Sega is continuing to dip into their retro catalog by expanding their SEGA AGES line-up with a home port of the Japanese-only arcade title Puyo Puyo 2. Just like all the other AGES titles, developers M2 continue to prove they are not only technical wizards when it comes to top quality emulation, they are also dedicated to their craft by implementing features and options fans want.
Chances are Puyo Puyo 2 is the one Puyo game you have not played as it has not been previously made available outside of Japanese arcades. Unlike the deeper experiences in home console versions of Puyo titles, it is important to remember this is a Puyo game designed as a faster arcade experience. Point being, each match against the AI will often result in a game over as it was originally designed to steal quarters. The two main modes are Arcade, where the player plays one opponent after the other, and Endurance which is a marathon to see how long you can survive before the Puyo well eventually fills.
The local Versus mode and the newly implemented Online mode is where dedicated fans will probably want to spend most of their time. Like the other AGES games, there are also online leaderboards, in which scores are quickly and automatically uploaded after every bout, a replay mode to watch your previous games as well as rivals online, and a rewind feature mapped to the trigger buttons. Unlike, say Shinobi, where using rewind can help get through tricky platforming segments, the rewind feature here in a puzzle game like Puyo Puyo 2 can allow for some devastatingly impressive combos for players that want to take advantage. The competitive multiplayer mode also has included features to spice up gameplay such as adjusting score for garbage Puyos or making garbage Puyo more difficult to remove. These tweaks will please the hardcore players looking to fine tune their skills with a new approach. This is especially important for replay value considering there are no big Puyos like in Puyo Puyo Fever or 4-8 player battles. This is a port of the arcade version after all.
All the visual charm M2 is known for makes their way here. This includes adjusting the screen to include different size options, scanline, borders, and even adjust the color of the Puyos. The same overall, clean interface also returns here including the opening “duuuuh-duuuuh” Sega sound effect from the opening video and how the player needs to hold the button for a couple seconds to return to the previous menu. It is an impressive presentation that is consistent across all the AGES titles. It is worth mentioning that the speech bubbles found in the Arcade mode remain in Japanese and are not translated into English.
The welcomed, added features and options wouldn’t mean much if the gameplay was lacking, however. Luckily, this Puyo sequel plays very well. The accurate controls and the way the pieces spin and lock into place just feels right. Modern features like insta-drop and piece storage isn’t an option here but I didn’t actually miss them. Since each match usually takes around 90 seconds to complete, there isn’t much time to dabble in extra details anyway.
Sega has released numerous Puyo titles this console generation so you have probably played/own a version here or there; Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine was even on the recently released Genesis Mini console. Fans will still want to consider this AGES treatment of Puyo Puyo 2 as M2 has included all the features players will want and this is the one Puyo title that has flown under the radar for far too long.