A humble return to an arcade classic with some great updates
One of the most influential puzzle games of all time, Puyo Puyo has always found an audience in Japan, but has struggled to make a similar splash in the West. With the likes of Puyo Puyo Tetris and the more recent Puyo Puyo Champions, however, more and more people outside of Japan have grown to adore this simple blob-stacking game. With the lineup of SEGA AGES games growing in number, it only makes sense to port the original arcade release to the Switch, and once again, M2 has done a fantastic job with the port.
For those who are new to the series, the object of Puyo Puyo is to connect four Puyos (colored blobs) of the same color in order to erase them from your board. Doing so will also drop grey garbage Puyos onto your opponent’s board. The more Puyos you break in a single combo, the higher your score will be and the more garbage Puyos will be dumped onto your opponent. Like Tetris or Dr. Mario, once any column of Puyos goes higher than the top of the screen, you lose. While simple in concept, Puyo Puyo’s simple yet addictive nature is what has made the series such a hit in Japan. In terms of the port itself, M2 did a terrific job. There were no instances of lag, game crashes, or stuttering, making the game play nearly identically to the original arcade release.
As with the other SEGA AGES ports, this version of Puyo Puyo includes some much appreciated gameplay additions to make it more accessible to a modern audience. In the original arcade release, Puyos could only be rotated clockwise, which was frustrating. This is no longer an issue in the AGES re-release as the Puyos can not only be rotated both clockwise and counterclockwise, but M2 also added the Quick Turn setting from Puyo Puyo Tsu (which allows Puyo to still rotate if surrounded by Puyo on other sides) to allow for more seamless gameplay. Additionally, local co-op and online multiplayer (with leaderboards\ was added to make sure that no matter where you are, you’ll always have the option to play against a real person. The AGES version also includes a difficulty setting and the addition of a Helper Mode to make the Story Mode considerably easier or harder. Of course, as is standard with the SEGA AGES line, save states, button remapping, screen filters, and a music player are all included as well. The only minor, but still noticeable, complaint is the lack of unique borders for gameplay. Besides the default border based on key art for the game, there is only solid color and patterned borders to choose from, which is a little disappointing.
Overall, the SEGA AGES version of Puyo Puyo is the definitive way to enjoy this arcade classic. The original package is still here in all its glory, but the additions that M2 has added make a somewhat dated game fun and accessible. Whether you are a diehard fan of Puyo Puyo or a newcomer curious about the series, the SEGA AGES port is the best way to play the original title and should not be overlooked.