Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
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An Oldie but Goodie!
Tetris DS (DS)
Member Name: Meggysmum
Tetris DS (DS)
Advantages: Easy and addictive
Disadvantages: Lack of scoreboard
Many years ago when my children had Gameboys I discovered the delights of the game of Tetris. It was a game I enjoyed and found a copy that I used to play on my old PC. Eventually all of these bits of tech were replaced and I never game across Tetris again. A year or so ago I remembered the game again and decided to see if I could track down a copy for my Nintendo DS. I was horrified when I found it on Amazon as it was selling at over £30 and although I found the game fun I certainly wasn't paying that sort of cash. Eventually I managed to secure a second-hand copy off eBay at a far more suitable price.
Upon opening the game screen on the DS I realised that there was registration slot so you don't play under your name you simply choose Single Player mode. There is the option to use Multiplayer mode but since I don't have any friends with a DS and my children certainly don't want to play Tetris with their mother I have never used this option either. I did have a look at the instructions though and it appears that you can download the game onto other Ninendo DS consoles to play in Multiplayer; each player does not need their own game card.
As with most games there is an Options selection which does not offer anything very interesting. You can change the Hard Drop facility which makes a piece fall immediately or the Ghost piece option which allows you to see exactly where the piece will land. You can also change the music but since I always play my DS with the volume off as one piece of jingly music is as irritating at the next to me.
There is also a Records Screen, this gives the high scores for each mode but since you can't attribute your name to a score it becomes a bit meaningless if sharing the game with others. Since my whole family will pick this up at varying times it would be nicer if we could see who has achieved the best scores as we can all get highly competitive!
Most people have come across Tetris in one shape or form at some time but for anyone who hasn't the concept is very simple. You have a screen with falling blocks of varying shapes (called Teriminos), the aim is to rotate and move the blocks to form solid lines at the bottom of the screen, each solid line disappears and points are accredited. The more you progress in the game the faster the blocks fall. This simple concept can become hugely addictive.
The Tetris DS contains the basic game and then a couple of other variations. The touch screen on the DS is not used in the game play; it is only used to make selections in the menus. I was surprised by this and expected to be able to move blocks down and around using the stylus.
When starting the Standard game the ordinary setting is Marathon and you have the option of choosing a start level. Normally you advance one level for every 10 lines that you successfully build, however if you are an advanced player it is nice to set the opening level a bit higher to provide more of a challenge as the blocks are released quicker so there is less time to think and plan. The blocks are coloured depending on their shape and you can see the next half a dozen shapes that will be released as they are queued at the side. If you don't want the next block you can exchange it for the one in a hold box on the left-hand-side via a quick tap of the R or L keys at the top of the DS. The blocks are moved left and right using the +control pad and can be moved down quickly but softly using the down key or immediately using the up key (Hard Drop). The pieces are rotated clockwise with the A key and anticlockwise with the B key. Personally I can never remember which key turns it which way so I just use the A key and tap a couple of times if I need it to rotate more. These controls are really easy to master and are quite intuitive to the game. The game stops when you have failed to make horizontal rows and the blocks have reached the top of the screen. I believe you are supposed to make 200 lines to win but I have never managed anywhere near that many. It is possible to pause, end or save the game easily by pressing the Start key.
There are a couple of other options in Standard mode, these are Line Clear where you need to clear 25 lines but you can make it challenging by choosing how many lines you want on the screen to start with and then the difficulty level as well and also Vs CPU where you select the ability of your opponent and play against them. I have tried Line Clear a few times but I prefer just the Marathon setting, I don't like the Vs CPU as I think of Tetris as being like a game of Patience, it is something that I like to plan and play with and don't see the point about playing against another player either real of cyber!
For some strange reason whilst playing the Standard games there is an action sequence happening on the top screen with a Mario type character jumping around, the action progresses as you clear lines. I have no idea what the point of this is as you can't watch it or you will miss what is happening on the bottom screen which is where the game is being played.
Push Mode is a game played Vs CPU. You have to form lines to push the central block towards your opponent. Although I have tried this a few times I am a complete failure, I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of it and can't really work out what I should be doing. It seems quite a fast game so I am sure it would appeal to some but I just can't get to grips with it.
Touch Mode is a game that I enjoy as it gives the chance to use the stylus on the touch screen to play. You are presented with a tower of blocks and you have to make solid lines in the same way as the Standard game but you do this by sliding the blocks about and by tapping on them to rotate them to fall into gaps. Once again you can choose up to 5 different difficulty levels. You get extra points if you cause lots of blocks to fall and create lines on their way down. The other selection under Touch mode is a selection of Puzzle challenges which you have to solve, these can be really easy like "clear 3 lines at one" and you have to decide how to make that happen using the pieces on the screen to more challenging ones such as clearing certain blocks whilst making others remain. I enjoy these challenge modes although I haven't been able to work out how to solve them all as there are 50 to choose from.
There is another Puzzle Mode which involves some touch screen involvement where you are given a selection of blocks and you have decide which order and rotation you want them to drop in to give the required number of lines. I find this game ok to play but prefer the puzzle game in the Touch Mode as it is more challenging.
Mission Mode is quite similar to Marathon in Standard mode but you have to complete the lines in a particular way for instance you may need to clear 3 lines at once, if you clear a single line by accident you lose a heart, when you have lost all of your hearts you have failed your mission. I play this occasionally but I don't really like the challenges in it and I find it starts to irritate me, I like to play games in my own way and don't like being instructed how many lines I need to get rid of at a time.
Catch Mode is a complete mystery to me even though I do sometimes play it. You start with a floating shape and then you have to catch falling blocks on it and try to make a solid shape, once your shape is the required size it detonates and you gain points. This detonation also destroys your enemies but since I really can't work out who my enemies are or how to score more points I invariably give up on this quite quickly.
I have played this game a lot since I have had it. Due to the varying difficulty levels it is always a challenge and you always end up playing it again to try and get "just one more line". The graphics are simple, clear and colourful which makes playing the game easy. Since this isn't a game that has an obvious end point it has great longevity. It also doesn't really date and since the controls are so simple it is a game that you can put away for ages and then get out again and start playing immediately, you don't have to refresh yourself on the controls or try to remember how far you have got.
The Hard-drop feature is great even when I have only been playing for a few minutes as it means that my left thumb doesn't get sore from holding down the + pad.
The game is rated as suitable for everyone and although young children would have trouble controlling the game I do think it is suitable for the whole family.
I do think the lack of a proper High Scores chart is a shame as I do want to be able to keep an eye on how well I am doing and whether I am still better at this game than my other half.
I can see that the addition of the various modes may appeal to some people and I occasionally play them myself but I am really mainly a fan of the basic game and since that is so well presented in this Tetris DS version I would have to recommend it. However I do not think it is a game worth over £30 so I would certainly suggest trying to get hold of a second-hand copy for a more reasonable price.
Summary: A popular classic
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