I feel a bit silly trying to come up with an introduction to whatâ€™s probably the most popular game ever created â€“ is there anyone who reads NZGamer.com who hasnâ€™t played Tetris at one time or another? Tetris is the ultimate concept for a game; itâ€™s quick, easy and addictive. You canâ€™t really blame Nintendo for releasing another version on to the market; time and time again we guiltily return to Tetris, the same way that vegetarians slink back to bacon. Itâ€™s just that good.
Even describing it sounds silly: players rotate falling colourful shapes made of blocks (tetriminos) in a way that makes them lock together when they land. If you line up a whole unbroken row of blocks, that row disappears, clearing more room on the screen for more falling tetriminos, that are by this stage falling just that little bit faster â€“ all while accompanied to the Russian folk song, Korobeiniki. (Factoid: the original Tetris on the NES was accompanied by Tchaikovskyâ€™s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from the Nutcracker Suite.)
And so now we have a new version of Tetris, the jauntily-named Tetris Party Deluxe, for both the Wii and DS. The essential feature of both versions is the multiplayer option (available in the past on various PC versions, and the excellent, though reasonably hard to find Tetris DS, which isnâ€™t being released new anymore) although there are quite a few different game modes on offer in addition to the basic block-building game.
The DS title gives you a few different options, depending on whether you and your friends each have a copy of the game. VS Battle, and Co-op Tetris, are available for DS Download Play (where just one person has a copy of the game) but more options open up in Wireless Play, including VS Shadow, where players place blocks over an existing shadowy shape, to reveal the object casting the shadow; VS Field Climber, where you race to help a figure climb upward, one block at a time; and VS Sprint, where you compete to see who can clear 40 rows first.
The Wii has a similar setup, with multiplayer options including the above, as well as some interesting other options, including co-op vs co-op, where you compete two-on-two. The Wii also has options to let you play over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, against players all over the world. Both games have support for voice, with Wii Speak Chat and DS microphone chat available in the battle room.
There is also plenty here for the single player, with options for beginner games, marathons, Field Climber, Shadow and Sprint, as well as the very satisfying Bombliss Mode, which lets you destroy blocks by detonating bombs.
Itâ€™s worth pointing out that Tetris Party Deluxe is an expansion of the WiiWare game TetrisParty, but if you donâ€™t already have this, then Iâ€™d recommend going for Party Deluxe â€“ especially for the Wii, as, in addition to great single and multiplayer support, the game also lets you play with either the standard Wiimote + nunchuck, or your choice of the classic controller, balance board or steering wheel.
All up, while Tetris itself isnâ€™t new by any stretch of the imagination, there are enough other new gameplay variations, as well as multiplayer modes, to make this a solid addition to any gamerâ€™s collection â€“ and a must-have for puzzle fans.