Saturday, August 26, 2006

DS Tetris - Fun variations on a classic

I absolutely love my Nintendo DS Lite. One of it's more interesting features is "Network Play", where you can play multiplayer games via WiFi. Only one copy of the game is needed, as the DS can download games from another handheld for competative play. I also happen to work near a Nintendo World Store. They offer a try-before-you-by download service there. Just take your DS into the store, pick Network Play, and you're offered a bunch of playable demos . Last week, I tried the Tetris DS demo, and like it so much, I bought the game the next day.

Tetris DS is much more than a new UI on the classic game. The game consists of standard mode, as well as 5 Tetris variations that are unlike any I've seen before. It's not at all like the original GB's Tetris game, but in a good, good way!

The variations are:
  • Touch - Absolutely the most interesting Tetris variant EVER!
  • PUSH - A race to clear lines first, avoiding a fiery death!
  • Puzzle - Complete a puzzle using only a handful of pieces
  • Challenge - Clear lines given specific constraints (green pieces only, 3 at a time, etc.)
  • Catch - A strange Metroid-themed puzzle that plays like a top-scroller
TOUCH is the single-player jewel in this game. Your goal is to clear lines as usual, but rather than positioning falling pieces, you are presented with a giant well of dropped pieces! You can use your pen to move pieces around, subject to gravity. Pieces cannot be moved through each other. Think of it as cleaning up after someone's bad Tetris run. You win once you clear enough lines to drop the "Bird Cage" that holds Yoshi prisoner at the top of the stack.

PUSH is a DK-themesd high-tension race to beat your opponent (or the CPU.) You are dropping pieces AT your opponent, who is tossing pieces up towards you. Your pieces bunch up together in the middle. By clearing lines, you move the mass of dropped pieces towards your opponent, as he does towards you. The winner is the one to push the mass through his opponents start-line (where pieces enter the system.)

All the varations are fun. Each is themed by a different classic Nintendo title. The music and graphics all change as you are playing. The music in particular is fantastic; perform a great feat (a Tetris, a Triple, etc.) and the music becomes congratulatory and uplifting. Get too close to the top, and the rhythm picks up and gains a suspensful quality.

Tetris DS is a great buy. Try it out, you won't be dissapoint if you're a long-time f an of Tetris. If you've never tried the game before, this is the perfect way to learn about it. It's got something for everyone.

Armentage Rating: 5/5


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