Why You Should Play
- Classic and addictive Tetris gameplay
- Excellent mood music sets the tone
- No shortage of visually stimulating things to look at, with 4K support
- PlayStation VR support adds a new dimension
Tetris games elicit a variety of emotions. There’s joy that comes from achieving a Tetris Line Clear, and then anger when a Tetrimino (the different shapes that you arrange) doesn’t fit the right way. It’s been like this since the 80s, but Tetris Effect is different. A PlayStation 4 exclusive with PSVR support, Tetris Effect comes to us by way of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the famous developer behind such musical hits as Rez Infinite and Lumines. Mizuguchi is superb at digging into our hearts to make us feel an emotional connection to his games through the music, and having played these titles going as far back as the Sega Dreamcast, we can confidently say that Tetris Effect is among his finest. He and the team at Enhance took a world-famous puzzle game with falling shapes and had us thinking about humanity, where we fit in the world, and this will sound dramatic, but the meaning of life… and death! We don’t know where Tetris Effect ranks in terms of the best puzzlers of all time, but it’s one of the best games of 2018, and you need to experience it.
Visuals and Performance
OK, so what’s the big deal about Tetris Effect? How does someone go from clearing lines to thinking about ghosts? It’s all in the presentation, most notably the music. Yes, the graphics with 4K support look amazing. Playing Tetris Effect with or without virtual reality, you won’t be able to resist taking your eyes off the Tetris Matrix to absorb the beauty of a whale swimming at the top of the screen, jellyfish pulsating with each button press, or two scary-looking masks breathing fire. The game looks gorgeous, but the soundtrack is incredible, and punctuated by arguably one of the best opening tracks in video game history. The track that plays in The Deep sets the tone for the entire game. You will replay The Deep over and over again for the music alone. You’ll look it up on YouTube. You’ll hum this tune after turning off the game. It’s that impactful.
The rest of the soundtrack is worthy of your attention. Every song in the game is subtle at first, and then builds to this amazing crescendo of drum beats, synthesizers, and tambourine shakes. The music drives the point home that Tetris Effect, with the planet Earth and space as a backdrop, are in constant states of evolution.
Earlier, we mentioned that Tetris Effect comes with PlayStation VR support, and wow, what a treat! Granted, you lose that high definition magic from your television screen, but the tradeoff of seeing whales, jellyfish, horses, and all sorts of cool special effects in 3D justifies connecting the PSVR to your PS4 and adjusting the headset. It’s so captivating that we often lost sight of the Tetris Matrix, resulting in some questionable Tetrimino maneuvers; remember to keep your eyes on those shapes!
Beyond the flashy graphics and exceptional music, Tetris fans have a variety of modes to enjoy. Marathon, where you attempt to get the best score with 150 lines is in there, along with more intense fare such as the insanely fast Master Mode, and then Sprint, where you must clear 40 lines in the quickest time possible. If this sounds too intense, the game also has three playlist modes that let you relax while listening to ambient music. All of this ensures that you can enjoy Tetris any way that you prefer. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for growth. Personally, we’d love to see a head-to-head mode, but even without the competitive aspect, there’s a whole lot of Tetris packed into this game.
Game of the Week
With that in mind, Tetris Effect will appeal to a variety of people, from hardcore puzzle enthusiasts to casual players who want to zone out while absorbing the game’s superb presentation. Mizuguchi and Enhance did the original game justice while incorporating unique elements that set Tetris Effect apart from its predecessors. The result is a product that feels familiar but also unlike anything else that we’ve played. And considering all of the visual effects in this game, you’re guaranteed to see more than Tetriminos after closing your eyes.