(WiiWare)

Tetris Party (WiiWare)

Game Review

Tetris Party Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Paul Schreiner

Hudson grants us yet another version of the famous Russian puzzler, but how does this one stack up?

Tetris may be 23 years old, but the game is still going strong even after all this time. While some versions have been better than others, people still can't seem to get enough of this addictive puzzler. With this in mind, is this latest instalment worth your dough?

Since it's pretty much a given that our readers are quite familiar with Tetris's basic game mechanics we shall not waste much time with it other than to mention that the additions to the recent versions of Tetris can be found here as well: a tetriminio hold cell, six-piece preview, and shadow piece which can be turned off for easier placing of tetriminios.

According to Hudson, Tetris Party features 18 modes of play, which turns out to be more of a marketing gimmick. All in all, we were only able to count 10, with some being variations of each other in single, multi, or balance board play. To see whether quantity equals quality in this case it’s worth taking a gander at the different modes.

Marathon is basically an attempt to see how many points you can rack up until you reach level 15, or go for the ultimate high score when playing on endless mode.

Battle mode will have you facing one or more opponents (AI, human players, or a combination of both). In this mode, after a set amount of time all players will see their field being slowly filled by dead lines from the bottom, pushing up their stack toward the top. It certainly decreases the "dead" players' wait time by a significant margin.

Field Climber mode has a little stickman running back on forth on your playing field. It's your job to help him reach the top by building tetriminio stairs without crushing him, while at the same time guiding him toward flags to collect before he can reach the finish line. There are ten levels to this mode and the high score is determined by how much time it took you to complete the set. This mode is also available in multiplayer for up to four players.

Shadow mode tasks you with matching a greyed-out stack with as little tetriminio spill-over as possible, as it will from your overall completion percentage. There are thirty different puzzles on hand. This mode is also available in multiplayer for up to four players.

Stage Racer has you guiding the various tetriminios through a pre-determined track. Your goal is to reach the finish line in the fastest amount of time. Don't fret about getting your pieces stuck to the walls; it's not going to happen in this mode. This is also available in multiplayer for up to four players.

Hot Lines is a multiplayer-only mode. Clear specified lines (as indicated by the glowing green bars) as fast as possible and win.

Co-op Tetris is only available for two players. Think of it as an extended version of single-player marathon with a playing field twice as large and both players being able to play pieces at the same time. This will require some good coordination as one of the players will only have squares and Ls while the other has Ts and Zs at his disposal. The single available hold cell is for use by both players.

Duel Spaces is also only a two-player mode. On your turn it is your job to claim as much grid-space as possible by fencing it off with your tetriminio. Whoever has fenced off the most space by the time the playing field fills, wins.

There is also a Beginner mode for complete newcomers which will have you play on a zoomed in playing field that sports bigger but less complicated tetriminios.

Last but not least, there is the Balance Board Tetris mode which offers three variations of simplified, motion-controlled Tetris: Marathon, Ultra, and Computer Battle. It uses the same setup as Beginner mode and it relies entirely on the physical coordination of the player. Fortunately, the controls (lean left or right to move, forward or back to “Soft Drop”, and squat to rotate right) are simple and work well. The challenge here is to coordinate your body to control the onscreen action while maintaining your balance the whole time. Wobbly players will make mistakes, so it’s important to squat straight and lean without losing your stability or the controls will seem unreliable. Later levels and difficulties demand rapid movements, but frantically leaning and squatting is undeniably amusing. All in all, it is an interesting diversion.

Undeniably, Tetris Party was really meant for local multiplayer matches, although it's debatable how much attention modes like Stage Racer will hold. While you can play against the AI in all of the multiplayer modes as a solo player, we can't see anyone bothering themselves with them for long, and the only single-player mode that has some sort of staying power beyond the proven Marathon mode is Shadow. The rest really aren't much more than diversions from regular play.

