Tetris has undergone many permutations throughout its 37-year history. It’s a Facebook game designed for social interaction between friends. Tetris effect turned the puzzle format into a soothing, fun VR experience. Nintendo Switch owners even have Tetris 99, a battle royale variant that works surprisingly well. The tetromino format continues to entertain us no matter how the developers film it.
The franchise has grown again with the release Tetris rhythm, an exclusive new Apple Arcade available today. This time, the difference is that Tetris has been turned into a full rhythm game where players need to rotate and drop pieces to the beat of the music. The game features 18 original songs at launch, and there are plans to add a new song every week starting October. It’s a light service game that gives longtime fans a good reason to Keep coming back for the addictive puzzle game.
What makes Tetris rhythm especially how it continues the game design conversation that has been going on for decades. Its new mechanics dialogue with previous Tetris titles, reminding us of how much evolution the video game industry has built on collaborative iteration.
Skip the beat
Tetris rhythm Twist the tried and true tetromino puzzle formula by honing the hidden rhythms of the game. While Tetris games allow players to drop puzzle pieces freely, there is often a certain flow state that the player can enter, prompting them to subconsciously play along to the music. Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov once described this feeling, saying that “Playing is a very specific visual and rhythmic pleasure. To me, Tetris is a song that you sing within yourself and can’t stop. “
The latest game was born from that experience. Executive producer Lawrence Clark says that quote was the guiding inspiration for the game. More specifically, Clark came up with the idea after seeing how the Tetris community interacted with music. He recalls seeing a modified PAX build of Tetris effect that allowed a professional player named Green Tea to specifically play to the beat.
Lawrence told Digital Trends: “I really noticed these videos on YouTube of people playing Tetris intentionally while listening to music. “The game doesn’t reward you for doing that, but people play Tetris 99 where they try to drop themselves to the right rhythm. There are some great videos of people doing just that. “
Clark’s team took that idea and made a very intentional kind of game around it. In Tetris rhythmThe player’s standard Drop mode begins by selecting a track, each with a specific visual backdrop made in collaboration with the musicians. Players have the length of the song to win as many points as possible. Rotating and dropping blocks over time with music will yield more points. Leaderboards allow players to compete with their friends and try to perfect their rank on a particular track.
Visually, the game has a lot in common with Tetris effect. Originally released as a PS VR game produced by rhythm game legend Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the trippy game has since expanded to PC and Xbox with Switch ports on the go. Clark says the game, along with Mitzuguchi’s work in the rhythm genre, is another direct point of reference for the group.
Clark said: “Tetsuya Mizuguchi is one of my heroes. “I had the first version of Lumines on PSP, Rez on Dreamcast and of course Tetris effect. The idea that he might look into this is pretty cool to me. “
When chatting with the group, it was obvious that Tetris rhythm not created in a vacuum. It’s the culmination of decades of ideas, both from other games and the community itself. For example, the game’s Tap mode takes cues from EA Tetris Blitz, a mobile game that closed last year. In that game, “chess pieces” appear on the board. The player taps one to select the next spot to fall, instead of direct control. Tetris rhythm uses the same idea, but layers on its unique rhythm mechanics to keep the player on the beat.
When I think about all the small tweaks and innovations to the game over the years, I can’t help but wonder why people are still drawn to Tetris – both players and developers. President and CEO of the Tetris franchise, Maya Rogers believes it’s because the game exploits our innate desire to organize.
Rogers told Digital Trends: “Tetris is the perfect game. “It was one of the things that we had an inherent desire to create order out of chaos and it worked. It’s a simple game, but it has a lot of depth. Any iteration you play, you get caught up in that Tetris area. That’s why it lasted so long.”
It’s a myth to think that there’s still a lot of creativity left for a franchise as old as this. Developers continue to stack new ideas on top of each other, keeping a series alive with time. That won’t stop with Tetris Beat either. According to Casey Pelkey, Vice President of Branding at Tetris, the latest game is just another perfect drop in an ever-expanding pool of ideas.
“Just like Lawrence looked at Tetris effect and watching everything is a fan of that, other developers will look at this game and see equally impressive stuff,” Pelkey told Digital Trends.
Tetris rhythm now available on Apple Arcade.