TETRIS® EFFECT: CONNECTED adds an all-new robust multiplayer expansion to the huge variety of addictive and innovative single-player modes that Tetris Effect is known for. Connect and play with or against each other in all-new modes like “Zone Battle,” which shakes up traditional 1-on-1 Tetris gameplay via the time-stopping Zone mechanic, or try the innovative co-op of “Connected” mode, where up to three players can literally connect their Tetris playfields together and play as one, as they work together to take down a series of increasingly-challenging CPU-controlled bosses.
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Really glad I found out this was on Xbox game pass on Windows--I really wanted to check out Tetris Effect, but not enough to download something called "Epic Games." All I have is my integrity.
As for the game: it's good! I find its whole "extreme tetris/yoga tetris" vibe kind of hilarious, and its maximalist aesthetic arguably detracts from what it is I love about tetris (its brutal simplicity), but it's nice and fun and there are a few single player themes that I really love. The single player "campaign" is a bit odd, yo-yo-ing between speeds so inconsistently it almost makes it feel kind of cheaply difficult, but I got used to it. Online multiplayer is fun when it works but it doesn't always, I'd say 1/20th of the time I disconnect before the game starts, and I've had more than a few matches where my opponent seemingly kamikazes a couple minutes in (I've almost exclusively played in...I think it's the "score attack" category? The one that's like marathon and whoever gets the higher score wins). I say "seemingly" because they were playing pretty well, I take my eye off of them for like 30 seconds, and then suddenly the match is over and I won--there's a chance they just got sloppy and lost naturally, but it's really happened a lot. It's an easy win, I guess, but I don't really care about making my virtual rank number go up all that much--I just want a good competitive game. Which I do get sometimes but it's just an odd trend I've encountered where a lot of people will just "end" their game.
Overall: had a great time with this. "Completed" in that I've done the journey mode a few times and played a couple hours of multiplayer, but I do expect to keep playing this pretty regularly--for as long as I keep paying for game pass. I don't "need" all the extra effects and music and stuff, but it's nice enough, and this is the first time in my entire life I've even entertained the specter of a desire to buy a VR headset.
Tetris Effect takes the tried and true Tetris formula and coats it with a vibrant and at times jaw dropping new job of paint. Gorgeously detailed areas, popping particle effects, overpowering ost performances - it all blends together to create an experience unfamiliar to me in video games, but one I most welcome.
It's a huge shame though with how safe they play it in terms of the gameplay. The new freeze mechanic adds a nice layer of strategy but it's basically Tetris for 4 hours straight and that's it. I feel like they could have done so much more given how expressive the game already is, even if it is still fun (Challenging as well. On normal difficulty, I was having a bit of a challenge; the faster pace in some of the levels towards the end was a bit disappointing as well as it was harder to focus on the mesmerizing visuals.)
Despite it slightly disappointing me from the promising start, Tetris Effect is a beauty of a title that everyone should experience at least once in their gaming careers. You can tell the developers truly cared for the source material and aimed at creating something special, even if it was was way too safe in areas it shouldn't have been.