As a teeny bit of a Tetris fanatic, owning a total of 5 different versions so far (Xbox 360 Tetris Evolution, XBLA Tetris Splash, Tetris DS and Tetris Party Deluxe on both the Wii and DS), to say I'm looking forward to Tetris on the 3DS is a bit of an understatement - especially when I realised it was a sequel of sorts to the awesome Tetris Party Deluxe, with a whole slew of new modes added. Back in June, we took a quick look at some of the game modes – both old and new - that were slated to appear in the new game, but, thanks to their somewhat obscure names, even we weren't entirely sure what some of the modes, like 'Jigsaw' and 'Fever', were about. Until now.
At the massive German gaming expo, Gamescom in Cologne, we were like a childs in a sweet shop in Nintendo's booth. First Kirby's Adventure Wii, then Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 combined to make us giddy as a fish - and then, we spotted it. Tetris 3DS. Cue the game bathed in white light, with angelic music, followed by a slo-mo of us running, shoving people out the way to the tune of Chariots of Fire.
Our sweaty little palms clasped to the lovely plastic of the 3DS, we couldn't launch the demo quick enough. Hammering the A button, the launch screen gave way, to be replaced by a cascading list of modes. Which one to try first - there were too many! After much deliberation, we went for one we'd never heard of before, called 'Jigsaw'. In this mode, little square pieces, each with a chunk of a picture on it, fall from above instead of the usual Tetris pieces. As they drop, it's up to you to figure out what part of the picture you've got, and where it's meant to go, rotating it, and dropping into place as quickly as you can – which turns out to be a lot harder than it initially might sound, especially when there seems to be a dozen identical looking pieces with blue sky and the edge of the orange creature we were supposed to be making...
After securing our victory on Jigsaw mode, we then tried our hand at the new Fever mode, which is frantic to say the least. You're tasked with clearing as many lines as you can in a set time limit, in the same way you would on a normal Tetris game - only this time, you have some help, in the shape of some items that can blow up a number of lines at once (new items are obtained from SpotPass). Every so often, the screen will change to a grid entirely made out of one shape – and it's up to you to clear the screen using just that one shape.
Finally, there was the new Fit mode - which, unfortunately, isn't Tetris' answer to Zumba Fitness, but instead has a grid floating in mid-air, gradually moving towards you, with a fair few holes in. It's your job to twist Tetriminos and fire them at the gaps to try and fill them in before the grid grows to fill your screen, when it's Game Over. They start off simple, with just one obviously-orientated hole for a single Tetrimino, but then progress to much more complicated multi-piece holes.
Jigsaw, Fit and Fever are only a tiny portion of the modes on offer, though, as there's more than twenty different takes on Tetris in total. Ranging from the bog-standard Marathon mode, where you're tasked with clearing as many lines as you can while battling against the faster and faster falling shapes; to Shadow, which has you filling in an outline with Tetris pieces to make a picture; and Stage Racer, where you have to navigate a single piece through a narrow course to the bottom, there's a huge variety of modes - which is impressive for a game that's effectively one big jigsaw. Being a 3DS game, it features a few nifty Augmented Reality modes too, like AR Marathon and AR Field Climber (where you need to create 'steps' of Tetris pieces to help the man get to the top), letting you play these on whatever surface you can lay an AR "?" card on - a sleeping cat, stuck to the front of the fridge, or on a younger sibling's head.
One thing we loved about the Tetris Party Deluxe series was the reams and reams of multiplayer options – like co-operative Tetris, where you and a friend could work together in a Marathon-style mode, which made a nice change from the usual competitive sending-lines-at-each-other modes tacked on to most puzzle games (which was also included, if you're particularly fond of that). The 3DS also gets a load of multiplayer options, including a version of the new Fever mode for two to eight players, as well as Marathon and VS Battle modes, all with the option for Download Play. When playing with people who also have the game, a whole load of other modes are available – like VS Battle, VS Stage Racer, VS Shadow Wide, VS Capture and a Co-op version of Tower Climber.
Tetris 3DS is due out in October this year – until then, I only have one thing left to say: