The Tetris, invented by the Russian programmer Alexei Paschitnow, is after its meteorite-like impact on the Game Boy in 1989 and its celebratory revival as Battle Royale in Tetris 99 is still a long-running hit, which even your grandmas and grandpas probably know. But what is a puyo puyo please? The Japanese puzzle competitor with the bulging-eye blobs has so far been denied great success in the West – despite almost as long a history and a similarly accessible gameplay.
So why not just combine the two block stackers from the East and the Far East? This works perfectly, as the predecessor Puyo Puyo Tetris already proved and is now being continued in the second part, with a fresh mode and a continuation of the (actually existing) story.
The song of blobs and blocks
Source: PC Games
In contrast to Tetris, the Puyo-Puyo games have always been embellished with background stories, but with the best will in the world, the latest offshoot does not serve up an exciting story. With a steadily growing group of characters from the Tetris and Puyo-Puyo universes in tow, you pursue the antagonist Merle, who wants to merge the worlds of both puzzles to conjure up eternal block battles. Anyone who has spent their childhood with animes from the afternoon program immediately feels transported back in time. As with Yu-Gi-Oh, Beyblade and the like, almost every interpersonal problem can be solved in a competition: Your hero distrusts someone he does not know? Your girlfriend is having a nervous breakdown? The dog, who is actually gifted with languages, can suddenly only whine? Time for a duel!
The characters are all such one-dimensional decals that the story could almost pass as a genre parody if it weren't to take their, are we realistic, stupid premise so seriously. If you still like the neatly set (in English or Japanese) and neatly drawn figures, click your way through long freeze-frame dialogues before each duel. Everyone else can skip the cliché cheese without a guilty conscience. The fights in adventure mode present themselves as 1v1 duels, in which you knock the different blocks, either the Puyos or the Tetrominos, around the ears of your opponent in different rule sets.
Source: PC Games
The classic game variant, in which you fill up your opponent's playing field by clearing rows (Tetris) or forming chains of the same color (Puyo Puyo), is the basic framework for all kinds of entertaining modes: The alternating duel, for example, swaps the boards at short intervals requires quick comprehension in both puzzle games, in the chaotic fusion mode, on the other hand, Puyos and Tetrominos fall equally from the sky. The skill duels, in which you fight the more important battles of the story, have been newly added: Here you decide on one of the two puzzlers, put together a team of three characters and equip items and special skills. With the skills you can change the color of entire blob groups at Puyo Puyo and have a row of four appear at Tetris, which you then clear with an I-Tetromino. Instead of sending garbage onto your opponent's field as usual, you attack his life track here with rows that are dissolved in quick succession or simultaneously. The highlight here: Your attack will only be fired when your opponent has placed his current block. If he manages to clear rows on his turn, your attack will be moderated accordingly – or even thrown back on you! There is a lot of potential here for exciting matches in which you send hits back and forth like tennis.
Source: PC Games
However, you can also stand up to pre-made CPU opponents with stubborn grinding, as you can level up skills, items and characters that increase attributes by fighting and completing special additional challenges in these. Nice: If you completely bite your teeth on an opponent, you can optionally skip him and still continue with the story. The adaptive level of difficulty, which apparently scales the challenge level separately for both puzzlers, is also impressive. In view of the fact that, even as a Tetris expert, you can't avoid Puyo Puyo, which is rather unknown in this country, in adventure mode, this feature is a blessing!
Source: PC Games
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 unfolds its full range of game modes (buy now € 33.79 ) but only apart from the single player story. Whether alone against the AI, in split screen against up to four friends or online in ranking mode – if you can only remotely start with puzzle games, you will find a game variant for yourself here. In Big Bang mode you dissolve prefabricated playing fields as quickly as possible, with Mini-Puyo you have a larger area to stack with smaller blobs, and in Party mode you make life difficult for your opponent with randomly appearing items, for example by darkening his field or spinning up its speed. Most modes give you and your fellow players a free choice between Puyo Puyo and Tetris, so you can also compete against a Tetris veteran with a Puyo Puyo island talent. If you want to refine your skills, you can try the classic endless stacking or fight in puzzle marathons against increasingly powerful AI enemies. If, on the other hand, you have always wanted to know what a Triple-T spin is and how to prepare it, or how a Puyo staircase chain is set up, you can find out more in the extensive tutorial with all kinds of illustrative examples.
Source: PC Games
Apart from the new skill duels, however, all of these modes have been taken over from the first part, so in terms of innovations, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is unfortunately quite weak on the chest. The game concepts of the two puzzle legends represented here are and will remain indestructible and as if made for the round in between, the high price and the long wait for the successor hardly seem justified. You like to organize puzzle parties, have a weakness for aggressively colorful anime kitsch, couldn't decide between Puyo Puyo and Tetris even at gunpoint and don't have the predecessor? Then you'll find a rock-solid crossover here. If you only want to go on a classic high score hunt in one of the two games, you will be served just as well with countless alternatives, some of which are free.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch. A PC version is to follow shortly.
Kindergarten level: in adventure mode you click your way through long dialogues before each duel, which usually contain a haunted reason for the next fight. (Source: PC Games)
Why not just buy the previous one?
There are almost seven years between the Japanese release of the first part and Puyo Puyo Tetris 2! But if you look at the poor list of innovations, you have to ask yourself what the men and women at Sega have been doing since then. Sure, Tetris is an evergreen anyway, Puyo Puyo also offers plenty of playful depth to get into and the crossover modes are all entertaining and well done, but I find all of this just as good in the cheaper predecessor. And when I want to watch annoying simple characters talk the bushes, I turn on Dora the Explorer in the preschool program.
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