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TETRIS EFFECT

by R. L. LASTER about a month ago in product review

Review by R. L. LASTER

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THIS IS NOT A GAME. IT'S AN EXPERIENCE.

Ever since CoVid-19, my guilty pleasure has been a GAMES FOR PC called Tetris Effect. It's the only game I have installed on my HP PAVILLION x360 (touch-screen 2-in-1) PC. I also have it on my PS4 with VR enabled. I can't say enough about this game. The visuals, the audio, the relaxation... After I compose this article, I know what I'll be doing until I go to bed. Let's get into this.

Tetris Effect is classified as a tile-matching, puzzle, video game that's developed by Japanese studios MONSTARS and RESONAIR and published by ENHANCE GAMES. The game was released worldwide exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and features support for the PlayStation VR. Here are a few stats. Initial release date: November 9, 2018 , Designer: Tetsuya Mizuguchi , Engine: Unreal Engine 4 , Developers: RESONAIR, MONSTARS, Stage Games , Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One

Tetris Effect blends the world of visionary studio Enhance with the time-tested, near-perfect rules of Tetris for a euphoric sensory experience. It's finally out on PC. With enhanced visuals, it looks better than ever. Tetris Effect is a gorgeous spectacle to dive into on the PS4, especially on a 4K-resolution display with HDR enabled. And if you own a PlayStation VR headset like I do, the optional virtual reality mode turns this game into an entirely different experience. It’s one thing to play it on a 4K TV; it’s another to play it in VR and see snowflakes swirl and dance around you on a gorgeous mountain peak under the setting sun.

The PC version features support for both the HTC VIVE and the Oculus Rift. In regular 2D mode, you can crank those particle effects up and even unlock the frame rate on your monitor if you disable V-Sync. I played it in native 4K resolution with all of the settings on high, and I began to notice things I hadn’t previously paid attention to, like how detailed the lily pads floating in the water are. It really does feel like the PC version gets to go wild on performance.

Tetris Effect plays on the PC just like it does on the PS4, which is fantastic news. You can even play with whatever gamepad you want, including options for mouse and keyboard and the controllers for the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift. I personally love to play with my white Hori Mini Wired Gamepad for PS4. It’s got the perfect D-pad, and the shoulder buttons are easy to press to quickly hold blocks.

In addition to the graphical flourishes, the PC version also brings a few Effect Mode changes into the mix. Relax Mode’s Chill Marathon and Quick Play now let you set a limit for lines of up to 600 total, up from the PS4’s total of 150, so you can zone out to your favorite level for an extended session.

Quick Play also has a “Constant Speed Level” option for those who want to set a really difficult speed and practice their Tetris Master skills without the need to gradually increase the speed. I didn’t think Tetris Effect could get any better, but I’m happy to be surprised.

Whether on CRT monitors, HDTVs, or the Game Boy’s monochromatic display, Tetris has long been a reliable source of entertainment (and jaw-clenching stress) for puzzle-seeking players. Its elegant simplicity has made it an enduring success, but with Tetris Effect, MONSTARS INC. and RESONAIR shows that it’s possible to wring a few surprises from the classic game while respecting its primordial core. Tapping into their mastery of melding flashy audiovisual presentations with interlinked gameplay, the team has created a breathtaking interpretation of Tetris that makes the game feel fresh.

In Tetris Effect’s showcase mode, Journey, you travel through a variety of vignettes while playing Tetris. The sound builds and morphs as you play, accompanied by dazzling visuals. A wintry theme might incorporate the rhythmic sounds of crunching snow as you set blocks in place, with jingling bells sounding with their rotations. You delve deeper into a space capsule while you clear lines, as snippets of transmissions play in sync with the thumping soundtrack and your positioning of the blocks. The tetronimos change with each level, too, though those are just cosmetic adjustments. Functionally, a block is a block, whether it’s made of shimmering bubbles or rotating cogs.

It’s hypnotic and wonderful, and a fantastic partner to the “in the zone” sensation that accompanies particularly good games of Tetris. I found myself instinctively rotating blocks in sync with the beat, and while it didn’t offer any benefits as far as scores went, it pulled me deeper into the game. The beats build and recedes like a great concert, culminating in a final level that is nothing short of magnificent. The visuals are amazing on traditional displays, but having your entire field of view enveloped by exploding particles and warping backdrops adds to the immersion – something I never thought I’d be concerned with in Tetris.

The biggest tweak to the overall formula in Journey is the time-stopping Zone mechanic, which gives you precious time to fix a few blunders or to finesse your way to even higher scores. One of my favorite things about Tetris is how you can extricate yourself from seemingly impossible situations; effective use of Zone makes those moments even more frequent. You have to earn it first, however, by clearing lines the old-fashioned way. Still, it’s a good thing to have in your back pocket for when you need it.

A variety of other options offer further twists on Tetris’ core. In Sprint, you try to clear 40 lines as quickly as possible. Marathon mode challenges you to eliminate 150 lines, which is easier said than done. In Purify, you have to clear dark blocks from the field by clearing lines around them. Mystery mode is one of my favorites even though it made me want to punch walls; random effects like bombs, reversed controls, and other nuisances crop up as you play a marathon session. Even though you’re ultimately just clearing lines in all of these modes, they’re a fun and rewarding way to mix things up when you hit a wall. While I’d argue it would largely be missing the point, you can turn down the visual effects and music and just play a great game of Tetris, too, with a variety of customization options such as how many blocks appear in the preview panes and how rotation works once a tetronimo lands.

