Let's face it, we've seen hundreds of Tetris releases on various systems over the years, some obviously better than others. Hudson released the original Tetris Party on WiiWare almost two years ago, but with the release of the game on DSiWare, they're now giving gamers a version to take with them on the go.
As a single-player experience, Tetris Party Live offers basically two ways to play the game. You can choose to tackle the traditional Marathon Mode, where you'll see how far you can progress before your blocks overtake the top of the playing field, or shoot for a high score before you take out the 150th line. There's also the CPU Battle mode that allows you to take on the computer-controlled opponent in a head-to-head battle. Not only will you have to take care of the standard block stacking duties, but you'll be able to use specialty items that can help you and hurt your opponent. These range from items that freeze your opponent's game for a short time to power-ups that will let you take out multiple rows of blocks that are stacking up on you.
If you're feeling a little competitive, the game also offers up a wide variety of online games to play via Nintendo WiFi Connection. Here you can take on up to four players in either the Battle Mode or a Duel Space challenge where you try to drop down blocks in an effort to take up the most area on the playing field. This mode might seem like a tacked-on extra, but it's actually a rather interesting twist on the original Tetris formula and one that can get quite intense and challenging. You can choose to tackle online challengers from various regions around the world or stick with your friends via Friend Codes, and you'll even be able to practise by playing a little Tetris while you wait for an online match to start up. About the only complaint would be the game's strange lack of a local multiplayer option, making this one for online or solo play only.
The controls of the game are extremely simple and fairly standard as far as Tetris goes, and even navigating the menus and online sections are easy and intuitive. The ability to voice chat while playing is a nice bonus and the rather large array of game options allows you to customise the game to your exact liking, something finicky players will find appealing. In truth, there's only so much you can do with Tetris, but the developers have included enough unique twists to keep things interesting.
Since you'll be spending the majority of your time staring at the falling blocks, there's not a huge emphasis placed on the visual presentation. Of course that didn't stop Hudson from tossing in some gorgeous backdrops to add a little spice to the experience and, much like the variety in scenery, there's also a rather significant number of musical tracks to keep things moving as well. There's even yet another remix of the classic Tetris theme song that should ring familiar to anyone who's ever played a Tetris game.
Tetris Party Live is yet another solid release in the series, but you can't help but wonder why no download or local multiplayer options were included in the package, especially considering the emphasis on competitive play. Of course, if you're one of those gamers that just can't seem to get enough of the falling block madness and enjoy the idea of competing with other players online, Tetris Party Live should do the job quite nicely.