As someone that plays his fair share of puzzle games, I thought I could play through SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2 with relative ease. Never have I been so wrong in my assessment. This game took me to my limits, nearly defeating me in the process.
The game has you against the computer in a game of connecting four Puyo (colored blobs) of the same color as they drop onto your screen. When you connect four Puyo together, they pop. The goal is to create a chain of connecting Puyo to throw garbage Puyo at your opponent’s screen until it fills up. The higher the chain, the more gets thrown at your opponent and vice versa. On paper, it doesn’t sound so complicated, but in practice it was hard to keep up.
In the beginning of the game, it was fair in difficulty. It was slow enough to catch on with what to do, yet fast enough where I didn’t feel it was pandering. Somewhere around the fourth stage, the speed and difficulty spiked up to a pace that was completely frustrating. Not only were the Puyo dropping so fast that I couldn’t take control of where to place them, but the CPU opponent gets so good that it just kept throwing garbage Puyo at me. This felt like I was suddenly warped to the final boss when I had just started playing. It was quite a jarring experience to say the least. The game was on normal difficulty, so I had to lower it in order to finish the game. After that, I was finally able to enjoy the game like I thought I would.
The game has a cute anime art style and a huge list of opponent characters that are genuinely some of the most creative I’ve ever seen. There’s a skeleton that loves drinking tea, a flute playing elf, and twin kittens. There’s even a boy whose entire bottom half is a giant foot. Each character has their own introduction, however, it’s entirely in Japanese. I was able to get some of those introductions translated and they actually have jokes or hints on their play styles. If they would’ve translated that in game it would’ve added to the charm and gone a long way.
This SEGA AGES version does have some modern conveniences, like having save states and time reversal. They were absolutely necessary in my time with the game, so I really appreciated their inclusion. I couldn’t imagine finishing this game without those features and it was a great help. It also includes the ability to change aspect ratio, add scan lines, and smooth the image. This is helpful if changing from handheld mode to TV mode, and kept the game from looking dated.
SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo 2 is a fun time. The challenging but fair gameplay brought much enjoyment during my time with it. It was when the Puyo were shooting down at lightning speed that I just couldn’t advance in the game, no matter how hard I tried. This unfortunately made it a little tedious, so lowering the difficulty was necessary. Rarely do I lower the difficulty on a game, but this was a turning point in my experience. With that change in place, I can look back on a good time with the game. This is one I’ll come back to when I’m in need of a challenge.