Hands up, who’s never played a game of Tetris? Of course you probably have. Even if just in passing, the ubiquitous nature of Tetris means you can’t walk out your front door without bumping a version of the game. Yet here we are in 2017 – mixing the classic Tetris formula with a rather abstract Puyo Puyo puzzle game that you’ve probably never heard of. It sounds like a recipe for disaster – but the end results turn out to be anything but.
Where Puyo Puyo Tetris excels is in its execution. The game oozes charm from every pore, almost to a sickening degree at times. Even when you’re losing, you’re still having a blast as you try to turn the tables. The graphics are gorgeous, with backgrounds and borders popping at every turn. The decision to include unlockable Tetris and Puyo Puyo sets is also a bonus – allowing gamers to work towards their own delivery of gameplay.
The music is also incredibly catchy. There are some great remixes of the Tetris theme in here, as well as some other songs that you’ll find yourself humming along to in no time. Another nice little trick I noticed, when playing the Switch mode is that the music slowly ebbs in – giving you audio cues to when the gameplay is about to change. It’s a treat for the ears, no doubt.
The main bulk of gameplay takes place across five different modes offered. These range from traditional versus (Which allows the gamer to take on friends or CPU’s) in the game of their choice. Playing on the Switch’s JoyCon is easy as pie, even when splitting for multiplayer action. I didn’t find myself frustrated or annoyed – and thanks to the multitude of control options offered up in the game – you’ll find the style that fits you best. The game runs smoothly docked or on-screen – so there’s no issues with performance (I’m looking at you, Bomberman).
Of these modes, Swap is arguably my favourite. Here both gamers are forced to move between two separate boards, attempting to remain in-play across consecutive Puyo Puyo game and Tetris games. The key here is to be good at both games that you can hang in there, as momentum shifts. There’s no downtime as boards flip and Tetris blocks fall. I had the most fun with friends when playing in this mode – as I found myself unable to predict or control which board I’d perform better on. It’s a blast to play – and brings out the very best of the two games strengths.
Fusion Mode has the most potential for chaos, and will also be the mode that many will come to love or hate in equal measure. This see’s the two modes squashed together in a hilariously over the top offering. It takes a fair amount of adjusting but there is a lot of tactical play on offer should you dive in. Once you begin to master the patterns and see how to manage the flow of Tetris and Puyo blocks – it becomes a lot easier to enjoy. Certainly a grower.
Big Bang Mode is a curious one. Here you’re basically made to complete pre-set puzzles as fast as possible. Mess it up too much and you throw away precious points – which gives your opponent the edge. It’s a furious mode that in short burst had me and my friends going crazy – with the music swelling up as the timer dropped.
Party Mode is arguably the least appealing of the five modes offered up. It throws powerups into the mix and delivers a satisfying if slightly limited offering in the process. Turning out your opponents lights can be fun, but the fact that you can’t really lose – just drop points – means this mode will likely see the least action of all the games on offer.
If you’re wondering about the single player mode, it’s kind of there. If you’re expecting anything more than hammy cutscenes between each of the stages then you’ll be sadly disappointed. Certainty the challenge offered up in this mode is worthy of mention – with stars assigned for completing certain goals. Getting all these stars can be quite the challenge – and will certainly keep more hardcore gamers busy for weeks to come. That being said, the mode is very simplistic – and I wouldn’t be amazed if many who play the mode simply skip through the cutscenes.
The online mode is well padded out (at least for a Nintendo Switch outing). The game features all of the main modes (bar single player) and offers up a ranking system for you to rise through. I found myself being mercilessly beaten down by expert Tetris players (Most players I played seemed to shift to Tetris). It can be disheartening – but thanks to the inclusion of all the different modes – at least you won’t feel too limited in how you play the game online.
There’s a lot to like to Puyo Puyo Tetris. It’s a deceptively deep game, with bags of charm and some of the best graphics on Switch so far. The frantic pick up and play nature of the game means you won’t be disappointed if you have friends to play alongside. The flip side to this however is that the single player portions of the game are slightly lacking. Certainly if you don’t have regular people to play this with, it might be worth waiting for the price to drop.
But if you need a game to really show off just how versatile and how fun the Switch can be – then Puyo Puyo Tetris is the game for you. Easily a must buy for any Switch owner with friends (That means you).