The Puyo Puyo franchise is one of the older Tetris-type series. Like the Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move games, the characters are from another story set. In this case, the characters are taken from a RPG series called Madou Monogatari, which translates as “Story of Sorcery”. Around 1991 or so, the first Puyo Puyo game came out and became successful enough to be ported to many systems as well as spawning several sequels. Even when Compile went out of business in 2003, Sega purchased the rights to the series & gave it an overhaul, making several more games in the process. Just like the first game, Puyo Puyo Tsuu was also very popular & it was ported across many systems including the Playstation, Sega Saturn, PC-Engine CD-Rom, & of course the Super Famicom. Super Puyo Puyo Tsuu Remix came out a few months after the original SPPT was released. Many fans would say that this is one of the more important entries in the series, but is it? Let’s find out.
For those of you that don’t know, the basic gameplay of Puyo Puyo is simple enough. Different-colored blobs, referred to as “puyos” fall from the top of the screen and you have to link up 4 or more of the same color to get rid of them. However, if you manage to make 4 or more of the same color disappear AND manage to have a different-colored puyo fall onto 3 others that share the same color, you activated a combo. If your own puyos reach the top of the playing field in a certain row, you lose. By getting rid of puyos, you can send garbage puyos to your opponent’s side of the field. The more puyos that you clear & the bigger the combo, the more garbage gets sent over to your opponent’s field. The only way to clear garbage is if you clear a set of puyos right next to some of it. The gameplay may seem basic at first, but it is the challenge of mastering it that makes it all the worthwhile.
As the game is only released in Japan, the menus will obviously be in Japanese so I’ll walk you through the options. Compared to many other Super NES puzzle games, this one is packed to the gills with content. The first option is 1-player mode where you play as Arle Nadja & duel against various monsters & other characters. From here, there are 3 options you can select from: Easy, Normal, & Special. Easy mode allows you to select from 1 of 3 predetermined sets of opponents, but you can’t choose which one to fight. Normal mode allows you to either pick an opponent or let the game choose one for you. However, the sets of enemies that you fight are still predetermined. By acquiring a certain amount of points, you’ll be able to move on to the next set of enemies. Last, but not least, Special mode (or Rally mode, not sure which) has you fight off against every opponent in the game and is VERY HARD.
The second option from the main menu is a two-player mode, and that’s about it really. The third mode is a 3-4 player mode, which is pretty much the highlight of the game if you have other people to play it with. You’ll also need a Multitap for this mode. You can also use CPU opponents in lieu of human players if you don’t have a Multitap, which is a new feature in the Remix version. The fourth mode is an exercise mode where you can practice without any opponents. Garbage puyos, however, will still fall to your playing field every now & then. You can also watch some sample combos being performed in action. Last, but not least, the fifth mode is simply an option mode.
A few new gameplay mechanics have been introduced in this game. For starters, there’s “Sousai” (offsetting). Should you clear a number of puyos while you have garbage puyos that are about to fall into your field, you’ll actually cancel out the amount of your garbage that’s equal to the amount that you would’ve sent to your opponent. For example, if 5 garbage puyos are about to fall on your field, you can negate it by clearing the amount of puyos that would’ve send 5 or more garbage puyos to your opponent’s side of the field. Of course, if the amount of puyos that you’ve cleared results in more garbage being sent to your opponent than the amount that you would’ve got, you’ll still send some garbage to your opponent’s field. It’s an important mechanic that’s still used in many newer games in the series. Another mechanic introduced is “Zenkishi” (all clear). Should you manage to empty your field of all puyos, including the garbage, you’ll be able to send 30 or more garbage puyos on your opponent’s field on your next chain. Getting the award isn’t as easy as it sounds, but as long as you’re quick enough, you’ll have a good chance of doing so in quite a few matches. These mechanics help to make this game more balanced than the original. In fact, the Puyo Puyo Tsu mechanics are still being implemented in many of the newer games in the series in a way.
The characters for this game are drawn in a typical cutesy, anime style. Keep in mind that this was before the series got the strange art style that the newer games have. As with many other puzzle games, the graphics aren’t superb by any means, but they get the job done. It’s a nice touch to see the CPU opponent change their facial expression depending on how they’re doing in a match. The music in this game is quite whimsical & light-hearted, easily fitting within the tone of the game.
Overall, this game is … extremely close to being perfect. The only flaw that I have with this game is that the opponents can be quite difficult, even on normal. Other than that, there really isn’t anything else that I can complain about. The 3 & 4 player modes alone make this game a great choice for multiplayer sessions, and with the myriad of options & other stuff, it’s safe to say that this game has spoiled me a lot. Considering that this game is pretty cheap, you would have to be crazy not to get it if you’re even slightly interested in puzzle games.
5 out of 5 stars
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