With the exception of the sublime Hatris and other such loving rip-offs, Tetris is one of those games I never felt the need to try different versions of. It was the first game I played on the original Game Boy and it was perfect: the blocks, the music, the lack of colour, I loved it all. I would later play a couple of phone versions of the game but they would be very similar to the original.
And so I finally sat down this month and played some Tetris Worlds on the PS2.
Remember how confusing that 3D Tetris game was on the Virtual Boy? Well imagine my surprise when Tetris Worlds started and this happened:
A cut-scene opens the game and it involves a cube with an eyeball coming out of the water.
The game being Tetris, I should remind you.
Oh, that’s right: it’s also a fish.
A metal fish.
And the island it’s climbing on looks like a planet.
A planet with screens upon which eyeball fish cubes can play Tetris.
Yes, as it turns out, this game has a story!
As we all know, the idea of a Tetris movie being in the works was brought up not too long ago so if Hollywood’s looking for a plot to attach to a bunch of falling, spinning blocks, they need not look any further than Tetris Worlds which goes full sci-fi.
What is the plot, you ask?
Frankly, I’m still not too clear on that. From what I understand, those screens upon which people (well, alien people) play Tetris are called Tetrions and they are gateways to other parts of the galaxy, other planets somehow. By playing the game and clearing four lines in a row (which is called a Tetris) as many times as possible, you are, in fact, opening the gate to another world.
But wait! There’s more!
You know those eyeball fish cubes? They’re called Minos (or whatever the plural of that is) and they live on the planet Hadar 4. Their goal is to use the Tetrions to transport their people to other planets since their Sun is prematurely going to blow up.
Tetris, then, is no longer a simple Communist brain-washing technique, it is now also a survival game.
A survival game with funky techno music!
After all this talk of planets, gateways and aliens, really, all you’re doing is playing Tetris. Let’s not kid ourselves. There are different versions of Tetris to play in this game but each one is only a slight variation of the original. You’d think in a game called “Tetris Worlds” you’d at least have 3D Tetris available to play but no.
Should have been called 50 Shades Of Tetris.
Luckily, you get to choose which “world” you play on, which only changes the background.
Finally I can look at rocks while playing Tetris!
The different versions of Tetris include Square Tetris, which involves making squares with the blocks, thereby clearing them. Cascade Tetris encourages you to clear lines which make the most blocks tumble down, Sticky Tetris sticks same-coloured blocks together, Hot-Line Tetris only clears blocks located in some specific lines, Fusion Tetris gets you to connect your blocks to certain “fusion blocks” in order to clear lines, the simply named Tetris is standard except the more Tetrises you do the better.
Tetris Tetris Tetris.
I’m saying Tetris a lot in this review.
Of course, you can also choose to play Popular Tetris which is the normal game with the levels going up the more you play. No nonsense, just Tetris minus the classic music theme or the underrated B-Type theme which is also always a delight.
The controls in the game are pretty good considering you only really need two buttons and the directional pad to play it. Instead of pushing down on the pad to bring the blocks down, you just push one button and it comes flying down which speeds up the gameplay a little bit. It can backfire on you, though: if you change your mind at the last second, it’s already too late.
The multiplayer function is a lot of fun and it’s surprisingly addictive. Basically, clearing two lines or more adds extra grey lines to the other player’s screen so they would need to first clear those as soon as possible otherwise they might pile up and make them lose the game quick.
Tetris Worlds can also be found on the Xbox (the big chunky one), the GameCube, the Game Boy Advance and on the PC. Is it worth playing, though?
I’d say if you’re a fan of Tetris, definitely give it a go. Yes the story is dumb and even more unnecessary than a Tetris movie, the music lacks the iconic feel of the old game and the different versions of Tetris are really not that different at all but it’s still Tetris and it’s always fun to play. Besides, the multiplayer option could potentially lead to hours of non-stop Tetris madness so I’d suggest dragging a couple of friends in front of your console like good Minoses and forcing them to decipher those Tetrions with you.
Whatever the hell that means.
That’s the ending of the game, by the way.
The cubes, who are not really robot fish cubes like at the beginning of the game for some reason, all invade some empty planet and take it over by bursting through the Tetrion gates. That only happens in the Story Mode after you beat Tetris in all six variations, though.
Worth a look but I’m not throwing my beloved Game Boy cartridge out of the window just yet.