Video Game Reviews

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Tetris DS

Nintendo DS

Summary:

Tetris is a classic puzzle game where the aim is to move and fit blocks which fall from the top of the play area together in order to make complete lines across the play area... whenever this happens the blocks will disappear, freeing up space for you to fit more blocks together... also the more lines you clear the faster the blocks will fall, making things progressively harder and more challenging as a result.

The name Tetris is based on the Greek work "Tetra" meaning four, with all of the blocks being made up of 4 segments, each one being a different arrangement of these segments to give a full range of block types to use within the game.

The game has several play modes:

- Standard Mode: Regular Tetris, where you try to clear the blocks as they continue to fall faster and faster, the more lines you clear at the same time, the more points you earn. You can also choose to play based on an endless time limit or to end after clearing so many lines

- Versus Mode: Regular Tetris, only you play against an opponent who is trying to clear lines using the same blocks as yourself, but in a mirrored play area of your own, making things a little more challenging as you both try to clear as many lines as possible using the same blocks, while pushing your opponent past a target level with every line you clear in order to win

- Puzzle Mode: Several scenarios are presented to you where using a limited amount of blocks you have to clear all the lines on screen; this gets gradually harder and more complex as you progress and can sometimes be a real brain-twister in terms of working out the order in which you need to do things in order to clear all the lines fully

- Mission Mode: Regular Tetris, only you have to achieve certain goals within a certain time limit in order to move onto the next challenge (e.g. clear three lines using an 'L' block, get a Tetris, etc); however you achieve the goal is up to you which consequently requires a different approach in order to be successful at it

- Touch Mode: Using the DS stylus, move the blocks around in order to clear the lines, only whenever you move blocks more will fall down from the top of the screen, requiring some careful thought as to how to move things to ensure that whatever is on top of them will fall into the right place as well. While on the easier difficulties you can rotate blocks, the later difficulties remove this option, making things a lot harder...

- Catch Mode: You start with a small square block, which you need to make bigger by merging it with randomly shaped blocks which fall from the top of the screen, requiring careful planning and combining of the pieces... you also have to do this while avoiding certain obstacles and the walls either side of you in the process... however once you make a large enough square they will all explode, erasing any blocks around them as well, allowing you to start the process again...

There's also a Wi-Fi option to play friends or random gamers online, with DS-to-DS allowing up to ten players to play together (using only one game cartridge)

Pros:

- The Standard Mode remains unchanged from the original NES games, which is a good thing as this is Tetris at its best

- The Standard Mode has plenty of options to make things more challenging or easier depending on your preferences

- The Multiplayer Standard Mode is challenging and fun; the computer difficulty levels can get fairly challenging too if you play with the settings a little...

- The Multiplayer Versus Mode is also refreshingly different; while the gameplay doesn't vary too much from the 'Standard' mode it does make things more interesting especially when playing against friends...

- The soundtrack is nothing amazing but it sticks to the retro theme and suits the game well

- Being able to play Standard Mode with up to 10-players using just one copy of the game is a great idea, assuming you can find that many people wanting to play at the same time of course...

- The Puzzle Mode is extensive and challenging, the difficulty curve is also paced and being able to choose levels means you can always skip to the harder challenges if you want to do so

- The NES-Retro themes and backgrounds are a nice touch

Cons:

- While this is a general issue with Nintendo Wi-Fi games, adding and finding your friends online is still time consuming and frustrating

- Even though Mission Mode is a nice idea and good fun at times, some of the challenges given to you and the amount of time you get to complete them are near impossible, while other challenges will be very easy to complete; with the challenges being fairly random like this it does make things feel a little unfair, especially if you're new to the game...

- The Touch mode feels like it's been thrown in to make use of the touch-screen functionality; it's also very difficult to work out what you need to do next as you can only see so many of the blocks at one time and once you make a mistake in the harder difficulty levels you might as well start again... the whole experience detracts from the core Tetris gameplay concept as well

- The Catch mode also feels like it's been thrown in and again the whole experience detracts from the core Tetris gameplay concept, especially as the pieces you have to link together are fairly random...

Similar Games:

- Puzzle League DS (Nintendo DS)

- Picross DS (Nintendo DS)

- Bust-A-Move (Various)

Overall:

If you've never played Tetris before, then it's probably worth your time getting a copy of this version of the game to see what all the fuss is about...

Considering the original version of the game is over 20 years old now, the gameplay has held up to the test of time well; still easy to pick up and get into, yet often difficult to put down again once you start playing, Tetris remains to this day a classic for gamers of all ages.

Final Score: 9/10

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