So one of my all time favourite Genesis games was Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
I spent hours upon hours trying to fight my way through an ensemble of Sonic’s fiercest foes, from Scratch to Grounder, and even old Egg Bean himself.
I loved it so much, in fact, it was one of the first games I double-dipped on, grabbing it for the Game Gear so I could play on the go!
And that’s really important to this article because Mean Bean was mine – and probably many others – introduction to Puyo Puyo. I wouldn’t have known that at the time, of course. Young me was convinced the only puzzlers out there were Tetris and Columns. I just thought this was a new take.
Since then, of course, I’ve played multiple iterations of the classic puzzler – some good, some not so good – which brings me to today’s SEGA AGES release of Puyo Puyo 2. A game I’ve never actually played before.
There’s something so strange about me playing a spin-off westernised version of this game first on the hardware it was intended for, as opposed to the game it was originally modelled on for 2020 hardware. Yet, here we are.
The thing is, Puyo Puyo 2 feels great on Switch. It has an art style which feels timeless, the game flows nicely, difficulty seems well balanced, there’s several modes to try and even an option for online matches.
I wasn’t big on the recent Champions iteration, and having gone back to the game it was built off the back of, I now find it even harder to recommend.
Puyo Puyo 2 is a really tight, fun and entertaining package at a bargain price. All the classic features from the original game are here, but it feels like SEGA have really gone the extra mile with this release to give it the respect it deserves. Fittingly, so, since it’s the first time it’s been localised for Western audiences.
For one thing, there’s a quick rewind feature in the options which lets you rewatch all your previous matches. This works just nicely as you can see what worked and what didn’t. You can even see your button presses so you can gauge how quickly you’ve reacted in all scenarios. You can also ‘lock’ and save as many as 10 replays to remind yourself of your greatest hits.
As mentioned, there’s also two player online battles and even an online ranking system, so there’s an absolute shed load of replayability here with the opportunity to test your skills against others while comparing yourself to the rest of the world. I didn’t get to play as many of these as I’d like ahead of release, but connectivity seemed decent and stable. I still got absolutely tanked, though.
SEGA even added a colourblind option, which is fantastic for accessibility and really opens up a classic game to even more audiences than ever before.
The SEGA AGES releases tend to treat their games with healthy respect, and there’s the usual options here to add scanlines, change backgrounds, and in terms of this game, tweak things like margin times or whether you want the old ruleset.
But with Puyo Puyo 2, I really feel like this might be their best effort yet. The $7.99 price tag actually feels like great value for money and this isn’t just a casual emulation of a classic game, there’s actually quite a lot to unpack here.
This game is a true landmark release in our industry. The way it took off in the arcades, the addition of competing Garbage Puyo, the spinoffs it inspired, and the fact that it still feels like a damn good video game.
Games like this are rare, but I can honestly say that I’ll probably pick up Puyo Puyo 2 in another 25 years and still be as hooked and invested as I was back in 1994 and I am today. Like Pac-Man, it feels absolutely timeless.
I don’t see this coming off my Switch anytime soon.
Puyo Puyo 2 is now available on Switch
Code provided by SEGA