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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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Show: Latest | Oldest
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 10:24 - 9 May 2013
...And tetriminos? lol.

Anyone who spends a penny on things so stupidly overpriced in a game you could buy the full version of for a fraction of the cost should be put down IMO. It's the kindest thing to do.
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 10:20 - 9 May 2013
£20 quid for Tetris DS was absolutely AMAZING value - it was the definitive version of Tetris with a solid online mode and huge variety of levels all with a retro Nintendo flavour. I loved that game.

This however is yet another example that games companies see mobile gamers as complete idiots and another sign that people who care about gaming should never support anything other than small indies on mobile. The companies themselves cannot even believe that people are stupid enough to spend so much on 'freemium' non-games when you read between the lines of interviews.
Aug 2012
Post count:
Matthew Felding | 20:38 - 8 May 2013
You're joking about this right?
Sep 2012
Post count:
Ondřej Pošta | 20:00 - 8 May 2013
Holy shit...this is ridiculous.
May 2010
Post count:
Mark Brown | 12:23 - 8 May 2013
Hey Mr Bez

No, you pay to put the extra power ups in your boost box. Then you can use in-game currency to apply them
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 12:05 - 8 May 2013
Wow. £20.99 for what used to be standard Tetris functionality? I paid £20 quid for Tetris DS back in the day, but even I can't believe this.

Also, did I misunderstand, or were the Lucky Spin and Three Strikes power ups £6.99 PER USE?