The original Puyo Puyo has a bit of an unconventional history outside of Japan. While it appeared on many platforms, it didn’t actually appear as itself everywhere. We ended up with Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Kirby’s Avalanche, rather than localization. The Game Gear version had a Puzlow Kids localization built into it, which appeared when the cart was put in English language systems. But, when it came to the arcade version, there was a bit of a mystery. There was rumored to be an English release, but it was uncertain if it was a bootleg. Sega Age Puyo Puyo proves it is authentic. Not only that, but it also proves it is a hilarious delight.
The Sega Ages Puyo Puyo release is a rather barebones one, made notable by this historic opportunity. It has one or two player, which involves head-to-head matches offline. The singleplayer option gives you a chance to see Arle confront the icons of the Puyo Puyo world with very rudimentary quips (and a surprising number of genuinely funny clapbacks). You have three difficulty options, each with a different number of stages and opponents. If you go online, you can take part in head-to-head matches against other people with the game. Both modes allow the option of being able to rotate left, instead of just right, or have a quick turn feature on, allowing you to more swiftly place puyos.
Meet the best Sega Ages Puyo Puyo opponent. pic.twitter.com/qNvkJf9uNT
— Jenni Lada (@JMariye) August 23, 2019
But really, the arcade mode’s “story” is the reason people are going to come to Sega Ages Puyo Puyo. This has never had such an official and widespread release. It’s a peek into an earlier age, where story modes in puzzle games were extremely rudimentary. What is Arle trying to do? Beat a bunch of people. Why? Well, it seems like she was just trying to get some rest, but the Black Kingdom was causing trouble and keeping her up. Is Sukiya Podes (Foot) weird? Absolutely! Good thing we haven’t seen him since Puyo Puyo Tsu!
It also feels like a precursor to future Puyo Puyo games with actual story elements. Sega Ages Puyo Puyo proves that yes, the series was always this goofy. The charm and puns in Puyo Puyo Tetris were no fluke. Arle thinks some of these opponents, like Suketoudara (Goby) are as weird as we do! She calls them out on it. People can be more consumed with playing music and dancing than puzzles. Maybe Skeleton-T would be happier if he could drink some tea without being challenged? It is a completely pleasant and amusing experience.
This English localization is something people have wondered about for years. Sega Ages Puyo Puyo gives us a chance to properly acknowledge and preserve it. We know it is real now. We get to see these early characterizations of people like Arle, Satan, Schezo, and Suketoudara and consider how they have grown. We can look at it after playing through the sublime Puyo Puyo Tetris and appreciate how affable this series even was in its infancy. While this game may have limited ways to play, it is an important part of Puyo Puyo history that now everyone can easily enjoy.
Sega Ages Puyo Puyo is available for the Nintendo Switch. You can also see what we thought about it back when it made its Japanese debut.