If there was ever a timeless video game, in my opinion, it’s Tetris. No matter your age or generation, almost everybody has heard of and/or played Tetris. So, of course, when the new Tetris Effect was released in 2018, Tetris fans were excited to give it a try and see if it’ll live up to the hype.
Is Tetris effect worth it? Yes, it’s absolutely worth it, especially if you love the original game. Tetris Effect combines music, sound effects, visual effects and vibrations to take game playing to a whole new level. It also has a new game feature called Zone which freezes time and allows you to clear the board and achieve the different clearing rankings like Decahexatris, Perfectris, and Ultimatris.
This game is not your average video game. If you’re looking for something other than the regular competitive game or fighting and killing games, this is it! The game has the potential to transport you to a Zen-like mental state.
Why is Tetris Effect Worth it?
The game combines audio and visual stimulation to produce a synesthesia-like experience for your mind and body. It has known to act as a stress reliever and if played enough, to transport you to a state of Nirvana. Also, the addition of the Zone Mode to The Journey Stage of the game gives playing Tetris Effect a new outlook.
Let’s look at each of these components individually to see why they make this game so great.
A big part of why Tetris Effect is so good is because of the way music has been incorporated into the game. Each level has a different song to match that level’s theme.
Unlike the original game where the speed of the Tetriminos falling depended on the level (the higher the level the faster they fall). In this game, the speed with which the Tetriminos fall is dictated by the tempo of the music. The faster the music, the faster the gameplay and the slower the music, the slower the gameplay.
Basically, in a level you can start out slow, then the speed picks up for a bit then slows back down and picks back up again. Or, you can have a slow level or a fast level. You just never know.
The music composer of this game, Noburo Mutoh, has done a splendid job of putting together the sound effects in the game.
As the Tetriminos fall, a sound is produced. Every time you change the orientation of the Tetriminos a different sound is triggered. Once the Tetriminos hit the bottom a third sound is produced and every time you break a line, guess what, a fourth layer of sound is added.
The faster you play, the slower you play or even the longer you play, the sounds change. Different rhythms are added and last longer. And you might even notice variations in sound if you were to replay a stage.
The beauty of it all is that all these sounds, plus the melody and lyrics already playing produces music as you’ve never heard before. Everything melds together so well and the cohesiveness is what creates a dynamic soundtrack that gives this game a new and fresh feel.
Each stage is made up of different themes. These themes come alive in the form of particles that form different shapes of different sizes. The first level, for example, has an under the sea theme where you see whales swimming around the screen.
As you make a move, the particles disperse and come back together to form shapes. Everything moves in unison with the music and the beats and creates a sensational effect.
Apart from the particles, the Tetriminos change colors, and pulse in tune with the music.
The lyrics of the songs in Tetris Effect are all written with the themes in mind. They are powerful and have a very empowering message.
The whole point is so that when you listen to and visualize everything together, it creates an emotional and uplifting environment where you can train your mind to be the best it can be.
Also, not all levels have lyrics. Some levels just have phenomenal musical elements.
This is a new feature in the game that allows you to freeze time so you can clear the board.
As you clear the lines, they move to the bottom and start stacking up as new lines come up for you to clear. Any mistakes you made while playing the level can now be corrected as you create full lines.
The more lines you clear the higher the score and you receive bonus rankings. This is the only variation to the rule from the original game.
Additionally, this feature is only available in The Journey stage of the Tetris Effect game.
The great thing about Tetris Effect is that, although they’ve changed the visuals and made different levels for the game, the ultimate rules remain true to the original version, except for the Zone mode.
The way you activate this is by making as many 4-line combos as you can. This fills up the Zone meter and when it’s full you can activate it.
Once you activate the Zone mode, it freezes time and you’re able to make as many lines as you can. As you complete a line, it falls to the bottom but doesn’t disappear, the more line you make the more potential you have to get bonus rankings.
