When did Puyo Puyo get so hard!!!!
Puyo Puyo champions has landed on PS4 with its new competitive version of the puzzle classic. While not held in the same regard as Tetris or even columns, I’d say it’s fair to still label this title a puzzle classic. My only real exposure to Puyo Puyo was from Doctor Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine back on the Mega Drive and I was quite the whizz at it if memory serves me right. So when the chance to review the title came along I was well up for the challenge. Little did I know the challenge was a lot bloody harder than I remember it to be.
Now, this is straight up Puyo Puyo with only two gameplay variants. You have the more standard match that will see you clearing blobs of four or higher to dump trash blocks onto the other player (trash blocks have no colour value and can only be removed by clearing a line close to the trash).
Here, you or the CPU can pull off a massive combo and end the game in seconds or you can have a long drawn out back and forth game and because of this, you never know how games will go.
The other mode is Fever. It plays much like the other mode except every time you clear trash blocks you fill a fever meter, which when you fill it, will launch fever mode for a limited time. Now while active it will put a per built combo on screen for you to trigger. In a way, this is like a puzzle, because if you start the chain wrong you won’t clear the combo and trust me you want to clear the combo because the computer sure as hell will on its turn.
That is what the game offers and you can tackle it either against the CPU, locally against up to 4 people or you can play online. Playing offline the CPU is brutal and at first, I thought it was unfairly hard, but then I realized all this title is all about is the online component, trying to pit people against others online while making a competitive scene out of this game. This is likely the reason the so the CPU is so hard, so as in order train you to get used to real life players bringing down the hurt on you.
It takes time and practice but it does start to come together and you will start to think 4-5 moves ahead to build combos to ensure you win.
Visually the game is bright and vibrant and has a cast of colourful characters throwing out catchphrases as you play. The soundtrack has a sense of urgency to it that keeps you on your toes. There is not much to say about it. Puyo Puyo is what it says on the tin, it is a simple version of the game with no fancy modes, but as I said before, once you get your head around the difficulty there is lots of fun to be had.
I really like Puyo Puyo Champions but I fear people could be put off by how difficult it is. The lack of variations to the modes could hurt its long term appeal to people who don’t like getting their ass handed to them. But for those who do get into the swing of things, I think you will really love this title.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*