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For: Mobile   Also on: Android, iPod, N-Gage, 3DS

Back with another one of those block-rocking games

Product: Tetris | Publisher: EA Mobile | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Puzzle, Retro | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 75KB | Reviewed on: N73 other handsets | Version: Europe
Tetris Mobile, thumbnail 1
So then, Tetris. Alexey Pajitnov's block-based puzzler has sold tens of millions of copies on every conceivable gaming platform.

It single-handedly established Nintendo's original Game Boy as the king of handheld gaming. It spawned a hit single in umpteen European countries. And its core gameplay is so simple, even your mum knows how to play it.

What can we possibly find to say about Tetris that hasn't been said before, dozens of times?

Oh, yes. It's rubbish. It's uninvolving, uninspired, and profoundly unaddictive. Two minutes' play, and you'll be so bored you'll never want to play it again.

We jest, of course. Tetris is, and always has been, genius. Its familiarity to the majority of the western world shouldn't breed contempt, because it's the most addictive puzzle game ever invented. As a games publisher lucky enough to own the rights, all you have to do is not mess up the gameplay, and you're laughing. The purist approach works.

That's exactly what EA Mobile has done, which is why mobile Tetris is just as addictive as its predecessors. Fire it up, start the Marathon mode, and you're into the classic Tetris gameplay. Which, for those of you who've been living in a cave for the last 20 years, is explained below.

Tetris is about blocks falling from the top of the screen, which you have to rotate and move as they fall, to ensure they fit together nicely at the bottom and make lines, which then disappear. If the pile of pieces reaches the top of the screen, it's game over. And that's that.

No power-ups, no pseudo-RPG quest plot, no secret pinball mini-games. Just a constant stream of blocks, with the pace getting faster and faster as you play. It's utterly, utterly hypnotic.

As we said, EA Mobile hasn't messed with the formula. So, it looks quite basic, but it's got the coloured blocks and a sensible screen layout, and there's no jerkiness to be found. Meanwhile, Tetris really suits a mobile phone, from the controls to the portrait-shaped (and fixed) game environment.

Having said all that stuff about not messing with the Tetris formula, EA Mobile has put a couple of extra modes into the game. However, they're restrained tweaks, with 40 Lines mode getting you to clear, yes, 40 lines as quickly as possible, while Ultra lets you play for three minutes to see how high a score you can get. In both cases, the actual gameplay doesn't change.

It can be frustrating seeing Tetris at the top of the mobile games charts month after month, for those of us who'd like to see newer games getting a fairer crack of the whip. But that's not EA Mobile's fault: for simple puzzling pleasure, Tetris remains a titan of the gaming world, surviving its move to mobile unspoilt.

Like we said: genius.
Reviewer photo
Stuart Dredge | 1 June 2006
The world's best puzzler is just as good on mobile
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