There are many things we expect from a sequel when it comes to video games. Back in the days of the NES it often meant improved graphics, better gameplay, and bigger worlds to explore. Unfortunately when it comes to the puzzle genre history has shown us that it’s not always easy to improve upon the original. One only has to look at the follow-ups to Tetris and the sequels to Columns to get an idea of just how difficult it can be to strike gold more than once with puzzlers. That’s sort of the conundrum my favorite puzzle series Picross finds itself in with the ever-expanding “S” games for the Switch. With each subsequent release it’s often just more puzzles with little in the way of new gameplay mechanics or ideas and for those that love the games (myself included), that’s usually enough. It can also make reviewing them all the more difficult, and that’s where Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 comes into play.
If you go back and read my review of the original back when it launched for the Switch in April of 2017, you’ll see I gave it high marks with a GREAT score of 8.5 out of 10. Here we are 3.5 years later with a sequel that, for the most part, looks and sounds identical to the last game, offers very little in the way of new gameplay mechanics, and relies heavily on its anime characters and outrageous story to try and keep players interested. All of the same modes of play are here, and for that I’m very thankful. Whether you want to play solo, go up against some CPU opponents, or play against your friends locally or online, you’ll find plenty of modes to satisfy just about any puzzle itch you may have. The problem is, the first game already did these things.
It’s not all rinse and repeat, however, and there’s a new mode that’s totally worth investing your time in. It’s called Skill Battle, and it manages to twist things up just enough to make the game fresh and exciting. The main gameplay is identical to the normal Puyo Puyo or Tetris, whereby you’re still trying to eliminate your pieces and send garbage to your opponent. The biggest differences is that this mode takes on some RPG mechanics. At the start you’ll pick your team of three fighters, each having unique stats, consisting of HP, MP, Attack, Defense, and Recovery.
Each of your party members has a special skill that can be unleashed by spending MP. These magical abilities are what makes this mode entertaining because you can really change the course of the game by using them at the right moments. These abilities have a wide range of uses and you can unlock new skill cards that add to the chaos. I won’t go through all of the various skills because there are quite a few and I want to leave some for you to discover on your own, but a good example of one is in Tetris you can use a skill that will move all of your pieces together to the right of the screen, eliminating any holes you have and leaving an empty column on the left side of the screen. Now you just need the long piece to make a Tetris and send a bunch of garbage to your opponent, which will take away their HP. Whoever hits zero HP first loses in this creative mode that’s pretty fun to mess around with.
All of the various modes are back for the sequel. For a more detailed look at each one, feel free to read my review of the first game. I will say the game seems a bit more easy to get into this time around. That might because it offers up some lessons for those who want to learn the tricks of the trade. Also, the Adventure mode — despite its cringeworthy story — offers up a lot of content to play through and you’ll be able to unlock new characters, cards for Skill Battle, and different styles of puzzle pieces and backgrounds. If you’re playing solo this is a great spot to spend your time first as the game does a great job ramping you up with slowly increasing difficulty and introduces you to various gameplay scenarios.
Justifying the purchase of Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, which sells for at least double the price you can find the original for, is difficult for those who already own the original. You’d have to REALLY be into the series to pony up another $40 for such a similar experience. However, if you have yet to dip your feet in the puzzle pool, then the game is more than worth your time and money. There’s a lot to offer here with so many modes of play that should keep you busy for hours and hours on end. It’s the best version of both Tetris and Puyo Puyo you can find on the Switch and for that it’s highly recommended. Just don’t expect anything crazy new here that you haven’t seen before.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Review
- Graphics - 7.5/107.5/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a fun puzzle game that I can heartily recommend to newcomers as it features bright and colorful graphics, happy music, and a plethora of game modes to enjoy. However, it does very little to improve upon the original game, which can now be purchased for half the price of this one, which gives owners of Puyo Puyo Tetris very little incentive to plop down another $40 for such a similar experience.