This might end up being a review for Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, or it could end up being about how once again Tetris provides me with mental comfort when I really need it.
You see over the past weeks and months I have been struggling with my eyesight. I have about 5% vision in my left eye and am awaiting an operation to fix a stretched retina hopefully. My right eye is down to about 60% vision thanks to some bleeds, and I get times where everything is blurry, and I struggle to do things I love.
One of those being writing. It will be why you have seen less written content from myself over the past weeks. It also makes me struggle at Tetris, as you need to have pretty good vision to help with the reaction times as you read the board.
Tetris 99 whilst still amazing meant competing was nigh on impossible and I went from 1 win in 8-12 games to 1 in 30ish. It stopped me enjoying the game. The same with Tetris Effect, I felt I couldn’t get the full enjoyment from the outstanding audiovisuals from the game.
So when I got a chance to review Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, I did have second thoughts, as I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it needs. However I do love Tetris, so I took it anyway. I am super glad I did.
The game is pretty much the same but has a major new variant put in, which requires you to reduce your opponents HP down to zero, using various techniques and power-ups. However, for me, I didn’t really care for this. I want Tetris in a basic form. Saying that though it does become a fun distraction.
I am drifting off from my main point a little here… I found Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 to be a massive thing for me, because of the story mode. It is an absolute rubbish story in all fairness, but that really doesn’t matter. For me, it allowed me to play quick games with a purpose, whilst my sight was impacted. None of it is overly taxing, and I thank the developers for this.
Online is a different matter though. I can’t tell if it was my vision, or the players on the game early are just at a higher level. I was getting rinsed almost every single time I tried. I wondered if I had all of a sudden become bad at Tetris.
I was pretty decent at Tetris 99 and I remain unbeaten on Tetris Effect Connected online, but here.. Nah I was getting destroyed. Then it hit me, Tetris 99 and Effect use a slightly different variant to the Tetris used in Puyo Puyo Tetris and that all has to do with how garbage is sent.
In T99 and Effect, you send garbage for any cleared lines of 2 and above. So 3 lines, Tetris, T-Spins, etc and build those up further with combos. It is the same in PPT too, but defending is a different thing and has a major effect.
You see, T99 and Effect garbage will fill up a meter and might not enter your well for a few drops, giving you time to set up a combo, T-Spin or something to try and reverse or minimise the attack. Even a single line clear can hold the attack at bay for another move.
However in the variant for Puyo Puyo Tetris as soon as you don’t use a line clear of 2+ you’ll be hit. So those 3 and 4 wide combo setups become less effective as a defence strategy, as they focus on lots of single line clears. You need to adjust your tactics and gameplay.
I liken it to the differences in Rugby between League and Union. From the outside, both look like the same game, but those who play will tell you how one doesn’t always transfer to the other.
This is also where I know my sight is an issue, as I can only concentrate on my well looking over briefly at my opponent causes my focus to go blurry for a second or two, but that is enough to slow me down, make mistakes or be hit with a ton of garbage before I know what is happening.
Therefore I need to train myself to be as aggressive as possible from the start. If I am to go with a combo attack I need to be faster than my opponent, which is a risky tactic, but rewarding when works. So I go with my favourite opener. A T-Spin Double-Triple which involves setting up a stack to you can hit a T-Spin double followed immediately by a T-Spin tiple. If lucky with RNG you may be able to add in an extra couple of lines to boost the combo and attack fast.
Against better players this will leave you exposed and it can be game over quickly, that is the risk you take. Especially when you can’t see properly what the opponent is trying. The replay save option is a Godsend here. I can use that to study my opponents and see why it was so effective against me.
Anyway, not sure why this turned into some kind of post-game analysis. Probably because you know what my thoughts on this would be and you know exactly what Tetris means to me. So this is just a splurge of thoughts on another wonderful addition to the Tetris family.
If you are new to Tetris, then Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is a wonderful jumping-on point and you also get the bonus of playing some Puyo Puyo too. I still can’t get my head around it enough to be competitive though. I get how it works, but my brain can’t set up those longer chains. I’ve been trying for over 20 years now and I still suck.
Anyway, Tetris 99, Tetris Effect and now Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 are permanently installed on whatever systems I can own them on and with all three you have the holy trifecta of Tetris games.