Tetris Ultimate was developed by SoMA Play Inc. and published by Ubisoft on Xbox One. It was released on December 17, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Ubisoft for review purposes.
I’m a huge Tetris fan. Ever since summer camp and the original Game Boy version (1989), I’ve probably played 20 or more different renditions of the classic puzzler across every system I’ve ever owned. So when the opportunity came to try out a brand new version, Tetris Ultimate, for the new next-generation Xbox One, of course I jumped at it.
You probably already know the basics, but just in case you didn’t, Tetris has you dropping different-shaped blocks into a playing field in attempts to create and clear lines of blocks. It’s simple, fun and addictive. So how does Tetris Ultimate add to the formula?
Here’s what I liked:
It’s Tetris — Tetris is one of those games that is pretty hard to mess up. It is what it is, and what it is is fun. I played plenty of single player and head-to-head multiplayer matches during my time with the game, and both are just as fun as any other version of Tetris.
1080p and 60fps — There’s not much in the way of special graphical effects or any other next-gen tricks to be found here, but for what it’s worth, everything runs at a perfect 1080p and 60fps. Put simply, Tetris Ultimate looks good.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Same old, same old — There’s not much new in Tetris Ultimate. Marathon, Endless, Ultra, Sprint, Battle and Battle Ultimate (which adds in power-ups) are the six modes available. Each can be played solo or with up to four players. These are, unfortunately, all modes we’ve seen many, many times before. There’s also the promise of new modes in the form of paid DLC. Having to pay for new content in a version of Tetris that ships with less modes than many previous versions, however, isn’t exactly an exciting prospect.
Confusing interface — It took me a dozen rounds or so of playing to realize that it was possible to change any of those modes into a multiplayer version… And it took me into day two to figure out how to play multiplayer with real humans over Xbox Live and not just against the AI. The constant tutorials in most games nowadays can be annoying at times, but this interface is anything but self explanatory.
Multiplayer connection issues — Many times when I tried to get an online match going, the game would tell me it was going to take an estimated 10 minutes to find a match. Granted, when it did connect in a normal amount of time, things usually went smoothly. But this 10-minute connection time was not an isolated incident.
So Tetris Ultimate is…well, it’s Tetris. Nothing more, nothing less. Which is a shame, because it’s always so exciting to see what new ideas Tetris developers are going to come up with with each new system launch. It’s certainly not a bad game, but it’s nothing compared to some of the Tetris games that have appeared on older systems.
Score: Skip It