For more than 35 years, Tetris has been active part of gaming. My first memory of the game is to be on vacation and find the classic Atari version of the game in a cabinet… and that music. For years we have seen all kind of versions of variations, always addictive and full of fun. But never expected that one of the best games of 2018 to be a new version of Tetris.
Part of the success comes from Tetsuya Mizuguchi, a veteran Sega creator that brilliantly mixed music and gameplay, Synesthesia concept, in games like Rez (still at Sega), Lumines, Meteor or Childe of Eden (already at Q! Entertainment). He, now with his own company Enhance and with the help of other developers like Resonair or Monstars, has returned recently with ports like Rez Infinite or Lumines Remastered before releasing his take on Tetris, Tetris Effect.
The game recovers all the gameplay mechanics (including hold, something that for me was the first time) adding a Zone mode, one that stops tetrominos from disappearing when a line is completed, letting the player go beyond “Tetris”.
The game features two main modes: Journey Mode and Effects Mode. Journey mode takes you across 27 levels of increasing difficulty. Each level features a different theme, graphics and music and this is probably what sets this version apart from others. Looks beautiful, with different art styles and spectacular effects. And sounds amazing, with different styles of music including a song that captive me since the game was announced, “Connected (Yours Forever)”. In the following video, capturing during a test previous to release, you can find the game’s basic explanations and the first moments of “Journey Mode” (3 levels):
In the previous video a little glimpse of the second mode is shown. In Effects Mode you can choose from a wide variety of modes that add little spins to classic formula, with different challenges: more lines in a limited time, clear all the lines, constantly changing conditions… They’re grouped thematically, some featured an endless variation and all of them featured online leaderboard:
- Chill Marathon
- Quick Play
- Playlist Sea
- Playlist Wind
- Playlist World
- All clear
While playing, you increase your level and obtain new avatars. This is increased during “Weekend Rituals” a global event inside “Effects Mode” where certain modes (different every ritual) add points to a global goal that gives you extra and special avatars.
To add more to an already brilliant game, it features a VR mode that makes the experience more inmersive and even if Tetris is a relatively calm game, the combination of graphics and music makes wonders. And it’s was my first VR game so I will always remembered the moment with the helmet on my head and witnessing a whole new gaming experience.
Finally, in the next video, already with final version, you can watch for the first 37 minutes more of the Journey Mode, reaching higher levels than in the limited demo, and from that point, a deeper look at Effect Mode: