With Sega Ages Puyo Puyo just released on the Switch, I decided to go back to Puyo Puyo Champions as I only recently bought it. Like everyone else, I have a backlog of games – some I haven’t even played yet and others I’ve merely neglected. Puyo Puyo Champions is the latter.

It was the Sega Ages Puyo Puyo that was most like my first taste of the franchise. I played it in Japan on the Mega Drive as it was available in a hotel we stayed in. You don’t need instructions with Puyo Puyo – line up and match blobs (puyos) of the same colour to earn points and to counter your opponent’s screen.

There’s no story of course – this is pure arcade and a multiplayer at that. Picture Columns but with a little more energy and colours and you have a slight idea of what this game is. It’s simple enough, but hectic, and will likely test the patience of any of your friends who don’t like this style of game.

The menu screen with some of the available options

We are the Champions

Why is Puyo Puyo Champions different to the previous versions? Well, it’s prettier, and there are more characters to choose from. After I played Puyo Puyo in Japan, I bought Puyo Puyo Fever on the PS2 and loved it. Puyo Puyo Champions is much like that with the same character illustrations and fever mode.

The main modes are Puyo Puyo 2 and Puyo Puyo Fever. The first is the standard version, whereas the latter allows you to stack up your blobs for devastating counters. If you time it right, you release these transparent blobs that block off the previous lines of puyos – think multiplayer Tetris. In fact, Puyo Puyo met with Tetris in Puyo Puyo Tetris; the demo is still up on the eShop.

If you are on the receiving end and can counter these blocks, you earn letters that spell out ‘fever’. Once spelt, you unlock a crazy disco sequence unleashing a devastating series of combos that force these same transparent blobs onto the other player’s screen. Fever mode is usually a game-changer and can turn things around.

A two player game of Puyo Puyo Champions

Challenge Your Friends

I always have a bias towards local multiplayer and often am influenced whether I can play someone in the same room. It’s just my preference from years of gaming, and I’m not much of an online fan. Imagine my delight that you can have up to four players in Puyo Puyo Champions. Granted, I don’t know many people who like this game regrettably, but I like having the option.

Online play is similar to most: you can take part in league games or free play one-on-one battles. There are lots of characters to choose from the games 25-year history, but when competing online in tournaments, you can customise your avatar to stand out just that little bit more.

Puyo Puyo Champions also feature a tutorial mode, which is ideal for training for chaining strategies as that’s how you’re going to win this game. Or you’re just lucky at winging it. Aside from the online play, two rulesets and plenty of characters (24 of them – each with their style of play), there are new backgrounds, and some crazy music to accompany the game.

The winner is you

Puyo Puyo Party Selection

Without a doubt, Tetris is one of the best puzzle games there is, and introducing the Puyo Puyo brand was a good move. However, it does stand on its two feet, and Puyo Puyo Champions is an excellent party game/multiplayer for a variety of tastes. It is easy to pick up but difficult to master.

I’ve tried to introduce a variety of friends and family to the series and have had mixed results. The majority said that Puyo Puyo Champions was over the top and hard to know what was happening. There’s not much I can do about the visuals, but like its predecessors, Puyo Puyo Champions has a handicap mode to help out those struggling with chains. Depending on the setting you choose, it can be overwhelming for the more experienced player on the receiving end!

Before Puyo Puyo Champions, Puyo Puyo Tetris was on my list which is the physical version. Puyo Puyo Champions is an eShop title and was half the price of the cartridge, but in some ways, this was the better decision as I already have Tetris via the online membership, and Puyo Puyo Champions is arguably the better game. Is it any good? I want to think I’ve covered that – yes, it’s a good party game and you can play on your own too. If you enjoyed Tetris and/or Columns and the sound in the trailer below doesn’t bother you, I’d suggest giving this a go.

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