Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 15/10/2021

TETRIS EFFECT: CONNECTED

PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Since its intial PS4 / PSVR release back in 2018, Tetris Effect has made a name for itself as one of the greatest iterations of the classic block-dropper ever made. Of course, it's fundamentally “just Tetris”, but its emphasis on the audio / visual side of things, intended to take players to an almost spiritual zen-like state where nothing else matters other than those tiny tumbling Tetrominoes, elevates the game way beyond anything you might expect.

The original release divided its gameplay across a 30-stage “Journey” mode and a variety of “Effect” modes which add a host of challenges and change the gameplay up in all kinds of ways. Diffusing bombs, dealing with rogue AI that reverse your controls, disrupting your grid, randomly dropping king-sized blocks and more besides, it was – and still is – incredibly addictive. Very much one of those “how is it 4am?!” games that sends you to sleep with shapes twirling around the back of your eyelids...

Over the last few years, Tetris Effect has expanded into TE: Connected with the addition of a handful of multiplayer modes. In the co-operative Connected mode, three players team up to defeat AI-controlled bossed by building up their “zone” meters before all three players' grids join into one huge single board for a limited time. Here, each person takes turns to place their Tetrominoes and clear lines which, in turn, add junk to the boss' grid. The more bosses you defeat, the more devious their attacks on your board become, making your task increasingly difficult... Then there are the competitive Zone Battle, Score Attack and Classic Score Attack modes, where two players compete against each other using various rules and conditions from both “new” and classic iterations of the game. Even if you're generally not too keen on multiplayer offerings, Tetris lends itself well to playing with others – it's somehow tense and exhilarating yet completely chilled and relaxed at the same time, and Connected mode in particular stands out as a particularly addictive new way of playing a familiar classic.

With TE:C's release on the Switch, it sort of feels like Tetris has come home – if you're of a certain age, you may well remember the time when the game first made a name for itself (at least in the west) on Nintendo's all-conquering Game Boy handheld, so Connected's addition to the Switch library is a more than welcome one indeed. The cross-platform multiplayer works like a dream so there's no shortage of team-mates (or opponents), but even if you're more likely to stick to the single player modes there's more than enough variety to keep you going (especially if you want to unlock all of the available avatars, which will take countless hours). It might be “just Tetris”, but it's difficult to imagine any way that Tetris Effect: Connected could possibly be bettered.