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Tetris Worlds

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Blue Planet Software
Publisher:  THQ
# of Players:  1-2
Genre:  Puzzle
ESRB:  Everyone
Date Posted:  10-30-01

Tetris games are almost always good. If the developer gets the basic gameplay down, it really doesnít matter what the rest of the game is like, as itíll still be fun. And given its simplistic nature, itís virtually impossible to screw up a Tetris game. Thus, Tetris Worlds was always destined to be a good gameÖbut it still has some problems that need to be addressed.

In case youíve been stuck on Mars for the past 15 years, Tetris is the most popular puzzle game in the world. No game has ever been copied and cloned more than Tetris. In Tetris, the player is given an empty playing field to start with. Differently shaped puzzle pieces then fall downward one at a time, which the player must rotate and place. If the player manages to form a solid line across the playing field with the pieces, that line will disappear and the pieces above it will fall downward. If the playing field is filled to the top with pieces, the game is over. The more lines the player clears, the harder the game becomes as the pieces fall faster with each level obtained. Thus, the action becomes more frantic and intense the longer itís played.

Tetris Worlds has all of the game modes any Tetris nut would want. These include: normal Tetris, Sticky Tetris (same colors stick together), Fusion (a special block needs to be cleared), Hot-Line (specific lines are the target), Square (create 4x4 block squares and clear lines with them), and Cascade (pieces fall when not supported from below). Each of these can be played in either Marathon mode (no time limit Ė just try to clear as many lines as possible) and Ultra Mode (clear specific goals in two minutes to advance). In addition, thereís a two-player mode where gamers can go head to head via the Link Cable. Unfortunately, players must own their own copy of the game.

Puzzle games have never been about graphics (with a few minor exceptions), and thatís true here. Since 2D single-colored shapes can only be so impressive, any advancement in graphics in a Tetris game really has to revolve around the backgrounds. And to their credit, Blue Planet did make an effort to advance them in the form of different game "worlds" (hence the title). Basically, each world gives you a different graphic motif. One is an arctic world (with penguins & bears), one is a forest (with deer and such), etc. Unfortunately, none of them are very impressive. They do very little to take advantage of the GBA hardware, and wouldnít look much worse on a Game Boy Color. Additionally, they can (along with the big letters that pop over the playing field for a couple seconds whenever you advance a level) be distracting at times. In the end itís better to have them than not, but more effort couldíve went into creating something not quite as boring or intrusive to stare at.

Nothing really stands out aurally. The sound effects are your standard blip and blops, and nothing more. The music is a mixed bag, with some tunes being quite catchy while others are painful to hear by the second or third loop. Luckily, you can change the music at any time.

Tetris Worldís biggest problem lies not in the game itself, but rather in the fact that thereís no battery backup included. THQ got blasted for not including one with GT Advance Championship Racing (link), and theyíve got blasted for this one too. Itís not that theyíre the only ones doing it, itís just that they pick the worst possible games to leave it out of. A battery-backup is vital to any Tetris game, as the ultimate goal is to get to as high of a level and clear as many lines as possible. Without a way to store that in the game, it becomes impossible to try to outdo your or other peopleís high scores, thus eliminating the one "goal" Tetris has always had. Additionally, itís very annoying to have to change all of the options each time you turn the game on. If you donít like the game showing the next piece, giving shadows of where each piece will land, or any other option you better remember to change them all each time you play.

Highs:

  • Itís Tetris.
  • Plenty of game modes and a two-player option add considerable depth to what is already a very deep game.
  • The worlds, while generic, give the game some personality.

Lows:

  • Lack of a battery backup.
  • Most of the music is annoyingly looped every minute or two.

Final Verdict:

In the end itís Tetris with all the options youíd want and expect. That makes it a good game. Whether itís better than Tetris DX or not depends on what you want out of your Tetris. If you like the extra modes, go with this game. If you want a more conventional (and cheaper) game of Tetris with the option to save up to four different games, then get Tetris DX instead.

Overall Score: 7.7

Additional Media:

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