As for online games, there are only two ways you can play: "item-less" one-on-one's versus a stranger or friend or stranger-only multi-battles for up to six players. Setting up a game is blissfully pain-free thanks to a wonderfully streamlined interface, and playing Tetris against human opponents is as engaging and addictive as always. Sadly, while in WFC mode the usual lack of communication is severely noticeable. The only way you can interact with other players is by pre-determined messages, and if you're playing against strangers you don't even get to see their names, only their Miis' heads. This is a moot point however, and doesn't drastically reduce the amount of enjoyment you'll get out of playing online.

Presentation-wise, Tetris Party surely won't bowl anyone over. It all seems rather bland with its simple menus. The different modes with their somewhat generic backdrops are functional as is, but it couldn't have hurt Hudson to have added a little more flavour. There's nothing much to write about the game's sound department: there's a remix of the original Tetris tune and other rather forgettable melodies, while the sound effects fulfil their functions and nothing more.

As far as statistics are concerned, there are quite a few of them. It's only a matter of whether you can be bothered to look them all up since the stat-menu isn't exactly the most user-friendly. It would have been nice to have been able to easily scroll through your records instead of having to wade through a bunch of submenus, but on the whole, the concept of tracking your progress is a sound one, and it helps give the single-player experience a sense of purpose.

Conclusion

If you're Tetris-starved and have no other means to play the game than on your Wii, you can hardly go wrong with Tetris Party. Yet, as the name implies, the game is specifically meant for local multi-play. Playing against friends is incredible fun and for this we can recommend the game wholeheartedly, but if you're not able to round up anyone you might think twice before a purchase. Yes, the basic single-player is as rock solid as it’s ever been, but as far as the other modes go, there is only so much fun you can gain out of playing against AI opponents. The online side of things is excellent, and the developer has clearly invested a large amount of time in making sure the interface is easy to use, but the lack of play modes is a shame. Still, outside of Tetris DS this is the most robust online Tetris experience money can buy, and if you're in the position of being able to rope in a group of friends for some local multiplayer, then Tetris Party comes highly recommended.

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User Comments (52)

PALgamer

#2

PALgamer said:

Isn't that why it is called Party, because of the local multiplayer?
Score is a little low, I expected a 9.

DazzaAdmin

#3

Dazza said:

8 is a "very good" score by the WiiWare World scoring system, lets keep in mind that this review is positive on the whole.

Nice work on summing up the different modes Paul, I haven't had the time to give this a go yet myself but I might download it tonight and have a bit of tetriminio fun online.

MayhemStaff

#5

Mayhem said:

Let the falling blocks commence... might grab this, but then again I've never been a big multiplayer Tetris person.

AlexSays

#7

AlexSays said:

Why would it get a 9?
It's Tetris with a face lift. So it's scoring is just like Bomberman's.

Nice review. But this is one review that probably won't help a lot of people. You either like Tetris or you don't. :P

slambert215

#8

slambert215 said:

I can't wait to buy this, but i wish it was 1000 points instead of 1200 so I can buy bomberman with it though.

Jockolantern

#9

Jockolantern said:

I'm gonna' keep in lock-step with IGN's review and give this game a solid 9/10. This is an absolutely stellar Tetris update with all kinds of modes to enjoy, online leaderboards, solid online play, wide-open multiplayer with plenty of options, items that are fun rather than a pain, and the same rock-solid single player experience Tetris has always been known for. Great game, all-around.

Ziondood

#10

Ziondood said:

I Knew this game would be good from the start :]
I cant wait to get a balance board and play with it :D
My girl friend will love this game :p

Stuffgamer1

#11

Stuffgamer1 said:

This really is more than just Tetris with a face lift. It has modes not available in any other Tetris game (like Shadow and Stage Racer), and that really makes it worth your points right there (Shadow alone was worth it for me, never mind the weirdness of Stage Racer, which I've barely touched so far). It definitely way better than Tetris Splash (the Xbox Live Arcade offering), and only $2 more? Deal!

