The Nintendo Switch has been shrouded in controversy and secrecy from day one. We all knew that after the Wii U, Nintendo needed a hit in order to stay in the hardware business. So far, the console has been a hit, with shortage of stock just about everywhere. But there seems to be a lingering doubt that Nintendo can pull enough 3rd party support to beef up the game library.
When Puyo Puyo Tetris was announced, it flew under the radar: it has been on a hell of a lot of consoles already, and the $40 pricetag (in some regions) was met with a mixture of doubt and even disgust. Well, let me tell you: it’s worth every penny.
If you (like me before buying it) are a bit confused, let me give you the gist of it: Puyo Puyo Tetris mixes Puyo Puyo and Tetris. But not in a bad way. It doesn’t mess with the Tetris formula at all. You can easily play the much more well known Tetris without every seeing Puyo Puyo (without counting the story mode).
Everyone knows Tetris so I won’t describe it, but here’s Puyo Puyo: Get 4 spheres of the same color and they disappear. Done. That’s all about there is to Puyo Puyo in theory. In practice, it’s a little bit more complex. Let me explain.
First, the story mode: I have to admit this is the part that we liked the least. I say “we” because I’ve been playing this with my fiancee, as we’re both huge Tetris fans (from the Tetris Friends hayday). There really isn’t a need for a storymode in a game like this and it feels like they’re trying to cram it in to introduce the characters and the gameplay to a newer audience. The characters are fun, but let’s be honest: we never played Tetris for the story. We ended up skipping most of it.
When I play an arcade game, don’t give me dialog. I don’t want to know what Pac-Man thinks of the stock market. Get me right in the trenches.
There is actually an endless array of game modes and combinations, but our favorite is the Versus mode. My fiancee and I compete against each other, where every time we clear lines, those lines go to the board of the other person. It’s so much fun, stressful (in the most delightful way) and creates a very healthy competition, unlike other games (I’m looking at you, Mario Party).
Tetris was, is and will be evergreen, and Puyo Puyo Tetris provides for me, for us, the ultimate version of a game we love to play on the big screen. And the fact that you can combine Puyo Puyo with Tetris means that people who aren’t good at the slightly more strategy-oriented Tetris can remain competitive playing the more user-friendly Puyo Puyo.
Not all is rosy, though. We have had some issues with controllers not responding. That’s fine when you’re playing a turn-based RPG, but when you’re playing Tetris, it can cost you the board. I know it’s a hardware issue that’s been well documented, but it does spoil the fun a bit sometimes. We’ve had to rearrange the living room since. Because obviously, playing Tetris properly takes precedent.
In the end, though, this game isn’t for everyone. It would have been, but with a $40 price tag, even with the collectible keychains it’s a hard pill to swallow. Who is it for then? Well, I watched “From Russia with Love” and “Ecstasy of Order” like some people watch the Superbowl. So it definitely was for me.
I think everyone who is willing to put in their hard earned cash into an evergreen title will benefit from having Puyo Puyo Tetris in their collection. For hardcore fans, I think this is the best version of the game yet. The fact that you can do a portable Versus mode on a single system anywhere you go has endless appeal.
It doesn’t hurt that it looks and runs great on the Switch, both in Portable and TV mode.
I’m sold. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go arrange some Tetrominoes.