If there was ever a perfect game, one could easily argue that the original Tetris may be the game. The original game was so fundamentally sound that it is just as fun 20 plus years later. Tetris has been ported to nearly every platform available but none have managed to live up to the excellence of the original. Finally, Nintendo has come to the table with an update to the classic puzzle game that manages to match the original, perfect Tetris. Combine the simplicity of creating lines out of tetraminos with the atmosphere of classic Nintendo themes and you have the handheld game of all handheld games.
Graphically, the game is very bright and colorful. Come on, it’s Tetris; what are you expecting? The game is filled with bright colors and plenty of backgrounds that give plenty of homage to Nintendo’s heritage. There are plenty of 8-bit sprites and scenes decorating the backgrounds in each mode and screen. You are not getting anything terribly exciting in the graphical by today’s standards, but Nintendo’s past is represented well in this game and it creates a comfortable and familiar setting.
As with the graphics, there is nothing to blow you away in the sound category. The music and sounds within the game consist of remixes of classic 8-bit tunes from such games as Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Metroid, and of course the original Gameboy Tetris. The music does seem to get a little repetitive after a while, especially if you get into a long battle in multiplayer, but it serves its purpose well. I honestly find myself playing most of the time with the volume turned all of the way down. The sound is there, and it’s not bad, but the soundtrack is easily forgettable.
Gameplay is what makes Tetris the great game that it is. The concept of Tetris is extremely simple: direct the falling blocks and line them up in order to form a solid horizontal line in order to remove those blocks from the screen. The concept is simple, yet addictive and downright fun. This is the basic concept that Tetris is built aroundâ€¦ but there are other elements thrown in throughout the game. Some modes add in weapons (ala Mario Kart) and enemies that affect the flow of your blocks and your ability to form solid lines. Being an effective Tetris player comes down to two important factors: being fast and thinking ahead. The controls are the same as they have always been; you can move and rotate the blocks as well as accelerate their descent. Hopefully, you are doing this a lot faster than your opponents areâ€¦
In Tetris DS, multiplayer is what makes the game as great as it is. Whether you are battling it out locally with 10 players on a single cart or 4 players on Nintendo’s Wifi network, most of your time is going to be spent on the multiplayer modes of the game. There are three multiplayer variations in Tetris DS: Standard, Standard with weapons, and the new Push mode. Standard mode consists of the same multiplayer Tetris that we have come to know and love, which really requires no explanation except for a mention of the new weapons that have been integrated. Similar to the Mario Kart games, players can acquire different power ups that can be unleashed on opponents and cause various effects such as: speeding up the speed of the falling blocks, taking away the ability to rotate blocks, and scrambling the layout of the blocks already existing on their screen. These weapons are well integrated as they do not flood the game. Push mode can be looked at as a game of tug of war between two players. Two players share a Tetris field and have the ability to shift the blocks in the direction of their opponent by clearing two or more lines at once. If you can manage to push your opponent’s side far enough down, they lose. It sounds odd at first, but this mode is a blast and can lead to some extended and heated battles.
The Wifi network play is great. There are occasions where it may take a little bit of time to get into a match online, but I have found that most people that I get grouped in with are one to staying around for more games afterwards. The players have the option of staying in and playing with the same group following an online match, as long as all members are willing to stay. As soon as one player drops, everyone is forced to return to the game selection screen upon completing the match. Once you get grouped in with a good group of players or friends, you will probably be playing for a while.
There are plenty of single player modes to keep you happy if you do not have Wifi access or anyone to play with. The game has the obvious standard Tetris game, as well as a few new variations: Puzzle (clear a set amount of lines using a limited set of Tetriminos and movements); Touch (use the stylus to move and turn blocks that are already placed on the screen); Mission (form lines using only the qualified pieces); and Catch (catch falling tetraminos on a rotating block while avoiding Metroids). All of the modes are fun and allow you to adjust various speed and level settings. The single player modes are fun and can keep you occupied, but as I said before, you will want to spend most of your time in multiplayer.
Simply put, Tetris DS is one of the must owned titles for the Nintendo DS. The multiplayer modes make it one of the best experiences on the system to date. Combine this with Mario Kart DS, and you really do not have a need for any other titles for the system. If you own a DS, you need to own this title.
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