KnucklesSonic8

#12

KnucklesSonic8 said:

I actually expected a 9, honestly. I really enjoyed IGN's review and I usually have a lot of complaints with their reviews. This review was pretty good except I can't help but dwell on this sentence in the concluding comments:

"Yes, the basic single-player is as rock solid as it’s ever been, but as far as the other modes go, there is only so much fun you can gain out of playing against AI opponents."

Hello! Why else would they position it as more PARTY than a single-player experience? Obviously, it's made for multiplayer and as far as I'm concerned, there's a LOT of content here.

I can't wait to play this!

Pegasus

#13

Pegasus said:

Yet, as the name implies, the game is specifically meant for local multi-play. Playing against friends is incredible fun and for this we can recommend the game wholeheartedly

Yes, there is a good amount of content, but most of the other modes can be quickly forgotten where solo players are concerned.

Negative_Zero

#14

Negative_Zero said:

I do have to agree with the 8/10. I love Tetris but you sumed up what I whould have sayed probably

worrybomb

#15

worrybomb said:

Good review and I agree too. This is the best version of Tetris on a console in quite a while yet I wish some of the play modes made it to Wi-Fi. Plus the game's really at its best when you're playing with people either locally or Wi-Fi. Still since Tetris DS is discontinued, then Tetris Party is the next best choice and a great addition to WiiWare.

Twilight_Crow

#16

Twilight_Crow said:

As I expected; TP is a multiplayer game mostly, not for me, but, snce I like Tetris, I may buy it when the storage problem gets solved.

Sassy_Cc

#17

Sassy_Cc said:

I am glad I purchased Tetris Party ~ I just wish it had vs. mode with balance board play & that it would let you record your BB mode high scores online ~

After reading about how awesome Tetris DS is on this website I decided to buy it ~ I couldn't find it anywhere used or an old was-new version ~ I had to drive 40mins away to get a used copy ~ I am not good with waiting for stuff to arrive by UPS, FedEx etc. ;) ~ It too was worth the trouble though :) ~

ACK

#19

ACK said:

Solid review, Paul. 8 is a very fair score considering how many iterations of this franchise are floating around out there. Tetris Party certainly does a lot of things right but, then again, so have a lot of other renditions of Tetris. So even though it's one of the best, many of us have played similar releases for much of the past decade.

That said, some interesting new modes and a welcome emphasis on multiplayer make for a rewarding purchase, but in the end it's Tetris and most of us have either played the franchise to death or are simply immune to it's appeal.

Mopsical

#20

Mopsical said:

Great review. I'll definitely buy it this Friday when it comes out over here.

CorbsAdmin

#21

Corbs said:

Great review! I'm going to pick this one up tonight. I've just been a bit busy here lately. Sounds like yet another great rendition of Tetris. :)

Draygone

#22

Draygone said:

Huh, I was expecting the score to be a 7 from reading the review.

Anyway, all those modes and no Tetrisphere mode? continues waiting for a VC release

And wow. Usually when there are the horrid friend codes involved, playing with friends is awesome while those of us who can only play with strangers get less options to play with. But in this game, it looks like it's more worthwhile to play with strangers than to play with friends.

Rawk_Hawk

#23

Rawk_Hawk said:

I agree as good as this game is, I still kinda hope the NES version comes out as well. Hey people can make room for both

JoshZTP

#24

JoshZTP said:

I'm just glad Tetris Party got this awesome review score! Expected it to be a 9 as well too... but at least it's still good! :D

Objection

#25

Objection said:

I have to say, listening to half a dozen people saying what score they thought this would get is fairly boring. You're overemphasizing the numerical system, rather than the content of the reivew, which was a good one.

Doogle

#27

Doogle said:

@Objection_Blaster - I totally agree, why do people get so stuck on the review score when the review itself adequately explains everything in such detail. In fact this review shows IGNs up by a long chalk, at least the chap took the time to explain all the modes on offer. It is about twice the word count of IGN's paltry effort.

