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Tetris Worlds Package Art
††Radical Entertainment

Tetris Worlds

The original Tetris is a perfect match for Nintendoís current philosophy. It was an easy to learn game that drew in non-gamers, yet provided enough challenge to keep the experts coming back. If youíve never played Tetris, it is the premier ďfalling blockĒ game, where a full line of pieces disappears. Many years and iterations later, we have Tetris Worlds by THQ. It isnít easy to mess with success, and in the end the tweaks hurt the game more than help it.


Puzzle games are one game category where a lack of graphical polish is not really noticed. But, Tetris Worlds tries to add some flair to the mix. The backgrounds change, sometimes drastically, as you advance in rank. If you play for awhile and look up in a lull youíll notice the new mountains, bushes, and other such developments. There are several different landscapes to accompany the modes, and some are frankly better than others. The volcano and ice stages are probably best, because the effects are noticeable without hurting the game.

Unfortunately, the graphics of the Tetraminos are not conducive to gameplay. It isnít always clear which blocks are unfilled in a line, leading to frustration as you move into upper levels and need that level of detail to manage the rapidly falling blocks. Also, the backgrounds sometimes intrude into the proceedings; this is something that shouldnít be an issue for a franchise that has existed for so long.


Where the original boasted some great Russian masterpieces, Tetris Worlds, like the other subsequent versions of Tetris, has inoffensive music. The tunes are sort of mellow techno, rising in pitch and tempo the closer the bricks pile to the top. A nice touch is that the audio doesnít just jump into panic mode. It gradually builds line by line rather than a sudden lurch. Throughout the game a whispering voice announces your progress in hushed tones that just doesnít fit. Thankfully the option exists to tweak volume levels so you canít hear it.


The basic falling puzzle block game returns with five variations. Most are average, and none really significantly improve on the classic version. For instance, Cascade Tetris makes pieces subject to gravity, allowing you to clear lines faster. Sticky Tetris adds gravity and color coding, making like-colored blocks stick. The mechanics of manipulating the blocks themselves are the same as ever, and included is an instant drop button that can help quickly lay down pieces. Controls are responsive, even at higher levels.

The fatal error here is a mandatory time limit on every variation, including classic. You canít simply play at your leisure; to advance you must clear a goal in two minutes. In other words, you can now lose at Tetris without reaching the top. This puts a damper on those who loved the endless attack modes. Purists will hate this, and considering that it was one of the main draws of the original, it seems like a poor design choice.

Fatal error number two is that there is no traditional high score system. Whereas on earlier versions you could compete against your friendís and your own personal best scores, the leader board doesnít allow you to enter your name, and the scoring system is arcane. Itís an unnecessary and silly change.

Additionally, there's an incomplete history of Tetris included on here, which has a rich story that isnít done justice in this text-only document. Itís a nice thought, but leaves out much of the pertinent information.

In trying to set itself apart, this version changes things that donít need to be changed, and in doing so botches what should have been a no-brainer remake. The different modes are the only saving grace.


Up to four players can compete in a match of Tetris. Each can pick the mode he likes best, and set difficulty levels individually to adjust for handicaps. Unfortunately, you can't interfere with your opponentís progress, and since victory has nothing to do with being the last one standing, it isnít nearly as fun as other competitive puzzle games. Still, at least they bothered to put in four players, unlike Puyo Pop, which needed it badly.


If you've never played a version of Tetris and are wondering what the fuss is about, you probably wouldn't understand it from this version. Old time fans will also be unimpressed. Still, a straight re-release probably would have irked some also. Tetris Worlds comes not recommended.

final score 5.0/10

Staff Avatar Matt McDaniel
Staff Profile | Email
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"

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