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Tetris DS (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Tetris DS on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Falling blocks, the cold war, the battle of superpowers and a Japanese company that just wouldn't give in... the story of Tetris certainly is a staggering one and now we are seeing the next chapter in this tail. For many the original has never had a true spiritual sequel and to this day puzzle games are still held up to the seminal Game Boy title, now it seems that the legendary game may have some competition in the form of Tetris DS. Could this game finally dislodge the original from its throne? Let's find out...

All access gaming... it's a term that is very much following Nintendo of late. It was a paradigm shift to create the DS, but now the DS has to be all access and allow all people to play its games. And as far as all access gaming goes, Tetris is king. So it's understandable that Nintendo wanted Tetris as part of its first wave of online games. Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Metroid have all brought in their own section of the community and with it the wfc is growing and evolving into a smart piece of kit. Tetris brings in an entirely new audience, an audience who grew up with this game and may have slipped out the industry. So how do you convince these gamers that this Tetris is worth buying over the original?

Well first things first the original Tetris by itself wouldn't sell, so Nintendo have shoved it full of other Tetris themed games with variable success. Firstly, you have the puzzle themed modes; these are modes that are based in the Tetris world but are really puzzle games that tax the old brain cells. These are "mission" and (surprise surprise) "Puzzle".

Screenshot for Tetris DS on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Mission mode is a normal game of Tetris that is accompanied by a certain mission. This may be to clear 2 lines at once, or complete a tetris using a certain block or even get lines using only the one type of block. This requires a great deal more thought and skill than the normal tetris game and is Zelda themed.... Which is nice. Puzzle mode is very much like the chess games you see in the paper. A game in progress, you have to complete it. In Tetris DS you get a static Tetris screen and a choice of several blocks. You choose the blocks to put in and in what rotation and you have to use all blocks to clear all lines. The absurdly high difficulty level and total of 200 puzzles means this is one of the main long-term reasons to play Tetris DS.

We then have the down points of Tetris DS. Two modes that bring the whole game down from the dizzying high it was achieving, namely "Touch" and "Catch". Touch is the obligatory touch screen puzzle and consists of a tower of tetris blocks. You have to move them using the stylus to make lines. Clear the lot and you win. Now, Tetris is good because it combines frantic speed and taxing brainteasers. Touch has the exact opposite of both, not a great idea Nintendo.

Screenshot for Tetris DS on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Catch is difficult to describe. You move upwards through a Metroid themed stage and there are blocks falling down in typical tetris style. You are in control of a "core" block and you have to rotate this block and catch the falling blocks in an aim to create a 4x4 minimum cube. You do that and it explodes in 4 directions, destroying anything in its path. If it destroys blocks and enemies (yes, there are Metroid baddies present as well) then you get extra points. This is dire, very easy and poorly conceived. Simply speaking the energy bar, which determines how long you survive, is too long; thusly you can kick about for HOURS raking up ludicrous scores and not break a sweat.

Now we have the big guns, the golden jewels in the Tetris DS crown, "Standard" and "Push". Standard is legendary tetris goodness with a retro lick of paint. As you play classic Nintendo games play in the top screen, which is amazing for any fan of Nintendo. The Tetris gameplay is as good as ever and whilst fans of "limited turning" will moan everyone else will slip back into playing Tetris with ease. Push mode is (along with standard mode) the main multiplayer mode for Tetris DS. You have 2 players each taking a different side of the tetris board. As your blocks go down you have to create a minimum of 2 lines to "push" the lines down towards your opponents "danger line". Once the blocks pierce the danger line then it's game over. This is one of the big success stories of Tetris DS and works amazingly well even with the computer. Real skill is needed and frantic races to clear blocks is not uncommon... especially if you play someone of similar skill.

