The collision of the greatest Russian export since vodka, Tetris, and possibly the cutest puzzle game ever conceived in Japan – and yes, we know that’s a big call – Puyo Puyo gets a second outing in, appropriately, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2.
Videogames can leave lasting marks on society, but few become adjectives. Alexey Pajitnov’s puzzler Tetris is one that can justifiably claim the mantle of adjectival fame. Just ask anybody trying to pack a pile of crap into any small space – “I’ll just try to Tetris this in…” Hey, just ask Homer Simpson!
OK, so we all know what Tetris is. But what the heck is a ‘Puyo Puyo’?
If you’re late to the party, it too is a puzzle game, that while let out to play in the west variously as Puyo Pop, Kirby’s Avalanche or even Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, is something altogether more supernova in its native land. Spawned from dungeon crawler Madou Monogatari, it’s basically a blocky colour matching game too, but as the pairs that continually drop are made up of blobby characters, they split when they hit other blobby characters, rather than staying as a whole.
Yes, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a collision of the two classic puzzle games. It takes the utilitarian Tetris, gives it a wonderfully Japanesey anime makeover, adds its own kick-arse puzzler and results in one of the best puzzle releases ever. Yep, ever.
While different – one demands line clearance, the other chains of colour clears – the two games are complimentary enough to make head-to-head play relatively fair. If you have a preference, there are enough modes where you can avoid the other game altogether. But you’d miss out on a whole lot of fun if you were that boring all the time. Still, at start-up you can just plump for classic, vanilla Tetris or Puyo Puyo, so all bases are covered.
To the more adventurous types, you want modes? Where we’re going, we don’t nee- hang on, yes, we do need modes! Luckily, PPT2 delivers – and for up to four players in local split-screen, too.
Kicking things off in a big way is a new story adventure mode, which harks back to events of the first crossover of the two puzzle phenomena (cue those Snowths…) This is a dialogue-heavy tale of people falling from space and being cutesy and… look, it’s fun and has fabulous voice acting – available in English or Japanese – and all, but it’s the puzzling interludes that are the big-ticket item here.
If you just wish to dive headlong into the puzzling pool, there are six challenge modes, as well as another six arcade levels and a couple of lessons if you feel you need to brush up on the old skills. The big new one here is ‘Skill Battle’, which features play with teams of characters, all with special skills, HP and MP bars. This introduces item cards and unique rule sets, and is HP based – so, you can reach the top and it isn’t game over. It’s a nice, somewhat jarring twist in a game that already provides a bunch of nice twists.
There’s also online play, although if our experience with the last one – we played PPT2 before release so the multiplayer cupboard was bare – then beware of Puyo Puyo pros hanging around just waiting to make you feel like a big blobby ball of useless crap. You know, much like those $!%&s who hang around spawn-killing in the likes of CoD. We could quote a famous line from a certain Japanese gentleman in South Park in regards to such types, but this is a family show…
So, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, eh? Trust us, puzzler fans, Tetris this one into your life, for otherwise you may feel like Pu, yo!
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S/One, PS4 and Switch.