Sod the recent brain training games – Tetris teaches you the most important skill you’ll ever need. Namely, how to pack a shopping bag properly. Before the block falling opus arrived some twenty years ago I used to put eggs at the bottom of the bag, cans of beans on top of loaves of bread and all sorts. It was utter chaos, I can assure you.
There have been countless Tetris clones, sequels and spin-offs but with the odd exception – such as Tetris DX – they’ve managed to stuff up the winning formula by including needless gimmicks or packing the screen with too much clutter. With this in mind it’s a pleasant surprise to find that the new modes present in Tetris DS are actually quite decent. There’s a Zelda-styled mission mode with such challenges as ‘clear three rows in one go’, a touch mode that involves sliding a huge stack of blocks around with the stylus and a Metroid themed affair where there’s a 4×4 block in the middle of the screen and it’s up to you to stick other shapes to it to form larger squares.
When taking the game online you can play classic Tetris against another player, Push Tetris or four-player Tetris with power-ups such as the ability to cloak the boxes that show what shapes are next to appear. There’s no voice chat and if a sore loser disconnects the game is over and you have to find a new challenger, but apart from these gripes it plays a fine game of fall-o-block-o. Plus there’s something very cool about playing against Japanese Tetris obsessives. In short, it’s Tetris. But it’s Tetris done well.