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I've been a big Tetris fan since the original was released some twenty odd years ago. When I saw that they were bringing out this modern, colourful version of the game for the DS, I went onto Amazon and pre-ordered my copy. The Amazon price promise when you pre-order meant I paid the lowest price that the game fell to on the run-up to it's release, just £9.99! For that price I was pretty chuffed. At present, you're looking at paying around £15 from most stores, which I still think is pretty reasonable.
When I loaded up the game, the first game option (out of the handful which are available on this latest release) is 'Marathon mode'. This is basically the traditional Tetris game, where you fit various shaped blocks together to make lines. The more lines you make each time (one to four at a time), the more points you get. You can also boost your score by levelling up (which happens every ten lines) and by pressing the down button during play to get the blocks to fall faster.
There are a couple of changes here to the traditional Tetris game, besides the obvious bright colours (the traditional version was black and white). Tetris DX did introduce us to coloured Tetrist blocks on the gameboy colour as it happens, but the graphics in this version are far superior. The colours are ultra bright, and the blocks all have a 3d feel to them too which is not something any other version of this game has achieved.
When I first played the Marathon game, I was impressed with the colourful graphics and really enjoyed them, but I was also a little confused by a couple of changes to the game play. Traditionally, there was a box just off to the side of the Tetris game which showed you which block was about to fall next, so you could plan your next move. However there are now five boxes running in a column down the edge, and this makes gameplay confusing on the higher levels. While you're busy looking at the game you're playing, the 'coming next' blocks catch the corner of your eye - and I've often mistaken which block is coming next because of this. I'm probably noticing the block which is coming after the next one, not the next one itself, but the gameplay gets so fast that I haven't time to check this while I play.
On the plus side, I can now stick a block into a holding place if I can't fit it in or want to save it for later. I just nudge the L1 button on my DS during play, and I can get the block back by nudging it again and it'll switch with the current block. I can also choose from a decent selection of background scenes and tunes too which is another nice addition.
Also new to this version is the 'ghost feature' which is automatically turned on each time I go to play Tetris. I have to remember to turn it off which is a pain, but I think some people will actually find this feature useful. Basically, 'ghost' makes a shadow of the block which is falling, appear at the bottom of the screen so you can line it up properly. I think some people will find it helpful, but for me it's confusing (I mistake the shadow for the actual block! Perhaps they should have made the shadow grey and not the same colour as the block?).
Then there are the additional games which can be played, such as the little climbing game where you have to get a 'Tetrimo' (stickman) to climb up a mountain of Tetris blocks as arranged by you. It sounds like a really simple game, but it's harder than it sounds when you actually give it a go. It's all too easy to end up trapping the poor stickman if you're not careful as he can only climb up one block at a time.
The other variations are all pretty similar, but I think they're a nice way to expand on an already entertaining game. Tetris is extremely repetitive and not for everyone, but if you liked it in it's previous incarnations, I'll bet you'll like it just as much in this latest one - probably even more (like I do!). Four stars from me, would get five if I could save my games and keep my preferences set even after turning my console off.