Review by Tranzience

"Extremely barebones and empty"

Tetris needs little introduction. There have been many different editions and additions to the original game since its original release many years ago, but overall the game itself has remained relatively unchanged: Drop pieces so that they form a horizontal line and disappear, the game ends when you either beat the game or the pieces go all the way up beyond the top of the screen. It's a simple game, but extremely addicting and entertaining to the point that there is hardly a soul alive who has not played some variation on it.

So here we are faced with the Xbox Live Arcade game Tetris Splash. As the name suggests, the game has an aquatic theme with all sorts of fishies and bubbles decorating the background. That's about the extent to which the game is marine-themed, I'm afraid, as the game offers absolutely no variation on the standard gameplay formula that reflects this underwater environment. Unfortunately, if you want more than just the basic background, you'll have to pay extra to download them, which is a low blow considering that these backgrounds are simply that: backgrounds. They don't come with any extra gameplay features. To actually charge the users for something like this which should be standard – and is in fact standard in most games – is preposterous.

So what sort of features do we have for this game? There's your standard Marathon where the player completes a set amount of levels, trying to rack up as many points as possible by eliminating multiple lines at once, the common 40 lines where the player attempts to eliminate forty lines as quickly as possible, and then multiplayer for up to six players via Xbox Live. That's about it. To put it simply, if you're not going to play this game online, then don't even bother downloading it. If you can read this review, chances are whatever phone, computer, blackberry, or what have you can play an even better version of Tetris – likely for free, too. This is flat out embarrassing, really. At the very least, an attempt could have been made to include a few extra single player modes like most console/handheld releases of Tetris.

The multiplayer for the game is nearly as laughable. Though there is the somewhat interesting option of playing on teams in multiplayer, good luck finding a match. The online community for the game is nearly dead, so there are few times that an available match is up at all, let alone others up for a custom rules match. You could make your friends download the game too, but good luck convincing them to drop the cash on such a barebones installment. So what you're left with is local multiplayer, which as far as I can tell does not even have the team option from the Xbox Live mode, leaving you with a dull free-for-all that has been done to death in better games.

All of these issues lead to one conclusion: if you absolutely desperately need to play Tetris on your 360, then Tetris Splash is a cheap solution. But for just a bit more, you could be playing the far superior Tetris Evolution for the same system which offers so much more and does it all much better or a free equivalent on the web. Not to mention those games do not feature the annoyingly dark backgrounds of Tetris Splash which make it hard to tell whether a space is empty or occupied by a dark blue block at times. I can not in good conscience recommend this game at all.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/09

Game Release: Tetris Splash (US, 10/03/07)


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