Tetris Effect: Connected

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Tetris Effect: Connected Game Poster Image
Family-friendly puzzler gets new multiplayer modes.

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Positive Messages

Online and local multiplayer modes encourage a mix of friendly competition and cooperative play. Players are rewarded for thinking strategically.

Positive Role Models

There are no characters, though players may take sporting conduct cues from the people with whom they play.

Diverse Representations
Ease of Play

Standard Tetris controls for spinning and dropping tetrominos should prove easy to learn for players young and old. The rules for some of the game's multiplayer modes, which are a little more complicated, may take a bit more time to learn, but complete instructions can be called up on demand. On the Switch version, players can customize the intensity of the vibration for the gameplay when completing lines, adding to or subtracting from the immersion of the gameplay as they see fit.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

This game is part of the decades old Tetris franchise, which has spawned endless products, toys, and paraphernalia.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Tetris Effect: Connected is a downloadable puzzle game for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. Gameplay involves dropping blocks into a matrix in an attempt to stack them to form horizontal lines. There's no combat or violence. Multiplayer modes, both local and online, allow players to compete against each other and/or work together, encouraging friendly competitive play, teamwork, and a positive social gaming experience. Playing at more advanced levels also promotes chess-like thinking as players are often rewarded for planning several moves ahead. Simple controls should make it quite easy for newcomers to learn how to play, though some of the more complicated modes -- especially in multiplayer -- will take a bit of time to fully understand and master. Switch players can also customize the amount of vibration they'll feel, which can enhance their play experience.

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What's it about?

TETRIS EFFECT: CONNECTED is an enhanced version of the game Tetris Effect, which was originally designed for PlayStation 4 and PSVR, and is now released for Xbox consoles and the Nintendo Switch. For those unfamiliar with Tetris, it's a decades-old puzzle game that involves stacking falling blocks to create horizontal lines that are instantly cleared from the board. If the blocks reach the top of the grid, it's game over. The original version of Tetris Effect took players on an astrological journey filled with puzzle challenges, while also providing a selection of one-off games designed to cater to specific moods, such as completing challenges in a series of visually sumptuous themed worlds. These modes have been carried over to this version of the game, which also adds a robust new multiplayer component to the mix. Playing locally or online, players can group up in teams of three to try to defeat either a computer-controlled boss or another human player, or engage in variations of classic Tetris multiplayer games, where players compete one-on-one for the highest score or to last longest without topping out. As players progress, they earn experience points that help them level up as well as earn new astrological avatars. The Switch version allows players to configure their Joy-Cons for dual controller play, one controller held horizontally, or to use the Pro controller. It also allows players to define the amount of vibration that their Joy-Cons will have for successfully clearing lines or pulsing with the music on each stage.

Is it any good?

It seems strange that Alexey Pajitnov's 80s puzzler should remain so compelling decades later, but the proof is undeniable. With the addition of a healthy selection of multiplayer modes, Tetris Effect: Connected is perhaps the best version of the puzzler available on any platform. Its solo campaign and mood-based modes remain fantastic, helped along by beautiful visual effects that range from glorious starscapes to intense three-dimensional close-ups of the board. It also has a foot-tapping soundtrack that delivers remixes of classic Tetris music, chill electronic tracks, and songs with dynamic vocals that change as you clear more lines. There's a challenge for every type of Tetris taste, from endless modes to insanely quick instant block drops. It's easy to lose minutes or hours while playing as you move from one objective and game type to the next. The Switch version gets some additional tweaks thanks to its flexibility in Joy-Con options for dropping blocks. Sure, you can pick one or two Joy-Cons for control, but the real standout here is the addition of more rumble functionality, which can really vibrate your entire handheld and controllers in time with the music or as you eliminate lines. Paired together with a set of headphones, this extra vibration boosts the immersion of each stage significantly, and if you're playing on a Switch OLED, the stages really pop with its particle effects as lines are cleared and dynamic backgrounds that change as you make progress. 

But it's the addition of a bevy of multiplayer modes that takes this edition to the next level. The boss-oriented co-op modes are a blast, especially with friends. Upon clearing enough blocks, your three teammates' boards come together and fuse for a chaotic block-dropping free-for-all, with players working together to clear as many lines as possible to send maximum junk to the boss' board. Extra bits of strategy come in the form of subtle rule changes, such as purple blocks that break apart once placed to drop and fill empty holes. Other multiplayer modes seem designed to cater to multiple generations of Tetris fans, from modern score-based matches to a mode meant to recall the original Tetris experience, eliminating contemporary play features such as the option to hold and reserve a block for future use and the ability continue to rotate and move pieces once they've touched down. Simply put, Tetris Effect: Connected delivers a huge array of Tetris game types, both single- and multiplayer, and bundles it all in up to stunning 4K graphics (for the Xbox Series X version) and catchy music. It's nothing short of essential for classic puzzling fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Do you find you prefer to spend more time with Tetris Effect: Connected playing alone or with friends and family? Is there a difference in the quality of the time you spend playing with others?

  • Why do you think people enjoy solving puzzles? What is it about the act of figuring something out that tickles our brains?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

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