(GB / Game Boy)

Tetris (GB / Game Boy)

Game Review

Tetris Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

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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User Comments (54)



JGMR said:

One of these games on which I already spent thousands of hours... It remains my favorite version.



bezerker99 said:

This is my favorite version of Tetris. I bought a 2nd copy of the cart when I lost my original a few years back. So glad this was released on 3DS VC. I feel like I've stepped into a time warp with this game!



Corbs said:

I'll take this version of Tetris over any other. Still love sitting down with this game to this very day.



Jfilesguy said:

The original Game Boy version NLife gave a 10/10, but GB Tetris has lost a bit of it's greatness since multiplayer has been removed AND you can get Tetris Party Live for just 1 buck more with online multiplayer

I still got this game on a wim and it is a worthy addition to the VC. All we need now is Wario Land and Pokemon Red or Blue (or Yellow) and we will have every GB game we need on VC



TwilightV said:

Actually, the tetris I remember is the NES version, but i'll still give this a play eventually.



Link79 said:

I'm with Corbs on this one. No other version compares.
Still just as addictive and fun as it ever was.
Unless online play is a big deal to you it's a must have.



StarDust4Ever said:

Can I say "Awesome!"
Honestly, I thought this day would never come. The original Game Boy Tetris is the second best Tetris ever made (Best Tetris ever was the NES Tengen version - take that, Nintendo!). Stardust goes off to download immediately.....



Sneaker13 said:

For me, this is still the best Tetris game out there. I'm really annoyed with most games which let you move and rotate the piece while it's already on the ground. So I still love this game, but won't buy it. Still have the original cartridge.



blackknight77 said:

I'm so happy this was on the VC. Its really an essential title for the VC service. Now how about those NES versions please?



skywake said:

@Jfilesguy Every GB game we need? No way! Still don't have Dr Mario here and even if we did there's no Donkey Kong Land yet.

..... and surely some more obscure ones I can't remember or don't know about



ToneDeath said:

Was the Game Boy Color version, Tetris DX inferior in any way? I'm just a little surprised they didn't use that version instead, like they did with Link's Awakening.

I've downloaded it anyway. I remember watching a friend play this on his Game Boy and thinking it looked boring compared to the games I played (Mario, Sonic etc...). It wasn't until I bought The New Tetris for the N64 that I learnt what all the fuss was about, and what a foolish child I had been.



iphys said:

Tetris DX didn't have the same great music, and it was easier to keep playing at the top speed so the game didn't have the same challenge as this one. Now that we can save high scores, the only real advantage to DX was the colour, but being as the colours were non-standard it's almost more confusing to play it.



TheGreenSpiny said:

@6 Jfilesguy: Still quite few more gameboy titles we need. I'm waiting for Final Fantasy Adventure.

@skywake: Do we really need Dr. Mario now that we have Dr. Wario?



grumblegrumble said:

I've got Tetris: Axis, Tetris Party Live and of course I had to get this version, too. It's the version I grew up with (with my cousin's Gameboy which I borrowed much too often) and it's a fantastic addictive game, as great as it ever was, with increased difficulty without the modern bells and whistles of the newer releases. It gets a 10 in my book!



JJtheTexan said:

Played this to death on my Game Boy many years ago, and loved Tetris DX on GBC even more... still I have a hard time justifying a purchase with Tetris Axis on hand.



Geonjaha said:

Would probably have gotten it if there wasnt a DSiWare version - but I promised myself not to buy any more DSiWare - so no buying for me. :3
Sound logic for saving the money obviously.



sykotek said:

This is THE definitive version of Tetris! None of that... being able to continually spin your piece garbage that has plagued modern Tetris games. You think Tetris is easy noobs, play this one.

This is the only Tetris game I lose at before hitting the highest speed level and I love it!



Cengoku said:

My last Tetris is Tetris DS and I'll never buy another Tetris game, the DS version was great and in your life, you have to try other experiences for puzzle games. Now, i'm busy with Art Style games, Wakagumi, and Pull Blox



Bliquid said:

Now i'll make an unpopular comment, but i completely disagree with Big N's policy on prices, especially this time.
Tetris GB is a great nostalgic piece of software, but it came for free along with the Game Boy itself.
Now it is asked to pay 4 (FOUR!) Euros for a 20 years old game in black and white which, btw, has seen so many less expensive and (arguably) better re-releases i can't even count them.
I don't want to make cheap comparisons regarding the fun provided ( tetris is almost surely the most addictive game in history, and it's fun as ever), but Infinity Blade on iPhone cost 99 cents more.
What i'm saying is that the market IS changing, and Nintendo is speculating with the old excuse of giving the correct value to games.
I think that values should be decided by customers, and buying nonsensely without questioning pricing politics isn't doing any good to the final users.
Sorry if this took too long



misswliu81 said:

i used to play this on the gameboy for hours all those years ago. it is still one of my favourite games, ever, as well as my favourite puzzle game ever.

glad to see this on the 3DS V.C.



