|Dev: Hudson Soft|
|Release: October 2, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
The Leaderboards are also a welcome feature—not just for the World Battle, but for every mode. Think you've got the fastest time on Sprint? Upload your score and find out. Believe you're the best at Bombliss? Confirm it online. Every single mode can be updated with your best scores and, if you make it into the top thirty, your glory will be on display for the world to see. The online matches follow a standard ranking format, starting you with a score of five thousand, which increases or decreases depending on how you placed in the match. For your own personal glory, each game also has medals to earn for completing objectives, such as surpassing a point threshold, or clearing a certain number of lines. Considering there are twenty minigames, each with separate achievements, it could take a good, long time to unlock them all. Thankfully, Tetris: Axis is addictive enough that you should have no problem doing just that.
Strong visuals have never been a prerequisite for a Tetris game, and yet Hudson Soft created beautiful backdrops, with clever 3D animations. The only problem is that most of your attention is focused on the board, leaving you completely oblivious to the beautiful landscapes, making it a smaller, though praiseworthy, feature.
The 3D feature doesn't feel like a tacked on addition, but also doesn't add much value to the experience. You'll likely want to keep it off to avoid the inevitable headache, especially when the game's pace picks up. There are a couple exceptions, however, with some innovative alternatives. In Tower Climber, it adds a nice dimension to the cylindrical structure as you move around it, but the most compelling is called Fit, where you fill in empty spaces in a square as it moves closer to the foreground. With the 3D effect and steadily increasing speed, seeing the board creeping closer to your face is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
I'm happy to hear traditional tracks from the series make a return, providing a great sense of nostalgia and a nod to the game's Russian roots. If you're a fan of Tchaikovsky's ballet compositions and other of the country's classics, you'll find many of them remixed here, with a slight techno flair. There isn't much in the way of sound effects, except for the occasional bomb explosion or the twang from an item being used, but, like the visuals, these sounds are not what define Tetris.
This series has always been about the gameplay, and Tetris: Axis, like its predecessors, has kept the basic yet addictive puzzler intact, with a few variations to break up any monotony and satiate the "bang for your buck" audience. If it's been a while since your last visit with the precious Tetriminoes, or you're looking for a game that finally has a decent multiplayer feature set on the 3DS, then Tetris is an easy purchase – just be prepared to share with the rest of the family.
CCC Contributing Writer