Screenshot for Tetris DS on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Standard and push are the modes used in the Tetris DS online mode. Yes, Tetris is finally officially online on a Nintendo console... and boy is it good. You see, whilst the other WFC games are open to abuse via using sneaky skills or skilful disconnections Tetris DS isn't. The game engine is impossible to abuse and disconnections count as a loss so 90% of games online go without a hitch. You have a choice of what mode to play; standard, standard with items and push. The items used in standard are basic Mario Kart style but work brilliantly. Mushrooms speed up how fast the blocks fall on everyone else's screens, stars give you limited infinite source of long blocks and so on and so forth. Games are always exciting and competitive and even the friend system is improved. You can now either host or join a game, so finding a game a mate is hosting is so much easier than past WFC games. One problem is that sometimes it's tough to find people to play, but that should improve as more people get the game.

All in all Tetris DS is an excellent package. The retro theme bring a smile to even the most cynical gamer as they see a game scene that they remember or hear a retro remix of a classic game tune. The majority of game modes are excellent with push and puzzle in particular being amazing additions to the Tetris canon. Unfortunately one or two of the modes are extremely poor and take the gloss off an otherwise great offline package. Online is sublime and a definite step up from the UK's previous exposure of the WFC, with multiple game modes and improved friend system making this the flagship wfc title... until Metroid Hunters hits our shores. On the whole the pros greatly outline the cons and this should definitely be a game any DS owner should think about purchasing.

Screenshot for Tetris DS on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


All amazing... except for touch and catch which are absolutely dire. Online mode is excellent and very addictive with no lag and a robust friend roster service.


A 7 for Tetris I hear you cry! Well yes, it deserves it. Bright colours, well implemented presentation and the retro scenes are bright and perfectly done.


Retro remixes... blissful. The menu theme is annoying but everything else is up there with Phoenix Wright for the best on the DS.


Standard mode will last you as long as the original did (so19 years and counting) and the 200 puzzles should see you until the Revolution. And then there's online mode... 6 billion Tetris players waiting for a challenge.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

This should be on the most wanted list of every DS owner. Gameplay is amazing, online mode is addictive and this could easily outlast the likes of Mario Kart and Metroid in your DS. Get it... get it now.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Yes, people of C3, get this game!

I already have it! :-D

I'm useless though, lost about 10 games and won 1. Though 5 losses were Japanese...

360 Gamertag: shiptoncraig
PSN: shiptoncraig
Steam: Guess what?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Wow! Fantastic score. Once I get some muiller I'll get this game, it'll be fantastic to take on holiday!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Entered at only No.39 on the UK chart this week due to a ridiculously high pricepoint... :roll: But Animal Crossing jumps up three to No.3!

Good review John :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Entered at only No.39 on the UK chart this week due to a ridiculously high pricepoint... :roll: But Animal Crossing jumps up three to No.3!

Good review John :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yeah craig, online is murder. Some people are gods at it.

I'm not bad though, just ask Tempo Smilie

Yeah great game ive really enjoyed this so far.

It only got in at 39?! Bloody hell, I was expecting 20 or so...I've not been keeping up the past few days.

Great review John, I was just about to order this and then saw your review and decided to have a read before I bought. Suffice to say, the order will be going through.

What! Catch looked like the best mode in there. I don't care if it's too easy, but what's so dire about it?

I'll probably get this game when it's alot cheaper.

I'm still upset that they didn't include the Gold and Silver blocks of "The New Tetris" for the 64.

However I love this game, and my rating is over 6000. TEH WINNAR IS ME!

The reason it's so dire is it's lack of difficulty. There is no point to it, it's like playing tetris with no end to the playing area.

Ah, maybe something for my mother then. :Smilie

good review John but i disagree with you on some points.

I personally had the 'push' game mode as I can't work out how to do it properly... it sucks :-(

and ok, I've only played it twice but I enjoyed 'touch' with the tower of blocks, I thought it was pretty fun :Smilie

You just get insanely high scores on tetris so you're bound to be very biased towards this game Smilie
not complaining though, as I've been waiting for this to come out for a while as I often get urges to just play it sometimes, and playing it on the computer is no match for frantically pressing the A button :lol:

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

Will have to get this at some point. Would get it now but studies are around...:-(


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