It’s no secret among puzzle fans that Puyo Puyo Tetris was one of the great highlights for the Nintendo Switch’s launch window. Not only was it an astounding combination of two of the most revered series of all time, but it stood as a good introduction to those gamers out there new to the genre as well. But that game is now two years old and something fresh and new is needed. Nintendo answered the call with Tetris 99 a few months back for Switch Online members, bringing the classic block dropper to the mainstream with Battle Royale gameplay. Now it’s Sega’s turn with Puyo Puyo Champions, a game that emphasizes competitive tournament play.
Although a new entry in the series, Puyo Puyo Champions pretty much plays like any other in the franchise. If you’re new to the rules, it’s pretty easy to grasp. Your goal is to set up chain reactions by matching up 4 or more Puyos of the same color. The controls are, as you would expect, though the game does have several options and modes that can change the flow of the game. From simple settings, such as allowing you to quick drop a Puyo with the press of a button, to separate game modes that allow you to play with both small and large Puyos, there’s a decent amount of customization here. You also get to choose from a large cast of characters to play with. While they are mostly for aesthetic, in some game modes they can affect gameplay in a variety of ways.
You can also change the game music as well as the background settings for each game. You can personalize the gameplay and rules for each match. Perhaps the most enjoyable feature is the ability to change the Puyo designs. Saying there are a ton of designs to choose from is an understatement, as there are so many unique Puyo skins offered that it would take forever to play through them all. There are even Puyos based off Sega’s own Sonic the Hedgehog, so it’s great to see Sega lean into some of their other popular games.
There are two main game modes to play. One uses the rules from Puyo Puyo 2 and the other takes from the popular Puyo Puyo Fever. This former is the standard mode without any special rules or objectives. You simply face off against your opponents and try to knock them out of the game by flooding their screen with garbage blocks. In the latter you will be playing a more defensive game. Your goal is to fend off garbage Puyo until your fever gauge is filled up, whereupon you will enter a special screen where you can set off Puyo chain reactions like crazy for an almost guaranteed win. You can challenge these modes with either the Battle or Endurance settings. Battle lets you face off against opponents in one-on-one battles, while Endurance lets you continually fight opponents until you lose. The same two modes can be played in multiplayer as well.
While the game does its absolute best as a Puyo Puyo game, it still has some shortcomings. If you take just a quick look at this game, then you can easily tell that it looks just like Puyo Puyo Tetris, and while it’s obvious why they would look similar, the resemblance goes much deeper as it’s almost a complete copy and paste. Nearly every single asset used in this game has been stolen from its predecessor, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the game’s content wasn’t cut in half. Characters have been cut, game settings have been slashed, and even the story mode is gone. That last omission hurts the single player experience.
That being said, Puyo Puyo Champions (as the name no doubt suggests) seems more focused on its competitive multiplayer aspect. This is very apparent when you take a look at the online mode, which has quite a bit to offer. You can play in friendly matches, watch other people’s replays, play with friends, or compete for the highest rank in the Puyo Puyo League. While it’s nice to see such a strong lineup of online content, it doesn’t feel like enough. A few extras would have gone a long way. Perhaps online prizes like new skins or characters would have made for a more thrilling online experience.
What it all comes down to is that Puyo Puyo Champions is a fun game and for $9.99 it’s a good game. However, it’s far less appealing than Puyo Puyo Tetris, which does usually cost more than double the asking price of this title. If you’re mostly a single player gamer then you’re probably better off spending the extra money for the more expensive game. If you’re mainly into the competitive scene, then this budget puzzle game should be worth your while. Games like Wario Woods and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine had great story modes, which made them much more appealing for solo play. This game is fine for what it is, but it didn’t bother to go any further, offering just the bare minimum.
Puyo Puyo Champions Review
- Graphics - 7.5/107.5/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Puyo Puyo Champions is Puyo Puyo, plain and simple. It offers half the content of its predecessor, with a price that is definitely fair for what’s being offered. If you’re looking for the Puyo Puyo experience and want to save on money, then this is the game for you. But if you have the money, then it might be best to spring for Puyo Puyo Tetris.