Tetris my friend, we meet again

First impressions

We were well familiar with the game of Tetris, thanks to hours of misspent youth many years ago. Who hadn’t played Tetris at some point in their lives when they were either trying to avoid homework or wait for a flight? We had moved on since the good old days to more popular games like Bejewelled and the like, and so poor Tetris became a forgotten memory … until we were looking through the App store recently.

Seemed that the new Tetris HD was one of the highest rated games out there. Feeling as though we had been neglectful to our old friend (and keen to see its revamped look) we loaded it up on our iPad. It didn’t take long for us to remember why we had liked it so much in the first place.

How it works

Again, as this has been around for years, we can hardly believe that there is anyone out there who doesn’t know Tetris, but just in case …

You are faced with a vertical rectangular space and different shapes descending from the top. You need to bring them down in such a fashion that they fit each other like a puzzle. Every line that is completely filled disappears, leaving you space to continue.

As the shapes begin to descend more quickly, you may find yourself creating gaps along the way, which will not disappear. As the structure you’re creating gets higher and higher, you need to race to keep creating full lines so they’ll be removed before you reach the top. Once you hit the top, the level is over.

You are given a couple of options when you play Tetris HD. You can, for example, go the One-Touch route where the game shows you the piece coming down, and displays in shadow examples below the different places and ways it can land. You then choose one and it lands there. Then the next piece begins to descend and so on.

The Marathon option will be the more familiar method to Tetris aficionados. The pieces descend slowly, and you can tap the screen to change their orientation or slide them with your finger to where you want them to go. 
Either way, the object of the game remains the same: keep removing lines to avoid hitting the ceiling.

As you go along in the One-Touch game, you can choose “Cycle” which shows you other ways the dropping pieces could be placed, and “Hold”, which allows you to hold the piece that was about to drop and moves you on to the next shape in the lineup which might be more beneficial.

It won’t take you long to get the hang of how this works and then your only problem after that will be how to stop playing.

When we played

From the very beginning we found ourselves back in love with this game like meeting up with an old boyfriend at a class reunion who’s lookin’ darn good. The colours were so bright and beautiful on our iPad, they were simply impossible to resist.

We first tried the Marathon version, but found ourselves liking the One-Touch more in the end. After the first few goes we were right back into the thick of Tetris once again. That cocky confidence at the beginning, followed by slight concern and finally blind panic as the blocks approached the top. Ahhhh … Tetris, we had missed you.

Sure, we could say that the time we spent reacquainting ourselves with this old favourite was for purely scientific purposes, but the simple truth is that we really, really enjoyed playing it again. It kept our brain ticking over as we tried to find the best fit for those pieces, but it never felt like an educational game. We were still playing it each day after writing this review.

Final thoughts

Those who loved Tetris in the past will no doubt take to this updated version like a duck to water; and those who have never played because they’ve lived in a cave for the past 20 years are sure to get as quickly addicted as the rest of us did when this game first appeared on the scene.

Here’s an interesting fact courtesy of Wikipedia: “Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle video game originally designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in the Soviet Union. It was released on June 6, 1984, while he was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow. He derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favourite sport.”

Give Tetris HD a try.

Pros: Most of us know how to play already. Those that don’t will pick it up in no time. Inexpensive. Great fun.

Cons: Honestly? None that we can think of.

TETRIS for iPad HD

Cost: $0.99 on special (regular price $2.99)

Seller: Electronic Arts

Devices: iPad specifically for this version, but Android and iOS devices otherwise

Rating: E for Everyone

Four stars

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