Tetris Effect: Connected Hands-on Preview
For such a “simple” game, it sure is easy to get sucked in. The next thing you know, it’s 3 am and your staring at your alarm clock fixated on the fact it’s about to go off soon. That is the chill yet addictive nature of Tetris Effect: Connected. For the past week, I’ve been playing this new spin on a legendary video game classic on our Xbox Series X console and the result is truly fantastic.
On the surface, it seems like it should be a relaxing experience. It’s anything but. It’s hectic, intense, and infuriating at times but it’s just so damn satisfying when you clear that level that’s had your number for what seems like hours. There is no question the heart and soul of that classic Tetris experience is alive and well with Tetris Effect: Connected.
We reviewed Tetris Effect a couple of years ago and to this day it remains one of our highest scored reviews. Tetris Effect: Connected is essentially an expansion to the original game. Just as it was when it first launched on the PS4 in 2018, Tetris Effect: Connected is a timed exclusive until Summer 2021 when it arrives as a free update for existing PS4, Epic Game Store, and Oculus Quest versions.
Smooth Like Butter
The expansion includes a new co-op mode, competitive online and local multiplayer modes. So the bulk of my time was spent in these new modes and they are an absolute blast. Not to mention it runs 4K/60fps on the Series X (1080p/30fps on Xbox One S and 1080p/60fps on Xbox One X). The only drawback was the process of actually setting up a co-op mode game with my wife.
I get it, Microsoft wants users to sign up with a proper account, but it sure would be nice if I could just sign her in as a guest, and get on the game. Maybe there is a way to do this, but I couldn’t figure it out. Yet after screwing around the signup process and having issues synching another controller, it wasn’t too long before we finally jumped into a head-to-head battle.
We spent most of our time in the Zone Battle mode. It is a standard game of Tetris with a twist. When you clear a line, it sends random blocks to the other person which screws with what they are trying to do. But your opponent can stop these blocks by freezing time. The more we played, the more the various layers of strategies presented itself and it turned into an exhilarating battle at times.
There is also a Score Attack mode where it is a highest score wins type mode. Of all the new modes this one pretty straight forward but like the rest of the experience, the games themselves are surprisingly intense and competitive.
A variation on the Score Attack mode is the Classic Score Attack mode. It has the look and feel of the original Tetris from way back when. Classic Score Attack takes those classic controls and settings; and eliminates some of those new controls which I have been getting used to like the Hard Drop and the Hold Queue.
The Connected mode is probably the craziest of the bunch. This three-player co-op mode allows you to team up with 3 friends where your main goal is to destroy the AI boss. Don’t worry, if you don’t have anyone to play with, the CPU will play alongside you. It’s a super cool mode where at various points, all three of your Tetris boards combine, requiring everyone to work together to clear lines and chip away at that boss. I’m not sure if this mode will take off but the cooperative aspects is something I really enjoyed here.
In addition to co-op play, it also includes online competitive play for 1-3 players. There is ranked and unranked play. Online matchmaking, and player progression for unlockable avatars. Cross-play is also available between all Xbox Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows Store PC.
Tetris Effect: Connected is exactly what you would expect. It’s that fabulous visual audio Tetris Effect experience on a next-gen console. The added multiplayer component only gives the entire experience more replayability. It loads in a flash, runs brilliantly on the Series X, and visually it looks incredible. All the addictive elements remain firmly intact. This is looking like a rock-solid day one purchase when the Xbox Series X launches on November 10, 2020.
***Xbox code was provided by the publisher***