What would you expect to get when mixing two different puzzle games together? Chaos? An exercise in sheer and utter frustration? A really good excuse to break a controller? How about one of the most surprisingly entertaining party games to come out in the last couple of years? Believe it or not, Puyo Puyo Tetris is exactly this; it’s easy to pick-up, hard to put down, and has all of the griefing fun of Mario Kart!
(Video from the Nintendo YouTube channel)
When I first heard about the game, I didn’t give it all that much thought. I’d played plenty of Tetris over the years and wasn’t at all interested in Puyo Pop so I wasn’t planning on paying much attention to a game that combined the two. As luck would have it though, one of my roommates picked up the game and insisted that we all play a couple of rounds. The rest of us agreed, thinking that it would be good for a quick laugh before going back to our own games. Well, a “couple of rounds” turned into almost three hours of line-clearing, color-matching, and the sort of trash-talk normally reserved for the likes of Mario Party. It was fun. It was exciting, and it was completely unexpected!
PuyoPuyo Tetris fits perfectly into the “easy to learn, but difficult to master” category of games. The basic rules for multiplayer are simple. The first player to snag two wins takes the round. A player wins by outlasting everyone else. In order to outlast everyone else, a player needs to keep their board(s) clear while also doing their best to sabotage their opponents. Sabotaging others is simple, one just needs to keep clearing their board. The more lines cleared or matches made at once, the more one’s opponents’ boards are filled with junk blocks, and the more yours is protected from getting the same treatment. The game features several modes to play around in, but these rules stay constant across almost all of them. We found this consistency to be really important as it allowed us to go from one mode to the next without having to interrupt the fun in order to learn a new set of rules. In fact, this could be absolutely crucial to the game’s success since it already asks its players to constantly adjust their manner of thinking.
Tetris is all about making horizontal lines while PuyoPop is all about matching 4 or more of the same color together. This is easy to remember, but several of PuyoPuyo Tetris’ modes are designed to make it difficult to build on those basic ideas. My group’s favorite mode, “Switch” was particularly good at doing this. As the name implies, “Switch” is a game mode that is constantly switching between PuyoPop and Tetris boards. Every 20 seconds, players must adjust their stacking strategies as the game changes between the two. Failing to do this means inevitable defeat, since allowing either of the boards to completely fill will result in getting knocked out of the running. Strategies for PuyoPop and Tetris can vary greatly, so winning in this mode means being able to keep track of what you’re trying to do on both boards while also dealing with the competition’s attempts to sabotage your efforts. Everyone may be playing PuyoPop and Tetris, but the real competition is in seeing who can avoid getting utterly overwhelmed.
With all the Tetris re-makes and shake-ups that have been released over the years, I was convinced that nothing could make the 30+ year old game interesting again. I am very happy to say that my assumption was very, very wrong. Puyo Puyo Tetris is a must have for anyone in the market for a fresh take on an old classic and especially so for anyone looking for a new game to play with their friends. When playing it with friends though, just be sure everyone understands that it’s Mario Kart rules (i.e. no rules) before getting started.
Have you had a chance to try the game yet? What did you think of it?
PuyoPuyo Tetris out for just about everything and supports up to 4 players for local play. It also features an online mode, but I’d stay away from that if your Tetris and/or Puyo skills aren’t outright amazing.
image captured by Hatm0nster