A mean bean machine.

Title: Puyo Puyo Champions
Platform: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Price: £8/$10
Release Date: Out now
TL;DR: A budget Puyo Puyo game that focuses heavily on online gameplay.
Family Focus?:Click here for more information

Back in the early 90’s when Jay was a little sprog, he went to stay with his Grandparents every weekend because his parents didn’t want him so he used to play a little game known as Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine with his Nan and he steadily got better and better at the game but he didn’t know it was a spin-off of the immensely popular series in Japan known as Puyo Puyo.

Puyo Puyo recently made it’s way back to the West (known as Puyo Puyo eSports in Japan) with Puyo Puyo Tetris in 2017 on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation alongside a reference to it in Sonic’s return to glory in Sonic Mania during the Chemical Plant boss fight.

Now here in 2019, we have Puyo Puyo Champions which is multiplayer heavy Puyo Puyo experience which might be off-putting to some but there is single player content but not in the way you might be craving. I’ll just rip the plaster off now… there is no story mode here unlike in Puyo Puyo Tetris.

For those who don’t know what Puyo Puyo is, it’s a puzzle game that requires you to build up combos by matching four of the same colour Puyo in a row. The bigger the combo, the more trash Puyos you will send over to the opposing player and it’s your goal to fill the other player’s box before they fill yours, so it’s kind of like Tetris hence why they made a crossover title.

Puyo Puyo Champions’ single-player content is literally battle mode and endurance mode in the two game types, the battle mode being your typical who can fill whose screen the quickest and the endurance mode is literally what it says on the tin, how many AI opponents can you take down before you get taken down. The two game types are Puyo Puyo 2 and Puyo Puyo Fever, and use the rule sets found in their original games, the first from Arcades on Mega Drive, and the latter from the PlayStation 2 era of consoles and because I never played Fever and there is no tutorial I struggle to grasp the concept of it. This might not be enough content for some, but for what you’re paying and what the game is called in Japan, I believe we have little room for complaints.

I grew up on Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine so I’m excited for whatever Puyo Puyo content gets thrown at me. Unfortunately, not a lot of my friends are interested in Puyo Puyo due to me destroying them because they’ve never really played a Puyo Puyo game… meaning it’s pretty lonely online for me.

Puyo Puyo Champions has ranked and casual modes dubbed Puyo Puyo League and Free Play respectively. Before you jump in you can set up your player card and set which rule you prefer to play, or set it to both rules. You can also select your favourite background and music as well as the skin for the Puyos.

Now, I considered myself a pretty decent Puyo Puyo player, as I can clear the games on the highest difficulty and perform pretty well, getting max stars on Puyo Puyo Tetris’ story mode. Well, my ego was shattered upon stepping up to the online plate of Puyo Puyo Champions.

Remember, I mentioned that Puyo Puyo is an incredibly popular franchise in Japan and that we only recently started getting the games over here? Well, I went online and was met with a string of defeats, as the vast majority of players are Japanese and they are incredible. They were pulling off some incredible combos, and the speed in which they created these combos was insane! I need to practise like crazy to catch up with these people.

Overall, Puyo Puyo Champions isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re looking for single player content, I’d suggest grabbing Puyo Puyo Tetris and then maybe coming back this when you’re a more confident Puyo Puyo player. However, if you are confident, then this game is for you and hopefully, we can fill the lobbies a bit so that it doesn’t die when all the Japanese players go to bed.

The Good:

  • Stable online environment.
  • Kick ass soundtrack.
  • Decent price for the amount of content.

The Bad:

  • Little amount of single player content for some players.
  • Lobbies are a little vacant when the Japanese players aren’t online.
  • I don’t understand Fever Mode.

Family Focus

Puyo Puyo Champions is rated E for Everyone and PEGI 3. This game is A-Okay for Little Jimmy; he will have fun popping all those bright and colourful little beans.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a copy of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.