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Hands-on with EA's Tetris Blitz - will you pay $40 to hold two blocks at once?

Free-to-play block-dropper goes live in Canada

Product: Tetris Blitz | Publisher: EA Mobile | Genre: Arcade, Puzzle
For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad
 
Tetris Blitz iPhone, thumbnail 1
Earlier this year, we told you that Russian block-dropping phenomenon Tetris was the latest EA-owned franchise to be going free-to-play, with the upcoming iOS and Android game Tetris Blitz.

The game has now gone live on the App Store and Google Play in Canada, as part of a soft launch campaign. We went hands-on to find out exactly how you play, and - more importantly - how you pay.

Drop box

Like every game under the "Blitz" banner, you're given a set time limit in which to score as many points as humanly possible. In this Tetris spin, that involves clearing lines, and forming chain reactions as orphaned squares drop down and fill in new rows.

It's fast paced and scrappy, and anticipating chains and clearing enormous chunks of the board is as fun as ever. Frenzy mode - which gives you a handful of rows with just one spot missing - is very satisfying.

And the controls, surprisingly, make Blitz run faster than its button-based cousins. This touch-friendly version draws your possible drop spots as ghostly white outlines which, when tapped, instantly send your block there.

Boost juice

Another key component of the Blitz genre is the boost: a handy pay-per-use power-up that gives you a leg up over the competition.

You can use three boosts at any time. You'll get some with the game, like Quake - a shockwave that shakes Tetriminos apart; Lasers - which vaporise three random lines; and Magnet - a magnetic force which draws all blocks to the left.

The more powerful power-ups, like Lucky Spin - which optimises the next seven blocks to be the best fit - and Three Strikes - which gives you three game-changing I pieces in a row - cost £6.99 / $9.99 a pop.

There's also a rotating power-up of the week, where a paid boost is loaned out for free. If you use it enough times in seven days, you'll get to keep it.

Tetris Blitz

There are other handy options, which are only accessible after stumping up real-world cash. And they are super expensive. Want to see the next three Tetriminos? £20.99 / $29.99, please. Need to hold two blocks instead of one? That will be £27.99 / $39.99.

There's also a roulette wheel that you can pay to spin. And there are ads, which you can disable for £2.99 / $4.99. Thankfully, and unlike in Solitaire Blitz, there's no energy system here.

Finally, if you want to share your scores with friends, you'll have to use Facebook.

So, there we have it. Tetris Blitz is a fast-paced and fresh spin on the old Tetris formula, but you'll have to log in to Facebook (and probably pay some cash) if you want to compete with your pals.

Tetris Blitz will be in wide release later this year. Prices and details mentioned above are subject to change before then.
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 8 May 2013
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