M2, in collaboration with SEGA, has been doing a great job with the SEGA AGES series of arcade and Genesis ports. Despite being rereleases, there are quite a few new options and features not found in the original releases of games. Add in the portability factor, and you have an attractive new way to play classic SEGA titles. This latest release for the SEGA AGES series sees a never localized port of Puyo Puyo from the arcade will take some puzzle lovers by surprise.
This is the first time outside of Japan that we finally get the English version of the first Puyo Puyo game. With the story starting with Arle, a young girl who must save the world from the Dark Prince. You will meet and battle a cast of odd and unique characters and battle them in Puyo-puzzling style. There is full English text and the banner is charming and cute that starts before each stage. You must line up four colored Puyos, each being a different color (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, and Purple) and must chain together combos to build up garbage Puyos on the other player and whoever cannot keep their space clean first loses. It is a simple to play, yet hard to master game with the challenge of chaining different combos while ridding garbage. It is a fun and addicting time, while making it unique and stand out in the sea of puzzle franchises. Now for everything why this is the best version of this port of the game. SEGA AGES offer a wide array of options and even some unlockable modes and assist tools to help with newcomers. First you can save and view your replays for your 8 past games and ones you mark as favorite. You can also use load and save states to record at any part in the game in any mode. You can look at the online manual and even run the staff credits just to see who worked on the game from 1991 to present day (M2 staff roll as well).
Now with arcade mode, you can battle the Dark’s Prince’s minions (and himself) in a 13-stage succession. You can start any three difficulties (easy starts training level, normal at stage 1, hard at stage 4) and use unlimited continues to not game over. However, the speed and AI will gradually increase. Even if you lose, the speed will drop a bit, but the AI is still the same. If you still are having trouble, there is a mode which makes it easier still is the Helper feature. Depending on the stage, drop speed of Puyos will slow and the colors will decrease making it easier to pull off chains and combos. It certainly makes the stages easier, although it will record your score as freestyle instead of original arcade. A new feature that was not in the original game is that you can turn your Puyos counterclockwise for easier and smoother ways to attack. 2-player mode also let you battle your friends in old-fashion couch fun. There is also an online mode that pits you 1v1 against a live opponent. While I wait for about 10 minutes and only got it to work one time with one person, it was abysmal. I do not know if it was the other player’s connection or the servers, but it chugged at about 10 frames per second with input delays due to lag. This doesn’t stop it from having so many options in the settings menu. From how the game is set up and played (ranging difficulties, number of set battles per match, etc.), layout control mapping, use any kind of display features (wide or full-screen, wallpapers, etc.), and having any kind of sound effected needed (basic sound levels, selecting background music, etc.).
At $7.99, it may be hard to justify for some that this is a worthwhile addition to the Switch puzzle family. But this is certainly a title that is unique, and I always get a kick of seeing this never released outside of its home country popping up years later completely unaltered. This is a game for Puyo fans for sure, but I think any puzzle fans should give this version a try. It has enough here to satisfy and is a cool and different way for anyone to play.
- Original unaltered game in working form
- Variety of settings to change the way you want to play the game
- Multiple options for music
- Price is a little high
- Online multiplayer is almost unplayable