A Must Own Game
Tetris. A game that is now well over 20 years old and has been recreated on every electronic device that has a screen. So why get so excited about a game that everyone has played a million times before? Because this is one of the best Tetris packages to come out in a very long time.
Tetris Party stands right along side the original Tetris for the old school green and yellow screened GameBoy and the Nintendo themed, Tetris DS. Just about everything that you could want in a Tetris game is available in this 1200 Wii Point download. Tetris Party is one game that is more than worthy to take up a precious 244 block of Wii storage space and will hopefully do for the Wii what the original did for the GameBoy.
Everyone knows how Tetris is played so there is no need to explain the core gameplay mechanics, but Tetris Party shines exceedingly bright in the options category. There are so many different gameplay modes, gamers are bound to OD on L blocks. The typical Marathon and Battle modes are the staple in any Tetris game, but the new Field Climber, Shadow, Stage Racer, and Co-op modes are highly entertaining as well. In all, there are 18 modes to choose from.
The goal in Field Climber mode is to guide a lonely stick figure from the bottom of the screen to the top, one line’s height at a time. The challenge of not swishing him, anticipating his backward and forward movement, and only climbing the height of a single line makes completing each stage rather rewarding. Overall score is determined by how fast each stage is completed. This new twist on Tetris is one of the most creative I have ever seen.
Shadow mode makes you think about laying out pieces you do not normally think about. The goal here is not to complete lines, but rather fill in a shadow to make a specific shape. Basically, it is like filling in pieces to a puzzle to make one big picture. The game scores your time and how many spaces you colored “outside the lines.” Shapes like an apple, pencil, a laptop computer, and even an image of Bomberman (this game is Hudson produced) are some examples the player can expect to fill in.
For the first time, Tetris can be considered a racing game thanks to the new mode, Stage Racer. Starting at the top of a scrolling screen, the player guides a single Tetris piece downward through a set track. In order to reach the bottom, the player must use the advanced “slide” technique in combination of using special rotation skills to reach the end. The goal is to reach the end in the shortest amount of time.
Co-op mode will have players playing faster and with more strategy than ever before. The screen has essentially doubled in size and two players control their own unique set of Tetris pieces. It is basically the same style of play as the typical Marathon mode only with two players on a much bigger screen. Very fun.
There are even three dedicated modes that solely use the Wii Balance Board. Marathon, Ultra, and Computer Battle are all available using your feet to control the action on screen. Shifting your weight left and right moves the piece in the corresponding direction while squatting rotates the piece and leaning back causes the piece to drop quickly. The on screen indicator displays where your balance is located, giving coaching tips as to where weight is most distributed. The screen in this mode is only five squares wide, making it well suited to balance control and there is also an option to only use simpler shaped pieces. Balance Board Tetris is really the only mode in this game that feels like it was just kind of added on just because the Balance Board is Nintendo’s latest toy. If have a board, then great; you will get a kick out of using this new style of control. If not, don’t feel like you need to run out and get one.
Multiplayer plays a significant role in any Tetris title, and Tetris Party has many options available. Locally, just about every mode in the game can be played with a mixture of human and computer controlled opponents. There are even exclusive multiplayer modes like Hot Lines and Duel Spaces that offer something new besides the typical – send garbage pieces to your opponent’s side. But this game’s flaw is that online play is dedicated to 1v1 only. You can play with Friends after you input a Friend Code or you can play against random players from all over the world, but strictly playing online against one other player seems limiting. And when playing online, you only see your opponent’s Mii as the user name is not displayed. Communication is quite limited as well, assigning four non-editable messages to the directions on the D-pad. With this said, Tetris Party was built more for multiplayer couch mode than in cyberspace.
Besides the limiting online mode, my only other complaint with this game is the overall presentation. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with it, it just lacks that overall spark that other Tetris titles have. I guess after experiencing the nostalgic Nintendo theme of Tetris DS, or even the Xbox Live Arcade’s Tetris Splash, I expect to see a theme tied directly into the overall gameplay. But the graphics and audio qualities are exactly how you would expect them to be: brightly colored blocks with the classic Tetris themed music. But for some reason, my Mii was always wearing the same dark blue outfit with suspenders. Not that it makes a difference, but perhaps unlockable Mii outfits could have been another unlockable incentive of the game’s built-in achievement system. No big deal.
Another huge kicker that comes with the download is the ability to keep track of all your stats and built-in achievements. You can even log online to see where you rank worldwide. But for some reason, some stats do not seem to rank on the NWC, like the Balance Board scores, and you can only see a list of the top 30 players, then your score is listed in a separate box below them. For example, I was ranked 414 in one specific mode, but I was unable to see the names of the players who were ranked 31-413. It would have been cool to see a wider list, but then this would have increased download times so it is understandable why this option was eliminated.
If you own a Wii, you need to own Tetris Party just like how everyone owns Wii Sports. Yes, this is still Tetris, the same game we have been playing for over 20 years, but this download is such a complete package, it could very well retail as a boxed title for double the amount of the money it costs to download it. For $12, there is absolutely no reason to not download this. It is unfortunate that the online mode is limited to two players, and the overall presentation will not make you jump out of your seat, but the new content is highly entertaining. The last time I remember having this much fun with a Tetris game was with The New Tetris back on N64. But this game trumps that title in just about every category making this, hands down, the best console Tetris game to appear in years. Fan of Tetris or not, you need to download this game as there is something here for everyone thanks to all the new modes of play. Once this game is downloaded, you will never get those 244 blocks of Wii storage space back as deleting it will be a sin. Download now!