Tetris has never really been too far away from gamers' minds, or the general public. One of the most popular puzzle games of all time, the 1989 original sold more than 35 million copies and has managed to stay relevant ever since. On its 30th anniversary, the Tetris Co and Nintendo (the company that gave the game its original home) have surprised fans yet again, with Tetris 99.
The core gameplay of Tetris hasn't changed in 99, with blocks known as tetrominoes (shapes consisting of 4 blocks) slotting into a playing field of ten squares wide by eighteen squares high, where the aim of the game is to create lines in the playing field, for them to disappear. However, the biggest draw of the game is its online connectivity and ability to play against ninety-eight other players. While Battle Royale modes in games are gaining massively in popularity, with titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends standing head and shoulders above the rest, Tetris 99 is by far the most enjoyable Tetris game we’ve played since 2017's Puyo Puyo Tetris. Though the gameplay hasn't changed at all since the original, it is that familiarity that makes it incredibly accessible, even to new players.
While not the most complex game, it is very challenging. Tetris has always managed to make it about you versus the game, pitting your wits against an AI. However, with ninety-eight other players to contend with, it takes the challenge and ramps it up to 11. It is an intense, engaging and enjoyable multiplayer game that anyone could pick up and play within a few minutes. The net code is fairly surprising as it runs as smooth as butter, with no lag or slow down, even during long periods of play. But by far the best thing about Tetris 99, its rewarding and engaging gameplay aside, is the price - it’s a free-to-play game, so long as you are a Nintendo Switch Online member.
Tetris 99, while being a modernisation of a tried and tested formula of old, has changed things up enough to make this new addition to the series engaging, frustrating (in a good way) and vastly enjoyable.
DEVELOPER: ARIKA / PUBLISHER: NINTENDO / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW