On June 6, 2010 the puzzle game Tetris celebrated its 26th birthday. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but those little annoying shapes have been bugging casual and hardcore gamers alike for the past 26 years. Tetris has been released in one form or another to a myriad of consoles, computers, handheld devices, and just about anything else that can be programmed over the course of those 26 years and now, building on the Tetris Party WiiWare release, Hudson Soft and Majesco have released Tetris Party Deluxe for both the DS and the Wii.
Concerning ourselves solely with the DS version in this review, what can be stated most clearly and emphatically is that it's Tetris. The game does contain a number of special modes, but even if those weren't any good (and some of them most definitely are a lot of fun), in the end, it still has the old-school version in a portable format and that very well may, by itself, make the game worth it.
As I say though, Tetris Party Deluxe does contain more than just regular old Tetris. The WiiWare version features 18 different game modes, and the Deluxe version contains a few more than that. In fact, the press release states that there are six new game modes included here – Bombliss, Sprint, VS Sprint, Master, Co-op VS Co-op, and All Clear Sprint. Bombliss requires you to clear lines of blocks with bombs to create chain reactions while Sprint asks you to clear 40 lines in the shortest amount of time. Master Mode is just the game starting off at full speed and Co-op VS Co-op features two teams of two going up against each other in a wide field.
The number of modes, what with being able to play via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and DS Download Play, as well as there being a Beginner's section, can really be quite misleading. In far more simple terms, there are eight different single player modes (not including the Beginner's stuff), though again, those single player modes do include one that has you go up against the computer.
Numbers games aside, the truly impressive thing about Tetris Party Deluxe is that while the makers of Tetris could rest on their laurels and simply rerelease the original version of the game over and over and over again and there are those of us out there who would buy it over and over and over again. Many of the additional modes included in Tetris Party Deluxe, however, are incredibly fun and not just cheap gimmicks included only to inflate the apparent content of the release.
They are not all winners, for instance, Master Mode is momentarily interesting but little more than that. There is also Stage Racer which features you taking control of a Tetris piece, a Tetrimino if you will, and guiding it down through a series of twists and turns. That particular mode seems to have little to actually do with Tetris, outside of featuring Tetris blocks.
By and large, however, the additional modes are tons of fun, particularly Field Climber and Shadow. In the former, there is a little man who runs back and forth across the bottom of the screen whom you have to get to the top. That is accomplished by stacking pieces on top of another, with the climber beginning able to only advance in single vertical steps not more. In Shadow, you have to fill a shadowed area of the screen completely with blocks so as to make a picture, all extraneous blocks are removed at the end, but if you make any lines that go completely across, they do disappear. These two modes both initially appear to be quite simple, but quickly show themselves to be more than a little difficult.
With the myriad of modes, up to eight people being able to play local multiplayer games, Wi-Fi Connect ability to go head-to-head with folks around the world, and even microphone support in the lobby while online, Tetris Party Deluxe really does feel like a fully-fleshed out idea and not a quick and cheap cash-in on the Tetris name. And, as stated above, if all the other fancy game modes aren't enough to convince you to take the plunge, you can still play regular old Tetris on your DS with the title. That alone, as the saying goes, is worth the price of admission.
Tetris Party Deluxe is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Nintendo Wii.