Puyo Puyo Tetris was a revelation when it first launched. Giving us an unprecedented bridge between these puzzle franchises, Sonic Team created one of the smoothest gameplay crossovers we’ve witnessed in recent years. Originally released in 2014, it never received a western localisation until a few years later for PlayStation 4 and thankfully, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 has arrived in much timelier fashion. Bringing us a brand-new story and expanded gameplay, it still packs a winning formula that puzzle fans will adore.
Within adventure mode, Captain Tee and O of the Starship Tetra have been returned to the Puyo Puyo world once again by Ex, Guardian of Time and Space. Despite previously restoring both worlds to their separate states, a new force has begun merging them once more, creating chaos in the name of fun. Though our characters forgot each other after parting ways, this campaign reunites these familiar faces once more, introducing several new ones along the way.
You’ve got seven worlds to explore that are split between stages, including side missions. Most battles take place in versus mode, switching between Tetris and Puyo Puyo gameplay. Tetris should need no introduction to most players but Puyo Puyo works differently, aiming to link four matching Puyos to vanquish them. If you stack them carefully, you can chain combos or extra points, granting points bonuses and also sending trash to your opponent’s screen, filling up their play area. That also applies to clearing lines in Tetris and if your screen stacks to the top, that’s game over. Each stage awards up to three stars for hitting set criteria, such as winning within a specific time limit.
As a new addition, SEGA has also added skill battles, an RPG-style mode involving a team of three characters, who affect your stats like HP, defence, and attack points. Everyone holds specific skills that can influence gameplay, such as restoring health or sending out a stronger attack, though these are subject to a long cooldown. Once your HP is down, the last player standing wins and it makes for an excellent new addition. You’ll unlock new content upon completing stages, including new playable characters, stages and music tracks to pick from within additional modes.
Like its predecessor, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 lets you play both styles separately, though you’ve also got swap mode that switches between them within the same battle. Fusion mode also mixes the two into one board, with Tetrinimos sinking below any Puyos when placed. To call it an odd mix would be understating things and yet, SEGA has pulled it off remarkably yet again. It doesn’t feel like a concept that should work, but it remains just as addictive as before and there’s plenty of content to keep you entertained, one that’ll appeal to fans of both franchises.
Multiplayer is what will keep you coming back, though, allowing four players to join locally and online. Outside of the aforementioned modes, you can also choose party mode which adds power-ups to hinder your opponents and whoever holds the highest score at the end wins. Big Bang mode is also present, seeing you clear pre-set lines within a time limit. All of these can be played online too but you can also fight within a ranked Puzzle League option. Bringing us four individual leagues, this allows you to battle head-to-head with worldwide opponents for Puyo Puyo/Tetris fights, a mix of the two, and skill battles.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything else for solo players, though. You can take on AI opponents for one thing, but more interestingly, solo play also features a challenge section that offers more classic gameplay variants. This includes Tetris’ sprint and marathon modes, where you clear a set number of lines as quickly as possible and Puyo Puyo has similar options too, including a survival game which won’t stop until you’re defeated.
The only criticism we can really make is that not a lot has changed. That doesn’t mean Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a rehash of the original, but SEGA’s focus was clearly on the new adventure, which admittedly adds a lot of depth to proceedings. Many included gameplay options were present previously and whilst sequels will always have overlap, it feels a little too safe. However, SEGA have confirmed that additional content is being added in free post-launch updates. That will bring new gameplay modes, music, and even more playable characters, expanding an already high roster of 28.
It also boasts an improved visual presentation. Though the original was no slouch, there is a noticeable improvement here and everything looks that little bit smoother, backed up by a suitably energetic soundtrack. You can unlock several cosmetic options, too, including new player icons, alternative voice packs for each character and different designs for the Tetriminos and Puyos. These can be purchased via credits, which you obtain upon completing battles.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a worthy successor to the first game, expanding upon the original premise with additions like skills battles but retaining that same addictive gameplay puzzle fans will love. Providing a fantastic multiplayer experience both online and locally, fans will find plenty to keep them occupied. It isn’t entirely flawless and the lack of changes with bonus content feels a little too safe but it’s a minor criticism in the grand scheme of things. SEGA has done an excellent job here and it comes highly recommended.