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Review: TETRAMINOS (Wii U eShop)

Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)
Wii U eShop Review


Sanuk Games

Genre: Tetris variation
Players: 1-4

EU Release Date: 2016-09-01 / Price: 4,99€
NA Release Date: 2016-09-08 / Price: $4,99



Tested: EU (PAL Version)

Tetris is a classic puzzle game that was developed by Russian computer engineer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984. If you don't know Tetris I'll put it short: you move and spin falling blocks around in a limited space to line them up. Fill a row with blocks to make them disappear and to score points. Leave too many holes and the blocks will eventually hit the ceiling and it's game over.

In Tetraminos there are a few differences to the original Tetris. First, the blocks come in random colors. Line up a row in a certain color to score extra points. It's purely optional and for people that need an extra layer of strategy in their Tetris. Second, there are a few extra blocks added: there's the single, double, and triple block, as well as a short "L", and an uncommon plus-shaped block. With most of the new blocks being smaller, the game seems easier, but the plus-shaped block balances them out. Still, Tetris veterans will have to develop new strategies, purists would even say "this is no real Tetris", and of course it's not, it's called Tetraminos.

There are four different modes to select from: ENDLESS, CHALLENGE, PUZZLE, and MULTIPLAYER. ENDLESS is the classic mode where you play until you hit the ceiling. In this mode you score points for your local top 10 highscore list in where you can put in your initials. There are two top 10 lists: The other is for the CHALLENGE mode. CHALLENGE mode is about clearing a certain amount of lines within a limited timeframe. If you clear a line you get some time back. When the timer runs out (or if you reach the top), it's game over. If you died in challenge level 14, your score will be "13" for the last challenge level you were able to beat. In PUZZLE mode you have a limited amount of blocks to clear a field that already has some blocks lying around. With 50 different puzzle stages it's the only mode that has some predesigned content. Once you finish a stage the next one opens up in the puzzle select screen.  You can save after each stage and make progress. Also, if you're a master puzzler you can try and earn up to 3 stars for each stage, using as few blocks as possible. It's engaging and a great addition to the game.

Multiplayer can be played with up to 4 players and you can use the GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wiimote, and the Classic Controller. Multiplayer is based on classic Tetris rules: If somebody clears a line, the other players get some blocks from the ground up. The last player in the game wins. It's a casual match though, with no scores and no keeping of wins, streaks, etc. After a match it's just replay or back to main menu. That makes room for one small problem: If one player wants to quit and the 3 others want to continue it's all the way back to the main menu to select multiplayer again. The loading times are pretty long for a game that shouldn't have any to begin with: It takes 10 seconds to load the main menu and 20+ seconds to load one of three modes. If you play in only one mode you don't see any loading times after the initial ones, but if you hop from mode to mode or want to change the amount of players in multiplayer the longer-than-necessary loading times get in the way somewhat.

The GamePad mirrors everything perfectly and the audio and graphics seem polished and modern, but there is a small issue with the blocks' light effects that shine upon the place they're falling. If you don't pay attention you can mistake the 2x2 block for a short "L". These light effects were introduced in a flashier generation of Tetris games were they were optional, but here they can't be turned off. Also introduced along the evolution of Tetris was the instant drop by pressing UP which saves a lot of time. This is thankfully intact here. What is not intact here is saving a block for later which was introduced in the fantastic The New Tetris (Nintendo 64), and has been kept since by great Tetris versions like Tetris DS (Nintendo DS), Tetris Party (WiiWare) and Tetris Party Deluxe (Wii). Despite the futuristic and clean design there are no online modes, or even online leaderboards and that's a bit too oldschool for a brandnew Tetris-type game, however, with Wii U's screenshot feature you can still easily share your leaderboards with other people online on Miiverse, so there's at least some way around.

Smooth controls, 4-player splitscreen, and 50 puzzle stages are the highlights of this 4.99€/4.99$ Tetris makeover. Apart from the loading times it feels very polished. If you think having additional blocks can put fresh wind into the old Tetris formula, then you're going to have a good, low-price Tetris substitution with Tetraminos.


Written by SKTTR, 9th September 2016.

Last edited by SKTTR on September 9th 2016, 5:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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on September 9th 2016, 1:39 pmReanfan
@SKTTR Thanks for the timely review! Also lol our reviews were published three minutes apart! lol!
on September 9th 2016, 1:47 pmSKTTR
Yes, I thought it would be perfect to get this finished for the North American release today. victory
Excellent review, @SKTTR!
on September 9th 2016, 2:35 pmReanfan
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
@GeekyGamerZack Be sure to read today's other new review which also happens to be our first PS3 review! Just look for Review: Tales of Xillia (PS3 Retail). Wink
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