Tetris - Still Addictive After So Many Years
When Tetris first came out many years ago, everyone marveled at how simple and addictive the game was. The concept was quite original for its time, and provided everyone (both hardcore gamers and casual players alike) with a game that is both enjoyable, satisfying, and most importantly, challenging. The simple and intuitive controls have made millions fans of the game. In this day and age of smart phones, high end consoles, and powerful gaming computers, does this brick buster of a game still have a place?
Old Dog, New Tricks
The folks at Electronic Arts certainly knew that they were dealing with a classic piece when the developers decided to release Tetris HD for mobile devices. They revamped the whole system in order to make it compatible with touch screen controls, provided new gameplay methods that focused more on quick round plays (as opposed to long marathon sessions), and of course, updated the visuals and soundtrack to make the entire experience up to date.
It was a feat of cleverness (as opposed to sheer effort), and we love the end result. Tetris HD is a marvel to play with its various game modes. If you loved the original and want to get the thrill of keeping up with all those falling blocks, that mode is still available. Those who want to add an even deeper puzzle element should try the new Galaxy mode. Our favorite, however, is the addition of the new One Touch mode that makes Tetris a game of planning as opposed to frantically figuring out where the next piece should go.
One Touch to Rule Them All
One Touch mode is a literal description for what the mode does: just tap on the screen once and the block goes specifically to where you want it to go. There is a small toggle on the left side that allows you to cycle between various options on where you may want to position your piece, but aside from that, all you need to focus on is deciding where the next piece should go.
Yes, a single tap, and the game does the rest of the work. Originally, Tetris biggest challenge was the player's skill in placing down blocks in the proper place. If you made a slip, then the block would not align properly. This new mode takes the skill factor out -which is a big blessing when it comes to touch screen devices as the controls are not as accurate as they would be -as compared to playing with a physical controller.
Another cool thing about this mode is the hold option. With the hold function, you can put aside a falling block and keep for later use. You can only keep one block in the hold box, but that is often more than enough. A common strategy would be to keep a block (usually the long straight one), form up a big set up, then released the block on hold to get a nice score bonus. You can also use the hold function to put aside a block that has no good placement options then let it out once you have a spot for it.
One Touch mode is great for those times when you have only 3-5 minutes to spare and you want to play Tetris but cannot really be bothered to focus too much on the controls.
Go For a Classic Marathon
If you miss playing good old classic Tetris, just the way the original Russian developer wanted it, then go to the original Marathon mode. This is basically the same thing as One Touch, without the convenience of the one touch function. While we appreciate having this option available in the game, the lack of proper controls makes it feel clumsy and forced. Sure, we have seen a few people thrive and do well with the touch controls -but for the most part, it is not fun at all.
Our suggestion here is that players may want to invest in those tablet and smart phone accessories that provide an additional control input. This will make the movement of blocks a lot more accurate, which matters a lot when you need to squeeze in a piece underneath the overhang of an existing one.
Explore the Galaxy
Galaxy mode provides players with a wide variety of stages where the main goal is to clear out an existing block structure. Of course, there will be gaps in the structure that will allow you to clear out lines -the goal is to do so in as few moves as possible.
The blocks that fall in these stages are set, which means that there is a specific way to finish each stage to achieve the optimum score. Also, blocks behave a little differently here. You can make pieces fall down once there are no supporting parts below it -this means that you can actually create combos if you can tell which parts will drop and which ones stay up. Learning to take advantage of this is important for getting to the goal of each stage as fast as possible.
Plenty of Unlockable Content
As you play through the game, you will be earning in-game credits that can be used to unlock stuff like new background songs, more Galaxy stages, and a few other nifty things. This provides the game with plenty of replay value and of course, it is a big plus for completionists. You can link the game to your Origin ID (for many EA players), or to your Facebook account (if you do not have an Origin ID). Doing so will allow you to view your unlocked items in the Origin dashboard.
All New Look, All New Sounds
The move from 8-Bit to mobile OS has certainly had an impact on the visuals of Tetris. The colors, details, and menus have been streamlined and made ready for players to access easily. The graphics have been updated to give smoother lines and more vibrant colors -but of course, the block shapes have all stayed the same. There are no gimmicky blocks or add-ons that detract from the experience.
The music is where it is all at -the original theme of Tetris has been revamped and re-arranged with new instruments to give it a very modern appeal. Of course, if you still want the old 8-bit theme, the option is available. The track is one of the many unlockable items you can purchase with the in-game credits that you earn. There are also other tracks to choose from too, so players have a choice with the music that the game will have.
When we first heard that EA acquired the rights to distribute Tetris on mobile platforms, we wondered if the game would end up like plenty of other mobile games: cooldown based with constant in-game systems that kept reminding players that they would need to pay up plenty of cash just to keep playing non-stop. Fortunately, Tetris HD is nothing like that. The game is fun to play, has all the great elements of the original, and has been updated to make it even more fun to play. The graphics are nice and crisp, the music is timeless, and the new one touch controls practically reinvent the way we look at the game. Tetris HD is a definitive must have for mobile gamers, if you do not have it, we highly suggest that you take the time to do so.