I’m no Puyo Puyo nut, and chaining combos gives me trouble even in the side mode for Sonic Mania. That said, the one Puyo Puyo game I have played to a pretty decent extent was Puyo Pop on GBA, and it was the experience from playing that which familiarized me with the series’ core gameplay, that of which is tested in the very first arcade game, Puyo Puyo.
Sega Ages Puyo Puyo brings us back to a simpler time, when Arle was the only main character, and was as sassy as she could be. It was refreshing to go back to the more traditional Puyo Puyo rules, where chaining combos reward garbage Puyos on the enemy side, but can’t be used to remove your own garbage Puyo lineup. The fact you can’t just cancel out the garbage gives the first game’s rules a great sense of high pace, and it’s more a struggle to make combos to rush down the enemy before you die from massive stacks of garbage.
One of the highlights of this release of the original Puyo Puyo is how it includes the International release, which only saw a limited release in arcades, and hasn’t been seen since. It’s weird to think that Arle has been available in English for such a long time. Sadly, the International and Japanese versions are separate, and there’s no way to mix and match text and dubs. And of course, ‘90s English video game dub Arle sounds about how you might expect:
— Some numbers guy (@s07195) March 27, 2019
That said, apart from English Arle, M2 have also prepared several other options, as they usually do for their work. Puyo Puyo now has a new helper feature for single player, which removes the extra color that’s given out in the harder stages. There is also an extra Music Player feature, options for fullscreen and filtering, as well as background frames.
Eager to try out multiplayer, I tried hopping into matches, which requires Nintendo Switch Online, as usual. Online matches are separated by version, and the International version has no playerbase at all whatsoever. I swapped to the Japanese version and got a game right away, but that meant facing against Japanese players… Let’s just say I didn’t do too well. Online battles are basically playing the same instance of the arcade game together, which means you can instantly jump into rematches by pressing X twice to enter more quarters and starting the rematch. Sadly, there is some input lag, which was expected but was still disappointing.
Overall, this game’s a great release to get if you want to go back to classic Arle in English, but I doubt it’ll be known for its online gameplay anytime soon. Being able to play the classic rules as they were meant to be played originally gave me a fresh perspective to the roots of the series, and hopefully, Sega Ages Puyo Puyo Tsu will do the same.
Sega Ages Puyo Puyo is now available on Nintendo Switch eShop in Japan.