- Developer: M2
- Publisher: SEGA
- Release date: 20/02/2020
- Price: £5.99 / $7.99
- Review code provided by SEGA
I am going to get one thing out to the way right away. I am absolutely abysmal at Puyo Puyo. Try as I might, I cannot develop anything more than a combo of 2. I own Puyo Puyo Tetris on the switch and I did not buy it for the Puyo Puyo part of that game. That being said, that does not mean that I do not enjoy a round of Puyo Puyo every now and then. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to revisit an earlier point in the history of this series, with a little help of a SEGA AGES port.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Puyo Puyo 2 is a port through and through and is clearly trying its best to give you one of the most authentic experiences that it can. The one problem that you are going to run into with that, is that once you pass the main menu and select your game mode, you’re not going to see very much English. While there are translations of the instruction screens in the main menu along with english language character profiles, the game itself is not translated so most of the text is Japanese. Simple things like character names or results screens are, but some instructions and nearly all the flavor text is not.
If you are looking for a completely authentic experience or can read Japanese, this is going to to be perfect for you! Unfortunately for me, I was left feeling like I do when I go to the local arcade that has some imported games and I try to play their rhythm games. I can see that there are instructions, but i don’t have any clue what I’m actually supposed to do. Thanks to this, I think that it is very difficult recommend this game to anyone who has not already learned how to play Puyo Puyo or at least has a grasp on the basics. It’s not a very complicated game by any means, but a new player might flounder a little bit in this.
It doesn’t make the story any more comprehensible either, not that a simple puzzler like this really needs an in depth story in the first place. You play as the character Arle, who from what I can understand is some kind of magic warrior trying to scale some kind of a tower one level at a time and playing Puyo along the way in order to defeat monsters, Puyo acting as a sort of stand in for magical battles. Simple enough to give a reason for the gameplay but not distract from it, just like any old arcade cabinet.
Good as Ever
The game itself works really well and I never encountered any problems that were not caused by my own failure to actually comprehend Puyo Puyo. Since I don’t know my way around this series super well, I did a little research to see what this game brought to the table at the time, and it turns out that this where a lot of the mainstay series features came into being. I knew that it did not feel all that different from the Puyo Puyo that I was used to playing, but it turns out it’s because it really isn’t all that different at all. So, if you’ve been playing modern Puyo Puyo and are looking for a taste of a more nostalgic style, then this will work out great for you. The art is cute and cheerful to go along with the easygoing puzzling and it’s perfect to pick up and play a few rounds on the go.
There are only a few handful of different ways to play, but that’s expected for an older title like this. There’s the typical arcade mode where you have to rack up a certain number of experience points in order to go to the next level of the tower and progress through harder and harder enemies. This is the mode that I tended to play the most in this game since it’s the most classic way to go about things. There’s also the endurance mode, which is basically the same thing but with one key difference. You have to fight every enemy on a level before you can progress onto the next. This leads to a much lengthier game and is perfect for those who are more dedicated and want a longer play session in order to test themselves. And, of course, we can’t forget about the versus mode that allows for couch co-op play with a friend. This actually comes with a few different rule sets to shake things up, such as making the garbage Puyos easier to get rid of, so that your games against once another don’t get stale.
There is some embracing of modern convinces in this game through the help of menu that comes part and parcel with the port. There are some options that help you adjust things, such as lightly changing the colors of the Puyos in order to make the game easier or harder. (Godspeed to the person who makes them all the same color for the challenge.) There’s also the translated sections and the character profiles that I mentioned earlier that have been included in order to help you understand a little better. It’s just a lot of little quality of life things that help the game to stand alongside it’s more modern counterparts as not just a nostalgia trip but also a viable option in the Puyo Puyo series.
It’s also one of those games where the port got the addition of online play against other players! Not that I got to play any. This is one of those cases where the game is already a niche product and you kind of have to hope that you and another player who also chose this as their Puyo game for the day both want to play online against someone else. I gave up on waiting for a connection after several minutes. I am not willing to say that it is completely dead, just that I didn’t have any luck is all. Even if nobody is playing the online matches, though, you can still upload your score on your other runs to the leaderboard to see how you stack up against others. The ability to choose a top scorer and replay their entire run to see how much they put you to shame as a player is also available. It both delights and frightens me.
The Humble Alternative
Puyo Puyo 2 is a great way to play to get your Puyo Puyo fix and is one of the cheapest options to do so on the eShop right now. If you have any attachment to the nostalgic pixel style of this game, then there’s not really any reason that I could see to hesitate. Puyo Puyo Champions or Puyo Puyo Tetris do have more options and a bit of a slicker and cleaner interface, but there’s not anything wrong with this option if you’re just looking for some quick and cheap Puyo action in short bursts.
- Cheery and colorful graphics
- Classic Puyo Puyo game play
- Lack of translation in the game itself
- Very quiet online due to niche appeal
Pop away with this trip down nostalgia lane for quick and easy Puyo Puyo action.