Thank you SEGA for sending us this game to review!
While I’m no expert at Tetris, I certainly do enjoy playing it. The iconic theme music isn’t anywhere to be found in this title though. When playing Hatsune Miku on the 3DS, I was introduced to Puyo Puyo, which is similar to Dr. Mario where you have to match up four of the same color puyos instead of pills. When you combine Puyo Puyo and Tetris together it gets a bit crazy, but it’s still fun even though I’m far from mastering both games.
If you’re new to either title, there are three tutorials available for each game. The beginner tutorials cover the controls and teach you how to rotate the puyos and tetriminos. In Tetris you can increase the drop speed, but this is not possible in Puyo Puyo. The advanced Tetris tutorial teaches you about clearing four rows at a time (Tetris) and holding a piece for later use. Holding is great for the vertical four block pieces or a piece that you don’t have a nook for at the moment. The advanced Puyo Puyo tutorial will teach you how to utilize combos. The combos will benefit your score no matter which game you play. The Tetris expert tutorial will teach you about last second rotations that defy physics and back to back combos. Both games reward you for clearing all the pieces from the board. Mastering the stair chains and sandwich techniques in the expert Puyo Puyo tutorial is critical for your survival online and in the single-player adventure mode.
While the story isn’t that deep or believable, it sets the stage nicely for the merging of two different game worlds and introduces you to some interesting characters. A couple of the characters like to get into trouble, but it’s pretty tame. One planet prefers tight clothes while the other likes loose fitting attire and they bicker over the fashion style a bit, but nothing is seen. The voice acting and art work is nicely done in this title and it’s funny how the two worlds are so similar and different at the same time. Much like Puyo Puyo and Tetris. One thing that both worlds have in common is that they do battles to settle matters or to calm their teammates down. This would be a funny way to solve disputes in real life. Imagine getting a raise from your boss by simply winning a Tetris or Puyo Puyo match!
The matches are sometimes mixed where one player is playing Tetris while the other plays Puyo Puyo. In order to succeed in the campaign, you’ll need to master both modes. Other times the matches are similar and sometimes both game modes are in play at the same time! Many of the matches are won by outlasting your opponent, but there are several time and score trials where you have to exceed a certain threshold to win. Depending on your overall score, you’ll be awarded between one and three stars along with some credits which can be used to customize the appearance of the tetriminos and puyos or change the voices of your favorite characters. Combos and clearing the stage will significantly boost your score so keep that in mind for score based trials.
If you just want to play Puyo Puyo or Tetris without a backstory, that’s possible as well. The AI is quite challenging and you can play against one to three of them or with up to three of your friends in the arcade modes. Finding people to play against online is easy to do as well. There are Puzzle League matches where your ranking changes depending on your win/lose ratio, or you can play for fun in the Free Play mode.
There are several game modes to check out and they’re all a blast. Here’s a quick run down:
Versus – Your typical Tetris or Puyo Puyo match where the players can play a game of either of them.
Swap – The game board switches between Tetris and Puyo Puyo at set intervals. Can you keep track of both games at once?
Fusion – A hybrid of both of the games.
Big Bang – A gauntlet of well set up boards that only need a couple of correct moves to solve entirely; can you solve them faster than your opponent?
Party – Similar to the versus mode but there are random items that can help or hinder the players like black outs that reduce visibility or funky shaped pieces that don’t fit anywhere.
One nice thing about matches is that you can save the replays and learn from the mistakes you or your opponent has made. I can’t stress enough how important it is to master the maneuvers taught in the expert tutorial to do well online and in the adventure mode. My entire family has enjoyed playing this title and it’s a great addition to your Switch library. If you prefer physical copies of your games you'll have to pay an extra $10 for the cartridge. Other than that nitpick, I highly recommend Puyo Puyo Tetris for puzzle gamers of all ages.