Puyo Puyo Tetris Review: More Than Meets The Slime

Sega /

Two popular puzzle game franchises (Puyo Puyo, Tetris) combine to create Puyo Puyo Tetris. Is it enough to create a winning combination?

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Version reviewed), PlayStation 4
Release Date: April 25, 2017

Tetris, the most famous puzzle video game series to date. Puyo Puyo is a quirkier puzzle game series, but one that is massively popular in Japan. Do these two game series make a perfect fit? Sega certainly thinks so, as they have combined the two series into one game; Puyo Puyo Tetris for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

I think everybody knows what Tetris is, but I’ll run over it briefly. Blocks of various shapes fall, and you create vertical lines with them. If you can’t, they stack. This goes until you reach the top of the screen and then it’s Game Over. It’s a good idea to keep your stack low, but waiting long enough to clear multiple lines nets bigger points.

Puyo Puyo is pretty similar in that you have these slimes (called Puyos) that fall and you have to clear them if you want to keep playing. The big difference here is you just have to match four Puyos of the same color, but it can be vertically or horizontally, leading to a lot more possible combinations.

…It’s a completely nonsense story where every level your objective seems to be “beat this character” or “score this many points in a certain amount of time”…

In Puyo Puyo Tetris you can play either style, but you can also play a “fusion” mode where you get Tetris blocks and Puyo Puyo slides together on the same screen. If that sounds complex, you sure bet it is. And the biggest problem with Puyo Puyo Tetris is that there is virtually no learning curve to it; either you get it, or you don’t, and that can be an intimidating barrier to any newcomers. There is a “learning mode” that kind of shows you how things work, but I don’t think just watching some short videos really does much to help get the idea across.

This arguably could have been solved by a single-player story mode that teaches you the ins-and-outs of both styles of gameplay and reinforces those lessons by having you play against characters where you need to use those tactics. And while Puyo Puyo Tetris does have a single-player story mode, instead it’s a completely nonsense story where every level your objective seems to be “beat this character” or “score this many points in a certain amount of time,” which doesn’t give a whole lot of motivation to go through it all.

Sega /

But multiplayer is where Puyo Puyo Tetris is trying to make its mark, and it’s got some fairly robust options there. There is of course VS. Mode, where you can match one-on-one with any player in either style of game and see who wins. There’s also Swap Mode, where the pieces change back and forth. Party Mode is the one I had the most fun with as it throws in items for random effects and is based more on time than score. Big Bang mode is pretty interesting as well as it’s mostly made to easily pull off big chains without much skill involved, which certainly can be fun for less-skilled players. Finally, Challenge mode is several more modes on their own where you can do things like play with tiny pieces, marathon 150 lines, see how well you can do in three minutes and so on.

While most of the content is present on both versions of the game, the Nintendo Switch version of Puyo Puyo Tetris gives you an advantage that can’t be ignored with its portability. This is an ideal pick-up-and-play game that can really be played anywhere and works pretty well on a small screen with multiple people playing. So if you have a friend or three of roughly equal skill level to play with, it can be the perfect quick game to play and also something fun to play on a break at work or even at a function. It should be noted that the Nintendo Switch version is $10 more though, so you are definitely paying a premium for that feature.

Sega /

I feel Puyo Puyo Tetris is a great and, arguably, essential pick up for those who like brain-teasing puzzle games that require lightning fast reflexes and thinking. But there is a high barrier to entry, especially for any sort of competitive play, that could have been handled better with something like a story mode that really schools you in the way both styles of play function. It is the quintessential “for fans of the genre” kind of game, but a robust one that’s an easy recommendation for those fans.

7.5. A fantastic pick-up-and-play puzzle party game for those who like the genre, but the barrier to entry is pretty high and there is little to make it welcoming to any newcomers.. Sega. . Puyo Puyo Tetris

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.