I'm not ashamed to admit that an astonishingly large amount of my life has been spent waiting on long blue bars, in order to get a full-on four-rows-cleared tetris. So satisfying. I've been exposed to the game time and time again beginning with the NES, and I eventually found that over time the formula did actually lose some of its potency. Each subsequent Tetris sequel added less and less to that original, addicting formula, until the day arrived when I thought I had Tetris out of my system entirely.
It looks like Tetris DS is going to change all that. It's as if Nintendo tapped into the secret wish list of every Tetris fan, and included all those desires in a single game. To begin with, Nintendo has infused the game with a heavy-dose of 8-bit nostalgia. Each of the game's six modes is themed after a different classic Nintendo character. So far scenes from Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Donkey Kong have been revealed.
A large portion of our Tetris DS excitement stems from the game's rich multiplayer offerings. 10-player local multiplayer is available, with just one game card required. Additionally, 4-player online play has been confirmed for two modes, allowing gamers to play with strangers or friends worldwide. A rating system tracks players' battle results and displays the information for opponents. Ala Mario Kart DS, players can be matched based on their skill levels as well.
Nintendo has announced that the final product will ship with six separate modes, but as of now three remain under wraps. Although past Tetris iterations have created some innovative gameplay using the familiar falling blocks, it seems as though Nintendo intends to break a lot of new ground with Tetris DS, as two of the three revealed modes are new to the franchise.
Standard mode maintains a Mario theme, and follows the classic formula of guiding the Tetriminos (falling blocks) into forming complete horizontal lines, which then clears them away. Special items will be available to foil opponents, which can be turned on or off during online multiplayer.
Touch mode, obviously new to the Tetris experience, follows a slower pace. The 1p-only mode is essentially a puzzle mode, where gamers are given as much time as they neet to use the stylus to shift and rotate Tetriminos into the exact configuration needed.
The Donkey Kong-themed head-to-head Push mode is the game's other online offering. By clearing two lines at a time gamers push their opponent's stack ever-closer to the "red zone," creating a Tetris-fueled tug-of-war, illustrated in this screenshot.
Slated for a March 30 release, Tetris DS seems to be going above and beyond the call of duty for a Tetris sequel, but we aren't complaining. If you get matched with Robomo next month, don't even think about dropping.