I would be hard pressed to come up with another video game that is more of a classic than Tetris. That statement is partially based on my unabashed addiction to the game that is the standard for puzzle-based games. Various iterations and knockoffs have navigated the Windows Mobile space, with varied success. This review will focus on Tetris Mania, offered by EA Mobile in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Electronic Arts is one of the major game developers on all platforms, which is good news for Windows Mobile as a platform. Any time you have an industry heavyweight like EA devoting resources to develop software for your product; that is a big boost.
How well does EA accomplish the Tetris experience? Hit the jump for my opinion.
One hazard with Windows Phones is the navigation and interface. Tetris-style games require certain controls in order to be usable. With a device like the HTC Touch Pro 2, the lack of a directional pad becomes painfully obvious. For starters, the game can only be played in Portrait mode, meaning the hardware keyboard cannot be used for this game. Instead, all controls are placed on the screen. The major problem with this is that at the higher levels and faster speeds, this game is played almost entirely by touch; which is a problem with screen-based controls.
If you can get past the on screen controls, Tetris Mania has all the makings of a worthy entrant in the Tetris line. Several game modes are included that force you to keep different strategies in mind while you play. Cascade allows you to clear multiple lines. As you clear a line, blocks on top of the cleared line fall through the cracks, clearing the lines below. Sticky mode is similar, but each piece is made up of multiple colors. When colors are adjacent, they stick to each other. Gravity affects this collection of blocks as a whole, meaning the space under the entire set in order for it to fall. Fusion is the final mode you can play, but is very hard to describe. The idea revolves around connecting “Atoms” and “Fusion Blocks” in order to trigger gravity.
My only real complaint is the lack of hardware controls, but that’s a reflection on my choice of hardware and not the game itself. Overall, EA does a great job in bringing all of the key elements from the classic while also bringing a few extra twists to keep you from getting bored with it too quickly. From the value side of things, I would say that $6.99 is probably a little bit much for this game; but if you’re a Tetris addict like myself, it may be just right.
Tetris Mania can be purchased from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.