undoubtedly want this title for an excellent alternative to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as the multiplayer suite will offer a lot to like if you need something else to bring out at a party.
With this type of game, you can’t expect top of the line visuals, but what’s here looks great and has some vibrant colors to help the visuals pop. Unlockables are purely cosmetic and offer additional skins, playable characters, and extra songs. While the aesthetic borrows heavily from the Puyo Puyo titles, there some Tetris elements in there too thanks to the inclusion of the classic Tetris theme and retro styles for the Tetraminos. Speaking of the music, aside from the classic Tetris theme, there are plenty of songs from the previous Puyo Puyo titles, most of which are very catchy and go great whether you’re clearing lines of Tetraminos or popping Puyos.
While I’m glad that we received the game on both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, it’s unfortunate that the title, which also released on the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox One, and PlayStation Vita in Japan, wasn’t localized on any of those platforms. Puyo Puyo Tetris is an incredibly fun game, especially for fans of either of the titles. While it features a weak story that serves no real purpose except fanservice for Puyo Puyo fans and to familiarize you with the gameplay. The gameplay is self is fantastic and offers some of the best that either series has ever offered. The HD visuals are vibrant and colorful, and unlockable items give your Puyos and Tetraminos some extra visual flair to mix up their usual appearances.
Thanks to a sizable offering of game modes, Puyo Puyo Tetris offers up a lot of fun and addictive, Puyo Puyo Tetris is an easy recommendation to both PS4 and Switch owners looking for a puzzle game for their respective platform. I know that it’s a game I’ll find myself playing for a long time to come on my Switch in both my TV and in handheld mode.