PS3 Reviews: Tetris HD Review

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Tetris HD Review

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Graphics:

 

7.5

Gameplay:

 

8.4

Sound:

 

7.1

Control:

 

8.5

Replay Value:

 

8.7

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.1

 

 

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

EA Mobile

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Puzzle

The puzzle game that became a global phenomenon in the ‘80s has gone through many different incarnations. Some turned out better than others but at its core, Tetris has always been an entertaining, even addictive experience that appeals to just about anyone with a pulse. So when Tetris HD dropped onto the PlayStation Network, we just had to take a look at the latest and greatest in the world of fast-paced brick-dropping. For the most part, it’s an inspired take on a classic and although I miss the traditional formula (fill up a screen with tiles, and it’s Game Over), it’s interesting to see EA’s creative ideas, designed to add some spice to a simple world. It’s quick, surprisingly flashy for a Tetris game, and loaded with enough single-player and multiplayer action to keep most satisfied for hours. It’s just one of those games you can pick up and play at any given time, and that’s a plus.

The instant you start your first puzzle, you will notice EA’s design choice: downplay the backdrop and put the emphasis squarely on the falling pieces. The tiles are all brightly colored and that vibrancy leaps off the screen, thanks in part to the contrast provided by a very dark atmosphere. While it’s true that some of this pleasant polish diminishes when other players step into the fray, the graphical presentation still hits its mark. I still remember playing Tetris on the original GameBoy and to compare that memory of fuzzy black-and-white action with this sharp high-definition display is actually a little jarring. Sometimes, I thought the design somehow felt domineering, in that it took the focus away from the puzzle, but I think that was all in my head. For the most part, despite the fact that widescreen isn’t well utilized for multiple players, this is an agreeable, dynamic visual display that enhances the overall experience.

The sound is hit or miss, depending on your personal preference. I’m indifferent when it comes to the music; I really spent most of my time focusing on the task at hand, and most of the sound drifted into the background. I will say that the effects seemed very much in-my-face, as the clicking of the bricks seemed overly emphasized; it got annoying after a while. I finally had to tone it down in the options menu and I would recommend that new players lower the effects slider right off the bat. Beyond that, there isn’t much to talk about. The effects and music are just as sharp and clear as the graphics and in general, the technical presentation is about as slick as one could expect. After all, Tetris isn’t really about “slick” anything; it’s about the puzzle, and that’s that. It’s nice to see a fair mount of effort put into the visuals and sound but really, some of it almost seems unnecessary.

As I just said, it’s all about the gameplay. And thanks to the responsive, reliable control and the puzzle variations, Tetris HD can hold your interest for quite some time. As I hinted at in the intro, this isn’t the same game that gripped a nation several decades ago: there are a total of 12 variants that ask you to clear 40 lines while operating within a certain range of conditions. And in all that, there isn’t one simple puzzle where the tiles fall faster and faster, and you just have to avoid the screen filling up with badly placed pieces. No, that has been cast aside for fresher, more complex challenges. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but I still felt a little miffed and disoriented. It’s not that I didn’t like the new examples of puzzle-based creativity; it’s just one feels a little lost at first, and you sort of go, “wait…this is Tetris?” It really is, though; you just have to make a few mental adjustments.

Variants like Gravity, Laser, and Treadmill really change things up a lot, and you may end up having a personal favorite. Others might just confuse you; I didn’t really like Treadmill because the sideways shifting didn’t resonate with me, and in truth, it never really clicked. But I liked the progression because of the diversity and constantly changing demands. And while the purists say there should never be a feature that lets you rotate or move a block after it lands, they might change their mind after playing Tetris HD. You have five seconds to rotate a title and slide it about the surface; you just can’t push it through other bricks. It adds another level of strategy to the gameplay and keeps you on your toes, as does the preview window, which can be turned off if you don’t like the added assist. On top of which, you can sample each of the various styles with up to four players, and that’s a bonus.

Battle Mode is a big highlight and it reminded me of the Versus mode in Bust a Move. Those who remember the latter will recall a feature that was capable of enraging a competitive friend: when you cleared out some bubbles, those bubbles would pop up on your opponent’s screen; if you cleared a ton of ‘em at once, a crapload would show up on your buddy’s screen and he’d freak out. That same feature is in the latest Tetris iteration, as any cleared lines of tiles will appear on your opponent’s board, making for an intense yet still lighthearted one-on-one confrontation. There’s also the option of power-ups and if you want to shake things up, Timed Battle Mode can test your nerves. Online play features the standard leaderboards and a pretty cool ranking system so even if you don’t have anyone to play with, you can always hop online and have a blast. So regardless of when or how you choose to play, the game will typically deliver the goods and ease the tension of a long, hard day.