These are rankings that you receive once you clear a specific number of lines together. Some of these rankings are easy to achieve while others are almost impossible unless you’re an expert player. These rankings are:
- Tetris- When you clear four lines.
- Octoris- When you clear eight lines.
- Decatris- When you clear ten lines.
- Dodecatris- When you clear twelve lines.
- Decahexatris- When you clear 16 lines.
- Perfectris- When you clear 18 lines.
- Ultimatris- When you clear 20 or more lines.
The game itself is divided into two main categories, the Journey Mode and the Effects Mode.
- The Journey Mode:
The Journey mode consists of 27 levels each with its own theme and sound effects. The levels take you through a journey with visuals and lyrics of the songs, hence the name.
The theme’s in this stage range from under the sea to Egypt to the moon. It could be anything really, you just have to play the game to find out.
As you play this stage you unlock new stages and other features to make playing fun.
- Effect Mode:
The Effects mode is further divided into four more categories: Classic, Relax, Focus and Adventurous. Each of these categories is further divided into different games.
- Classic Mode: In this mode, you can play in Marathon, Ultra, Sprint or Master mode. These stages range from clearing 150 lines without a game over to playing extremely fast.
- Relax Mode: In this mode, you can play in Chill Marathon mode, Quick Play mode and Playlist mode. You can play this mode without a game over as well and you can play these games at a more relaxed speed. Also, in the Playlist mode, you can choose between Sea, Wind and World themes.
- Focus Mode: This mode divided into All Clear mode, Combo mode, and Target mode. This is a timed level where you have to clear different, i.e. lines, blocks and combos before the timer runs out.
- Adventurous Mode: This mode is also divided into three categories; Countdown, Purify and Mystery mode. The games range from clearing out dark blocks to playing games with random effects.
What Are the Pros of Tetris Effect?
As with any game, it is always good to weigh out the pros and cons before deciding if you want to purchase it (which, I obviously suggest you do, you’ll be amazed and won’t regret it). Here are the pros of buying this game, in my opinion:
- There Isn’t Fear of Missing Out:
When you play other games that are competitive or that have other mysteries where you want to be the first one to find them. Or even games where you know if you were to go on Social Media someone might spoil the plot of the game for you.
With Tetris Effect, that is something you don’t have to worry about. You can play to your heart’s content and put it down without worrying that someone will spoil the surprise for you. The game is full of so many surprises and so many different variables that you’ll always be able to pick it up and not miss a thing.
The game is meant to relax you. Of course, there are stages where you can feel your heartbeat rising and your body going rigid from concentration so you can finish a hard level.
But overall, the goal of the game is to immerse you within it and calm your body and soul with the audiovisual effects.
- Same Old Game Just Amplified:
Ultimately, Tetris Effect, is the same old Tetris game but amplified by the use of the audiovisual elements.
So, if you think this is like the other versions of Tetris that are either competitive or are integrated with other games then the answer is no, it’s not anything like you’ve ever seen. And you really need to give it a try for yourself.
- Provides A Variety in Game Play
Even though the Journey stage has stayed true to the original game, the Effect stage has a variety of modifications. At the heart of the game, it’s still the same but with slight variations.
For example, one stage has the Tetris board flipped upside down, so now the puzzle pieces are coming up from the bottom and you have to place them on the top instead of the other way around.
Another example is a cylinder-shaped stage or a stage that has large-sized Tetriminos, etc. These are the mysteries in the Effect stage. And they make this game even more interesting.
What Are the Cons of Tetris Effect?
Even though Tetris Effect provides mind-blowing experience for most of us, not everyone feels the same. Across the board, these were the main concerns:
- Distracting Visuals:
The particle effects that, most think, enhance the gaming experience, but for some, it was a cause for distraction. Especially when the game is moving fast, it can be hard to see the next piece and so harder to plan your move accordingly.