I am looking forward to this on Friday when it hits Europe. Bring it on!

World_1-1

#28

World_1-1 said:

Nice review. I bought it, but haven't had the time to play a lot of it. Probably once I get more people over. And I don't see what's so wrong with an 8... That's a pretty good score.

Draygone

#29

Draygone said:

For lack of reader-submitted scores? :P I dunno. But really, nothing wrong with giving our own thoughts.

Chunky_Droid

#30

Chunky_Droid said:

I have no issue with an 8, at least it didn't get a 4! The review was well-done as usual. Still the only site I can remotely trust with reviews :)

Clayfrd

#31

Clayfrd said:

I really want this game, but the Shop Channel is undergoing maintenence. Grr...

Clayfrd

#38

Clayfrd said:

I'm surprised with this. Usually I'm not hooked on a Tetris title, but this version has me quite addicted. I think the greater diversity of the different modes (i.e. not just line clearing games with a twist) makes it more enjoyable. I enjoy the balance versions, too.

Yay! I'm in the top 30 on the Advanced J Track on Stage Racer. I'm currently 22nd.
EDIT
I'm also #9 on "Stage Racer Route Z (Advanced)," making me the only US player in the Top 10 in that category. I hope I can maintain that spot for at least a little while!

SRPirate

#39

SRPirate said:

Yea, im not much of a tetris fan eitehr, but this game is great, worth the 1200 points.

Clayfrd

#40

Clayfrd said:

Has anyone else tried Balance Tetris? I actually enjoy it (I thought it might be tougher than it is), and I just cleared Marathon on easy. I'm finally using my BB effectively.

VALERHU

#42

VALERHU said:

I'm somewhat a tetris fan, as i do it when im bored... but... this game more deserves a 9/10.

LinktotheFuture

#43

LinktotheFuture said:

@Tony--I hope they release the NES version of Tetris too. I am a big fan of the 3rd music option on it, plus I like the rocket ships that shoot off when you get a high score.

ReZon

#44

ReZon said:

There was a version of Tetris, I think maybe it was on the Playstation 1, where in the multiplayer the better moves you made, made your opponents board flip around so they had a harder time seeing.

Is the multiplayer mode in Tetris Party like that?

indenmark

#46

indenmark said:

@ReZon . . . that was the awesomical "The Next Tetris" for the PS1, where, in multi-player mode, not only would your opponent's board flip around, but if you made a tetris (clearing 4 lines at once), I believe their board blacked out for a second (whilst spinning around wildly, of course).

Radical!

But the coolest feature of "The Next Tetris" was that some tetriminios were made up of two different colors, and the parts of the one color could "break off" from the parts of the other color, which really created a new dimension of gameplay.

Check out what I'm talking about 8 seconds into this video clip (blink and you'll miss it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a__9XLELq08

Sadly, nobody's thought to . . . um . . . borrow that ultra-cool multi-colored "breakaway" aspect for any incarnation of Tetris since.

At least I don't think anybody has.

j

LEGEND_MARIOID

#47

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I would give this a personal rating of 84% or 8/10, but I would give this a rating of 9/10 for the general gaming public becasue of all the decent, interesting modes, great presentation etc.

Ho11oWxxMaN

#48

Ho11oWxxMaN said:

I loved Tetris DS. Not that my Wii is all I have, I think I really need to d/l this game tonight. I know my girlfriend and I love co-op/v.s. games, so this looks right down our alley. Great review.

wiiwareaddict

#50

wiiwareaddict said:

Excellent game! only complaint is the menu is a little complicated until you get use to it (but that is because there are so many options).

atariman

#52

atariman said:

I agree with Nintendo life. its not as good as Tetris Party Live (DSIWare) its a good game but I give The DSI vertion a 9/10 but this one an 8/10. vert good game.

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