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Tetris

Tetris has graced almost every console that has been and probably will grace every console that will be. A deceptively simple game, Tetris offers new challenges for players every time it’s booted up and, better still, an experience that players of all ages can easily hop in and out of. Tetris has survived for so long despite the fact that the core game hasn’t changed at all because the design of the game is as close to flawless as they come. Tetris has now found a new home on the iPod and iPhone.

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Holding the system vertically, players use their finger to slide around tetrominos and tap said finger to rotate the piece. Once the piece is aligned and rotated into the desired position, players can either let the piece fall at normal speed or slide their finger to quickly drop the piece into their pile below. Of course, the same rules apply: build complete lines from one side of the screen to the other to clear away the pieces and try to clear away as many lines as possible in one-go. The more lines, the more points.

The touch controls are helpful and work effectively with the game. At times, when flicking the pieces to the bottom, the piece would move to the right or left if my downward-flick wasn’t perfectly straight, but beyond a few misplaced pieces, tapping and sliding works well. The vertically-oriented screen is ideal of a game like Tetris and the bright screen vibrantly displays the game.

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Despite the seemingly perfect marriage of technology and design, Tetris does have some failings. My biggest gripe is that Marathon Mode only goes to level 15, which will prove barely challenging to long-time players. There’s no obvious reason for the developers choosing to eliminate the frantic final levels, which makes their omission all the more disappointing.

An included mode offers more arcade-style gameplay, but I found the mode to be gimmicky and all-together not that interesting. While being able to replace whatever tetromino is falling with any other piece or being able to turn already-fallen pieces into poppable bubbles is cute, it really doesn’t make the game any better and should be ignored.

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It’s clear that this edition of Tetris could have been improved, but at the same time, it’s still Tetris. If you like Tetris, you’ll still enjoy playing this version, even if the most difficult levels are excluded and the only other mode is bunk. While imperfect, Tetris is worth adding to your iPod or iPhone.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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