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Tetris Worlds (Xbox) artwork

Tetris Worlds (Xbox) review


"For the last fifteen teen years, Alexey Pajitnov's classic puzzle game has seen countless remakes and copycats. Most of these renditions fail to even breathe new life into the simple game of tetris and Tetris Worlds is no different. Armed with a little flash and some techno beats, Tetris Worlds attempts to turn tetris's casual gameplay into a long lasting adventure by telling the story of the Minos. "



For the last fifteen teen years, Alexey Pajitnov's classic puzzle game has seen countless remakes and copycats. Most of these renditions fail to even breathe new life into the simple game of tetris and Tetris Worlds is no different. Armed with a little flash and some techno beats, Tetris Worlds attempts to turn tetris's casual gameplay into a long lasting adventure by telling the story of the Minos.

What's that? Yes, I said it. The folks at Radical Entertainment have decided to differentiate its tetris clone from others by adding a story. Now honestly, what hotshot employee came to the board meeting with this idea? Not only is it irrelevant to have a story, but also Tetris Worlds' narrative is quite ridiculous. In short, the Mino's planet is doomed. In order to survive they need to use the power of tetris to open gateways to safer planets. Never before has a story been more redundant than the Mino's horrendous tale. Hopefully, ideas about turning tetris into something it's not will get smashed after this debacle.

Thankfully, Radical didn't fudge on the visuals. Though, not enough to cause problems with seizures, Tetris Worlds' design is both flashy and attention grabbing. Each form of tetris has a wonderfully rendered backdrop ranging from ponds to mountain ranges. Lighting effects are also present shining seamlessly off of every block and background after line clears. When all said and done, the graphics really are quite impressive. Every block and background design may not blow anyone away, but they will make people take notice.

Unfortunately, despite this flashy packaging tetris will still be tetris. The game’s core is composed of six tetris rule sets: original, square, cascade, sticky, hot-line, and fusion. Each rule set adds its own unique rules to the original tetris formula. Although these additions make nice diversions, none of them redefine the puzzles original design. Rule sets such as cascade can even make tetris easier to conquer by allowing blocks to fall through gaps after a line clear. Maybe it's the countless hours of playing tetris or possibly my passion for the original, but I expected much more variety and difficulty from these rule sets, and on that note, Tetris Worlds simply didn't deliver.

Difficulty is also an issue for the in game helps. Some helps, such as ghost blocks, are almost absolutely necessary, while the others tend to dumb down the game of tetris. Don’t get me wrong, the helps will aid newcomers and can be turned off by veterans; however, they still feel like they need to be more balanced. Take the next block feature for example. A staple in most tetris games, the next block feature has added strategy to the game of tetris by displaying the next block to fall. In Tetris Worlds not only does this feature show the next block but also the next few blocks in the sequence. Anyone looking for just a little more of a challenge can't simple lower the number of blocks shown. Instead, they're force to turn the feature completely off. It's unfortunate to see a problem such as this exist in a game especially since the problem could have easily been avoided.

In regards to the other portions of the game, the multiplayer mode is the only noteworthy feature in Tetris Worlds. What makes this multiplayer mode so special? It's Xbox Live compatible. Sure there aren't any special game modes besides the rule sets, but playing online with up to three friends is still a satisfying experience. Furthermore, online capability has been sorely missed on console-based tetris games and it's quite possibly the only recommendable portion of the game.

On the upside, Tetris Worlds does have a couple features of value. It's quite possibly the most beautiful of all tetris games and the multiplayer mode is a rarity on consoles. But for many these features alone won't warrant a reasonable purchase. Tetris Worlds attempts to sugar coat a seemingly flat tetris experience that has balance and variation issues. Now with the Internet spinning out numerous tetris clones and the Gameboy version of tetris being just as entertaining, Tetris Worlds becomes just another clone unworthy of purchase by anyone not a hardcore fan.

Rating: 4/10

evilpoptart937's avatar
Community review by evilpoptart937 (September 27, 2004)

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