Puyo Puyo Tetris Preview

Tetris and Puyo Puyo Pop are puzzle gaming classics. Tetris sold a handheld. Puyo Puyo Pop was redressed as two tie-in puzzlers as Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche alike. They're veteran puzzle games, and worthy of the hundreds of hours we've all lost playing them at home and on the go. There have been dozens of releases of both games. I'm sure that if I checked, I would find that both series have an entry on every console since their inception. 

I'm also sure that most people would find that in an era where they can play these games on their cellphones, they would find little reason to indulge forty dollars on a crossover title like Puyo Puyo Tetris. However, the upcoming American release of the three year old Sega release features a full suite of gameplay options, a colorful cast of characters, and local and online multiplayer. Yes. The PS4 and Nintendo Switch are getting a game that came out on last generation consoles three years ago, and we are just now getting it. Better late than never, I guess. 

My impressions of Puyo Puyo Tetris are based on the Nintendo Switch demo that released following the Nintendo Direct presentation on April 12th. Included in the demo are two modes, Versus and Swap. I played both modes in single player against the AI. Versus allows players to choose their character and gametype, and compete with another player (or AI) to score high and fill the gameplay field of the other player by scoring quickly and dumping blocks into their field. Versus is the more straightforward mode, allowing players to chose their type of play, eithey Puyo or Tetris. Swap is the most interesting of the two modes, switching between the two types of play every few turns. 

Swap mode is the best look at the possibilities of Puyo Puyo Tetris. As the game progresses, time between swaps gets shorter and shorter, forcing the player to stay on form in two completely different types of games. It's a tense game, and though nothing here is specifically new, it's a decent wrinkle on an existing formula. It's a solid reminder that any good puzzle game of this type is best when played in multiplayer. Given the quality of these modes on their own, I'm looking forward to see what the other four modes are like. Also, all of the screenshots I took are from the same round, because I kept forgetting to hit the button while playing because I was entranced. 

The only problems see in the demo are aesthetic problems. I don't see the point of the characters. They just sit to the side of the actual game, and I didn't notice them doing anything. There doesn't seem to be any evident perk to chosing one character over another. It's a problem I had with Super Bomberman R as well, where the characters are just the animated embodiment of cutesy excess, and it does nothing for me personally. Given that there is going to be an Adventure Mode in the complete game, there may be something to the character selection when that comes around, but it just seems a little pointless to me now. Also, their voice acting is irritating and distracting in the game itself. I muted it shortly after I started. The music selections are what you should expect from Tetris, though they have been remixed and expanded. If you now have the classic Tetris music in your head as a result of reading that sentence, welcome to the hell that I will be living in for the next two hours after wrapping up this post. 

I'm happy to know that this is going to be exactly what it looks like; Tetris and Puyo Puyo in the same box with a few extra layers to keep it fresh and exciting. It's exactly what I want it to be for when I'm travelling and want to play something that doesn't take a lot of time to get into and out of. I'm not sure that this is a game I'd want to play on the PS4, because it's not a game that I think is suited to playing on the television rather than a handheld. I do like the potential of the Switch controller setup for multiplayer. Prop up the screen, give another player a Joycon, have fun. It's exactly what the Switch was made for in a way. Sure, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is going to be a great multiplayer racer, but for a handheld gaming platform, I'm always searching for a good puzzle game. For the Vita, I hung my puzzle gaming hat on Lumines. For the Switch, I've got the massively enjoyable Puyo Puyo Tetris to look forward to. 

That said, that $40 price tag is a little much, Sega. Even though I've paid off my preorder...