Jarrod Mawson
17 Oct, 2010

Tetris Party Deluxe Review

Wii Review | Building better parties, but at what price?
You’d be hard pressed to find a single gamer who isn’t familiar with Tetris. Whether they side themselves with the casual or hardcore crowds, or somewhere in between, they’ll be familiar with the Russian born block stacking and line destroying goodness. Even though it was birthed all the way back in 1984, the legacy held by Tetris is one of the strongest in the medium, retaining its addictive nature and popularity as the years pass by, with rebuilds, revisions, and spin-offs releasing annually. This latest release is Tetris Party Deluxe, published by Nintendo across the Wii and DS.

However, unlike so many other rebuilds of Tetris, it would be unfair to describe Tetris Party Deluxe as an entirely new game. Instead, the title is an enhanced retail release of the 2008 WiiWare title Tetris Party. For better or worse, the core content remains identical to the WiiWare release, but a few extra modes, enhancements, and tweaks have been included to spruce up the package. More on the comparisons between the two version a little bit later, but first let’s get to the game itself.

In Soviet Russia, Tetris stacks you!

In Soviet Russia, Tetris stacks you!

The first thing that becomes apparent when you boot up the game is how clean the presentation is, and how easy the menu systems are to navigate. Colouring is bright and vibrant, text is easy to read and understand, and it won’t take players long to jump into the game modes they’re most attracted to, with the most fundamental Tetris options easily accessible from the main menu, and finer tuning option menus hidden only a click or two away. Presentation of the gameplay is much like the menu system; simple and clean. There are no obtrusive visual effects to potentially distract players, the board is as simple as expected, and the bright colouring of tetrominos makes for easy recognition of the varied shapes and sizes. There are a number of backgrounds to choose from to contrast your play, and while none of them overshadow the board or interfere with gameplay, they’re devoid of any particularly memorable style.

As a whole, the game’s presentation is made up of suitable aesthetics, but there’s really nothing memorable or interesting about the style. Nintendo’s 2006 release Tetris DS proved that a even a formula as rudimentary as Tetris can be stylized into something unique, so it is sad to see that the usual Nintendo individuality and charm in presentation does not carry across with this release.

You do the hard work, he takes all the glory.

You do the hard work, he takes all the glory.

Presentation aside, for a game like this what is most important is the gameplay, and Tetris addicts are in for a treat. Firstly, there’s classic Tetris, selectable right from the main menu, which offers no more than the most traditional and familiar mechanics. Stack blocks, clear lines, and earn points. Fundamentally simple, but oh so addictive, as it’s always been. But that’s only the beginning, as the game includes a fantastic selection of additional single player and multiplayer game modes, most offering an very intriguing twist on the classic Tetris formula.

Among the new gameplay modes are some wonderfully creative concepts. Field Climber places a tiny little man in the grid, and players must stack blocks to create staircases for him to climb as high as possible, while at the same time trying to avoid crushing or trapping him. Shadow is another interesting mode, which places a silhouette of a block built object in the background of the grid, and asks players to fill in the silhouetted area with the falling blocks, matching the background object to the best of their abilities. Then there are other modes like Stage Racer, where the stacking of blocks is removed from the game entirely. In Stage Racer, players are given a single falling tetrimino, and must rotate and guide the block as it falls through an ever changing maze, with numerous stages of increasing difficulty and complexity.

On the simpler end of the spectrum are game modes like Sprint, where players a tasked with clearing forty rows in the quickest possible time, and Master, a high-skill mode starting at the maximum level and featuring pieces that drop instantly. Most of these simpler modes don’t offer enough to radically shake up the basic Tetris gameplay, but are nonetheless a fun diversion from the other more adventurous modes.

As noted by the title, this is Tetris Party Deluxe, and so a rather considerable amount of multiplayer options have been included. Practically all of the gamemodes available for single player also make an appearance in multiplayer, adequately tweaked in design and function for competitive and co-operative gameplay. Most modes support up to four players locally, and online Tetris play supports up to six players. If there were any worries that a game like Tetris may not be populated online, let it be known that the very first online multiplayer match we tried filled all six player slots extremely quickly. International play is the standard, and completely lag free considering the nature of the game, but online search settings can also be refined down to regional play if the need be, or set exclusive to the player’s friends list, of which allows for voice chat with registered friends using Nintendo’s Wii Speak.

Penguin, get out of there. You're not even a tetromino.

Penguin, get out of there. You're not even a tetromino.

Beyond the impressive selection of single player and multiplayer gamemodes, particular praise needs to be given to the startling depth of options, customisation, and stat tracking. All of the game modes can tweaked with a number of game setting variables, often shaking up the formula with a new twist, and some modes like Shadow even support a ‘level editor’ of sorts, allowing players to create their own customised level builds. Stat tracking is robust supporting all scores and completion times tracked for individual option settings and online play, and there’s even online leaderboards filterable down from international right to your own country.

Accessibility options are worth a mention as well. While there’s plenty of modes catered to advanced play, in typical Nintendo fashion there’s strong support for the newer players. Beginner’s Tetris dilutes the Tetris formula down to its most basic and slowest form, and every single gameplay mode, multiplayer or single player, features a recorded demo with text to show you exactly how the game should be played. These support features, coupled with compatibility with nearly every Wii peripheral with the exception of GameCube controllers, guaranties that people of all ages and skill levels can quickly adapt to and get the most out of what the game has on offer.

Balance board Tetris lets you build with your feet. OHS certificate required.

Balance board Tetris lets you build with your feet. OHS certificate required.

We mentioned at the start of this review that Tetris Party Deluxe is an enhanced retail package of the WiiWare title Tetris Party, and it is here we discover the title’s greatest flaw; the price.
As stated, this release is an enhanced port, and around six new modes have been included. However, most of these modes lean towards simplistic designs such as the aforementioned Sprint, and the only really creative and unique new mode is Bombliss, where players must stack bomb blocks and cause chain reactions. There are some additional settings in the option menus that enhance the modes identical across both versions, but it’s difficult promote these as justification for the steep incline in price, as the titles are so similar at their core that Tetris Party Deluxe can even be played online with owners of the original Tetris Party from WiiWare.

Tetris Party Deluxe is attached to a RRP of AU$49.95, while Tetris Party on WiiWare is priced at a far lower 1200 Nintendo Points. Considering gamers can purchase 2000 Nintendo Points for less than the price of the retail release of Tetris Party Deluxe, it seriously calls into question the value of the title.

A sense of scale that exceeds the likes of God of War.

A sense of scale that exceeds the likes of God of War.

Yet even with a hefty price attached, it can’t be denied that the package on offer is impressive. The core gameplay of Tetris is rock solid, and is successfully moulded into a great lineup fun alternative modes. Tweakable options and multiplayer, both local and online, gives all the more reason to keep returning to the title, and the fantastic leaderboards and stat tracking systems cement it as the drug of choice for Tetris fiends. There’s just so much to see and do, and the high standard of gameplay quality is consistent throughout every mode and feature.

If owning the definitive, complete package is not in your interests, then it might be best to ignore this release in favour of the cheaper version. However, those who cannot get enough of Tetris are unlikely to be disappointed with what the game has to offer, and will enjoy sharing the experience among friends.
The Score
High Tetris quality at a high entry price that ultimately comes down to disk versus digital. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Tetris Party Deluxe Content

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1 Comment
3 years ago
Great review man. I guess maybe paying the price in the long run is worth it, nice to see some original fresh game modes, and a large online community by the sounds.

I was hesitant to pick this up, but I think I will now icon_biggrin.gif
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  14/10/2010 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $49.95 AU
Year Made:

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