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Puyo Puyo Champions

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Puyo Puyo Champions Game Poster Image
Family-friendly puzzler encourages social play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Local multiplayer promotes friendly competition and socializing among friends. The challenging puzzle play encourages strategic thinking.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player avatar characters -- both male and female -- express glee in victory, sadness in defeat.

Ease of Play

The simple and intuitive controls are easy to learn, but without a tutorial mode, new players may be left scratching their heads as they piece together how things work. Also, figuring out and mastering strategies to win takes time. Expect stiff competition when playing online.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puyo Puyo Champions is a downloadable block-dropping puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch. The game has no violence, bad language, or mature themes. The block stacking and matching play encourages players to think fast and formulate tactics to create combinations. Local multiplayer creates a good environment for fun social interactions and friendly competition. Players can choose from a mix of male and female avatars, but have no ability to customize ethnicity (all characters are light skinned). The puzzle action looks easy, but understanding the game's subtle intricacies and developing successful strategies against both computer-controlled and human opponents may prove frustrating for some younger players.

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What's it about?

PUYO PUYO CHAMPIONS collects and remasters a pair of earlier games -- Puyo Puyo 2 and Puyo Puyo Fever -- in Sega's popular puzzle series and adds a variety of online play options. Puyo Puyo 2 represents the game in its traditional form, with players trying to match falling puyos (blocks) with those already laid down in the play area in groups of four or more of the same color to make them disappear. Strategically placed puyos will set up cascading combos, as groups of puyos disappear causing those above them fall down and match puyos below. These chains result in junky white puyos falling into and cluttering your opponent's play space. Puyo Puyo Fever is similar, except that players occasionally enter a "fever" mode in which they're provided groups of puyos that can be easily chained together to drop huge amounts of junky puyos in their opponent's play area. Players can play solo against computer-controlled opponents, in local multiplayer matches on the one screen or with multiple Switch consoles networked together, and online where they can compete in both ranked league matches to see how they fare against players around the world and unranked matches just for fun.  

Is it any good?

It's hard to improve on a classic. Puyo Puyo Champions' designers were wise in their decision not to mess with the series' winning formula, but instead preserves play from two the franchise's most beloved entries while modernizing the presentation and providing a few bonus features. These include elements like player statistics, the ability to record and watch replays, and the option to customize your avatar's background, music, and style of puyo -- including a retro pixelated design that harkens back to the very first Puyo Puyo game. Both of these games are focused on strategic play that rewards players who plan ahead and deliver a sense of fast-paced competition, regardless whether you're playing against AI or human opponents. Make no mistake; while chance plays a role, these are games of speed and skill. They take time to master. And without a tutorial mode to explain some of the subtler elements, new players may be left wondering how to take their game to the next level.

Still, with its bargain price, Puyo Puyo Champions is an easy recommendation for fans of classic puzzle games. The real question is whether it's worth picking up if you've already purchased the much more expensive Puyo Puyo Tetris for Switch, which offers similar Puyo Puyo play along with Tetris puzzling and a story mode thrown in. The answer depends largely on how important the Fever variation is to you, and whether or not you want to prove yourself by chasing a global ranking in online play. Fair warning: Online matches can be extremely challenging, with many seemingly preternaturally gifted players just waiting to eat rookies whole. Puyo Puyo Champions is a good game with an attractive price, but it's likely to appeal to the franchise's existing fans rather than draw in a new generation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using games to teach kids empathy. When playing Puyo Puyo Champions against other people in the same room, do you think about how they feel when they win or lose? Does this influence your behavior?

  • Sometimes thinking about what to do right now isn't effective in achieving what you want to do later, so how far ahead do you try to plan when playing puzzle games?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Price: $9.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sega of America
  • Release date: May 7, 2019
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E for No Descriptors

For kids who love puzzles

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