A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Puyo Puyo Tetris is a puzzle game. It's a crossover mash-up between the Puyo Puyo series and Tetris franchise. Players have to match colors (Puyo) and clear lines of carefully assembled random blocks (Tetris). There's a story mode, though it serves mainly as a means to run the gamut of a number of modes and twists on the familiar action. There's no inappropriate content, although the lack of tutorials could frustrate some players.
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What's it about?
Although there's a story in PUYO PUYO TETRIS in adventure mode, it's a minor plot designed to act as a break among all the puzzle-solving. The main focus is on clearing lines, matching colors, and improvising as bricks and blobs come at you faster and faster. Much of the game's emphasis lies on fusing different elements between both game series in a healthy amount of game modes, such as Swap, which bounces back and forth between Tetris and Puyo Puyo at random intervals, or Party, which drops random items into the game field.
Is it any good?
This puzzler will keep you guessing because thinking about it too much holds back what made it so special in the first place. As a mash-up of now-familiar and decades-old series, just putting these two games together is almost enough. The game's at its best and shines when you play against other human players. There's a healthy variety of modes that introduce new parameters and objectives (Versus, Party, Swap, Fusion, Big Bang), but the core game itself remains largely the same, as it should. And thankfully, when playing the single-player story mode, the game grants concessions to people who are still grappling with the learning curve of either Puyo Puyo or Tetris -- if you're stuck on any single level after a couple of tries, it lets you skip ahead and continue on. That doesn't help you learn how to play the game any more, but it at least lets you keep trying in a number of ways as you hone your core skills.
In practicing against the computer in the different modes, it's odd that if you lose, it makes you sit and watch the rest of the game play itself out as the AI tries to outdo itself and win. You can be sitting for multiple minutes, watching the computer play itself and have no way of skipping past it. It's also difficult to figure out when you're sitting there watching to see why the computer is doing what it's doing to pick up on new strategies; the in-game tutorials are also too basic to help you learn tactics and focuses solely on the controls. As such, introducing play to newcomers is rather lacking. It assumes you already love both series (which makes sense), but in practice, it winds up keeping you from being able to pick up as much as possible as quickly as possible. On the other hand, Tetris is Tetris and Puyo Puyo is Puyo Puyo. It definitely delivers on combining these two but could have done so a little more smoothly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why series of games that haven't changed much are introduced as new products. Why not just go back and play the original?
Are there two different series of other works -- games, books, movies, and the like -- you'd like to see a crossover between? Why? What do you think would be the logistics involved in arranging such a thing?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: April 25, 2017
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Robots, Space and aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Mild Suggestive Themes
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