Visiting the arcades of the otaku hub Akihabara, it struck me that beyond the many fighters, rhythm games, and prize collection machines lining their halls, I was seeing a pattern repeat itself. Tucked away in each one were several Puyo Puyo variants, and right by them the Tetris machines. Seeing this, I wondered why Puyo Puyo Tetris hadn't been made before. Maybe, like Sonic and Mario teaming up recently, I wasn't appreciating the rival puzzle games' long history.
Nonetheless, playing the newly unveiled crossover at the Tokyo Game Show a couple of days later, it was immediately clear how much sense this mashup made. Based on time with a seemingly limited demo, Puyo Puyo Tetris looks to offer simple, cute, but engrossing arcade puzzle fun. Quite appropriately, the two play styles just fit next to each other.
The demo at Sega's booth let me play single games against an AI opponent, either using a Puyo Puyo table against the AI's Tetris table, or vice versa. The booth had the game running on 3DS and PS3; apart from cosmetic differences I saw obvious differences in gameplay between the two platforms.
In both cases, the basic gameplay and how it intertwined with a versus mode was familiar. In the Tetris version, clearing lines allowed me to pile garbage blocks on the opponent's Puyo Puyo table, while matching four or more adjacent colored blobs laid garbage lines on the opposing Tetris table.
If that sounds a little unbalance - to deal with garbage blocks rather than lines - bear in mind the Puyo Puyo table was much shorter in length than the Tetris table, and that Tetris players could hold a block, something Puyo Puyo players couldn't - at least in the demo.
Even against an AI opponent, I found both variations an enjoyable challenge. Essentially it was like playing a versus mode in either classic game, but the option to either go with Puyo Puyo or Tetris should spice up versus play. My hope is the full version explores the idea of mixing up the two games a bit more, but even if it doesn't, the basic, core gameplay works. The game is detailed as 1-4 players, suggesting at least a bit more to what I saw at TGS.
Puyo Puyo Tetris will come to Wii U and Vita as well as PS3 and 3DS when it launches in Japan next year. There's no news on a Western version as yet.