Tetris

The PSN has seen no shortage of puzzle games, which have found themselves well-suited to the downloadable arena. Four years into PS3's lifetime, extraordinarily good puzzlers like Lumines and Critter Crunch have already made a name for themselves in downloadable form. Lumines, in particular, has progressed the genre with a variety of inventive modes, online rankings, solid multiplayer and music that is as crucial to the gameplay as the blocks themselves. Arriving so late in the game, it's difficult to see how the classic Tetris formula can reclaim the puzzler crown.

Tetris

After numerous iterations, and decades in existence, it'd be a tricky task to find a gamer, or even non-gamer, with no awareness of Tetris and the inherent formula. Each of the Tetriminos is a block composed of four square units, joined by a flatside. Allowing for all permutations yields each of the block types, including the one block that never arrives when you need it: the straight tetrimino featuring four unit blocks in a row. It hardly needs stating, but the aim of the main game is to fill lines, without gaps, causing those lines to disappear. Extra points are awarded for finishing multiple lines at once (in particular, gaining a Tetris, by completing four lines at once with a straight piece). As the pace increases, things get more chaotic, mistakes might start to happen, and eventually the pile of tetriminos might cause the game to end by reaching the top of the screen. Very familiar stuff. However, this iteration of Tetris makes some moves to the future, with a selection of new variants such as Flashlight (playing almost completely in the dark) and magnetic (with pieces attracted to one side of the track or another).

The variants are a nice distraction, complemented by career feats (like removing twelve lines in one go, exploiting one variant's increased gravity), but the core of the game lies with the standard marathon, and the multiplayer modes. Happily, the multiplayer is nicely fleshed out, with cooperative modes, team battles, standard versus matches and the option to play each of the variants. This isn't restricted to the same console either, with online matches available for each mode. This helps greatly to modernize the Tetris formula, but there are two small niggles. Firstly, some elements of the online connectivity seem limited, with frustrating need to manually connect to online servers. Secondly, despite the minor evolution, Tetris rests on it's core formula, understandably, but does so very late in the game. Arriving four years in, more is expected from the puzzling great. The Marathon mode can be beaten after just 415 lines, and several of the variants are there only for novelty value. With a little more imagination, and smoother online integration, this version of Tetris could have been so much more.

Tetris

The high-definition visuals make Tetris look very pretty, with the L, in particular, looking particularly snazzy this time out. The effects for the different variants are also quite effective, and the multiplayer weaponry carries with it some explosive flare. Still, there's not much that can be done with the material available, without copying the Lumines formula of frantic background action mirrored by the atmospheric lighting and music. It can't substitute this with charm either, as Critter Crunch does with it's loveable bugs. Instead, Tetris, is a competent rendition of a near-perfect classic. For puzzle fiends, it'll be a must-buy, but for those looking for just one puzzler, perhaps Lumines stole the puzzling crown before Tetris even arrived.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Electronic Arts

Developer:

Alexey Pajitnov

Players:

1-4

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2010-12-22

Trophies:

12

Review summary

Gameplay:

The classic puzzle gameplay returns, and rocks

Graphics:

Noddy stuff, but snazzy and sharp

Sound:

Classic music, clear effects and no nonsense

Lastability:

Simply, it is possibly the most addictive puzzler ever

8.7

Supernova

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Garrus Vakarian

A hospital. Not a good place to have a fight.

Mordin Solus

What IS a good place to have a fight?

Garrus Vakarian

Garden... Electronics store... Antique shop, if it's classy.