‘Revolution’ isn’t a word I want to see placed next to Tetris. If there were one game that pretty much got it right the first time, then Alexey Pajitnov’s addictive 1989 classic would almost certainly be on the shortlist.
But times change, and whilst Tetris’s addictive formula hasn’t aged, the sheer number of Tetris spinoffs has become slightly tiresome.
It doesn’t help that there’s at least four official versions for mobile out already, with the one closest to the original game - called Tetris, would you believe? - earning a highly coveted Pocket Gamer Platinum Award back in 2006.
Talking ‘bout a revolution
Thankfully, the original game is present and as good as ever in this version, the revolution of the title relating to the 12 other game modes and futuristic presentation.
The blue neon lit art style won’t please everyone as it makes the game a little darker than other versions, but otherwise the presentation is faultless. The blocks are as bright as ever, and the ghost image that helps you aim is a godsend at the faster speeds.
The new variations are unlocked as you earn certain achievements, and each is played using the 40-line mode from earlier Tetris games (complete 40 lines to finish a level).
These modes tend to add interesting twists to the regular formula without diverting too far from what makes Tetris so good in the first place.
Flash is a particularly nasty mode that only displays anything directly beneath the block you’re moving, leading to the Tetris equivalent of a horror movie at high speeds.
Tread and Magnetic pull landed blocks to one side of the board, throwing off the normal planning and causing much hair-tearing when a block is misplaced.
Not all variants are a success. Adding gravity (in Gravity) isn’t as groundbreaking as it could have been and Ledges’s random tiles that block off the lower part of the board are just annoying.
Outside of the variations, Revolution goes out of its way to prove that it’s the definitive package.
There are ‘pro-tips’, well-integrated achievements and a slightly pointless glossary of terms only ever used by a real Tetris obsessive (T-spin? Is that an autotuned R&B star?) If you want to learn new tactics/feel completely inadequate, there are even full replays of ‘Tetris Masters’ tackling the various game modes to watch and quietly sob to.
If Revolution lacks anything it’s the option to play the variations in Marathon. While the 40-line game is fun in short bursts, it lacks the developing panic that comes with the original mode.
For those that already own a version of Tetris on their mobile, Tetris Revolution represents the definitive version. Its core mode is as good as ever, the variations are entertaining in their own right, and there’s enough here to keep you satisfied for years to come.
For those that don’t, now is the best possible time to correct this mistake.