by Jason Clement
reviewed on 3DS
Grand Return of The King of Puzzle Games
Tetris is easily one of the most fundamentally important and recognized puzzle games in videogame history. It comes as no surprise then, that the series is on virtually every console that comes out, and the 3DS is no exception. And yet, despite the addictive nature of Tetris, you have to wonder how people can keep buying new releases in the series if it's just the same old game using the same old formula. So how does one progress the gameplay of Tetris? What exactly is new in this version that differs from all the rest of the versions released in recent years? Well, I'm glad you asked.
It turns out that Tetris: Axis is quite a bit different. At its heart, the game will always mainly be about the classic marathon mode in which you arrange falling puzzle pieces called Tetriminos and clear away as many lines as you can as the difficulty slowly rises, but Axis takes it a step further and offers 20 different modes to play through, with most of them offering a unique take on the Tetris formula. And if that weren't enough, the game also takes advantage of the 3DS's unique AR capabilities, a feature that more 3DS games should be trying to incorporate. All of this results in one of the most extensive Tetris games in years.
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
Tetris: Axis is divided into six main categories: Featured Modes, Party Modes, AR modes, Nintendo 3DS Local Play, Nintendo 3DS Download Play, and Internet Play. The three featured modes include the aforementioned Marathon mode, Computer Battle, and Fever, which puts you in a narrow matrix and has you trying to clear as many lines as possible in 60 seconds.
'Computer Battle' is easily the most interesting new addition here, as it features the likeness of Bomberman and his friends as opponents (this is a Hudson-developed title after all) as you duke it out and attempt to outwit each other by clearing as many lines as possible. With each set of lines you solve, they will get added to the opponents side (and vice-versa), and you'll also receive different items that either help you or affect your rival, such as blinding them temporarily, switching sides with them, and showering their side with meteors so that it destroys part of their lines in the matrix, messing up their strategy.
There are quite a few interesting party modes as well, which help keep the game feeling fresh and modern. 'Shadow Wide' has you placing Tetriminos in line with the background's outline in order to complete a picture. 'Fit' has you shooting Tetriminos into holes in a plane of the same shape in order to clear them. And in 'Tower Climber', the objective is to help a climber traverse a cylindrical tower by placing Tetriminos strategically as steps for him.
'Bombliss Plus' plays a bit like an earlier game in the series called Tetris Blast, where the Tetriminos have a bomb or two in them and will trigger a chain reaction of cleared lines when placed correctly. In 'Sprint', you'll be clearing 40 lines as quickly as possible. 'Jigsaw' has you looking at a picture and arranging the falling Tetriminos in the same manner, like a jigsaw puzzle.
Classic Tetris fun, 20 different game modes ensure spectacular replay value, 3D is used well
If you\'re not interested in puzzle games, this won\'t do much for you.