Tetris

Posted by Dan Mousavi On September - 27 - 2010

A while ago Google pulled all Tetris clones on behalf of EA, so a market release of a official version was necessary. Just last week EA announced, that they will support Android more and now they licensed Unity in a big way, which will bring forth a lot of high quality games in the future. In the meantime, here is a port of their most successful mobile game to date, let’s see, if the Android version of Tetris is worth playing.

Since the release of the first Gameboy, Tetris is the most popular mobile game available. Since it was bundled with every Gameboy and nearly everyone has played with one, it’s popularity skyrocketed in the early 90’s and it never came down. When the first Tetris was released as a mobile game, it easily beat the whole competition and became once more the most successful game with more then 100 Million downloads to date, because a lot of people where familiar with the game mechanic.

If you still never have heard of Tetris, the goal of the game is to arrange falling stones so you can build complete horizontal lines, which then disintegrate. If you manage to delete 4 lines at once, it’s called a Tetris. Over the years a few additions were made, like the ability to hold one stone and special points for back-to-back Tetris, if you manage to pull of two in a row.

The Android version has two game modes, the first one is your typical marathon mode with 15 Levels, where you start by picking a level, which determines how fast your stones fall. The second one called magic is a special mobile mode, that could have been a nice idea, if it wasn’t way too easy.

In Magic mode you essentially play for a certain number of lines, but you have a bunch of tools at your disposal to make the game easier. After playing for a while you get special abilities, with them you can turn your blocks into a single tetrimino stone, shake your device so they come crashing down, pop them like bubble shrink wrap and so forth. These new abilities would have been fun in a versus mode, but as they are presented now, you cannot really do much with them. As a result, magic mode is not worth playing again once you beat it and beating it won’t get you anything but a score, that you cannot do much with.

And that’s the main gripe I have with the official Tetris for Android, there is nothing here, that makes this Tetris version worthwile. Tetris is a multiplayer experience and there is no option to play against each other in any way. There is no versus mode, let alone online play, there isn’t even a decent Highscore table and achievements and unlockables are also completely missing. Granted it delivers a real Tetris game experience, but it’s just not worth it, if you’re not totally into Tetris and need a mobile version with you at all times.

The controls are another huge minus, while they tried to create a suitable control mechanic for Touchscreens, where you can touch anywhere and then swype to contol the falling block. To rotate it, you tap on the left or right side of the screen. I never would have played more then 5 minutes if it didn’t had alternate trackball controls. With them the game was at least somewhat playable, but I still couldn’t finish a single round without a unwanted hard drop. To sum it up, the controls are not the worst you have seen, but they will drive you mad if you want to play seriously for scores.

I really hope EA will try harder with their mobile offerings on Android in the future, because I’m pretty sure half of the free clones on the market were better then this commercial offering for 2,99$. I doubt Alexey Pajitnov has even seen this rendition, because I doubt the Tetris company would willingly put there name under a game, that get’s beaten left and right by every clone on the market and can only justify it’s existence because it sued the competition away. I couldn’t recommend this game if it was for 99ct, because I think it’s the baddest official rendition of Tetris in years. The current asking price of 2,99€ is better then the initially 4,99€, but it’s still not really worth it.


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