Nokia has spent the last two years talking up its new N-Gage platform as the bringer of all-singing, all-dancing next-generation thrills. Souped-up 3D graphics have been at the heart of its advance publicity, alongside the over-the-network connectivity offered by the N-Gage Arena.
This would be The Future of mobile gaming, representing a break from its underwhelming past. And stuff.
Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that Nokia kept pretty quiet about Tetris being one of the new N-Gage's launch games. After all, there's not much you can do to jazz up the planet's best-selling Java game for Nokia's new platform.
Meanwhile, selling this venerable puzzler for £6 is frankly pushing it a bit, especially if you're one of the millions of people who already owns the Java version. Of course, the counterpoint to that argument is the fact that the vast majority of people who own a new N-Gage handset – the N81 or N81 8GB – probably don't have the Java version.
But anyway, we're not going to be churlish. Tetris won't be a headline N-Gage title, but EA Mobile has done an admirable job with the conversion, squeezing in plenty of game modes, and an all-important link to N-Gage Arena for online rankings.
The core game itself is, well, Tetris. You move blocks from side to side as they drop, rotate them, and fit them together to make lines. As you go on, it gets faster and faster, until your brain melts, the blocks reach the top of the screen, and it's game over. Needless to say, it's as addictive as ever. The action is still 2D, of course, but there are some nice visual touches as the blocks slot into place.
So what about those modes? Marathon is the basic Tetris you know and love, while Ultra gives you two minutes to score as many points as possible, and 40 lines sees how quickly you can clear, yes, 40 lines.
Versus sees you taking on an AI opponent – every time you clear two or more lines, it has a line added to the bottom of its screen, and vice versa. Clash, meanwhile, has you battling your adversary on in a single screen, taking turns to drop blocks.
Finally, Challenge is a pass-the-handset multiplayer mode that gives each player the same series of blocks, and sees who can get the highest score with them. It's a comprehensive selection for sure.
But the reason to shell out £6 on N-Gage Tetris isn't the game modes. It's the connected aspect, which sees you posting your scores to N-Gage Arena, then finding out how you compare to the world. It's a simple feature, but one that will double your compulsion to play this already super-addictive puzzler.
Out of the six N-Gage launch titles, this is the sixth most interesting. But that doesn't stop it being Tetris, one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of all time. It's very familiar, sure, but the extra modes and rankings throw in a new dynamic and end up justifying the price tag.
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