Developer: Monstars Inc, Resonair
Genre: Arcade, Puzzle, Relaxation/Meditation
Platform: Oculus Quest
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 14/05/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Tetris is and has been synonymous with puzzle gaming since the 80s. The game has seen dozens of iterations that have introduced various modes, visual styles, and upgrades, though the core gameplay has always been about dropping and rotating tetrominoes, and clearing lines in the quickest way as the blocks drop at ever-increasing speeds.
Where Tetris Effect builds on this formula is in its audible and visual department, in immersive VR sounds that change as you clear lines and increase your score by layering line clears of one, two, three, and a Tetris, which clears out four lines. The game world around you changes visually as well, as you progress through the harder levels and clear lines.
The gameplay in Tetris Effect starts by placing you in a main campaign of sorts, that has you moving through various levels and tiers of levels across a vast galaxy-like board. Each ‘world’ takes you through three or more levels which tasks you with completing a set number of lines.
As you continue throughout each level, the speed increases and the difficulty spikes. Some levels start you off with some blocks already filled in, requiring that you clean up and clear out the lines before advancing.
Tetris Effect does allow you to hold a piece as well, which can help save a piece for later or move a currently unusable piece to the bin for when there’s a better time to use it. You can still do T-Spins and set yourself up for a four-line clearing Tetris; I would recommend pairing your Quest with a controller with a proper D-pad, which I found to be easier to use than the thumbstick. There were several times in my gameplay sessions that pressing left or right on the control stick would trigger an errant up press, which meant dropping a piece unintentionally.
Sound and Light Show
If there’s one thing that would sell someone on Tetris Effect, it is that the game is an audible sound and visual light show for the senses. As the speed increases, the music speeds up: each block drops with a beat, and the light show that is Tetris Effects goes into full…um…effect. The soundtrack alone is a great reason to pick up the game. I would recommend using a pair of headphones to immerse yourself completely in the experience enjoying the sounds of Tetris Effect and each beat and bass from the notes echoing in your head.
The levels in Tetris Effect are reminiscent of an immersive laser light show you might see at a rave or an outdoor concert. The way the set pieces felt like holograms blazing up the night sky around me, or the way they ‘dotted’ my visual periphery was simply awe-inspiring.
It’s Still Tetris
The hardest ‘sell’ with buying Tetris Effect, is that at the core, the game is still Tetris. Tetris, the game you may have played on your Gameboy, can probably play in your internet browser and is on almost every other console or computer at either free, cheap, or half the price of Tetris Effect. While the price of admission may be enough to put some people off, I think that this way of playing Tetris is the best way to play it. Tetris Effect, however, is the definitive way, in my opinion, to enjoy this classic masterpiece.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Tetris Effect from the Oculus store on the following link: Oculus Quest Store
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.