Tetris Axis

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Tetris Axis Game Poster Image
Fun, pricey take on classic puzzler offers new ways to play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game promotes logical thinking and safe social interactivity through its multiplayer features.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This is a puzzle game with no characters.

Ease of Play

As is usually the case with Tetris games, the interface is dead simple. Move blocks left and right with the d-pad, rotate them with a button, and drop them down by pressing down. Some game modes are more challenging than others, but quick, simple instructions are provided for all, and players should have no problem intuiting what they need to do.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tetris Axis is a new take on the classic block puzzle game. Players drop blocks into position on a grid according to the specific rules of more than a dozen different modes. It can be challenging for younger players, but there is no iffy content. Plus, it encourages players to think logically and solve problems. Note that while players can play online, the only communication allowed is canned text messages that allow players to comment on the action or bid farewell to one another. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

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What's it about?

TETRIS AXIS, the latest version of Alexey Pajitnov’s classic block puzzler, is loaded with ways to play. Veterans and rookies alike can get their feet wet with familiar versions of the game, including Marathon, Fever, Computer Battle, and Survival. These modes let players play the game the way it was originally designed, with the primary goal simply to clear lines. Nine additional party modes provide more original objectives. One sees players trying to build pictures with tetramino blocks, another has players attempting build stairs along the side of a cylinder to allow a stick man to climb up, and another involves sliding a single block through a never-ending path with narrowing walls. Add to these games a pair of augmented reality modes that use the 3DS’ camera to make it seem as though a grid you can walk around is locked on the table in front of you, plus a variety of local and online multiplayer modes, and you have one of the deepest and most diverse Tetris experiences yet created.

Is it any good?

The problem that boxed puzzle games for platforms like Nintendo’s 3DS face nowadays is the widespread availability of cheap, quality downloadable competitors on phones and tablets. It’s hard to make a case for gamers to spend $35 when something similar is likely available for a buck or two through Apple’s app store. To combat this, Tetris Axis’ makers have delivered a game with 25 different play modes, all of which have distinct appeal. Even if you haven’t a taste for the augmented reality games or the jigsaw puzzle-themed modes, there will surely be several ways to play that will appeal to any block stacking fan.

That said, all of these games come down to the same basic concept: Manipulating tetraminos as they descend a grid. You’re not getting two dozen different games, but one game with two dozen different modes. Asking 35-times the price of similar -- if shallower -- games available for phones seems like a stretch. There’s no question that Tetris Axis is diverse, well-designed, and fun, but its price seems out of whack in light of today’s downloadable games market. Puzzle fans shouldn’t miss it, but they may want to wait for it to hit the bargain bins.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about problem solving in video games. Do you find playing interactive logic puzzles helps you to think logically outside of a game? Why do -- or why don’t -- you think this might be the case?

  • Families can also discuss online safety in games. What sort of online features do you feel comfortable and safe using? Under what circumstances, if any, do you think kids should be allowed to communicate with others online?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Price: $34.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: October 4, 2011
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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