Review: Puyo Puyo Champions (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed by I pwned U!, posted Jun 23, 2019, last updated Jun 23, 2019
I read though the instruction manual and went through the game settings to document all of the modes and features. After that, I played all of the different modes and adjusted different settings. I made voice recordings talking about the experience, and used them to help describe the game from a gameplay perspective.
Jun 23, 2019
  • Release Date (NA): May 7, 2019
  • Release Date (EU): May 7, 2019
  • Release Date (JP): October 25, 2018
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Sega
  • Genres: Multiplayer, Puzzle
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone
  • PEGI Rating: Three years and older
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
A great competitive game at an unbelievably low price.
I pwned U!
Introduction
If you are seeing Puyo Puyo gameplay for the first time, it would immediately remind you of Tetris (even more so considering the crossover from a few years ago). Yes, the gameplay involves colored segments falling from the top of your board, and you lose if you fill your board, but that is where the similarities end. Instead of completing a row of blocks to make it disappear, you complete a chain of 4 or more Puyos of the same color to make them pop. These chains do not have to be straight lines, just as long as the Puyos are adjacent. There are 2 gameplay rulesets, Puyo Puyo 2 and Puyo Puyo Fever.
Title Screen. Main Menu.
Puyo Puyo 2
In the first gameplay ruleset, there are 5 Puyo colors; green, red, blue, yellow, and purple. Each falling colored segment (pair) consists of 2 Puyos of the same or a different color. By moving and rotating each pair, you can line up the colors to create chains and pop your Puyos. The pairs can even be rotated between columns of Puyos, and you position a pair horizontally with one Puyo hanging off an edge, it will fall to the Puyo below it. It seems simple enough, but chains alone are not going to make you victorious. This is where the combo system and the Nuisance Queue come in. If you pop a chain and the resulting rearrangement of surrounding Puyos create another chain, then it results in a combo (popping 2 chains simultaneously does not count). The bigger your combo, the more Garbage Puyos you send to your opponent's Nuisance Queue, and eventually their board. These white Puyos can quickly fill up your board if you are not careful.
About to Lose.
If you and your opponent both get the same number of combos before your current pair finishes dropping, then they will neutralize each other, thus saving you from the dreaded Garbage Puyos. Never fear, by popping Puyos that are touching your Garbage Puyos, you can slowly eliminate them and reclaim your sanity. If you happen to completely clear your board of Puyos (an All Clear), it will send a large amount of Garbage Puyos to your opponent with your next attack. You can find out the exact amount of Garbage Puyos you will receive by looking at the number and type of icons in the Nuisance Queue. A Small one is worth 1, a Big one is worth 6, a Rock is worth 30, a Star is worth 180, a Moon is worth 360, a crown is worth 720, and a Comet is worth 1440.
Puyo Puyo Fever
In the other gameplay ruleset, the core gameplay is still the same, but with many additions. There are only 4 Puyo colors; green, red, blue, and yellow. In addition to the patterns used in Puyo Puyo 2, you are also greeted with some new patterns, triplets and Giants. Triplets consist of one larger Puyo that is twice as long as a regular Puyo, with a regular Puyo of a different color attached to the larger one's side. Alternatively, some triplets are just a single colored L-shaped Puyo that splits into 3 regular Puyos upon landing. Giants are 4 times the size of a regular Puyo, split into 4 regular Puyos upon landing, and instead of rotating them, you can change their color. There are other Giants that are half one color, half another color, and can be rotated normally. Puyo pairs of the same color are just one twice as long Puyo that splits upon landing in this mode.

The character you play as will affect the Puyo patterns that you receive. Each character also has a Fever Type: Uses Small Chains!, Strongly Balanced!, Reverses Fever!, Aims for Fever!, Attacks Fast!, and Big Chains or Nothing!.
Character Select.
Neutralizing incoming Garbage Puyos charges your Fever Gauge, which upon filling, activates Fever Mode.
Fever Mode Activated.
When in Fever Mode, a prearranged combo setup fills the board, and combo-triggering Puyos of twice the length of a regular Puyo will appear in your queue of upcoming Puyos. Fever Mode only lasts for a limited amount of time, and requires a minimum combo of 3 to send Garbage Puyos to your opponent's Nuisance Queue. If you get 2 or fewer combos, you will fail and be given a new combo setup. You will also be granted a new combo setup upon succeeding in a 3 or higher combo. This creates an interesting situation where you have to find a balance of speed and accuracy when it comes to placing your Puyos. When the Fever Time expires, you will return to your original board and normal gameplay. Luckily for you, if you are in Fever Mode, each time your opponent happens to neutralize incoming Garbage Puyos, your Fever Time increases, giving you even more opportunities to send them Garbage Puyos.
Chain. Round Finished. Match Finished.
Gameplay Modes and Settings
As if the game did not have enough features already, there are many elements that can be customized. In Endurance mode, you can face an onslaught of different opponents until you lose. In Battle mode, you can play a single match against 1-3 opponents, which can be a combination of CPUs, human players with other controllers connected to your Nintendo Switch, and human players connecting over local wireless with their own Nintendo Switch systems. In Multiplayer, you can also divide into teams if you have 3 or 4 players.

