Saturday, June 29, 2013

Video Game Review: Tetris Party Deluxe for Wii

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Addicting game play that is fun as always, lots of new puzzles
Cons: Let me puzzle that one out - none I can think of
The Bottom Line:
Align falling blocks
To clear lines.  Simple concept
That's still addicting

Just Keep Clearing Those Lines of Blocks

I have been addicted to Tetris since the first time I played it.  While I hate trying to pack stuff in real life, I seem to be able to fit those blocks into just the right spot.  So, naturally, I wanted to get Tetris Party Deluxe when I found out it was available for the Wii.

The idea behind the game is still pretty basic.  Blocks made up of four squares connected in some manner drop from the top of the screen and you have to rotate them and move them left to right to make them fit with each other.  When you completely fill in a line, it goes away.

Since the game is simple, the game controls are fairly simple.  You just need the Wiimote for this one.  The plus pad controls the left and right direction of the block and to drop it fast and faster.  You use the 1 and 2 buttons to rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise.  You can use the A button to take a falling block and save it for later.  Just hit A again, and the block you saved will switch with the currently falling block.  That's a new to me feature that I love.

And it can really be that simple.  You can go in and play by yourself for hours trying to rack up the highest score by clearing lines (clearing multiple lines at once gives you a higher score).  They even have a simpler version they call Beginner Tetris that has simpler pieces and a smaller play field.  But it can also get much more complicated than that.

Before I move on, I should mention you can play this game with your Wii Balance Board.  I don't have one, so I don't know how that works.

Now, let's discussion the variations and puzzles.  For the single player, there are all kinds of options.  You can play against the computer (although it seemed a little easy to me).  You can take the challenge to fill in a certain area or get a climber through a series of gates as you fill in the pieces.  You can race to clear 40 lines.  And they have Bombliss, which is the puzzle modes from the Gameboy Tetris Blast.  In this mode, you have to clear lines with bombs in them and blow up the bombs to actually clear the lines.  I loved Tetris Blast and wish they included the free play version here, but I'll certainly take this.

So, you want to play with your friends?  Great, you can have up to four people playing at one time.  The big change here is that when you clear multiple lines, your opponent gets those lines, but if you only clear one line it goes away.  That's always a challenge to me because I'm more of a clear lines as quickly as possible guy instead of building to multiple lines at once.  It's a very different mindset, but if you can get into it, you'll do well.  You can actually play many of the single player games in multiplayer versions as well.  There's also a co-op version where you work with a friend to clear lines on one screen.

Then there are items.  When you are playing against someone, you can chose to have items involved.  These range from speeding up your opponents blocks to hiding someone's queue to sending random squares to your opponents pieces or clearing a bunch of your own lines.  These items hide in blocks that fall, and when you clear the line with the item in it, you get the chance to use it.  Just press the B button to cause all kinds of extra mayhem.  It can be frustrating at times when you are struggling and someone hits you with smoke, for example, but it's fun to do that yourself.  It makes it an extra challenge.

Still not enough?  You can go on-line and play against up to 5 opponents from around the world (or your friends if they have the game and are signed in).  For the Wi-Fi version, you only have the option of playing the traditional building and clearing lines version, although you can play with the items.  I must admit, I am sad at this game on-line.  I tend to lose almost all the time.  But it's still fun to play and try to do better.

There was a version of Tetris Party you could buy over WiiWare that includes the items and original game play.  You could play it against friends or over Wi-Fi.  Yes, I have that, and I enjoy it, but I like all the additional variations this game offers.  Yes, I tend to play traditional Tetris the most, but those variations are fun for something different, and just as addicting.

And let me tell you, this game is a couple decades old and still addicting.  I can start playing, and an hour has passed without me even realizing it.  Just one more game becomes my mantra until I finally give in and turn it off.  It's really that much fun.

The graphics are.  There isn't much more to say about them.  There is some nice detail in the background, but I am always focusing on the falling blocks of squares.  Since those blocks are the real focus of the game, it's fairly basic.  I never find the graphics an issue for game play.

Likewise, the sound is simple.  You get some music on the menus, but when playing, you get a few game play noises, but that's about it.  Since I always turned off the music in the older Tetris games I have, that's a good thing in my eyes.

Tetris is a classic, and I've loved many of the variations over the years.  Tetris Party Deluxe is another winner in that very long line.

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