The fundamentals may be recognizable, but Tetris Effect feels like something new rather than another reskin of the same old game. The presentation is such a natural fit for the gameplay, and it adds an unexpected layer of emotion. There’s a phenomenon in video games that people call “the zone”: a state of mind-body oneness where your reflexes and senses feel that they are operating without conscious input. The zone isn’t the territory of blockbuster shooters or narrative adventures: it is the domain of puzzle and rhythm games, arcade shmups, games about patterns and reflexes. These are games that temporarily and pleasurably hijack your neural pathways.

This might sound ridiculous, but the result is that Tetris Effect has a powerful emotional impact. As you clear blocks in the very first stage, sound builds from ambient strings and odd nature-inspired noises to full song. Forms of humans, whales and plants briefly materialize and disappear from luminescent particles that pulse to the beat. This is one stage of 30: others take the imagery in directions that evoke Earth, water and the human experience, sometimes replicating the imagery that the brain idly generates for itself, from interlocking cogs to unsettling fire, pulsing geometry to deserts, space and the sky. The music shifts from sounds of sand and nature to electronic beats, drums and human voices, combining all of them in its most euphoric moments.

Euphoric is the best word for Tetris Effect. It makes my skin tingle and my mind sink into a state of receptive bliss. It is, somehow, a puzzle game about the extraordinary experience of being alive on this Earth. And if that sounds totally insane: try it. You’ll soon understand.

Enter Tetris Effect, fittingly named for the hypnagogic hallucinations experienced by people who’ve spent so much time stacking blocks that they visualize falling tetrominos whilst falling asleep, or idly imagine arranging furniture into neat lines. First released last year on PlayStation 4 and newly available on PC, it is a sumptuous, mind-altering, humanist interpretation of the classic Soviet puzzle game. It combines the simple, pleasing act of fitting shapes together until they disappear with intense visual backdrops and dynamic music that shifts and bends around your play. If you have the equipment, it does all of this in sensorial immersive virtual reality. MONSTARS INC. and RESONAIR should be commended for taking a calculated risk and delivering its own unique take on a gaming standard.

How long does the Tetris effect last?

The quick answer to the question of how long it'll take you to beat Journey Mode in Tetris Effect is this. Connected is anywhere between 1 and 3 hours. Completion time primarily depends on the difficulty level you're playing on and how fast you are at clearing lines in Tetris.

Here are some (gamer) reviews I agree with.

"As someone who always looked at Tetris as a waste of time and too 'retro' to be enjoyable, this game completely altered my opinion. This game represents a perfect pairing of audio/sound and gameplay. Each "level" in this game is actually a different song that you play Tetris to. When you rotate a block or place it, a musical cue is played that fits perfectly with the song that is the "theme" of the level. Every 12 completed lines, the song amps up in complexity and layers and the blocks fall faster. By the time you are at max complexity, the game becomes an insane yet beautiful audio/visual experience! Meanwhile, there is all these cool neon effects happening all around the TETRIS board that threaten to distract you, but they fit perfectly with the music. What a fantastic experience of a game!" - Callingout Thecraziness

"Tetris effect was made to soothe the player as he plays the game. Any gamer that has a good experience in video games has figured out what makes them good at the game, I refer to this as your zone. Your zone is when you lose all sense of reality around you for brief seconds, minutes, or sometimes whole gaming sessions. Tetris effect was made to put you in this zone effect more easily and lets the player relax. What is most interesting is how the zone is achieved. It's all in the effects the game has while you're playing along with the music, it's very soothing and relaxing so it boosts your zone so it's easier to do and it's better than what it normally is in other games. I personally think everyone should try the game because of how well made it is. If the developers see this, I encourage you to put the game on trial." - Alexander Bright

"I played for 10 hours. XBOne / VR. You know the rules, and so do I". A nice addition to the classic Tetris. The dancing visuals and continuously morphing music that adapts to your gameplay are really well executed. You have various challenges and multiplayer modes. It really is a calming and soothing experience. If you can give it a try in VR, it is also totally worth it! Story: 7/10 - Gameplay: 10/10 - Graphics/Physics: 9,5/10 - Music/Sound: 9,9/10 - Overall: 8,97/10" - Alexandr Rosca

"This game is amazing, love the classic score attack, which is a accurate mirror of the NES Tetris tournaments. my only suggest Would Be to add a 'rematch' button so you can play again with the same person. All of the single and local player aspect is perfect, I love playing with my family members and over all, It’s worth the money. I 100% recommend to anyone this is a great game for beginners an amazing game for experienced players." - Damian Garcia

"As a fairly large fan of TETRIS, I figured the Zones Mode would be just a complete afterthought, but boy was I wrong. While it feels a little like a cheat at first, it quickly makes up for that by adding a new level to the game. The goal isn't just to line up perfect TETRIS' anymore, rather try to get as many lines as possible by saving up your zones and lining up pieces. As of now my record is a PERFECTRIS (which is 18 lines at once) and it was one of my proudest gaming moments this year." - Marcus McNugget

"I'm sure every TETRIS game looks the same, but this one is definitely different' and a great way to get into the series, Its got music and rhythm based elements that absolutely make it stand out from every other TETRIS game, the music soundtrack is absolutely what makes it. Please give it a chance!" - Hoodcat

"The music makes me more calm and it's a good escape from reality." - Lochie Burgess

By the way, I love the game so much, I purchased the soundtrack as soon as I found out about it.

You can find out about it on the link below.

product review
R. L. LASTER
R. L. LASTER
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R. L. LASTER

At the age of 25, I discovered my love of research and the divinity within us. If knowledge precedes empowerment, knowing thyself should be everyone's first priority. Understanding the nature man, woman & their dynamic is gratifying.

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