Do you like eSports style tournaments? You are in luck; the Tournament option allows you to partake in 1 vs. 1 battles with up to 8 other players. Win to keep climbing up the brackets, and you will soon know who is the best of the best...
Tournament.
It does not end there; you can enjoy playing against opponents from around the world if you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Using the Filter menu, you can optimize your matchmaking experience by choosing a ruleset preference (if you have one) and applying an optional Opponent Net Speed filter. If you hate playing against laggy opponents, then this feature is for you, allowing you to choose between 2 or more bars, 3 or more bars, or a full 4 bars.
Online Menu.
In Puyo Puyo League, you can try to boost your rating to increase your ranking in the league through 1 vs. 1 matches. Much like the GSP in Super Smash Bros., your rating will be used to match you with opponents of a similar skill level. It will increase with each victory, and decrease with each loss. If you win a lot, you may be presented with a Promotion Chance Match, potentially allowing you to move up a rank to the next league. Conversely, if you lose a lot, you may face a Demotion Risk match, which can drop your rank if you lose. Turning your Nintendo Switch off or disconnecting it from the internet during a match will result in a loss and decrease your rating. In other words, just learn to lose gracefully if you have not done so already.
League Menu.
In the Rankings menu, you can view your current worldwide and regional rank, in addition to the Top 20 players worldwide and regionally.
Rankings.
In Free Play, you will not be ranked, but you can play with up to 3 other players and customize many elements of the gameplay. This mode also allows you to battle players on your Nintendo Switch Friend List.
Room Creation.
Customization
Still not satisfied with what the game offers? Puyo Puyo Champions offers something for everyone thanks to the advanced customization options. In both rulesets, you can choose the required Win Count (1-100), and even chose to play in sets (like in tennis) with the Set Count option (2 -99). The full list, applying to all gameplay modes except Puyo Puyo League (unless specified otherwise) is as follows:
Options
Still want more? What is wrong with you! There are many other settings available in the Options menu, including:
Settings
Options.
What, that still is not enough you ungrateful bastard? When creating rooms for local multiplayer with other Nintendo Switch systems or Online in Free Play, you can choose from the following:
Room Settings
So this is it. You now know anything and everything about this game!

Nevermind, it turns out that there is still more to cover!
The Theatre
Before you ask, no, this is not a typo. The release on the American eShop does not use the American spelling for "theater," but it does use the American spelling for "color."

In the Theatre, you can view and manage your replays, listen to music in a full-blown sound test menu, and watch the credits. The Audio menu offers many things to listen to, including 46 BGM tracks, 51 SFX, and 888 voice clips (24 characters with 37 clips each). In the My Replays and Downloaded menu, you are able to play, delete, and favorite your saved replays.
Theatre. Replay. Replay Player Info.
Each replay is more than a video clip; it comes with a detailed timeline documenting every chain, neutralization, Fever Mode, and more. You can scroll through the timeline and select an event to start playback from.
Replay Timeline.
On a related note, the Online mode features a Puyo Puyo Broadcast menu, where you can download (up to 50) and view replays, as well as share your own replays (only one can be posted at a time, and any new upload will replace your old one). Replays can be filtered to list 50 by rank, the 50 newest ones, 99 by tag order, and replays from players on your Friend List.
Broadcast. Latest Replays.

Stats
Last, but not least, is the Stats menu. Here, you can view your win ratio for Puyo Puyo League and Free Play, as well as your rank, rating, and league for Puyo Puyo League. There are also 42 medals (achievements) to unlock, and you can view your progress toward each unearned medal. The full list is as follows:
Medals
Verdict
Pros
+ complete customization over the gameplay mechanics
+ battling others online and locally
+ different Puyo designs to choose from
+ good soundtrack
+ smooth 1080p 60 FPS gameplay
+ great for beginners and pros alike
Cons
- only having one replay posted online at any given time
- no button mapping, just predefined control schemes
9 Presentation
With bright, colorful menus and gameplay presented in 1080p 60 FPS, a good soundtrack, lots of Puyo designs to choose from, and fluid animations, there is nothing bad to say about the presentation.
10 Gameplay
Running at a smooth 1080p 60 FPS with full control over the gameplay mechanics, I have no complaints. The Handicap and Comeback Assist options allow beginners and pros to play together on a level playing field. With two different rulesets and many different modes, there is something for everyone. Online multiplayer never lagged for me. If you have a decent connection and use the Opponent Net Speed filter, then you will never encounter any lag either
9 Lasting Appeal
Completionists will keep coming back to earn any remaining medals, and everyone else will come back for the fun local and online battles.
9.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
$9.99 USD. Yes, you read that right. A game like this should cost about $20, but it only costs $9.99! With fully customizable gameplay, two rulesets, and many different modes, I cannot believe that this game costs so little. If you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription and want more games with good online play, you cannot go wrong with Puyo Puyo Champions. The only reason to not buy it is if you have CFW and do not care about the Online features.


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