Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tetris DS

Tetris DS was released in all major territories in 2006, and in Korea in 2007. Tetris is a game almost as old as modern gaming, and it's a good one at that. So very few things from the past, no matter how short a time ago it might have been hold up by modern standards, from TV shows and movies to videogames. In fact, some things didn't even hold up back in the day, but Tetris has been good pretty much since the start. Enough gushing about things I like, let's get on to the review; Tetris DS has several modes. Standard mode, which has settings for Marathon mode, an NES themed version of classic Tetris with music from various famous games from throughout the lifetime of the NES. Line Clear, where you choose the level and height, then clear a number of specified lines. Then there's vs the CPU, which lets you set the CPU AI level to your liking. The game mode has you and the CPU competing to push each others blocks to the top of the screen, and it's pretty fun to play. Moving on to Catch mode, which is themed around Metroid. You catch Tetriminos on the center block and attempt to get a four by four shape or larger so you can detonate it and remove a lot of the extra blocks that will you'll inevitably pick up over time, and to regain health that will be lost from bumping into Metroids and smashing blocks by turning the main piece in the center into the Tetriminos. The d-pad is used to move the center block around, and by extension, the structure built around it. The A and B buttons rotate it, and L or R speeds up the falling blocks. Sometimes the orientation of the blocks gets pretty unintuitive, but this mode requires a lot of finesse. The levels seem to progress a lot like the ones from Standard Marathon mode, unlocking new ones the more blocks you clear. Next is Mission Mode, with a Zelda themed Marathon mode where you clear the lines specified by using the tetriminos specified before you run out of hearts.. Also in Mission Mode, is Time Trial, where you attempt to clear a set number of missions as fast as possible. I haven't been able to finish Mission Mode or Catch Mode, but since clearing Level 20 of Marathon Standard, I figure I'll give them another show later. Puzzle Mode is themed around Yoshi, a dinosaur or dragon or whatever he is from Super Mario World. You attempt to clear a set number of lines with a set number of Tetriminos provided to you. I've only played a few levels, but it's pretty fun. As of writing this line, I haven't played the fifth mode, Touch. Now, after playing it I know that the object is to clear a tower of Tetriminos to the bottom by sliding the shapes around. It's nice and fun. Now, moving on to Push mode, a Donkey Kong themed mode where you compete against the CPU to push them to the bottom of the touchscreen before they push you to the top of the top screen. As I get better at Tetris, it becomes easier to outsmart the computer's AI through Tetris chains and line clears of two or more. I wasn't able to play the multiplayer in the time that I've been playing the game, so I'm unable to comment on that. One complaint I have is that the menus don't allow you to press Up on the D-pad to select the option at the bottom except on the mode selection screen, which gets to be annoying at times. Now, thinking in three-dimensional terms, there's no reason for there to be both J and L Tetriminos, as well as S and Z ones. A simple button press could mirror them in a cinch and while that would make the game easier to an extent, but it would make some logical sense in this day and age considering how gaming has evolved from 2D, to 3D with 2D controls, to intuitive 3D controls. While Tetris DS is a 2D game, humans don't think in two-dimensional terms, and a simple mirror command would go a long way to bringing Tetris into the future. The idea of 3D Tetris on the Virtual Boy is something that I'd like to see more of in gaming nowadays, puzzle games that have more of a three-dimensional bent to them. If certain casual puzzle games would drop the microtransactions and introduce three-dimensional thinking, gameplay styles and mechanics into their games they might be able to get an extra bit of cash from the innovation hogs or just someone who wants to play something like Bejeweled or Angry Birds a different way and also shake up the idea that casual gaming is something that cannot be improved. All in all, I liked Tetris DS. I found myself playing a lot of this in between duels in Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour and it really took the edge off of the complicated strategies I put together that were subsequently marred by NMT's (Far too numerous) glitches. Tetris DS gets a recommendation, if not a rating just yet. Give me a little longer to dwell on it and then I can get a rating out. I was originally going to call this a first impressions review, but then I decided to just play the modes I hadn't already toyed with and call it a full review, but then I changed my mind and decided I needed to end the article before it got any more like an essay on the history of gaming.