Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Neil Flynn 03.01.2021

Review for Tetris Effect: Connected on Xbox Series X/S

Tetris Effect Connected is best described as a sensory experience like no other, even the developers encourage the use of headphones and Cubed3 recommend turning out the lights to darken the gaming experience. But wait, this is just Tetris, right? The simple, but yet addictive puzzler first seen on the Game Boy and adapted for the modern day with a few flashy graphical upgrades and a fresher audio experience, right? To an extent this is true, but hardly scratches the surface as to why Tetris Effect Connected is one of the best games in the series.

Tetris Effect Connected was initially launched as Tetris Effect for the PlayStation 4 in 2018 and was universally praised for being able to augment its gameplay through the use of VR. Developed by the same creator of the Lumines series, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Tetris Effect Connected takes on an audio-visual experience that takes the player on a LSD-induced trip full of vibrant colours and trance-like music, but yet chilled stages which cleverly slow down and speed up to work with the tempo and pace of gameplay.

Screenshot for Tetris Effect: Connected on Xbox Series X/S

There are three main modes, Journey, Effects and Multiplayer, the latter is what is the difference maker between 2018's Tetris Effect and 2020's Tetris Effect Connected. Journey mode is the main campaign that promises a voyage of emotion and discovery, and having not really played Tetris Effect, outside of a 15-minute PSVR Demo, this was the first real chance to get in tune with why this had Tetris fans wholly excited. Journey mode is played out over four difficulties which range from 'Practice' up to 'Expert' with each difficulty notch getting progressively faster. Journey mode could be fully completed within around 90 minutes for savvy gamers who are well versed in the world of Tetris, but it is purely about the journey, not the destination. There are 7 areas which act as breaks between each playthrough, although they can be played as one long experience, or individual levels upon a 2nd playthrough. Each area has a varying number of themes that cycle throughout, each with their own individual visual aesthetic including different coloured and styled Tetriminos, backgrounds and effects, as well as audio quirks that time the rotation of Tetriminos with the rather ambient and yet sometimes trance-like soundtrack. As per other Tetris games, piecing different shaped puzzle pieces together in a line will make them disappear, and the aim of the game is to make as many lines of Tetriminos disappear without ever reaching the top of the screen. The concept is practically so iconic that some people would deem Tetris' gameplay mechanic as one of the easiest to grasp gaming puzzles, after all it is its elegant simplicity which makes it so addictive in the first place. Clearing lines of Tetriminos will keep the audio and visual experience ongoing, with so many colours and effects flying on screen when a line is cleared and a notable change in the audio too, which can at times sound and look something similar to a Sigur Ros concert.

Screenshot for Tetris Effect: Connected on Xbox Series X/S

Effects mode conceptually has the same audio and visual elements from the Journey stages and areas but this time throws in a whole variety of different stipulations, which will challenge players to completing things either in an allotted time frame or high score challenge, many of these will be familiar to players who have played some form of Tetris before. These can vary from clearing 150 lines as best as possible, getting the highest score in 3 minutes or earn as many combos as possible before the timer runs out. There are also weekly ritual events whereby hitting a community goal via a worldwide combined score can help unlock some new avatars, themes and more just by participating in selected events.

Screenshot for Tetris Effect: Connected on Xbox Series X/S

Tetris Effect Connected has added in a multiplayer mode which collaboratively sees teams of players up around the world to take on a single human or CPU controlled boss. These matches are ranked and add towards a player's tier and skill rating, which increases and decreases based on matches that are won or lost. The goal is to work together with the community to make it to the centre of the galaxy where there is a mysterious obelisk, the Tetrimidion, although these modes don't need to be played online as they can be played locally as well. There are four main competitive and co-op game modes; Connected, (form a three-player team to defeat a boss), Zone Battle, one on-one competition, Score attack and Classic Score Attack, the latter of which is old school Tetris with no holding and no hard drop. All of these modes are enjoyable to play and give the game a robust experience beyond the single player options, helping further the value and experience.

Screenshot for Tetris Effect: Connected on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Tetris Effect Connected is one big psychedelic trip that Xbox owners were previously missing out on. There is such a variety in themes, music, and game modes that it is unbelievable that developers still find a way to innovate, iterate and make, ostensibly, a puzzle game from the 1980s feel new and desirable to play. There is enough depth here in the multiplayer modes to retain the attention of Tetris players beyond the relatively short Journey and Effects modes, albeit many will chase their own tail to better their rankings and high scores. At the time of writing Tetris Effect Connected is available on Game Pass Ultimate so there is no real excuse to not give this a chance.

Developer

Resonair

Publisher

Enhance

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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