The Next Tetris
They must teach you at puzzle game making school that if you can't come up with something new and original, just rip off the original Tetris and stick in a new, gimmicky feature. Sometimes it works fairly well (Capcom's Magical Tetris Challenge), and sometimes it works...OK (as is the case here). The Next Tetris attempts to complicate the original formula (which is beautiful in its simplicity) by offering you playing pieces that can separate upon contact with others sitting in the "pit." These bits can either slide off to fill in gaps or stick to other like-colored pieces. Admittedly, this does add a ton of depth to Tetris. Now you can set up combos by having disappearing lines cause loose pieces to fall in and form more disappearing lines. My complaint is--and this may be old-school gamer talk here--it's really hard to play Tetris any other way other than the traditional way. Separating pieces is not the problem here...l just found it very hard to visualize combos in order to set them up properly. I'm just too used to playing Tetris one very specific style-without chain reactions. If you have years and years of Tetris-playing permanently burned into your brain, you may run into the same snag as me. 8ut if you're new to Tetris (weirdo), or you're up for trying the game out in a totally new fashion, give The Next Tetris a shot, just don't expect to get used to the combo system right away.
Good old Tetris btocks...falling, rotating...basically having a fun time. It's simple, but as illustrated in our too Greatest Games of All Time feature in EGM #100, it's also timeless. And The Next Tetris is no different. It features the original Tetris as well as a new mode that's somewhat innovative and--more Importantly--fun. Since the game lets you throw in your own music CDs during play, I highly recommend that you try the experimental Dr. Kosmos during the game.
I thought I'd played enough variations of Tetris, thank you very much, but The Next Tetris surprised me with its simple twist on the classic block-dropping formula. The new splitting blocks demand just enough extra brainpower to keep Puzzle Fighter fans interested, and you can always switch to the original mode if you like your Tetris the old-fashioned way. Graphics are simple, but I especially like being able to pop in any music CD I want.
I've been playing this game for months. During the height of my addiction, I played this game for five straight hours one Saturday. It was fun, but I felt a little cheated--can I have my weekend back? The cascading blocks require you to rethink a tot of the Tetris habits you may have developed. Actually being cognizant of setting up four- or five-line combos takes a lot of foresight and it's ultimately a very difficult skill to acquire. Puzzle fans--definitely check this out.