Tetris Returns

The days of Xbox Windows Phone games being announced in advance are pretty much behind us. Most weeks we get no game at all, and the games that do pop up were either announced long ago (such as this week’s Six-Guns) or just pop up out of the blue. Blame changes within Microsoft for the dwindling quantity of titles and lack of PR for mobile Xbox games.

But but but! Nokia has actually put a fair amount of time and money into bringing new Xbox games to Windows Phone in the last year or two. Two recently announced games: Angry Birds Star Wars II and Tetris Blitz both come from Nokia’s strong relationship with Rovio and Electronic Arts. But Nokia’s Facebook page announced Tetris Blitz for the end of August and it never showed up. Could the game have been announced in error?

Windows Phone Central has finally received official confirmation from EA: Tetris Blitz is definitely coming to Windows Phone 8 soon. Head past the break for exclusive details!

What is a Tetris Blitz?

First, let’s explain why we care about Tetris Blitz. Unlike traditional Tetris titles, games last for exactly two minutes in this one. The goal is to score as much and earn as many coins as you can within those two minutes. Clear lines quickly to enter Frenzy mode. In Frenzy, you’ll score double for each line cleared.

The coins earned in-game can be spent on 15 different power-ups. These provide beneficial effects like an extra burst of time, removing random lines, lowering the stack of blocks, and more. As you might expect, power-ups are key to achieving really high scores on the global leaderboard.

It’s been said that touch screens don’t offer the precision controls required for a relatively fast-paced game like Tetris. Well, in designing Tetris Blitz specifically for mobile play, EA really created a smart new control method…

When a tetromino (Tetris piece) enters the field, several possible landing positions appear asoutlines down below. Just tap an outline to drop the piece in that location! If none of the suggestions look good to you, hit the Cycle button on the side of the screen for a new batch of placement locations.

Windows Phone specifics

Tetris Blitz Nokia teaser

Now for the good stuff! As our introduction clearly hinted, Tetris Blitz will be Xbox-enabled when it arrives on Windows Phone. It will NOT be a Nokia exclusive either, despite Nokia’s involvement in announcing the title. Good news for the HTC and Samsung users in the house.

Tetris Blitz will require Windows Phone 8 though, most likely because the game is designed around In-App Purchases (IAP). Players can earn the coins needed for power-ups through gameplay, or they can opt to buy them with real money. Speaking of IAPs, Tetris Blitz will be free to play when it arrives on Windows Phone.

Tetris Blitz is targeted for a late September release. Angry Birds Star Wars II is already due on September 19, so September 25 looks like a good bet for Blitz. Keep in mind the September release is not set in stone, so it could slip to October. But if everything goes well and Tetris Blitz makes it out in time, September will be the best month Xbox Windows Phone has had in ages.

Update: EA has confirmed that Tetris Blitz WILL be free to play.