Review by QuartrGuy

"In Soviet Russia, Tetris plays YOU!"

Every puzzle game enthusiast- heck, every video gamer worth his or her salt- has heard of Tetris, the block-droppin', line-clearin', garbage-dumpin' puzzle sensation that's probably the best thing that ever came out of party central - Communist Party central, that is. We gamers have seen clone after clone after clone being churned out on every platform imaginable, with a spectrum of results as wide and expansive as Russia itself. We've seen everything from cheap Java knock-offs to games such as Magical Tetris Challenge and Tetris Worlds, which have offered interesting takes on the franchise. Heck, we've even built the Wonders of the World upon Tetriminos (ref. The New Tetris on N64)!

With this fact in mind, it should come as no surprise that the block party has arrived on Nintendo's double-screen delight. After all, Tetris practically launched the Game Boy, and now we have Tetris DS, which, believe it or not, pushes the limits of what we pondered to be possible for the potentate of all puzzle games, and powers up the potent portable.

The game offers six different modes of play. First, there's the Classic mode we all know and love. Classic is divided into Marathon (Type A from GB), Line Clear (Type B), and Vs. CPU, all against the backdrop of Super Mario Bros. Mario even provides some action on the top screen! Next, we see Mission mode, in which you have a limited time to complete a certain objective before more blocks appear. Link and friends provide the nostalgia here.

Moving on, we have the Touch mode, set against the slightly-more-obscure Balloon Fight. This more is clearly more cerebral because the blocks don't fall; instead, you move and rotate them with the stylus. In Tower, you try to clear blocks to allow a crate of balloons to land on the ground. Touch Puzzle provides 50 brain-teasers to challenge you. Puzzle Mode gives you 200 mental melees to the tune of Yoshi's Cookie, another Nintendo puzzler. Here, you have to clear all the blocks with just the provided Tetriminos. Catch mode challenges you to rotate a core of blocks to catch Tetriminos and arrange them into squares of at least 4x4 to detonate and destroy falling Metroids. Finally, Donkey Kong provides the setting for Push mode, a new take on Tetris battling. Both players compete on the same field. Clearing two or more lines at once pushes the stack towards your opponent's end of the field.

Of course, as good as it is, multiplayer makes it even better! Up to 10 players can rock the blocks in both single- and mulit-card play. But the real big draw of the game is Wi-Fi! That's right; this block party's goin' down all over the world! Now you have the chance to make the walls come tumblin' down on people halfway around the planet! Just watch out for the Russians; I hear they're dynamite and can really bring the hammer down!

The presentation is pure Nintendo, from the old-school motifs to remixes of classic NES tunes. The gameplay is as tight as ever, even though you can rotate a fallen Tetrimino for an extended amount of time. Elements from more recent Tetris games, such as the ghost piece and the hold queue, have made the cut as well. Add this to the amazing new modes and Wi-Fi play, and you can see why Tetris DS takes the classic to new heights. Bottom line: if you own a DS, then grab this game, then make like Gorbachev and tear down this wall!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/10/06

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