JoeDiddley said:

I downloaded this straight away. It holds so much nostaligia for me & it has the best Tetris soundtrack.

I never really play Tetris Party Live online & I might just back it up to my SD card.
Tetris vc loads straight from my SD card, Tetris Party Live doesn't & I don't have space for all of my DSiWare games.



gusmento01 said:

I still have the original, I bought at EbGames when I went to U.S back 2007 for 0,99 so really want the DX version instead.



SezeMakto said:

My original thoughts from another post:

I'd rather have Tetris DX, same game with 3 upgrades: better interactive music, 3 save files, and a little thing I like called "color". However, this will do, as I never thought they would do a licensed game like Tetris.

Tetris GB is, along with Tetris DX, a Tetris game WITHOUT game breaking infinite spin. Seriously, this saps the frantic fun out of single player if you can infinite spin a single piece for 3.5 hours (which is how long your 3DS battery will last - zing!). So really you need two versions, non-infinate spinning Tetris GB (or Tetris DX) for single player, and online Tetris DS (or Tetris Axis) for multi player.

In my day, if you where on or above level 9, you better have a spot picked out for your piece mighty quick, cus it was falling fast and locking on touchdown. The fun was not in maxing out the score numbers or level speed to teleporting infinite spin time so you could never "die", but in just how long you could last, cus like the Russian in Rocky 4, this Russian game will break you!



Fuzzy said:

Want Tetris on my 3DS, and I think this will be the one I'll get. Love that old-school theme.



grumblebuzzz said:

I always liked the Russian music in this version. The other versions with the bells and whistles never got the music really right.



bezerker99 said:

IIRC, Miyamoto wanted to release Super Mario Land as the game that came boxed in with the Gameboy. It was some ppl on his staff that suggested he go with a more clever, smarter, and mature title in Tetris. Shiggy showed guts by taking his staff's advice and the decision to abandon his famed plumber for an obscure puzzler game ended up being bloody brilliant!!!



wolfhound91W said:

This game is a must have for anyone who played in when it came out, even if you already have Tetris Party Live. For the price of 1 large cheeseburger, you can't go wrong. This game bring me back to when I first got the original Gameboy. I hope they come out with the Final Fantasy Legend Series someday... or Final Fantasy Adventure even.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Played the NES version a lot with my daddy when we got the system bundle with SMB / Tetris / Nintendo World Cup in the early 90's.
And this is the only game my ma ever played a lot. She had a cheaper Game & Watch kind of portable with only some Tetris on it. Okay, she also likes Kawashima, Dr. Mario, memory games and Wii Sports but she wouldn't ever get a console for these.

With the NES version still in my posession the only draw for me would have been multiplayer.



Tethers said:

If you compare it to "Tetris Party Live", this GB-Tetris version ist way too overpriced...



Satans_Therapist said:

I'm put off by the price too and I think I'd
prefer the dx version.

I'm still tempted but that could be the nostalga
playing with my mind.



Jfilesguy said:

@skywake I'm going from the point of view from a yun-ng who doesn't remember the good old days and wanna play the best GB games around, Dr. Mario is point-less because there's already a DSiWare version, and unlike Tetris, the GB version isn't that popular. DKL doesn't get love because most of them young wipper-snapers would rather play DKC, not saying it wouldn't be a great VC game, just that we can wait a little more.

@TheDarkness need is one thing, want really really badly is another. Final Fantasy Adventure is one of the latter, other examples of that are the Game Boy Wars series, Kirby's Dream Land 2, and Mega Man 2-5



atariman said:

I have the GameBoy, and I have Tetris for it. Its a great game! I play it alot. I give it an 8/10.



Hokori said:

Now Tetris party live is... Not live on the eshop I got this one and it's great to know it'll always be with me until I die



NeoZuko said:

I found Tetris DX to be faster at sliding the falling piece left to right than Tetris GB. I prefer Tetris DX for that, dynamic music and color. The only thing I really miss from the Tetris GB was the garbage clear mode. But the best part was both had non infinate spin. In fact I really really hope Tetris DX comes to the 3DS VC. That said I still enjoy Tetris DS the most, go figure.



ericthecheese said:

So many memories with this Tetris! It may not have all the extra features that we are used to in puzzle games, but man, a ton of fun still. That sound effect when you score a Tetris...



Poketendo said:

still debating whether I should get this one with a €2 game, or just Punch-Out!! mmm... I'll see.



OneBagTravel said:

Amazing game and what I feel is the perfect Tetris game. Nostalgia overload and I'm so glad they released it for the eShop.

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