Tetris HD is a solid entry in the long-running series and while it sometimes doesn’t look or feel like any title of old, it still has a lot going for it. In fact, one could argue there’s more to do here than in any previous installment. The design choice might not resonate with some and the sound is a little off at first but besides that, there’s not much worth complaining about. As far as puzzle games go, this franchise will always reign as one of the best, so it’s probably a good idea to have it around for a rainy day.

1/13/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (20 posts)

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 9:26:15 PM
Reply

Was in a rush to get to the news...tell me if there are any typos. ;)

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Temjin001
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 10:11:26 PM
Reply

My wife and I love playing this and the Wii's Tetris Deluxe together. It's simple but good competitive fun that asks for just enough brain power to keep it interesting.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 10:14:56 PM
Reply

Never knew Tetris came from EA.

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PasteNuggs
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 10:22:08 PM
Reply

This almost seem to complex for a Tetris game. Interesting nonetheless. I won't buy it because I don't like to support the digital market.

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RadioHeader
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 5:43:08 AM

I like the idea of short'n'sweet PSN games, but Mass Effect 2 download being full price is simply crazy. I will join you in not supporting that sh**.

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Dridion
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 10:28:31 PM
Reply

Hmm nice that they mixed it up. I'll be picking this up.

OT: Ben I know you hate when people ask and badger you but I was wondering if SOE sent you guys a copy of DCUO. It sure would be cool to see you guys' opinion. I'm so interested in this game as I love DC and always wanted something like this. I bought the game but have yet to open it cause I'm still a little nervous. After all, one has to be commited to an mmo and $15 a month isn't bad but it sure as hell adds up.

Also to anyone else who has purchased this game...does psxextreme have a guild? If not we should make one to rep this wonderful site.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 12:04:38 AM

No, we didn't get one but then again, we didn't request one, either.

I'm sorry but while I think either Arnold or I are perfectly qualified to review most games, DCUO wouldn't be one of them. I know nothing of MMOs and to be honest, I don't want to know them.

I doubt my review would be very good, just because I'm quite ignorant of the genre.

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Dridion
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 1:36:35 AM

I figured as much :) Thanks for the honesty and quick reply.

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Highlander
Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ 11:33:36 PM
Reply

Sounds like it might be worth $10.

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___________
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 1:21:48 AM
Reply

good old tetris, how ill never tire of you!
its funny how some of the classic games like these are still going strong.
i was bored the other night so went onto a java game site and found a mock up of packman but its called Ms packman.
you play obviously as packmans wife, but instead of those pesky things chasing you your chasing them with a gun of your choice.
sounds simple and stupid, but ive never had so much fun in my life!
just goes to show, simplicity is always better!
keep it simple stupid!

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crunchy_nut_kid
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 2:02:56 AM
Reply

i've got this game on my phone so i don't need to buy this for the ps3

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 2:05:06 AM
Reply

Never did get into Tetris.

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kraygen
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 6:10:25 AM

Me neither, always hated those types of games.

Although when the original came out for nes, my sister was very good at showing us every level possible. Most people try to beat games, Tetris couldn't seem to beat my sister. Was really annoying when the rules were play until you lose and then your turn is over.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, January 16, 2011 @ 3:11:55 AM

World, me neither.

The only casual games I really play a lot of are the "Bejeweled" games & these 2 free little flash mini-games...

Tag Attack
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/556356

Effing Meteors
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/557886

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Zorigo
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 4:05:17 AM
Reply

i dont care what it is, if its reasonably priced, ill get it. i spent all of year 11 french and english just playing this. i passed english though. becaue my mate had it most of the time in english.
but damn it was fun :D

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alcrowley
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 5:59:06 AM
Reply

There's a nice documentary about the creation of Tetris: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6600940307313929454

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Gregory Freeman
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 3:13:43 PM

lol the game which technically had no owner for the longest time :)

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Highlander
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 4:20:06 PM

@Gregory...

What about collective ownership?

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John Shoemaker
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 7:50:25 AM
Reply

I actually downloaded this because I wanted to play some good old Tetris. And the only way to do so is in the Marathon Mode. So there is a way to just play Tetris instead of the other 12 modes it has.
Gonna try to be number 1 on this game.

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Gregory Freeman
Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 3:12:39 PM
Reply

My friend was looking on the store at this, and had it set to the buy menu, wanting me 2 get it... i sat down on the couch n seen it go *BUY* and I was like WTF! Why did you buy it!?? He was like I Didn't :O Turns out my controller was under a pillow I sat on... lol

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