From Russia with Touch.
EAs tactics in removing Tetris from the App Store and then replacing it with a new version may have been frowned upon at the time, but the iPhone game certainly improved immensely from the ‘update’.
Now it’s the turn of the iPad to get the New Tetris treatment and, just like its younger brother, the difference that one small change has made cannot be understated. What is the change? Quite simply, it’s the thing that the iDevices do best; Touch.
Tetris (and I keep on wanting to call it New Tetris) has re-entered the ring with a knockout punch, a punch that EA calls One Touch mode. Simply put, it allows you to control pretty much all of the standard commands usually associated with the game from just one finger.
Though this seems impossible at first, the way its achieved is simple. By limiting the choice of where to place the Tetris piece, a simple tap on the screen will guide it to one of four different places, allowing for a much faster flowing game which, in turn, provides the perfect mix of adrenaline and strategy that the game has always been famous for.
The improvements are made all the more obvious when you go to play Marathon mode, the traditional Tetris with the old style controls that had you pressing all over the place to twist and place shapes. While it’s nice to still have the traditional game on hand, I found myself leaving it after the first attempt and going back to the two other modes instead.
Galaxy Mode is another new addition which adds to the strategy element. It provides a set shape with gaps in which gradually moves up the screen as you fill the gaps with pieces. Each of these shapes has a set solution, which will net you a full set of stars as a reward. It’s still possible to complete the shapes without following this path, but the cost is in the reward you receive at the end.
A couple of interesting points make Galaxy mode even more interesting. Left over pieces fall down to fill gaps below, the effect of gravity on the Tetrominos, and a Hold button can hold one piece until you need it, letting you skip a shape for a better one further down your queue.
In addition to the new modes there is a premium option in the T-Club subscription, which provides an easier way to get into the global high score tables, among other things. It doesn’t really seem worthwhile for the extra cost and the game certainly doesn’t suffer without it.
On iPad Tetris feels much bolder and the new graphical background effects, especially in Galaxy, really shine. While it’s just as playable on the iPhone, the iPad version has been made all the easier to play with one touch, letting you place the device on a flat surface and still play perfectly.
EA have managed to improve Tetris on the iPad by adding something completely new without breaking anything that already worked. It could have been a disaster, but somehow the game is now a far better companion to Apple’s devices than it could ever have been in its old form.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 9
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