Crash This Party
After all these years, Tetris, unlike the proverbial dead horse, is still alive and kicking, a testament to that mad Russian who gave birth to the game 26 years ago. Okay, so maybe Alexey Pajitnov is not mad, but he’s undoubtedly a genius. So, can madness really be that far behind?
Tetris is a game that requires genius-level reasoning, and ultimately generates madness. I have always loved Tetris, and to this very day if I’m in an airport arcade (the room time forgot, where you may still be able to find an original Pong game), I will always throw a few quarters into this classic puzzle game. So what does this new DS deluxe version have that makes it invaluable, considering we can play it online for free?
It’s nice to have choices, but a ton of modes does not a game make. I don’t need 31 flavors of ice cream to enjoy a cool treat on a summer day, and I don’t need twenty modes of Tetris to overheat my cerebral cortex. The original Tetris mode is challenging enough. Yes it is, but that’s also the reason I don’t play it for longer than 15 minutes at a time, because it’s so damn hard. These extra modes in Tetris Party Deluxe allows the player to stay in the game a lot longer, and actually enjoy it while remaining within your skill level. With the word party in the title, it’s obvious this version will allow for some multiplayer fun, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
Tetris Party Deluxe truly doesn’t disappoint in any area, but perhaps a case needs to be made for purchasing it, since there are so many different versions of it available for so many platforms. If you don’t have it on the original GameBoy, your cell phone, or iPod Touch, perhaps you want a mobile version of Tetris for your DS. If you want to play with, or against, other players online, then that’s another good reason to get your hands on it. If you’re brand loyal and will purchase anything related to Tetris, then you’re probably not even reading this and enjoying a session right now. The best reason to buy this version is simply the number of fun modes it offers, from co-op vs co-op to the Master Mode that I’m sure would even kick the mad Russian’s arse. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a frustrated vet like myself, Tetris Party Deluxe has lots to offer.
In a nutshell, different shaped blocks appear on the top of the screen and descend to the bottom where you must arrange them to fit in with the blocks on floor. You can move and rotate each shape (composed of individual blocks) to make it fit within the peaks and valleys of the other shapes. If you avoid leaving any empty spaces in a horizontal line, those pieces forming the line will disappear. Complete a specific amount of lines and you’re on to the next level where the blocks fall faster, and so on until you just can’t keep up and the blocks, or tetriminos as they are called, pile to the top of the screen. Tetris Party Deluxe varies this theme with some original and creative modes.
First of all, there is the regular Tetris game. It looks great. It’s colorful and large onscreen with backgrounds that calm rather than distract. The commands are precise, and I can’t emphasize how important that is, as you would likely know if you have a cell phone version of any Tetris game. A series of modes distort, and almost reverse, the original gameplay.
In Field Climber it’s imperative to have your blocks reach the top. A mountaineer ascends the blocks in an attempt to reach the top. If you make a horizontal line, the blocks in that line disappear and your mountaineer will descend as well. Shadow mode has you arranging the blocks to fill a predetermined pattern without a single block outside of the specially shaped silhouette. Stage Racer is a novelty mode, and it won’t see a lot of continued use although it’s fun for a period. You essentially guide a shape of blocks through a moving maze, not unlike a racing game navigating obstacles on the track.
Who doesn’t like blowing things up? Bombliss mode is Tetris with explosions. Bombs are implanted in the tetriminos, set to explode when you clear a line with one of the blocks with a red dot in it. The explosion can cause a chain reaction if you have more bombs in proximity, resulting in an all-clear. The multiplayer component is where the party starts. A good variety of modes can be played online or locally where up to eight players can challenge one another with only one copy of the game. You can even chat online using the built in microphone. By far my favorite mode is the Co-op vs Co-op mode. This includes four players, two to a team. One player manipulates the falling tetriminos while the other figures out where it should be placed, and then communicates that spot by moving a ghost outline in the shape of the actual tetrimino in play.
My least favorite mode is the Master. You’ve got to be kidding me. Here the tetriminos don’t fall, they just appear at the bottom of the screen where you have about one second to determine where they should go and actually put them into position. All I can say is that if you’re good at this mode, you are either a genius or you’ve wasted a lot of your life playing Tetris. That could possibly be construed as madness.
Tetris Party Deluxe is one party you don’t want to miss, even if you just stop in to say hello for a few hours.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Simple, straightforward, and non-distracting, although the walking man is annoying. 4.0 Control
Flawless control scheme, but it’s so simple it should be near-perfect. 2.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is unmemorable, sound effects are average. 4.2
It’s Tetris with lots of twists.
4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.