The puzzle mash-up Puyo Puyo Tetris has returned to make your brain leak out of your ears while screaming into the internet abyss. As opponents drop those deceptively adorable blobs right onto your carefully placed tetriminos, you may ask yourself – Did the first game warrant a sequel? Do we need yet another Tetris variant game this generation? Will these kids save the universe again? Let’s find out with the Switch version of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2!
A Tale of Two Puzzlers
Although I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I’ll never become a pro Puyo Puyo player, I was a big fan of Sonic Team’s efforts with Puyo Puyo Tetris. It must have been quite the challenge to combine the two gameplay styles of Puyo Puyo and Tetris together to make a fun, challenging puzzler.
Fans of the first game will tell you this sequel is a no-brainer, while others will say one more mode does not warrant a full sequel. That in mind, let’s first dive into the brand new mode: Skill Battle.
New Kid on the Block
Skill Battle allows players to create a team of three characters to use each of their abilities during a match that ends when a player loses all their hit points. This mode is intensely in-depth compared to all the other modes, and I felt absolutely lost with my first few matches. The Story mode does nothing to introduce you to this concept, so your best bet is to go through the Lessons area to learn how everything works.
Characters have abilities that range from increasing attack/defense, recovering HP, changing the colors of Puyos, and also setting up the field for a Tetris, among many other abilities. Players also attach cards to their team that have a variety of effects, and each attack uses the MP meter.
The idea of Skill Battle is really interesting and can be seen best as a fighting game with RPG elements. You set up your team to deliver combos of attacks to the point that a battle can last mere seconds. This can be great, or incredibly uneventful. I encountered one online match against a higher-level opponent. After immediately activating all their teammates and tossing garbage at me from completing a Tetris move, they defeated me almost right away. The match was over before I even laid a single block on my screen. I should point out this was also the launch day of the game, so the ranking system was not yet fully evolved. Sure, I was out of my league, but how is that kinda match actually fun for anyone?
The Gang’s all Here
The other modes from PPT1 are all there: Swap, Party, Fusion, Big Bang, Challenge, Versus, and for some reason there’s a Story Mode. I made the mistake of thinking I needed to finish the Story Mode to fully grasp the game before going online in multiplayer, and boy, was I wrong. The voice acting of PPT2 is just as great as PPT1, and I applaud the effort put into it. I’m also a sucker for puns, so I appreciated pretty much all of Suketourdara’s (the red fish) dialogue.
That compliment aside, the Story Mode was the most long-winded waste of time since Project X Zone 1 or 2. I wouldn’t be so harsh if the story taught you the concepts of the various modes, but it composed of about 80 percent Versus battles, 10 percent Skill Battle, and the other 10 percent involves all the other (much more interesting) modes of gameplay.
Only once during the campaign outside of side missions did I play a Party Mode match and only two rounds of Big Bang. Look, I know it’s gotta be hard to write a story for a multi-dimensional universe, but when you end up using a nearly-identical layout, you don’t need to waste time introducing every character again. Especially when there are nearly 30! Before I knew it, I found myself skipping matches after losing them on purpose just to see I’d be thrown into other modes, because I have seen enough anime to know where these origin stories were going. Thankfully, you can skip the Story Mode, but it is there, that you unlock characters, cards for Skill Battle, (though you cannot read their function until completely backing out of Story Mode and then going through three other menus), stages, and other items. If you don’t care about aesthetic, or the new mode, you can skip Story Mode entirely. I wish I did.
Plays Well with Others
My gripes with the Story Mode aside, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a great multiplayer game best played with friends or opponents online at a similar skill level to yourself. The variety of modes still shine and challenge your brain in different ways. While my plan of attack when playing Puyo Puyo can be compared to button mashing in a fighting game, I rather enjoy the challenge of playing against human opponents. One small gripe was how often I ran into “locked” rooms online when trying to find a match. It was only when I attempted to set up my own room that I noticed they are locked by default. This prevented me from playing with a greater variety of people as only a few rooms were available to begin with at the time of this review.
Did this release warrant a number following the name? Definitely not, as there is only one additional mode. Surely, the first game could have been patched to add Skill Mode and the other quality-of-life additions the sequel has. The Story Mode and characters are an after-school-special facade to an incredibly deep and skilled game underneath. If you only play online, then grab this game, as the community has already switched to the most recent entry. If you never plan on going online, then you are safe with the PPT1. Either way, both titles are fun, challenging party games you can enjoy as your eyes dry out from never blinking.
- Addictive gameplay
- Plenty of modes to enjoy with or without friends
- Colorblind support
- Great voice-acting and upbeat music
- Not enough new content to warrant a new game
- Long-winded campaign
- New mode may push away new-comers
- Too many menus to eventually play online