When you’ve already played a game on four systems but you’re excited to play it on one more, you know you have something special on your hands.
Yes, I’ve already poured hours into Tetris Effect: Connected on PS4, PS5, Xbox and PC, but with it finally releasing on Nintendo Switch last week, I was keen to jump in again. It originally started out as a VR game, but the vivid colours, trance-like patterns and incredible soundtrack translate wonderfully to a flat screen experience. Undoubtedly it’s mind-blowing on a big TV screen, but this audiovisual tour de force works surprisingly well when it’s in your hands too.
Maybe it’s because you’re so much closer to the action; it’s easier for the sights and sounds to wash over you when the screen is only inches away from your face. But Tetris has always been the sort of game that’s easy to appreciate in a handheld format. After all, many of us will have fond memories of playing it on the original Game Boy. It’s come a long way from that tiny dot-matrix screen though; Tetris Effect: Connected is light years away from the two-colour variation of the game from all those years ago. Yet it’s the perfect evolution. It’s the same, easy to pick up game we all love, but delivered in an incredible package.
The core of Tetris Effect: Connected remains its single-player Journey mode. Here, you’ll progress through 27 different stages, with your goal always being the same: clear a set amount of lines. So far, so Tetris. But what sets this apart is the soundtrack and the visuals accompanying the gameplay. The music is simply beautiful; as you move from one stage to another, the soundtrack changes, sometimes drastically, with the visuals cycling to match.
Some people have described Tetris Effect: Connected as being an emotional experience; certainly, I can understand how the music can be moving and stirring. For me, though, it’s simply a wonderous sight to behold. Tetris has always been one of my go-to games when I want to switch off and relax. Tetris Effect takes that to the next level by stimulating my brain in a completely new way. Who knew a game about stacking up falling blocks could be so beautiful?
Outside of Journey mode, you can jump into Effect mode, which lets you choose from a variety of quick game types. For the ones you’re likely familiar with, there’s Marathon mode, which challenges you to get the best score you can with a 150-line limit; Ultra, a three-minute high score battle; Sprint, a challenge to clear 40 lines as fast as you can; and Master, simply dubbed as “insanely fast Tetris”. There’s also a range of other modes, based around Tetris Effect‘s different musical tracks and settings, and more challenging modes that throw various challenges at you.
On top of all of that, there are also numerous multiplayer modes, from which Tetris Effect: Connected gets its name. Originally released as a single-player only experience known as Tetris Effect, the multiplayer modes were introduced last year, spawning a new version of the game known as Tetris Effect: Connected. There are four main multiplayer modes: Zone Battle, which pits you against one other player; Score Attack and Classic Score Attack, another head-to-head mode that simply challenges you to get the highest score; and Connected, which sees you team up with two other players to defeat an AI-controlled ‘Boss’.
Connected is perhaps the most interesting of all of Tetris Effect: Connected‘s multiplayer modes, and if you’re anything like me it’s where you’ll end up gravitating towards every time you play. With two other players, you’ll each have your own space to play in; like normal, you’ll simply be trying to clear lines. Occasionally you’ll be attacked by the ‘boss’, who’ll either litter your screen with a few rogue blocks or perform another attack, like dropping an oversized tetromino. But, every so often, all three players’ spaces will combine, making one giant Tetris playing field. You’ll have to work together to clear as many lines as possible with the other players. When you’re in a game where everyone flawlessly works together, it feels magical.
Any of the multiplayer modes can be played online, either in a ranked match or by teaming up with friends, or locally. And, if you’re playing online, this is a game that supports cross-play, so there’s always a good chance that you’ll find someone to play with.
Tetris Effect: Connected is perhaps the best Tetris will ever be. If you enjoy the classic block puzzle game and like the idea of playing to a backdrop of beautiful audio and visuals, then you’ll absolutely love it. With a huge amount of content, including a truly original multiplayer mode, this really is an incredible game – and it feels right at home in a handheld format. Sorry Tetris 99, you’re not the Switch’s best Tetris game anymore.
Tetris Effect: Connected Review – GameSpew’s Score