Nearly every console, handheld, computer, and mobile phone has seen a Tetris release – if it's a piece of electronics, it can play Tetris. No other game has such widespread appeal. As such, it's without surprise that it arrives on a device that's drawing widespread attention. iPhone plays home to a new touch-enabled version of Tetris that looks nothing short of marvelous. Touch controls may not be the best fit for this classic puzzler, but the game still packs in plenty of fun.
EA Mobile has done a phenomenal job bringing Tetris to iPhone with a vibrant presentation. Bright colors, flashy animated effects, and a sleek interface give this 20-year-old game a facelift.
When it comes to gameplay, it's just as fetching. Tetris brings the classic in full form here on iPhone with Marathon mode dropping you right into the action. The goal is to survive 15 levels of increasingly fast blocks descending onto the matrix. Moving through a level requires clearing ten lines from the screen, at which point you bump up a level and the blocks pick up speed.
Complementing standard play is Magic mode, which consists of 15 individual objective-based levels. Here, the goal revolves around clearing a set number of lines designated at the start of each level. Special items help you to survive the torrent of blocks in later stages, as well as quickly clear lines. Bubble wrap, for example, transforms blocks on the matrix into tiny bubbles that you can pop with taps of your finger. Our favorite is the magic crayon that lets you draw whatever piece you want next.
Creative use of the touchscreen with regards to items is definitely entertaining, yet there are a couple issues with the controls when it comes to directing blocks. Tapping the screen at either side of a block rotates in that direction. Holding your finger down on the screen and then moving it to the left or right moves the block accordingly. You can trigger a hard drop by flicking down on the screen; conversely, dragging the block down with your finger instigates a soft drop.
Hard drops are tricky since the game occasionally registers a downward flick as slightly to the left or right. As a result, your block veers from the intended spot. The solution to this is simply forgo hard drops and let the blocks descend on their own time. Which can feel laborious during the early stages (and also affects your score).
Another problem with the touch controls, however, arises during later levels when manipulating fast-moving blocks is all but impossible. Rotating blocks becomes quite difficult when blocks are streaming down the matrix at high speeds. Part of this works into the game's natural difficult, but it seems excessive on iPhone. Controlling those blocks by touch on level 12, for instance, is sheer lunacy.
As long as you're comfortable with the challenges presented by the touch controls, Tetris is filled with fun. Additional modes or some form of multiplayer would have been nice, but what's packed in here looks good and plays equally as well – all we'll say is that considerably better versions of this classic exist.