Tetris Effect: Connected

Review: Tetris Effect Connected

Tetris is a puzzle video game that was first created by Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984 while studying artificial intelligence in Moscow. It continues to be the best-selling video game to date and has sold over one hundred and seventy million copies to date. Tetris Effect is the creation of a reimagined Tetris for modern times with a rhythmic soundtrack and a peaceful atmospheric presentation that completely immerses the player into a magical world that has been created by the same team that brought us Rez Infinite and Lumines.

Tetris Effect is split into two modes: Journey and Effect. Journey Mode is the main campaign that features twenty-seven stages across six areas, concluding in a final stage showdown. This model is an adventure of emotion and discovery as players will quickly uncover this truth as they begin the first stage titled The Deep. This aquatic-themed journey showcases the many wonders of the ocean as fish, sting rays, and whales travel across the screen as you guide each Tetrimino to its final destination. Each stage evolves and reacts to every rotation, block placement, and line completion, creating a wondrous spectacle whose creation is credited to the player. The sounds and special effects perfectly complement the overall tone that each stage sets out to create.

Tetris Effect is the perfect game

Players will travel across deserts, fly over bodies of water alongside dolphins, explore the tranquillity of a forest, climb to the peak of a mountain, and explore the depths of the oceans. Each stage’s environment will emit different emotions and remind players of a certain moment, or experience, in their lives. Engaging in Tetris Effect is simply a relaxing experience worth visiting, especially when coming home from a stressful day at school, or work. The transition from one stage to another without any loading screens makes the journey even more memorable. Your actions are graded and experience is gained from clearing each stage. Replayability is also endless as you will always want to beat a prior high score or step up the difficulty to see if you can compete on an entirely another level.

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The addition of a zone mechanic also allows players to stop time and continue clearing lines without the constant struggle of blocks reaching the bottom before they can strategize their placement. Clearing several lines while in Zone Mode will also grant the player additional bonus points. I constantly relied on the zone mechanic to aid me through the more intense parts of each stage as the speed would intensify resulting in very little time to concentrate on positioning blocks. These speed hikes occur throughout each stage and increase in difficulty as you progress through the Journey Mode.

Additionally, with PSVR2, you can now toggle Zone Mode with your eyes thanks to the eye-tracking abilities the hardware offers. To do this, you close and open your eyes leading to the effect being triggered. VR implementation feels gimmicky here and while it is a ton of fun having the ability to put your headset on and get lost in the audio and visual delights in front of you, I’m not convinced just yet this is a game that excels with VR.

The Effects Mode is where players can find additional modes that have various objectives. Marathon will have you searching to attain your best score within a one hundred and fifty line limit, Ultra will give you three minutes to compete, Sprint will make you clear forty lines as fast as possible, and Master is the fastest speed level that is for the more advanced Tetris players. There are also additional modes that do not feature a game-over option, so players of all skill levels can enjoy Tetris Effect.

The imagery and colours are utilized to create spectacular visuals that can be distracting at times as you work diligently to complete each stage while watching an ever-evolving scenic representation of themes across various landscapes. Completing the Journey Mode will unlock Theatre Mode which is where players can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the stages without the concern of gameplay. This mode can be used to offer a sense of relaxation.

Tetris Effect can be enjoyed in either 2D or 3D with PS VR/VR2. It truly offers an unforgettable experience with PSVR2 and anyone who has one should not hesitate in picking up Tetris Effect. It will transform your reality as you enter into a dream state where you experience the magical world firsthand.

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The DualSense implementation helps get a sense of where the Tetriminos need to go. The Left and right movements of the Tetriminos vibrate in your hands. If you perform a hard drop or a soft drop, the effect from your controller varies based on the move you mad. Even after completing Tetris Effect when it launched, it’s hard not to find myself invested in replaying the entire campaign again because of the DualSense implementation.

We’re All Connected

With the debut of the Connected expansion, Tetris Effect adds multiplayer to the mix, both competitive and cooperative, which expands the already expansive content the base game offers.

Enhance added news modes including Ranked, Friend, and Local Match. These modes are available against others on any platform thanks to cross-platform inclusion. However, the bigger and my favourite addition is the new Connected campaign which sees you battle with other players to take on AI-controlled bosses based around the Zodiac signs. As you work to take down the enemy, you and your team can build up the Zone modifier to then unleash on the boss. The battle essentially continues until you or the boss tops out and loses the match.

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Whoever the boss character is, their goal is to build up powerful attacks and then throw them at you to mess up your game. This might mean your lines go from fully lined up to then being broken and spotty. Working with others means you need to watch where they are placing their pieces, which are shown on the screen. Connected is a great mode to build trust I think because you may be working on a line but your partner may also be doing the same thing and because you have to take turns placing Tetriminos, it means if your teammate gets there first, you’ll have to acclimate on the fly.

There are more than just multiplayer Connected moments to enjoy as there are also three additional modes: Battle, Score Attack, and Classic Score Attack. Battle pits you against another player and whoever can clear a line first is then able to send their cleared lines at the opponent.

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Alternatively, Score Attack might play like a standard match of Tetris Effect but there are no line attacks being exchanged. This is where I thrive because sometimes the breakneck speed of Battle is far too aggressive for me. Instead, the winning factor here is whoever has the higher score at the end of the match, wins.

And lastly, Classic Score Attack is played using old-school Tetris rules. Sorry, but you’ll have to forego using Holds, Hard or Soft Drops. In your queue for upcoming pieces, only one piece is shown. If I learned anything from playing this mode over the last few days, it’s that even classic Tetris is a lot of fun but only when you’re winning, of course!

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Verdict

The forefront of Tetris Effect: Connected is the classic Tetris experience, enhanced by the aesthetics and soothing soundtrack melding to create an over-encompassing immersive experience. For the veterans and the new generation of Tetris players, your time is now to experience a cult-classic title as we have never before witnessed. Tetris Effect comes highly recommended and needs to be experienced on PSVR2 to fully appreciate the visual presentation and emotional tone that is behind this work of art.

Recommended

[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PSVR2

Tetris Effect: Connected
Summary
Liked
Tons of inspiring content to experience
Smart implementation of multiplayer modes
Improved visuals, PSVR2 shines
Didn't Like
The upgrade fee on PlayStation