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Tetris DS Review

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 20, 2006 Also On: None

Once upon a time, Nintendo got the world hooked on a game they brought from Russia, which was, more or less, blocks falling on top of each other. When I put that game into my huge brick of a game system, known as the Game Boy, for some reason I couldn’t put it down for hours. Colorful descending blocks plagued my dreams for days, and I loved every second of it. Now, just about seventeen years later, I can proudly say not a thing has changed.

There are a total of six different modes you can choose from in Tetris DS. The one you’ll be most comfortable with is Standard mode. Just the old school rotate your falling blocks and create lines to make them disappear. Within Standard mode are two ‘sub-modes’, Marathon and Line Clear. Marathon challenges you to clear 200 lines in one sitting. After you accomplish this you unlock ‘Endless’ mode, where the blocks keep coming and coming until you lose. Line clear has you clear a set number of lines after you pick your difficulty level and how high you want the starting set of blocks to be.

Playing Standard mode is all fine and dandy, but for a little variety you should try playing one of the new modes. My personal favorite new mode is the Metriod themed “catch” mode, where instead of you bringing the blocks down, the blocks fall down to you and you, well, catch them. When you start the game out, you control a tiny group of blocks located on the bottom screen. You can move your cluster of blocks around freely, as standard Tetriminos (that’s what the Tetris pieces are called) fall from the top to the bottom screen. You use A and B to rotate your group of blocks so that you can catch and create solid 4×4 squares. As you create the squares they’ll begin to flash, then explode, destroying all other blocks in its path, as well as any deadly Metroid’s floating around. Catch is a fun new spin on the original Tetris that you can easily ‘catch’ onto.

Mission mode opts you to complete specific tasks, such as clearing a certain number of lines with a specific piece within a certain amount of time. If you fail to complete the mission when time runs out, the mission changes and blocks are added to the bottom of your screen that push you up towards the top. Working against the clock Mission mode adds a lot more tension to normal Tetris play.

As if the name doesn’t say it all, Touch mode is designed to take advantage of the DS’s touch screen and stylus. In Touch mode, all the blocks that you need to clear are already on screen, stacked up in a huge tower of Tetriminos. You use your stylus to slide pieces around to clear lines. If you have enough room to do so, double tapping a specific piece with a stylus will rotate it around. As you clear lines, the entire stack drops a little bit and gives you more blocks to shift around and work with. The game will end if you clear all lines in the tower, or if you run out of room to work with. Touch mode is fun, but sometimes rotating your blocks can be a bit of a pain but since you’re not really working against anything in this mode it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Another one of my favorite Tetris modes is Push mode. Push mode can either be played against the computer or against another player via a second DS. In this mode, both the top and bottom screens are used, as you stack your blocks downwards on the top screen, while your opponent stacks them upward on the bottom screen. Both stacks meet up in the middle, so you’re essentially stacking your blocks on top of your opponents. Clearing two or more lines causes the entire stack to move the opposite direction on screen. You win when you push the stack all the way down (or up) onto your opponents screen. This is a very interesting, very intense new mode of Tetris that has a strange tug-of-war feel.

The mode is Puzzle mode, where you’re given a certain number of pieces that you must use in order to clear out all the blocks that are already on the screen. Instead of actually putting the blocks in yourself, you simply select which block in which order you want to use, and what orientation you want it in and the game places it on screen in a predetermined location. Puzzle mode is interesting, and sometimes challenging but feels much less interactive then the rest of the game.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of Tetris DS is the Tetris Online play. You can play Wi-fi, or connect with a bunch of your friends sitting next to you. If you’re simply playing the local multi-player, you can play Standard, Push, or Mission modes in multi-player. Push is wonderful for one on one battles and can get extremely intense. Mission mode is all right, but you’re mostly just playing to see who can get the highest score. The way to go on multi-player would definitely be Standard. You can play with up to ten people at the same time. The top screen shows how good your opponents are doing, whilst you play on the bottom. There are also power ups that you can play with (you also have the option to turn them off, if you wish), to hinder your opponents or to give you a slight boost. Wi-fi gives the option to play either Standard mode, with two or four players, or Push mode. You can chose to play against people on your friends list, or connect with random people from all over. Yes, once again Nintendo has delivered us a wonderful blast from the past, and then some. Six different modes of play as well as a multi-player option make Tetris DS a must have for anybody who owns a DS.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 8.9
Written by Matt Evangelista Review Guide