Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tetris DS (DS) Review

Last week we looked at a puzzle game for the DS focusing around blocks. Today we're doing the same, but only with a different title. That game is Tetris DS, a game I've long played and enjoyed. Sadly, it's out-of-print as of now and probably forever, so hopefully you have a copy to call your own!

Tetris With A Nintendo Twist

Since the original Tetris came out dozens of years ago, countless spin-offs and re-imaginings have since been released with varying degrees of success. With all the new bells and whistles of technology, the basic Tetris formula remains the same. Now it's once again Nintendo's turn to add their magical touch to Tetris with Tetris DS for the Nintendo DS. Now out of production due to licensing reasons, this game is hard to find. Is it worth tracking down?

There are six main modes in Tetris DS, and each of them has their own video game they are themed on. The standard Tetris mode is your most simple. Differently shaped blocks fall down from the top of the screen one at a time, and the goal is to create a line of shapes in a given row. Clear a row, and your score increases. Clear two or more lines, and you score even more points. Allow the set of blocks to reach the top of the screen, and it's game over. The Nintendo twist with this mode is that as you clear lines, the top screen scene progresses. In this case it's a level of the original Super Mario Bros. This mode can be played in marathon where you play until you finally admit defeat, line clear, and versus an AI opponent for a good old fashioned Tetris throwdown.

Push is a unique take on the Tetris formula. It uses a Donkey Kong theme as its background. Opponents try to push each other's blocks into their opponent's area by clearing two or more lines. So while your blocks are falling downward, your opponent's blocks are falling upward. Hence how you're pushing one another by clearing lines. Once the bundle of blocks has infiltrated the danger line of a given player, the push battle is over and a victor is crowned.

The touch screen intensive mode in Tetris DS is touch mode. There's two types of games involved. One is where you have a tower of blocks, and you must clear rows to lower balloons to the ground floor to achieve victory. The other has you solving puzzles by following directions located on the top screen of the DS. The modes get more complex and difficult when you're not allowed to rotate the Tetrimino blocks. By just sliding the blocks with your stylus, the blocks will move in that direction. Rotating blocks is performed by tapping on one side of the block and then touching the opposite. For example, if you wanted to rotate a block to the left, you'd tap the right side first followed by the left side. This mode is very inventive, and it's one that previous games of Tetris wouldn't be able to do.

Puzzle mode puts your mind through the metaphorical ringer, solving perplexing puzzles with only a limited number of Tetriminos to choose from. You have a series of blocks to clear in a limited amount of moves. You choose one of three blocks to place as well as the orientation. The game automatically places the Tetrimino into position. Clear all of the blocks after all of the turns are completed, and you win. There's nearly one-hundred different puzzles to solve, so you won't be growing tired of this mode any time soon! Puzzle mode borrows from Yoshi's Cookie.

Mission mode features the 8-bit world and characters of the Legend of Zelda franchise. The goal is to complete objectives as quickly as possible before your life bar (a collection of hearts) depletes. Such missions could be clearing three lines at once, clearing a line with an L block, or something else that's additionally challenging. Clearing missions destroys some of the blocks on the current game board giving you some much needed breathing room as if the Tetriminos fill the screen, it's also game over.

The final and most intriguing of the modes in Tetris DS is catch mode. You control a core and your goal is to catch falling Tetriminos. Unlike other modes, you're controlling the core and not where the Tetriminos fall. Your objective is to clear groups of 4x4 blocks by moving and rotating the core. The game ends when your bundle of blocks touches the top or bottom of the screen. Alternately, you lose if your energy runs out by being hit by enemy Metroids.

Not only is the single-player game deep and filled with fun and content, but so is the included multiplayer. Up to ten players can battle it out either locally or via Wi-Fi connection for some heated bouts of Tetris. In multiplayer, a question block will occasionally appear. Clear the line where this block is located, and you'll unleash an item onto the field. Some include speeding up the duration of falling Tetriminos, the inability to rotate blocks, two rows of blocks will be automatically cleared, among others. Multiplayer is just the icing on this colorful and blockbusting cake. It's mad fun to play in gigantic Tetris battles with friends or total strangers.

As you would naturally expect from a Nintendo-themed Tetris game, Nintendo cameos and references abound in the various games and modes. Everything has a slick and colorful 8-bit presentation visually while the remixed tunes from Nintendo games past sound absolutely delightful to the ears. It's one of the few Tetris games where you'll feel nostalgic playing it.

All-in-all, Tetris DS is one of the most complete, fantastic, and inventive Tetris games ever. It has the charm, it has the same tried-and-true Tetris gameplay, and it oozes with Nintendo style. Even if you aren't a die-hard fan of the big N, the intuitive controls, superb design, and original game modes will keep you coming back for more. If you can somehow track down a legit copy, do not hesitate to pick up Tetris DS. It's one heck of a block party!

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10]


The Dread Pirate Guy said...

No matter where I go, Tetris DS is the default game that goes with me everywhere.

Unknown said...

My go-to game now is Picross 3D.
Have you checked that one out?

The Dread Pirate Guy said...

Not yet, but I could always stand to try a new puzzler.

I haven't even done Puzzle Quest that much yet, which looks completely up my alley.

Unknown said...

I think it's $15 this week at Best Buy. Hop on it!