Most millennials are no doubt acquainted with the pea-soup green version of Tetris that graced Game Boy handhelds way back when. However, Enhance and The Tetris Company, Inc. are bringing this block-busting classic to a new generation with Tetris Effect. The objective may still be the same, but can it stand out in this day and age?

Tetris Effect Review

Tetris has gotten countless releases since its debut in 1989, and the basic rules still apply here. Different-shaped blocks (called Tetrominoes) endlessly drop from the sky, and it is up to players to make Lines to clear them from play. Survive as long as you can, build up a high score, and try not to succumb to the titular Tetris Effect when you close your eyes for bed.

A few quality of life tweaks have been added to keep things going smoothly. Players can swap out the most recent block with the Hold Queue, the speed of play can be adjusted with both Soft and Hard Drops, and a T-Spin allows players to move blocks around just right.Diehard Tetris fans have no doubt seen this additions before, but their inclusion here works wonders when diving into high level play.

Tetris Effect has one new wrinkle though with the introduction of its Zone Meter. After filling it up, all blocks come to a still, allowing players to carefully plan out their movements. As the clock slowly runs out, players can then move all of their completed lines to the bottom of the playfield for added movements. This is certainly a helpful mechanic, but it is not as much of a game changer as one would expect. Nevertheless, if it’s not broke, there’s no point in fixing it.

Of course, the biggest draw to Tetris Effect is its visual presentation. Those looking to get a firsthand look can dive right into the Journey Mode, a campaign mode for the title that lets players “explore from the outer reaches of the galaxy to the depths of your soul.” While the actual mode fails to reach these profound heights, clearing a set amount of lines and experiencing different skins does keep things fresh. The objective is the same throughout, with only the speed changing between certain areas.

So the million dollar question is: How is its presentation? There’s no denying that this is an audiovisual wonder – the dynamic nature of each environment means your actions control its world. Watching a desert turn into a moon landscape or listening to the rushed chants of an evening luau makes for a stellar experience, and the music and sound effects pair well with the action. There are some sour notes though – stock sound effects, cheesy lyrics, and some bland backgrounds do take away from the overall package. Nevertheless, there are mostly wins among its lot.

Just be warned that these graphics can sometimes make it difficult to play. We were able to make it through most of the game just fine, but the final stage of Journey Mode in particular overdid it with the pizazz, hiding the gameplay behind flashy mermaids and other special effects. Some sort of filter, or even moderation, would have gone a long way.

Though the Journey Mode is a bit on the short side, players will be plenty busy with its Effect Mode. After choosing an Avatar and saying where they are located, players will be able to jump into Marathon, Ultra, Sprint, Master, Chill Marathon, Quick Play, All Clear, Combo, Target, Countdown, and a number of Playlists. There is a distinct lack of multiplayer options, but those flying solo will enjoy going through this suite of modes.

Tetris Effect is an absolute beauty, but the gameplay powering this audiovisual phenomenon is still the same old Tetris. Players won’t be starved for options, but those hoping for something game-changing like Tetris 99 or Tetris: The Grand Master will feel somewhat empty.

This review of Tetris Effect was done on the PC. A download for the game was provided.
Tetris Effect Review

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