Tetris Beat

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Tetris Beat Game Poster Image
Fun fusion of Tetris puzzles and rhythm games.

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Positive Messages

There are no messages in this straightforward puzzle game. There are no characters or storylines.

Positive Role Models

This game has no lead protagonist or even NPCs (non-playable characters), so there are no role models.

Diverse Representations
Ease of Play

This Apple Arcade title is simple to play. A tutorial walks the player through the various modes and controls, but it's not difficult to learn the mechanics of this game. The challenge kicks in when the Tetris pieces begin falling faster; once they reach the top of the board, it's game over. There are three difficulty levels for each of the three playable modes. Finally, users can tap the Settings tab to access the How to Play section for a refresher.

Violence & Scariness

Tetris Beat is based on the decades-old Tetris franchise, but there are no plugs for the other titles, plus all Apple Arcade games do not contains ads or in-app purchase options.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tetris Beat is a puzzle game exclusively for Apple Arcade. It's a fusion between the classic Tetris puzzle game mechanic and music-based rhythm games (like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Tap Tap Revenge, and Beat Saber, as examples). There isn't any off-color or controversial content in this game. While it's easy to learn how to play, the challenge comes in reacting as the game speeds up pieces over the course of a round.

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What's it about?

TETRIS BEAT is what happens when you combine the classic Tetris puzzle game formula with music-based rhythm games, like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Based on the beloved Russian 2D puzzler from the '80s, you likely know the core game mechanic of Tetris: rotate shapes, called Tetriminos, to create a solid horizontal row on the board. Doing so destroys the bricks and you're presented with new shapes that descend onto the board. If you pile up the Tetris pieces too high, it's game over. If you don't have any rhythm and prefer to play the classic game, the Marathon mode is for you, which is the traditional Tetris gameplay experience, but you get to choose the soundtrack among the diverse and eclectic lineup of musicians, including GARZA, Alison Wonderland, Hannah Diamond, CINTHIE, Octo Octa, Dauwd, and others. There are 19 songs in the game, including a Deep House-like take on the classic Tetris ditty, but with new and exclusive songs added every month. The new twist here, though, is rotating and dropping the Tetriminos in time with the beat, and you're rewarding for good rhythm with combo chains and score boosters. The Drop mode is the main game, here, but there is also Tap mode, which adds another unique gameplay mechanic: you must choose the most strategic "Ghost Piece" to tap in time to the beat (the Tetrimino outline you see at the bottom of the Matrix). Tetris Beat supports cross-platform play, so you can start it on an iPad, but continue where you left off on your Mac, Apple TV, or iPhone. The Apple TV version also supports a competitive split-screen Marathon mode for two players. Competitive types will appreciate the global leaderboards, for every song, to see how you stack up against others on the planet via Apple's Game Center.

Is it any good?

Fans of the classic should enjoy the new music-related twist to the familiar puzzle game mechanic. One of the best things Tetris Beat has going for it is its accessibility. Even if you've never played any of the previous iterations of Tetris, the tutorial walks you through the basics in a logical manner, with pointers peppered through the walkthrough. Once you start dropping the pieces in time with the beat, visual and audio clues confirm if you've hit the mark or were off a bit (even if you don't glance at your score to see how you did). In no time, you'll no doubt get into the groove (especially if you like dance and pop music). It feels great, also due to the simple controls. It won't take long before you glance at a specific shape and know just where it'll go, or if you want to build up a bigger move, like setting up for a long, straight piece to slide down one side. There are different tactics you can apply, here, but the music timing adds another layer. While many gamers might not realize it, there are also Daily, Weekly and Monthly missions, seen when tapping the small checkmark at the bottom of the screen. For example, one may be to score 15,000 points on any song in a single game, or make 25 Tetris Line Clears in Marathon mode, or make 5 T-Spins on the beat. Each mission has an accompanying XP point value.

There's a small Stats tab at the bottom of the screen which shows your total XP points, and how close you are to the next level. Tetris Beat's graphics, background animations, sound effects and music are also worth calling out. The colorful "rave"-like feel transcends all levels, modes and menu screens. In short, there's something here for both newcomers to Tetris as well as seasoned players. The mash-up of Tetris puzzle pieces and timing your rhythm works, and the developers even give you a mode that leaves the music part out, if you prefer. Apple Arcade subscribers should download Tetris Beat for a really fun (and familiar) time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about playing game franchises. Do you prefer playing all new game franchises like Tetris Beat, or do you like familiar, classic series, like Tetris, with new spins on the formula every year or two? Are the developers just milking this franchise or is there enough meat here for the game to stand on its own?

  • Should the developer also make a version of Tetris Beat for teenagers and adults, perhaps with songs that have explicit language or sexual references? Is Tetris Beat enjoyable the way it is now, without inappropriate lyrics?

Game details

  • Platforms: Apple Arcade
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: N3TWORK Inc.
  • Release date: September 2, 2021
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Topics: Music and Sing-Along
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: September 30, 2021

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