Review: Tetris (3DS eShop / GB)

From Russia with fun

Saying that Tetris shifted a few Game Boys is like saying caffeine sold a few energy drinks. Already an established favourite by the time Nintendo's handheld hit the market in 1989, Tetris proved to be the perfect pick-up-and-play experience to go along with the fledgling portable system; while many people initially questioned the decision by Nintendo to pack-in Tetris instead of Super Mario Land, it certainly proved to be the right decision when it was all said and done. Now all that block-dropping enjoyment comes to the 3DS Virtual Console intact.

Chances are if you're breathing, you know Tetris is a simple puzzle title about various-shaped blocks falling from the top of the screen. You can rotate these blocks around in order to try to fit them together and form horizontal lines across the screen, causing that row to flash and disappear, earning you points in the process. The more rows you can form at one time, the more points you'll score; clearing four rows earns you a "Tetris" which will really score some big points. However, you have to be careful as the blocks will continue to build up on you and once your blocks reach the top of the screen it's game over. What is easily one of the simplest puzzles ever crafted ultimately turns out to be one of the most addictive too.

There are three different modes here. Game A is your standard Tetris game mode and allows you to play as long as you can until your blocks stack up to the top of the screen, with the choice of 10 different starting block-dropping speeds. This is probably the game the majority of people will enjoy the most as it allows you an almost endless playing session — depending on how skilled you are at the game, of course.

Game B changes things up a bit and forces you to remove a set number of rows before your blocks stack up to the top of the screen. While this is fairly easy on the early difficulty settings, you can set the starting speed higher and select from five varying heights of stacked up blocks with which to start the game, making it even more hectic. Once you've removed the required 25 rows, your score is then tallied up based on how many rows you removed in single, double, triple, or Tetris form. While not quite as much fun as the more standard Game A, this game mode is quite good if you only have a few minutes to play and just want a quick Tetris fix.

Regrettably the original Game Boy version's multiplayer mode is absent in this Virtual Console release, a shame considering DSiWare release Tetris Party Live includes online multiplayer and doesn't cost too much more.

Visuals are about what you'd expect from an early Game Boy effort. While there aren't a lot of the flashy backdrops found in other Tetris titles of the time, the blocks themselves are clear, and that's really all that matters.


There have been countless ports of this addictive puzzler made available for just about every electronic device in existence, but the Game Boy version is arguably the most well-loved. This 3DS Virtual Console might seem overpriced in terms of how much content you're getting — and there's no multiplayer, remember — but it's the Tetris you remember, and that's reason enough to give it another look.

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