Tetris Gets Upgraded for iOS
Over the years, Alexei Pajitnov’s classic game, Tetris, has been released across multiple platforms, with minor changes here and there to the gameplay. For the most part it remains unchanged and requires you to stack oddly shaped pieces together to form lines. Lately, Electronic Arts has been doing wondrous work with the Tetris license, between sharp mobile apps for iPad and iPhone and a multiplayer-friendly version for the PlayStation Network.
Now it returns to iOS with yet another edition of Tetris, and while this feels a bit unnecessary (the older version worked fine – and without the need for microtransactions), it’s still a very good game for the asking price of a dollar.
When you’re playing in the game’s Marathon mode, it continues to have the same control style as the previous version of Tetris. You move pieces across the board, left or right, to figure out where to put them, then either tap the screen to rotate the piece (so it fits better into place) or drag your finger to drop it down. As the game continues, the pieces drop down faster, making it harder to form lines. This is still a great, addictive game, one that’ll make your lunch hour fly by faster than you could possibly realize.
One major addition to this game, however, is One-Touch. Here, instead of playing the traditional way (as you would in Marathon), you instead have to tap on pre-set positions highlighted on the screen. You’ll need to think quickly to find the best position for your piece, or risk setting up shapes that stack up to the top of the screen. While vastly different from the way Tetris usually plays, this mode is rather interesting, introducing a puzzle aspect you wouldn't think could be done for a classic such as this. It’s worth trying out.
One-Touch also ties into the new Galaxy mode, in which you travel through a universe completing pre-set Tetris challenges by making lines and avoiding bad placements. While this mode isn’t as deep as it could’ve been, it’s a pleasant distraction.
There are power-ups that you can use over the course of the game, including piece switch-outs and explosive-style blocks that can eliminate certain pieces on the board. Unfortunately, these tie into the game’s biggest problem – the requirement of microtransactions.
See, over the course of the game, you can earn coins to unlock power-ups and other goodies to enhance your Tetris experience. Unfortunately, earnings don't accumulate fast enough to deliver the best stuff, so, in order to acquire it, you’ll need to dig into your wallet and spend real money. That’s probably the main reason EA priced it as cheap (99 cents) as it did. It would’ve been nice for the company to just throw everything into a complete $4.99 package and call it good. Instead, users have to drop extra dollars to get the best content. This may turn off a lot of potential buyers or force them to revert to the original version of Tetris.
That’s too bad, because this is a very likeable part of the game. The music is nice and upbeat and also familiar to veteran Tetris players who have spent hours with the game beforehand. The visuals are interesting, with a sort of neon-like look to the puzzle pieces and a board set-up that’s easy on the eyes. This game was definitely built with comfort in mind, especially on the iPhone. (It looks just as great on the iPad and iPad 2, though.)
EA’s latest take on Tetris does have its moments, particularly with the new One-Touch control system and the Galaxy mode. But we could’ve done without the annoying microtransactions, opting instead for a package at a pre-set price rather than one that says, “Please invest to continue.” Still, you do get a pretty good amount of fun for a dollar, so it’s still recommended.
Price: $.99 (plus microtransactions)
File Size: 15.6 MB
Developer: Electronic Arts
Platform: iPad (also available for iPhone, iPod Touch)
TND Rating (out of 4): ★★★