Puyo Puyo is a long-running puzzle game series that has come to the States in various forms, such as Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Kirby’s Avalanche. Puyo Puyo Da! takes the puzzle game’s characters out of their native environment and slides them into a lackluster dancing game.
The gameplay is an obvious nod to Sony’s Parappa the Rapper. Two bars at the bottom of the screen display what buttons you need to hit, and you’ll trade measures with a computer-controlled dancer or with player two if you want to unleash Puyo Puyo Da! on a friend. While the button presses may seem to be in time with the music, the dance moves they produce are anything but. In fact, even when your character isn’t dancing, it can’t even manage to sway in time with the music. The dance animations are weak and jerky. Combine these animations with the fact that you’ll need to stare at the bottom third of the screen almost exclusively to succeed, you’ll discover that this game would have been just as bad without all the boring characters and bad dancing.
Because this is a music game, you’d expect the game’s soundtrack to really save the game, but the uninspired and occasionally annoying J-Pop played throughout Puyo Puyo Da! doesn’t take the spotlight away from the game’s sagging gameplay and graphics. Also, the only other element included in Puyo Puyo is a smattering of clear Puyos, which accumulate over the loser’s head and rain down at the end of the dance-off. It would have been nice to see some Bust-A-Move-style special moves, but Puyo Puyo Da! simply plays it straight (and boring) throughout.
You can pick up Puyo Puyo Da! and be completely fed up with it within an hour. It has no replay value whatsoever, it is totally unexciting in every mode, and the gameplay is stupidly simplistic. Dreamcast dance fans with a sweet tooth for imports would do better with Sega’s Space Channel 5.