TETRIS Blitz is an aberration of classic Tetris gameplay that should be remembered in the same way we learn about history’s great mistakes: to ensure that it never happens again.
I’m not sure why it exists. It’s apparently there only for people to one day discover how terrible a job a bunch of people can do in ruining an authentic gaming formula.
Make no mistake about it, Tetris Blitz is a shambolic cash-in on a big-name franchise and nothing more. It is also an insult to gamers young and old, as no modern reboot should ever tamper with Tetris’ winning formula.
It’s worth stating that I love authentic Tetris. I love manipulating shapes in a race against the game’s stuttering gravity that progressively gains momentum as you score more lines.
Tetris rocketed to fame during the days of the original Gameboy in the late 80s and early 90s even though it had been available previously on other platforms including Nintendo’s NES and the PC.
It is therefore a rich part of gaming history – and in many ways its gameplay is still highly relevant today.
Unlike the match-three formula that has seen various incarnations, Tetris has remained relatively unplagiarised in that even it’s clones are identified as being Tetris.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find that EA had, earlier this year, released a reboot of the game called Tetris Blitz.
Immediately, I thought the game would involve shape manipulation set to a timer to see who of the Tetris faithful could produce the most lines.
How wrong I was.
Instead, EA decided to butcher Tetris and remove the spatial skill required in manipulation and positioning with a ‘touch friendly’ series of silhouettes that you simply tap to fill with a pre-rotated shape.
The result is a mind-numbing two-minutes of disbelief for true Tetris fans, and an incredibly poor and tasteless depiction of Tetris for a potential new audience.
I should also note that it is a freemium title loaded with advertisements, pay-to-win power-ups, and Facebook Connect.
Bejeweled Blitz worked because the one-minute race suited its touch-conducive gem swapping.
Tetris Blitz fails though because Tetris is simply not designed for instant shape placement. In many ways, Blitz is the anti-Tetris, because it removes the anxiety the player feels as they are forced to identify the potential places for the current and next shapes.
Anyone who actually enjoys Blitz and might consider themselves a tetris master should try their hand at the original and watch as they crumble to the might of Tetris’s perplexing shape matching set to the background of Soviet-style synthesised music.
The best analogy I can think of is that Tetris is a heritage-listed building, EA is some crazy land developer, and because of this it has pitched a controversial redevelopment of the existing site to ‘modernise’ the building by incorporating its facade into a new multiplex, rather than simply restoring the existing facility.
For new franchises, freemium can work. Take Clash of Clans, for example.
But Tetris Blitz teaches us that not every reboot or reimagining is good. Or healthy for gaming, as a matter of fact. And it’s why I hope Tetris Blitz fails hard without tarnishing the Tetris brand.
What do you think? Let us know below.