Three years after its release in Japan, Puyo Puyo Tetris finally heads to the west. For puzzle fans, it should be worth the wait.

Already available on 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One in Japan, Sega has made the strange decision to re-release Puyo Puyo Tetris, a mash-up of the Tetris and Puyo Puyo puzzle types (imagine that), exclusively on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. It’s not the end of the world, though – those on Xbox One have reported the Japanese version of the game is playable on Xbox One with little to no knowledge of Japanese. While physical copies of the game have been delayed until May, those wanting to go digital can do so this week, though the Switch version of the game is strangely $10 AUD more than on PS4.

Got all that?

Weird backstory out of the way, there’s not much more to Puyo Puyo Tetris. Tetris is the game we all know; a player’s ultimate goal is to create lines from Tetrominoes of myriad shapes. Puyo Puyo is similar, though the goal is to group four or more Puyos at a time; here, Puyos can drop as two-, three- or four-grouped pieces. With several modes available, players can choose to devote time to Tetris, Puyo Puyo or Fusion, a combination of the two. In Fusion, individual mode rules remain the same, though the heavier Tetrominoes will ‘crush’ the Puyo, causing them to respawn at the top of played pieces. Players are also able to hold one piece – either a Tetromino or a Puyo – in reserve to be played later on.

The biggest single-player draw card is Adventure, the game’s story mode, and one we’ve specifically been told not to spoil. No worries there — things get so ridiculously Japanese that I found myself immediately skipping cutscenes to get to puzzles (the game’s soundtrack is equally as sugar sweet). Cutesiness aside, Adventure offers a reasonable challenge that increases as your comfort level in the puzzle types grows.

Online, solo against the AI, in split-screen or in system link, Puyo Puyo Tetris offers the chance for four players to duke it out in either three puzzle types. The AI is merciless, even on medium difficulty; pace yourself accordingly. Thankfully, a series of tutorials can be played that will each beginner, intermediate and advanced skills. We in the west might get away without watching the Tetris videos, but the Puyo Puyo ones are a must. The biggest thing I picked up from the videos is that the Switch’s d-pad is the preferred method of control; occasionally, the left joystick would register a move to the left or right as up instead, causing a piece to immediately throw itself to the bottom of a game board. Kiss those carefully laid plans goodbye.

Despite the portability of the Switch, Puyo Puyo Tetris on PS4 seems the way to go. Simply put, $60 AUD is too much for a puzzle game; $50 AUD on PS4 is pushing it, but by far the better bargain. It’s also mind-boggling as to why Sega didn’t bother with an Xbox One release; the game’s already available on the console, and the localisation has clearly been done. Regardless, if you’re into puzzle games, Puyo Puyo Tetris is a nice new (well, newish) take on a familiar formula, though those that just want vanilla Tetris won’t be left wanting either.

Puyo Puyo Tetris heads to PS4 and Switch digitally on 27 April, for $49.95 AUD on PS4 and $59.95 AUD on Switch. Physical versions follow on 12 May.

7 out of 10

The good

  • Great for puzzle fans.
  • More than just Tetris (though that’s okay if that’s all you’re after).

The bad

  • Needlessly cutesy.
  • Why no Xbox One version?

Puyo Puyo Tetris was reviewed using a promotional code on Switch, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.