HandsOn The Tetris Effect is VR Puzzle Nirvana

first_imgStay on target One of my core gaming beliefs is that communist puzzle masterpiece Tetris is one of, if not the only, truly perfect video game. And that foundational perfection is so strong it’s hard to mess up. Additions like Puyo Puyo blobs or all the Nintendo bells and whistles of Tetris DS just make Tetris better. Really, the only bad Tetris games are inexplicably lazy efforts from the likes of Ubisoft and EA that somehow manage to have connectivity issues and bad framerates… in Tetris!Even for a Tetris game though The Tetris Effect has had us giddy with excitement us ever since its surprise reveal just before this E3. One, it’s just a fantastic name, referencing the hypnotic phenomenon endemic to puzzle games where players see blocks falling even when the game is turned off. But more importantly, virtual reality rights loopholes have allowed trance gaming god Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Rez and Lumines to finally make a Tetris game after years of trying. And the result is as mind-expanding as you’d expect.On a basic level, The Tetris Effect is still Tetris. You’re still dropping four-piece blocks down the well to build and clear lines. You can still spin and fast drop blocks or hold that precious long piece for a later combo. You know what Tetris is and this is still that. Even with PlayStation VR you’re not like moving your head to catch Tetris pieces falling all around you. You’re looking at a standard Tetris field floating in front of you in space.However, there is one major new gameplay addition in the form of the Zone Meter. Once filled, you can enter the Zone to freeze time for a few seconds. While in the Zone, any lines you clear are banked without changing the layout. After you leave the Zone you then get the entire combo simultaneously, possibly clearing like eight or twelve lines at once and seeing insane words like “Dodecahetris.” It’s a brilliant new challenge for people who are already great at Tetris but feel confined by the current four-line limit. The kind of “thinking eight moves ahead” macro planning you’d have to do to max out this combo system makes the mind race with puzzle possibilities.But even as a normal Tetris experience The Tetris Effect feels fresh just through its presentation. Unsurprising from the man who made Rez, The Tetris Effect places a heavy emphasis on syncing the gameplay with trippy music and lights. Songs, sound effects, and art styles change as you progress through stages, like skins in Lumines. Mandalas made of shimmering particles shift and spin and explode while a woman sings about our hearts all being connected.It’s all so cool and pairs perfectly with the way puzzle games harmoniously reshape your brain, the titular “Tetris Effect.” Playing this all in VR (which is optional) completes the experience of sensory synesthetic cohesion between gameplay, visuals, and sound.I rarely need an excuse to play more Tetris. But The Tetris Effect offers a tantalizing chance to completely seal myself off into an entire world of Tetris, like drowning in the most soothing ocean. We’ll see if I can pull myself back when The Tetris Effect launches later this year on PlayStation 4. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

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