Tetris Effect: Connected is the best form of Tetris you’re ever going to play. That’s a simple fact that I’m happy to lay out from the get-go in this review, because honestly, the game has made that much of an impression on me. We’ve covered the game in the past when it launched on virtual reality platforms, but it has now made its way to the Nintendo Switch, giving gamers the chance to play Tetris as it SHOULD be: in the palms of your hands on a Nintendo handheld. Perfection.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
I’m not going to explain the ins-and-outs of Tetris here, because let’s be honest, EVERYBODY knows how the brick-dropping game is played. It’s been a part of gaming ever since 1984 and it’s showed up on almost every single platform in multiple forms since. I bet everyone you know has played Tetris – heck, even my grandparents played and loved it, and they hate everything related to technology. It’s just a way of life.
What makes Tetris Effect: Connected so special is the beautiful imagery and soundtrack that accompanies each game you play. With a vivid selection of themes to play across, players will see both musical and visual effects occur with just about everything they do, whether that’s simply placing a block or achieving a Tetris (clearing four rows in one go) and seeing a flash of pizazz hit the screen. Everything you do in the game brings with it a reaction, which in turn fully embraces the player into the experience.
It’s all complemented by a truly wonderful soundtrack, with each piece fitting the theme of the level you’re playing across perfectly. I knew from the opening track ‘Yours Forever’ that I was in for something special, especially since the song reacted to my gameplay and became more fleshed out as I played, all whilst some wonderful underwater-themed visual effects filled the screen. That’s just one example too, with imagery like sunsets surrounded by floating windmills, a beach overlooking the sea, a lonely and haunting forest, and a view of Earth from space just a few examples of the sort of themes that levels embrace, each of which is complemented by a fitting and beautiful piece of music. There are a ton to unlock and they all bring some unique and special to the fray.
“With a vivid selection of themes to play across, players will see both musical and visual effects occur with just about everything they do, whether that’s simply placing a block or achieving a Tetris (clearing four rows in one go) and seeing a flash of pizazz hit the screen.”
I’ve mainly played the game in virtual reality in the past, so I wondered how much would be lost when playing on a traditional screen. Whilst I’ll admit some aspects of immersion are missing, it still looks stunning. The visual effects still feel like they pop when played on the Nintendo Switch, whilst the brighter colours brought with the new OLED model really shows off how dazzling Tetris Effect: Connected is (if you’re lucky enough to own one). It’s one of the most visually impressive games I’ve ever played, which feels crazy to say about Tetris – it just shows how good of a job the developers have done with the game.
With the gameplay, there’s only one real evolution that changes up the way Tetris is played: the Zone mechanic. The Zone meter will fill up when players clear lines, with a full meter then activated by pressing the right trigger. This slows down time and stops blocks from falling from the top of the screen, giving the player the chance to take full control of each block and place it exactly where they want. However, any lines they fill won’t clear in this time; instead, they stay in place until the Zone effect runs out. This is both a good and bad thing – players will rack up a higher score combo by having all of the lines clear at the same time when Zone is deactivated, but it’ll also mean there’s less room to place blocks in the meantime. It’s a neat mechanic that adds a whole new way to play Tetris without changing up the formula too much, whilst it also gives players the chance to get even higher scores than before. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use it if you don’t want to, so Tetris purists who want a more old-school experience can just ignore it if they want.
“Journey is essentially the game’s main campaign, with players progressing through a myriad of levels that show off all of the different themes on offer in the game.”
As far as game modes are concerned, everything is broken down into ‘Journey’ and ‘Effect’. Journey is essentially the game’s main campaign, with players progressing through a myriad of levels that show off all of the different themes on offer in the game. I’d highly recommend players dive into this first, if only to experience just how beautiful of a game Tetris Effect: Connected is – it’ll also allow them to unlock all of the themes along the way, which is nice when playing through the traditional gameplay modes found in Effect.
Effect brings with it a variety of different gameplay modes for players to tackle, whether that’s your traditional Marathon that sees you clearing as many lines as possible as the speed increases, Ultra that challenges you to score as many points as you can in three minutes, or Sprint that sees you clearing forty lines as quickly as possible.
Then there are the more intricate game modes that bring with them more of a challenge, such as Purify which challenges players to clear specific ‘infected’ blocks, Combo which sees players quickly perform line clear combos in order to increase their time, or Mystery that gives players a typical Marathon game but keeps adding random effects to spice up the experience. That’s just a small selection of what’s on offer too, with each challenge giving players new and interesting ways to experience Tetris.
“Multiplayer is addictive, enjoyable, and offers a whole new way to experience Tetris Effect: Connected’s beauty.”
One of the biggest differences that comes with Tetris Effect: Connected when compared to its initial release is the inclusion of multiplayer, which offers both co-op and competitive gameplay. It adds plenty of replayability to the experience, whilst the diversity of the modes offered ensures that there’s something for everyone. Believe me, there’s something particularly special about working with three other players to vanquish some bosses through the power of Tetris, whilst the clever mechanics that are introduced during these battles ensures there’s a real sense of unpredictability to each game. Prefer a traditional one-versus-one showdown? You can do that too, with plenty of options offered to fine-tune the experiences as well as cross-play multiplayer to ensure you can always find another player to face off against. Multiplayer is addictive, enjoyable, and offers a whole new way to experience Tetris Effect: Connected’s beauty.
Tetris Effect: Connected Summary
Tetris Effect: Connected is the best version of Tetris that has ever been released, with the old-school puzzling gameplay complemented by the blissful sights and sounds of the experience. It looks and plays fantastically on the Nintendo Switch, whilst the inclusion of multiplayer features ensures there’s ALWAYS something to do in the game – whether that’s when playing in co-op or having a showdown against a friend. Add to that all of the single player game modes and you’ll quickly find yourself losing hours on end to the addictive gameplay. Just like the old days, right?
It does feel like it loses a little bit of its immersion in the shift from virtual reality to a more traditional screen, but it doesn’t stop Tetris Effect: Connected from being an outstanding game that really feels like it belongs on the Nintendo Switch.
Developer: Resonair, Monstars
Publisher: Enhance games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Oculus Quest, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC