Thanks to SEGA for the review code
Title: Sega Ages PUYO PUYO 2
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/20/2020
In this competitive puzzle game, you take control of Arle, who must ascend a high tower in order to take on the Dark Prince Satan in battle. The story is barely existent, and the blurbs about the characters you battle are still Japanese in-game, though the blurbs were collected in a group of bios that you can read via the menu, and these were translated.
Being the next Sega AGES release, and having covered several before, the same usual UI aspects and whatnot that were noted in prior reviews are present here, with a clean looking menu, multiple backgrounds and display options, including the recent addition of the arcade cabinet view.
Thus, as per usual, everything here is emulated properly, and this game has a really nice unique border. The game itself looks really sharp too, with a cute artstyle and some really incredible battle music to accompany different layers of the tower. It does look pretty similar to the first game however, and as a result it doesn’t really upgrade the presentation nearly as much as the sequels would do.
Puyo Puyo 2 is a competitive puzzler, like the predecessor, where the main goal is to link four or more of a colored set of gels in order to clear them off the board. If you place gels in ways so that they’ll cause further reactions, then you can build a chain reaction and cause damage to your opponent by screwing with their board and causing garbage blocks to fall on their side. If the left-center column of your board is occupied, then you lose.
With the basics out of the way, there really isn’t much else to mention about how the core game works; you build up chain reactions like before and use them to flood your opponent’s board before they do so to yours. However, Puyo 2 introduces the offset mechanic, where a chain reaction can be cancelled out and sent back to an opponent with enough resistance.
Personally, I find this mechanic to be utterly obnoxious, and I much prefer the frantic “race to be the first” nature of the original game, where you couldn’t do anything about a big wave of blocks coming your way, nor could your opponent. You can turn it off as an option, but like with changing any of the other options, this forces you on the freestyle leaderboard for online, so you’ll have to deal with it if you want to get a high score elsewhere.
Another mechanic introduced in this game, although it’s more limited to the single player aspect, comes from the way you progress through the stages. In Puyo 1, it was a linear 13 stage adventure, but in this game, it’s a roulette, with each floor having a different array of opponents. Beating a foe fast enough will reward you with a higher score bonus, but in this game you’re required to get a certain amount in order to move onto the next floor.
This works out fine at first, and if you’re really good you can speed through the first two with no problem, but come the third floor and onwards, you’ll have less and less opponents to fight, but more and more points to gain. Annoyingly, this means even if you 1CC your way up a good amount, if you don’t score enough, you can automatically game over by not reaching the required point threshold. While I love chasing high scores, this progression method is utterly dumb and one I totally loathe, making the single player not nearly as much fun to go through as the first game’s.
Thankfully, by the miracles of M2, a new mode has been added to fix all those issues. In this new mode, every single CPU foe is fought back to back to back, just like in the first game. However, since there’s way more opponents this time around (with eight on the first floor alone), this in turns leads to a much, much longer main game. Still, I found this to be the definitive way of playing Puyo Puyo 2‘s single player mode, and it works as a fantastic endurance run to test your puzzling skills.
With this mode added, it easily makes up for the shortcomings this game has, even if I feel more tweaks like those seen in the Super Famicom port of the game would have also been appreciated.
In conclusion, Puyo Puyo 2 is a standard puzzle game, and the new tweaks to the formula work for better and for worse. While this game set the stage for the most popular method of playing competitive Puyo, it isn’t nearly as refined here as in future entries like Champions, which is the best way to play with Puyo 2 rules by far.
This version of the game does have online play, but I couldn’t find a single opponent to go again, neither during the pre-launch period with Japanese players, or the launch day period with anyone else. Considering how I got some good connections in Ichidant and Columns II however, I’d expect it to be the same as those games, and not the trainwreck that was the first Puyo’s netcode.
Still, the only thing “new” to this version I can really praise is the endurance mode, ditching the stupid progression system of the original game, but I find the offset mechanic to be a bit too tug-of-war like for my tastes, and as a score chaser it feels a lot less addictive than the original. If you have local friends to play this with or don’t mind waiting for a match, then this is the Puyo game to get for multiplayer, but if you’re a scorechaser like me, you’re better off sticking to the first game for high-score chasing.
This is still a solid game, but besides the endurance mode it feels a lot like the same old, only a bit worse. I really hope the less-released games such as SUN and N come out as part of the next AGES line, since those add a lot more things to the formula that seem fun to mess around with. Here’s hoping!
I give Sega Ages PUYO PUYO 2 a 7 out of 10.