'Tetris Party' Hands-On

'Tetris Party' Hands-On

By Stephen Johnson - Posted Oct 06, 2008

It's easy to forget how awesome Tetris is--after all, you can play it on just about anything, and it's been around awhile, so we're happy to have a reminder of why Tetris rules so much in the form of upcoming WiiWare game Tetris Party. 

We're sure you're asking yourself, "Okay, I like Tetris, but how, exactly, is it a party?" Well, Tetris Party takes perhaps the least party-oriented game ever and makes it into a social game with a variety of new online and local multiplayer options, plus, it allows for control through the balance board. Through the new play modes, fresh life is breathed into this classic, Soviet-era puzzle game.

Here are the new modes:

Duel Spaces: This twist on Tetris is a turn-based territory acquisition game where the object is to mark off areas of the playing field with your falling blocks. Players take turns trying to own as much of the board as possible. It's very simple to learn, but seems to have nearly unlimited strategic potential. It's a little tough to explain, but it's absolutely impossible to play only once. You will demand a rematch from whoever you play, trust us.

Field Climber: In this Tetris variant, the goal is to guide a little walking man to specific spots on the board. You do this by building steps to tiny flags, while avoiding dropping your bricks on the tiny dude. If you box him in, you have to clear lines to free him, and if you drop one on his head, he dies and you lose. Meanwhile, up to three other players are trying to guide their man to his home at the same time. It's silly and fun, and definite change from regular Tetris.

Stage Racer: This variation transforms Tetris from a puzzle game into a vertical racer, where players compete to guide their pieces through a maze in the fastest time possible. You must be very fast with the twists and turns and try hard not corner yourself. It's fast paced, and original.

Shadow: In this Tetris variation, you work to build specific shapes with your falling pieces, either alone or in competition.

Balance Board: Tetris Party comes with a beginner's variation of the classic game, with a smaller field and smaller blocks, which seems odd--is there anyone on earth who's a beginner at Tetris? But when you play with the Balance Board it makes sense. Squat to rotate, lean forward to drop, and side to side to move your pieces back and forth. It controls pretty well, actually, but we probably wouldn't play this way more than once. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Battle Royale: Up to six players get together and Tetris it up using the Wii's online connection.

Along with these new modes, Tetris Party comes packed with the original one-player mode, traditional Vs. mode, and even a Vs. mode that includes Mario Kart style items to hurl at opponents.

While a few of the new game modes seem like they'd get tired fast, Tetris Party is an awful lot of game for only 1,200 Wii Points, and, it's based on one of the most time-tested game concepts in history, so you will not be disappointed. Tetris is so great, it would be worth it for just the original game. In fact, we love Tetris so much, we're going to marry it. And then we're going to throw a huge Tetris Party instead of a reception.

Here's a trailer for you:

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