I am not a huge fan of Tetris. It never made any sense to me. I mean, how interesting is it to make lines of four? Usually, I lose interest in the game after about five or so minutes of play. I would rather sit down and play a puzzle game focusing on climbing a tower than matching. This makes it all the more surprising that I like Tetris on my iPod Touch.
In case you didn’t already know, Tetris is all about making lines using four connected squares. The more lines you clear at once, the more points you earn. There’s a catch: The game will speed up as you play until you finally crash at the top of the screen.
What makes this variation of the game unique are not only the touch controls (more on that in a bit), it’s also the gameplay. Yes, the traditional gameplay we all know and love (or hate, as I fall into this camp) is intact. However, there are a few new things. First, the play field can become much wider than the traditional size, making a strong strategy a must as it increases the possibilities of block placements. Second, there is the addition of the Galaxy mode. This is the mode that has become my favorite and preferred mode of gameplay.
You see, each individual level is a puzzle. There are special colored lines that need to be cleared to reach the bottom. What sets this up from traditional Tetris is simple: Each part of the domino can fall down provided it is not connected to something preventing it. This means that the green backward Z piece will have its top fall down when the bottom is cleared. This means no more lowering the highest line from the top down as blocks will fall (provided it is player made). With some careful planning and luck, clearing lines is a lot easier and rewarding than the original game.
Add in a few power-ups at your disposal to spice things up, and it is even more strategic. There is the weight power that sinks a domino two spots lower. There is one that will transform the piece into the perfect piece. And then there’s one that will cause pieces to collapse into the hole surrounding it. Figuring out what goes where and when to use a special power is rewarding.
Amazingly, the touch control scheme works rather well. The game will offer no more than four suggestions at a time. If you like what is being offered, then touch the highlighted place. If not, tap anywhere else to change the suggestions. You can even play using the touch screen as a controller: Tapping rotates it while you can fling a domino down with a slide. While it is tactilely more satisfying, I still prefer the options mode.
Sound design wise, it’s Tetris. I was never impressed with the sound design of the original, and this one is no different. Sure, there the three main tracks to choose from (along with some additional songs to purchase using your score or hard-earned money). The thing is, nothing sticks out to me. This is not to say that the music is bad, it’s just hard to compete with the tunes in my iPod.
Overall, I’m still in a bit of shock that I like this version of Tetris. Sure, I’m not going to play it for hours on end and get lost in it. It’s just a nice game to play every now and then. The funny thing is that I got the game for free at local Starbucks months ago. If you’re looking for a great entry point for the series, this seems to be the one to get.