Review: SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2
Arcade classics have been making the great voyage to the Nintendo Switch for what feels like forever at this point. In fact, you’d probably have better luck at guessing which popular arcade titles aren’t on the Switch than listing those with ports, or off-shoot battle royale remakes.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some of the greats that have yet to make their way over or those that are introducing new takes on classic games without just being another port. SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2, developed by M2 and published by SEGA, provides a perfect combination of introducing a beloved classic to a new platform while avoiding the common error of simply just porting their game onto the Switch. New features added to the port and ease of use on the Switch are just part of the reason you should pick up Puyo Puyo 2 when it launches on February 20, 2020.
Same Puyo, New Options
As with any game in the Puyo Puyo series, Puyo Puyo 2 features a competitive, puzzle arcade style that involves going head-to-head against various opponents. While progressing through each battle you’ll match like-colored Puyo pieces in groups of four or more as they come flying down from above your side of the screen. However, you’ll also have clear “Garbage Puyo” headed your way as your opponent plays better, getting in the way of your ability to build combos. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to build as many combos as possible while delivering joyous Garbage Puyos to your opponent, leading them to fill their lane to the point of eventual defeat.
When Puyo Puyo 2 (also known as Puyo Puyo Tsu) originally released in 1994, it became one of the biggest arcade games in Japan. This sequel to the original Puyo Puyo title introduced a new ruleset and the ability to cancel out Garbage Puyo by creating chains at the same time. Following the lead of the original, SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2 introduces new mechanics and features that make it better than your average classic port.
If you’ve ever attempted to play the classic Puyo Puyo 2, or any entry to the Puyo Puyo series, you’ll understand just how difficult some of the opponents can get. It’s only a matter of time before a Puyo comes flying across the screen at a speed that feels impossible to follow. But in SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2 you’ll have the ability to enter levels with a quick rewind function enabled. This allows you to go back to any point in the run and start over from that point in time, letting you try again without having to start from scratch. This can make previously frustrating levels feel far more approachable now. But, if you love a challenge, you’re always able to play without this feature enabled.
One of the best parts of the Puyo Puyo series is its competitive nature. In Puyo Puyo 2 on Nintendo Switch you’ll have the ability to participate in two-player online battles as well as local battles against your friends. There are three different modes available for PVP battles, two with different rule-sets regarding Garbage Puyo or the regular rule-set. If single-player is more your style, then you can still get competitive with the online ranking system, as long as you aren’t playing with rewind features enabled.
A Classic Look Made Accessible
In Puyo Puyo 2 the timeless arcade look is back per the SEGA AGES style of imposing an arcade screen on top of a themed screen. In some cases, this can achieve a great look on-screen, but for Puyo Puyo 2 it isn’t always the best. Regardless, the actual game screen looks fantastic on both the handheld and docked modes of the Switch. The colors are vibrant and the music makes you feel like you’re in front of an arcade cabinet yourself. But the well-adjusted graphics and timeless music aren’t what makes Puyo Puyo 2 a stand-out port – it’s the new accessibility option.
One of the essential elements of Puyo Puyo is the different colors of the various Puyo pieces: red, green, blue, yellow, and purple. Matching these colors in sets of four or more is, quite literally, the point of the game and without the ability to make these combinations you cannot play the game. A much-requested feature of Puyo Puyo 2 was the option to adjust for colorblindness, a condition that can make the key mechanic of the game quite difficult.
Puyo Puyo 2 delivers on options for customization when it comes to color preference, as well as a need for modification due to colorblindness. While my own visual disabilities do not involve colorblindness, I was sure to do some testing and research on the subject to see if these new options would be good enough. Of course, I do think that everyone can strive to do better when it comes to any form of accessibility, but these current colorblind options are great and will open the doors for a lot of players that might not have been able to try out a game like Puyo Puyo 2 before.
No Garbage Puyo Here
When it comes to porting classic games, it’s easy enough to do a mediocre job or just check off the necessary boxes. A few display issues asides, adding new opportunities for PVP and features like quick rewind give a breath a fresh air to the fan-favorite from 25 years ago. The accessibility features for colorblindness really hit home that, just because a game was previously one way, doesn’t mean it cannot be improved for a wider audience later on.
SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2 has gone beyond expectations and created new opportunities and experiences with their already beloved classic. If you’re new to the franchise or style, it’s the perfect starting point. If you’re a huge fan of the Puyo Puyo series you’ll still find hours of entertainment with Puyo Puyo 2.
Review copy provided by SEGA for Nintendo Switch. Screenshots courtesy of SEGA