Developer - Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Developer - Nintendo Publisher – Nintendo Features 1-10 Players Touch Screen Compatible Rumble Pak Compatible Wireless DS Single-Card Download Play Wireless DS Multi-Card Play Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service compatible For as long as I can remember Tetris has been synonymous with the Nintendo brand. From the original Gameboy and 8-bit NES to the most recent GBA version, Tetris has been played by so many Nintendo-maniacs that it would be hard to fathom the number of people who have actually spent countless hours watching and moving falling bricks. It is no surprise that the DS would receive its own version of the classic puzzle game as the dual screen set up just seems so perfect. Well, Nintendo has finally brought the game to its latest portable machine and anyone who has played Tetris in the past will no doubt find favor with this version. And for those few who have not spent time with any version of this classic puzzle game will finally get a chance to learn why it is so addicting. Graphics Tetris is not about the graphics as it is just about a bunch of different colored and different shaped bricks falling toward the bottom of the screen. The colors in Tetris DS are as one would expect, bright, and there are no graphic anomalies as this game does not push the DS’s hardware. For those Nintendo diehards out there each level/challenge has a specific Nintendo made game theme and there are some very recognizable screen shots from all different types of games including such ones as Super Mario Bros. or Yoshi’s Cookie. It is nice to see Nintendo pay homage to many of its past games this way; however people who are just casual gamers who want to play a puzzle game may not see the benefit or meaning of something like this. Sound Just like the graphics this area sound is not a particularly important part of the Tetris experience. Don’t get me wrong, sound is important to a game period (e.g. effects and music) but with Tetris it has always really been about the gameplay. That being said, Tetris DS’s music is real treat for those that have been playing Tetris since the days of the 8-bit NES and original Gameboy. Similar to the backgrounds composed of past Nintendo games, the music is from older Nintendo games that have been remixed and slightly updated for the current generation of ears. I found that as I played Tetris DS I caught myself reminiscing of games of the past as some of the music trigged some great memories of my early years of gaming. As for the rest of the sound, well it is typical Tetris and that is the only way to describe it plain and simple. Gameplay While I sit in front of my computer, I ponder the best way to speak about this most recent version of what is a classic puzzle game. For the diehard Tetris fans this game is not your ‘classic’ Tetris. There are changes in the gameplay that have made it more accessible to those who haven’t learned to master the art of such a game. These same changes also make it more appealing to those who may even never have played it. As much as I wish to tell you diehards that this is your typical Tetris it is not, however the changes should not deter you "classic" only players as this game is still as addictive as the original Tetris and once you have played for what seems minutes, but in reality it is an hour or so, you will appreciate what has been done to the game. A new feature to the classic gameplay is a "hold" bin where you are able to swap a live puzzle piece for one that is currently in storage. This is a bit of an interesting twist as you can hold a specific piece in the bin as you wait for that one spot to open up for its perfect placement, or you can just swap it for a piece that does not seem to fit anywhere at the time. Also new to the classic Tetris gameplay is the ability to see not just the next tile, but the next six tiles ahead of your current move. This adds a bit of strategy as you are now able to plan your moves much farther ahead and it makes for an even more interesting game. That being said I have to admit that I found myself over thinking my moves and/or placement of puzzle pieces and I made a few mistakes due my attempts to plan way ahead. So in some ways the ability to see so many tiles ahead is a double edged sword. As the DS has features that did not exist when previous Tetris games were released on other consoles Nintendo has made sure to create a few modes that are new and distinctive to their most recent dual screened machine. The first one is Catch Mode. Here you will find your self clustering the well recognized Tetris pieces while rotating the cluster in an effort to arrange all the pieces in grids of four by four or larger. This mode is quite an original spin on the Tetris stacking and I found myself playing it often as it was a nice change. The second mode specific to the DS version is the Touch Mode. Here you are able to slide puzzle pieces along the touch screen to form specific combinations and drop these to the ground. I found this mode to be an innovative way to use the touch screen to play Tetris, however I also found it tough in that the control of the pieces themselves was not as precise as I would have liked. Finally a new game mode worth mentioning is the Push Mode. Here you start with a single tile that moves up the screen and as you venture up you come across new tiles to add to your original tile in an effort make lines. This is a very interesting variation on the old school Tetris gameplay and this is the mode that I found myself coming to during solo play more then the others. Single player Tetris is common to any owner of a console, but something that Nintendo brought to the plate in the DS version is the ability for some crazy multiplayer gaming and this is what makes this game so addictive. There are many different variants of multiplayer gaming in Tetris DS. There is player vs. player in basic Tetris and competition Tetris, which utilizes well recognized power-ups. Each of these modes are playable locally over multiple DS’s. I should note though those playing multi-player games locally in the same room with fellow DS owners need not worry about having multiple copies of Tetris DS it can be played via the Download Play option. Although I didn’t get the chance to play in a ten player match I can only imagine the craziness. I did speak with a PR rep for Nintendo who played such a game and she remarked that not only was it incredible to play against nine other people, it was a heck of a lot of fun. Multiplayer gaming is also enabled through the use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. Two to Four people can go head to head in Tetris competitions. For those who have not played any DS online the set up is as simple as following three steps. As long as you have a wireless router, or purchase the Nintendo made wi-fi adapter, you will be ready to go in no time. In terms of online gameplay anyone who has played Mario Kart DS online will know what to expect. Get anyone of your friends “Friends Code”, input it into your games friends list and you can set up a game quite easily. Should you wish to play strangers in the Worldwide Mode you only have the ability to search for players looking for the same game mode as yourself. Overall my limited gameplay online was pretty much lag free. However I still do wish for more interaction with my fellow gamers, but hey being online with the DS is still a great feature for a game like this. Conclusion Tetris DS is a great update to very long running classic puzzle game. The new modes specific to the DS are quite well done and actually help the classic style of the original Tetris evolve. With an addicting multiplayer and ability to play over the internet this game has been brought into the modern era on Nintendo’s portable machine. Those who love puzzle games will love this title and those who have never played a Tetris game in their life (editors note: Where have you been?) will now have even more reason to try the falling brick game that started it all.