Review: Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 (PS4/PS5)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox Series X/S
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (1.77 GB)
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Publisher: Sega
Developer: sega
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Puyo Puyo Tetris was a game I was surprised by, in several ways. First, it’s just an odd game-a quirky story mode, a silly mash-up (even if the two games are similar in a lot of ways), a surprising selection for localization. The second way it surprised me was how much I enjoyed it. While I’ve played and enjoyed Tetris, I’ve never been good at it nor crazy about it. And my total exposure to Puyo Puyo was knowing that it existed thanks to the anime Genshiken. Based on the reactions of my social media feeds, it seemed like I wasn’t alone in enjoying the first Puyo Puyo Tetris, so I suppose it was inevitable that it would get a sequel.

So here we are: Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. For the uninitiated, Puyo Puyo is a color-matching puzzle game series with a long history. At times, it has gone by many different names, including Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Kirby’s Avalanche, Quirks, and Puyo Pop. In Puyo Puyo, blocks of blobs (also called ‘puyo’) drop down and the player has to match up four blobs of the same color to clear them, hopefully causing a cascade of further clears. Puyo is typically a versus game, with both/all players working to clear their own blobs while sending junk at the opponent(s) when they do particularly well.

PPT mashes that with Tetris. I’m sure that game really needs no introduction, as it is perhaps the most famous block-clearing puzzle game in existence. Of course, PPT‘s version of Tetris is also often a versus version, with both players playing simultaneously, sending rows of blocks at their foe as they clear rows of their own. In most game modes, each player can chose to either play Puyo or Tetris, with the game translating the garbage sent over to the other player’s playstyle.

It’s a base formula that works very well, primarily because Puyo and versus Tetris are already pretty established formulas on their own. However, where PPT really shines is that it not only allows players of each game type to play one another, but how it adds a layer of quirkiness, especially in some of the zanier gameplay types. PPT2 retains all of those odd modes, like fusion that mixes Puyos and Tetraminos in the same space, while adding a new mode and story, which I’ll focus more on. If you want a run-down of the returning game modes, check out our review of the original game.

The big new mode is the Skill battle, a bit of an RPG addition, where each player has a team of three characters and is trying to run out the foe’s health bar before their own is depleted. Each character has skills the player can activate to gain an edge during battle, in addition to just playing Puyo or Tetris well. It’s an odd game mode, but it fits well with the wacky PPT vibe and is probably the best new addition.

Adventure mode is the story mode for the game, bringing back the cast of the first game (plus a few new characters) for a new universe-merging tale. The story itself is…well, it’s amusing. There’s not a particularly gripping narrative, but the game is definitely not trying for that, instead focusing on a silly, but fun, story. Each character has some quirk, and half the fun is just seeing them bounce off one another while trying to solve the problems ahead of them. Also, the story is pretty standalone, so don’t worry if you didn’t play the first game.

Of course, the overall gameplay in PPT2 is just as fun as always. Tetris is always a game I can find myself sinking several hours into, and while I’m still a novice at Puyo, it’s also very enjoyable. I really like the new Skill battle mode and I wish the game opened it up a little faster, as it takes a while in the story before you really start unlocking stuff for it. The skill battle option from the main menu doesn’t seem to actually level up your characters, so you have to grind games out in the adventure mode.

All this is to say you can call me a cynic, but I’m not 100% sure why PPT2 exists. I liked the first game and I like this one, but this does feel a little like just popping out a new game because X years have passed since the original came out. I guess the first game took so long to get localized that it’s actually been quite a while (around seven years) since the first game was originally released in Japan, but this is still a fairly minimal upgrade overall. PPT2 does provide a dedicated next-gen version, though doesn’t even really take advantage of any PS5 features aside from rudimentary use of the ‘cards.’

If I had to guess, new online multiplayer modes are probably the one justification that has the most merit. But, admittedly, I didn’t interact with the online play much in either this game or the first, largely because I’m so bad at it. However, I’ll leave that for the appropriate section.

Visuals:
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 has a good visual style overall. The menus are slick and clean. The characters are cute and stylized, using an appealing chibi-ish aesthetic. Even the gameplay just pops, pun intended. I grew up on the Gameboy version of Tetris, which was, in retrospect, rather drab. PPT2 is a lot more colorful and appealing, and only the excellent Tetris Effect gives it a run for it’s money, though the two are going for vastly different vibes.

One nice addition is that PPT2 offers some options for the colorblind, a particularly good feature for any color-matching block game. In fact, there are a bunch of unlockable Puyo and Tetramino styles, for those who want to get their game looking closer to some of the classic games in either series. Plus, of course, there’s a couple dozen characters to choose from.

Audio:
The game sounds as good as it looks, with some catchy music and, of course, the classic KorobeinikiTetris theme song) is here too. To help with the presentation, the story mode is voiced, and it really helps the silly aspect shine through. The English voice cast does a great job breathing life into the characters during the off-the-wall story parts, and there is a Japanese voice option too, which is similarly good.

Though, I do have to say, the character voices can get a little annoying during actual gameplay. Each one has some catchphrases for when you clear some blocks or blobs, and you’ll start to hear these phrases a lot. Each character does have an alternate voice pack that can be unlocked, plus you can shuffle through the characters to get some variation, so I think this isn’t a huge issue overall.

Online/Multiplayer:
I have not yet played any online matches, likely due to pre-release low numbers of players. However, my girlfriend and I did play a little bit together locally. Many of the ‘single player’ modes are just versus modes against an AI, so naturally all of those modes are available in the multiplayer. Since there are lot of modes to pick from, there is a lot of variation in how you might choose to play with friends. And most of the modes even support up to four players for even more mayhem, though I was unable to test that myself.

As PPT2 shares a lot of DNA with fighting games, one main criticism is how difficult it can feel for the underdog when the players are particularly not-well-matched. This happened to me a lot when I played online in the first PPT, where I would get crushed by experienced players. For casual matches, there are some handicaps that can adjust the difficulty per player, which does alleviate the issue a little bit.

Conclusion:
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a good game, and for anyone who may have skipped the first, it’s a great place to jump on. The gameplay is frantic and satisfying, and there are a lot of options for modes to play. A silly story gives the game some single-player content, and the multiplayer is there for longevity (if you’re willing to work to get better). There’s even a decent amount to unlock for completionists out there.

However, the game also feels very similar to it’s predecessor. Sure, there are some minor additions, like a new story to go through, and the skill battles, but it’s almost the same experience overall. At least the game is a budget priced, and, for my money, I probably would have been okay with this package, but I could see not everyone feeling the same way.

I guess that’s where everything fits in: if you’re new, go ahead. If you’re a returning fan, make sure you’re okay with mostly just a new coat of paint.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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