If you are one of those that find the visuals too distracting, then I found this website where it shows you how you can change the settings so that you minimize the distractions. It won’t make them go away completely, but it will help.
Or, you can play the game in Virtual Reality and it’s a lot better. Since the visuals will be pushed to your peripheral and you can concentrate on the board in front of you.
When Tetris Effect first hit the market, it was priced at $40. This price was too steep for what the game had to offer.
Now, you can purchase the game for about $20, when it goes on sale. Alternatively, you can buy a used copy for a bit cheaper.
- No Multiplayer Option:
Tetris Effect is made for one player and so, it doesn’t offer competitiveness that a lot of gamers crave.
The creator of this game, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, intended this game to be played individually so that you aren’t stressed. The whole point of this game is to provide you with an out-of-body experience that helps reduce stress. So, he never put that option in the game.
- No Zone in Effect Mode
The game, as I mentioned before, is divided into 2 main stages; The Journey and The Effect. In the Journey mode, you can utilize the Zone feature to clear out the board and try and get a high score. However, this option is not available in the Effect stage.
Having this feature available in the Effect stage would have been a game-changer. Since the puzzles in this stage vary and can get quite challenging.
- “Tetris Effect”:
Some gamers have experienced the “Tetris Effect” after playing this game for a long time. This is when people begin to see patterns and shapes falling in their thoughts or even in their dreams. It can also be a form of light hallucination.
Virtual Reality Version
Tetris Effect can also be played in VR. This by far was the most talked about version of the game. A lot of people that tried the VR version said that it was much better than the regular PS4 version.
This is so because the particles don’t distract you as much. And you almost become one with the game. This enhances your focus and helps you get in the zone so you can concentrate and ultimately play better.
The visuals are muted and, in the background, so, again some gamers don’t like it. They want to experience the full effect of the visuals as they play.
All in all, Tetris Effect is a great game that is different from any game on the market today. If you’re looking for something that you can play at any time and not get bored, then this should be your go-to game.
There are many new features in this game, but the integrity of the original Tetris is not lost.
The overall graphics and the musical elements in this game come together in perfect harmony to give you an experience like no other. And that is the whole point of this game especially the Journey Mode.
The game is supposed to depict a life’s journey. Sometimes you have highs and sometimes lows and that’s how the game works. Sometimes it moves fast and sometimes slow.
I would highly recommend this game. You won’t fully understand what the game has to offer until you’ve experienced it for yourself.
Other Versions of Tetris
Tetris is one game that, as I mentioned before, is for everyone, young or old. Since it’s introduction in 1989 there have been more than 59 versions of this game. Feel free to check out the Wikipedia page for all the Tetris games that have been released both officially and unofficially.
Some were a hit and are still being played. While others not so much.
Viz None of those come anywhere near Tetris Effect. This game is one of a kind. The cohesiveness with which all the different elements of vision and sound come together is what makes this game so unique and innovative.
What Other Games Are Similar to Tetris Effect?
It might be hard to replicate this experience in other games. But if you’re looking for something that has a few components of the game then here a few options, there might be more, but I felt these were a good start.
This game was created by the same person that created Tetris Effect, Tetsuya Mizuguchi.
Lumines also plays around with the audiovisual aspect but not to the level of Tetris Effect. The objective of Lumines is to clear blocks from the board, by rotating puzzle pieces to create blocks of the same color.
This game has multiplayer capability if you’re looking for something more competitive.
Also created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, and as his signature, music plays a huge roll in this game as well. It’s set in a futuristic theme and the objective is to kill flying objects coming your way.
This game also has a competitive, multiplayer capability.
Rez has two more versions: Rez HD which was released for Xbox Live Arcade in 2008 and Rez Infinite which was released for PlayStation VR and Microsoft Windows platforms.
Infinity Beats Song Edition:
If you’re looking for more musical games then this one is for you. The game is about hitting the right notes based on the beats and melodies you hear. Nothing more, nothing less.