|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tetris Online Inc.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 8, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
March 1, 2010 - Tetris is a safe business. Publish a Tetris game, and you should be able to sell it. That's what many publishers have counted on throughout the years, and hence the incredible amount of Tetris and Tetris spin-offs that are out there. One more time, the most popular puzzle game in history will make it to store shelves and into our living room. Majesco is publishing Tetris Party Deluxe, an updated version of the previous WiiWare title, that adds six extra game modes, some gameplay tweaks, a level editor for Shadow mode, and two-player vs. two-player support. The DS is getting its own version this time around, and both the Wii and DS versions will be only available in retail stores, unlike the original Tetris Party, which was a WiiWare exclusive.
Tetris Online Inc.'s new game will feature many of the innovative modes found in the original, such as Stage Racer (tetrimino racing mode compatible with the Wii wheel in the Wii version), Shadow (fill up a shadow by properly placing pieces on the screen), etc. In addition, this beefier package will include new modes such as Sprint (clear 40 lines as fast as possible), Bombliss (clear the stage with bomb-loaded tetriminos), and Master mode (extremely fast-paced mode for the experts where pieces just appear at the bottom of the screen, giving you little more than an instant to decide where to place the piece). This last gameplay mode will especially put players' mad Tetris abilities to the test. The first Tetris Party was already a great game, so this new title should present some added challenge and excitement. For those who didn't have time to learn how to play Tetris yet, this puzzle party also includes a beginner mode that excludes the Z/S shaped tetriminos so you don't have to scratch your head too much when it comes to placing the falling pieces.
Just like the previous game, Tetris Party Deluxe will offer multiplayer gameplay for most game modes, as well as Balance Board support for those who want to justify their Wii Fit purchase by making further use of the peripheral playing Tetris with their butts. Granted, the DS version doesn't support it, just like the Wii Wheel in Stage Racer.
Another difference between the Wii and DS versions is Mii support. On the Wii, you can customize the experience by using your own Mii. Wouldn't it be nice to see the Miis on future DS games? Of course, the DS doesn't receive firmware updates, so it'd be an unrealistic wish, but it'd be nice to see it on the DSi at some point; perhaps it's an unlikely expectation too.
What about voice chat support? We're definitely happy to see it included in more and more Wii games; it should just be a standard at this point! Luckily, Tetris Party Deluxe lets players chat with each other via WiiSpeak on the Wii and DS microphone on the DS. Unfortunately, Tetris Party Deluxe's voice chat support goes only as far as letting you chat with others while in the game's lobby. I don't meant to be picky, but I do want to throw a hint out there for those developers working on new DS and Wii games - players want to speak with their friends while playing games!
On the bright side of things, the multiplayer support will be remarkable in Tetris Party Deluxe. The DS version allows up to eight players to face each other online, while local battles only support up to four. The Wii version will let you play against five other players online. It also offers offline multiplayer, as long as you own several Wii Remotes. Team competition is a welcome addition as well. You can partner up with someone and battle it out against another pair of people. Not bad at all! To top it off, Wii players will be able to compete online against those who own the original Tetris Party.
All in all, Tetris Party Deluxe seems like a very complete package, and the developers promise more features that we don't even know of. I guess we'll have to wait until June and see what surprises are in store, but so far we think it'll be a very competitive offering that many of you, puzzle game fans, will want to add to your library. Just one thing: if you see me online, please don't kick my butt!
CCC Site Director