A new Puyo Puyo game is out in Japan, and with easy digital importing and a last-minute launch discount that brings its price down to about five bucks, it’s an enticing proposition. So what’s it all about, then?
First of all, if you haven’t played a Puyo Puyo game before, you’re better off starting with our franchise guide. This is a totally capable release, and at 500 yen, it’s a great option if you simply don’t have access to any version of the game, but if you’re looking for beginner-friendly features and tons of modes and options to explore, Puyo Puyo eSports isn’t really built for you.
On the other hand, if you hope to really get good at Puyo Puyo (like our friends over at community site Puyo Nexus), this could be exactly what you’ve been wanting. In an effort to cater to an esports community that prefers standardized rule sets, Puyo Puyo eSports offers two, and only two, modes: Tsuu (note: the good one) and Fever.
Around these, it builds matchmaking options so you can find certain types of opponents, as well as avatars and other aesthetic customization so you can show a little personality to your foes. There are some limited options for playing with up to three friends locally, and there’s even an eight-player local tournament function. It reuses a lot of the interface from the (excellent) previous release, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and as something of a bonus for players looking for new content, the Tetris side of the player select screen is now largely populated by characters from the series’ new installments on 3DS and phones.
The most important addition to Puyo Puyo eSports for players who are hoping to improve is Boost Mode, which gives losing players a, well, boost early in the next match to even the playing field a bit. It does this by supplying a pre-built chunk of blocks ready to start a chain, so you’re just a bit ahead of your opponent’s pace. It works better than we’d thought it would, and the important thing is that it keeps lesser players on the field long enough to learn from better ones. Without it, it’s tough to improve, and it’s not very fun to get pummeled for too many consecutive matches.
We do hope the game gets a Western launch for all sorts of reasons, but for now, you can play the Japanese release with minimal language barrier issues. The online connectivity has improved somewhat from previous games, but we’ve found it still less than ideal to maintain a connection with online opponents as far away as, well, Japan. Even with domestic foes, we’ve run into some hiccups and disconnects, but it’s way less often.
If you’d like to jump in, do it soon! It’s available for 500 yen instead of 1999 on both PS4 and Switch until the end of November. (And check out Puyo Nexus for resources and help! They’re good people.)