Sep 14, 2010
Ahh, the good ol’ Soviet Union. They’ve given us spies, vodka, the Cold War, and even Rocky IV. But I still believe their single greatest contribution to the world came in 1984 when they convinced all of us non-believers that tetrominoes could be fun. That’s right, I’m talking about Tetris. Twenty-six years later and Tetris is still highly addictive and reins supreme, holding the Guinness World Record of “Most ported video game”. So it should come as no surprise that Tetris is now available on everyones favorite (wink) platform. What platform is that? Wait for it.. A.. wait for it.. ANDROID! (what did you think I was going to say?)
It seems EA Mobile has finally broken into the Android market with this classic hit. Anyone who has an i-device may recognize this game. I haven’t played it on an iphone but it seems to be an exact port. For us Android users lets dive in and see what this version has to offer and why we may or may not like it.
The first thing you will notice about this game is the price tag. This app is priced at $4.99 which seems a little on the high side for a puzzle game IMO. The game takes around 8MB of space and to my dismay does not come with an option to move to SD. Upon loading you’re met with a cheesy underwater techno version of the classic Music-A from the nintendo game boy. You can select from 5 different languages: English, French, Dutch, Italian or Spanish. After choosing a language you are met with the main menu screen which consists of 7 categories each with its own spectral color. Lets explore and see what we have.
Marathon – This is the classic puzzler game we are all used to and love. It consists of 150 lines across 15 levels. The object is to use a variety of different shaped tetrominoes to complete 10 lines. After completing 10 lines you advance and with each advancing level the speed at which each block drops increases. Scoring ranges and is based on how you clear each line and how many you clear. The most you can clear at one time is 4 and is called a Tetris.
Magic – This new spin on the game is also played over 15 levels. Each level consists of a specific line clear goal before being able to advance. Included in this version are specially added items. Newly added items include:
The Minimizer – This item allows you to shrink a falling tetrimino to one single block.
Bubble Wrap – This item turns all blocks into bubble wrap allowing you to pop them for a limited time period.
Magic Crayon – You can replace your current tetrimino with any other by using a “Swype” like drawing gesture. Draw a straight line and you get a straight tetrimino.
Wrecking Ball – Use this to turn your tetrimino into 4 iron balls which will fall and break up blocks to help make extra space.
Smashdown – This option unsticks minos and allows them to slide to create a falling cascade of blocks.
Statistics – A basic statistics page keeping track of records such as high score, lines cleared, and levels cleared.
Options – Here you can control Game sound, volume, and sound efx. Options to toggle on or off the tutorials and ghost pieces along with language optoins and a complete reset of stats.
Help – Help menu brings up a list of subcategories giving you a brief description. Help menu subcategories are:
About – Information regarding the games specifics and a list of credits.
Exit – Exit the game.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s move on to actual game play and opinions.
Graphics and Game Play – My first impressions of the graphics are mixed. The game seems to have a kiddish feel to it. The background reminds me of a piece of construction paper with a graffiti/crayon type game screen drawn on. While it’s not anything spectacular it is clean, fun, and colorful.
Marathon Mode – Game play for me was not what I am used too with classic Tetris. You do have the choice of using keypads vs touch screen if you are lucky enough to have a physical keyboard. Using the touch screen to play wasn’t that bad on the lower levels. Once the game starts getting fast it’s harder and mistakes become more common. You also start to get the ol’ sweaty fingers after a couple rounds which makes for sticky movement and frustration. I definitely prefer keyboard or keypad style movement. Luckily I have a Droid but I still found it difficult because there doesn’t seem to be a designated key for adding and using your blocks in the holding tank. Besides that game play in marathon mode is pretty consistent with older versions of Tetris.
Magic Mode – This mode is really more of a novelty than anything. It’s neat to try out the new items but that wears out really fast. I played it once and I have no intentions of ever playing it again. I am more of a fan of the Nintendo DS type variations in game play than I am of this one.
All in all it’s still Tetris. I think it would be more fun if I was able to customize in-game controls to specific keys. This lack of control along with the $4.99 price tag is enough for me to easily pass on this. I just can’t recommend this at its current price. Maybe if they add more game variations, possible multi-player options, move to SD and customizable keys I would say it’s worth it.
Until then there are better ways to experience Tetris in my opinion. As always the best way to learn if you like something is to try it yourself. I believe you can get a refund within 24 hours if you are not satisfied so give it a shot and see if it suits you.
Tetris Review Rundown
App available on the Google Play Store »